Brothers & Sisters

Season 3 Episode 24


Aired Sunday 10:00 PM May 10, 2009 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • Retreat Written by Monica Owusa-Breen And Alison Schapker Directed by Ken Olin

    Karin: "Silence is as deep as eternity. Speech is as shallow as time."
    Kevin: "And this place is as nutty as a fruitcake."

    As quotes go, that's a fairly memorable one to go with for an introduction to this review. Finally after so much dithering about Tommy disappearing, this episode has him reappear.

    Last week ended with Nora landing in Montevista, Mexico and the opening scene is a delightful western parody that hypes up the first ten minutes. Given that Tommy has done nothing but distance himself from his family, Nora immediately assumes that her son is in danger.

    It doesn't help that she gets no real help from any of the locals who point her to various places that don't really help. There are plenty of assumptions that Nora could've made but assuming that Tommy has been drawn into a cult did generate more comedy than fear for the guy's safety.

    Telling all of her remaining kids this crackpot theory was hilarious, mostly for Kevin and Justin's reactions. Kevin was pretty cynical about the idea of Tommy in danger but Justin actually went into overdrive about cults. Having him read out various strategies that cults take on to lure people in cracked me up.

    On that front Rebecca didn't really help either. After all, it was her who pointed out that Tommy was at a weak point. Even still, Tommy doesn't strike me as someone who would be susceptible to a cult. Isn't he like a little old fashioned to be conditioned into such a thing?

    I'm not sure if there was really a point in having all of the Walkers descend on Mexico. Now, for all we knew, Nora could've actually been right and Tommy could've been in danger but the last couple of episodes never really suggested that he was so to speak.

    In fact, the cult he's allegedly joined are a group that are called Selfless Service and the only thing Tommy's been roped into doing is fixing the fountain that's long been defunct in the small town he's taken up residency in. In other words, he's totally safe and it gives weight to Kevin's lack of enthusiasm to rescue him.

    Kevin pointed out that Tommy wasn't going to appreciate everyone flocking in to rescue him and he was right to a certain point. Sure, Tommy was a bit more apologetic and even accepting of the fact that he screwed up but he also made it known that he had no desire to return home either.

    Even in Mexico, the Walkers are unable to behave. Them being silent in general is hard work for them but them having to be silent during the community's meal time was always doomed to failure. They might have made a bit of an effort with sign language and writing things down but finding out about Justin getting into medical school soon hampered all of that.

    Like a lot of episodes, there were plenty of things that got the Walkers arguing with each other. No-one was impressed with Kevin's lack of sympathy in regards to Tommy. Even Scotty told him to go to Mexico, despite the fact that their anniversary was coming up.

    Usually in these situations, I always expect Justin to be the most antagonistic with Tommy given that whenever Justin screws up, it's Tommy who reacts the worst. Kevin's got valid enough reasons to be mad at Tommy. Tommy did screw up big time with Ojai and he abandoned both Julia and Elizabeth. Kevin had every right to throw that back into his face.

    However as much as Tommy's general stupidity is worth slamming, there were some good scenes. Nora for instance being there for Tommy was moving as was Tommy and Kevin eventually making up and Sarah attempting to understand his motives a little better with Ojai.

    It's already been announced that Balthazar Getty will be recurring in the series fourth season, so in a lot of ways this episode isn't a big departure for Tommy. On one hand, he promised Kevin to take responsibility for his wife and daughter and on the other; he's sticking to helping out the community who have taken him in. If they're a cult, they are a pretty benevolent one.

    Getting back to Kevin, I can understand why he didn't want to go to Mexico. Sometimes the Walkers do need to deal with things without just all of them descending on a problem. Also if this finale really has anything truly going against it, it will be that Scotty got very little to do.

    It's actually a shame that Scotty didn't get to go to Mexico, considering that both Rebecca and Robert did. Then again, Saul was also absent from the 'rescue Tommy or not' mission this week, so it's not like he wasn't the only one stuck in Pasadena for this finale.

    Robert's motives for coming to Mexico had Kevin violate his original Switzerland stance on things. The start of the episode had Kitty guns blazing to separate from Robert and by the end of the episode, she realised almost too late that she actually didn't want out of the marriage. Hindsight's a great thing, huh?

    The helicopter scene where Kitty missed Robert had a decent dramatic edge to it but at the same time, she still can see him back in LA and unless we're going to lose Rob Lowe from the series, it's definitely safe to say that Kitty and Robert aren't over just yet.

    I have to admit that I did feel sorry for Robert here. While his obsession with his career and his blatant disregard for how that affects other people has been a massive sore point in this season especially, I do think he's trying to save marriage because he cares for Kitty and not just for appearance sake.

    Kitty really went out of her way to further sabotage things with Robert. Alec was bad enough but their meeting at the start of the episode did her no favours and she went way too far with the barbed comments when he did fly down to Mexico. Still, it did mean that Nora was now in the loop about Kitty and Robert's fractured marriage. I'm still sure that they will get back together, if not straightaway.

    With one marriage cracking under, Justin and Rebecca certainly seemed to have different attitudes about telling their respective families. Justin wanted to be sensible and wait for the right moment, Rebecca wanted to bulldoze in right ahead. Needless to say, I sided more with Justin here.

    The even scarier part is that I actually sided with Holly a lot in this finale as well. I'm still in shock but damn, that woman was actually logical in this episode. She cited that Rebecca was rushing into marrying Justin a bit too fast that I was surprised that David didn't side with her a little more than he did.

    In fact, Rebecca's behaviour in general throughout this whole episode was erratic at best. The way she was incessantly jumping about trying to give Justin an expensive watch, even her attempts of trying to get him to elope her. She reminded me of Billy Chenowith.

    Holly even added fuel to the fire by telling David a bit more about Rebecca's chequered past. Thanks to Holly, we learned that Rebecca was stalking the same teacher she was married to which might indicate that Rebecca has some mental health issues, which could lead to some really promising storylines next season. It's weird that I liked Holly in this episode.

    The other moment in this episode where I agreed with Holly was her opposition in regards to Ryan. Getting him out of the building made sense and while Sarah's heart was probably in the right place with a severance package, Ryan does have a family and he doesn't exactly strike me as destitute either.

    I know that there's a lot of viewers out there who complained about this plot, given how much they want Luke Grimes gone from the series but I actually found myself a little interested in Ryan for the longest time. That doesn't mean I want him as a regular next season unless the writers can genuinely justify keeping him around.

    Saul coming back to Ojai so he can keep an eye on Ryan is sweet but is there enough of a story there for a full season that won't have viewers tearing their hair out? I doubt it but at least we got an explanation on Connie. Saul was the one who gave the woman a pay-off in lieu of William and she killed herself because of how callously William cast her out.

    It's hardly compelling but it at least proved that she killed herself and wasn't murdered. Like Holly a few weeks ago, Saul told Ryan to move on from his grudge with the Walkers but Saul did do it more out of concern and to be fair; this is the best contribution to an episode that Ron Rifkin has made in a while. That is more of a snarky remark about the writing for Saul rather than the character himself.

    Out of the remaining Walkers, Sarah was sadly underused in this episode. She spent most of her time trying to keep Kevin in line, empathising with Tommy and Nora, telling Saul to hand Ryan the severance package she drew up but I suppose her best moment was getting Kitty to make a proper decision about Robert. Next season I want more from Rachel Griffiths.

    Also in "Mexico"

    At first, I wasn't sure what Nora was going to pull out of her jacket pockets. The picture of Tommy and the book of phrases made sense.

    Justin (re Tommy): "You didn't see him in Baha. He was an emotional wreck."
    Rebecca: "And that's when they get you. When you're weak and vulnerable."
    Kevin: "He wasn't vulnerable. He got into a fist fight with a bunch of drunken frat boys."

    Okay because of TWOP posters have pointed it out, the 'Mexico' set did look a little fake as well.

    Pablo: "Thomas Walker."
    Nora: "Why is it that everyone knows his name and no-one can tell me where he is?"

    Scotty: "Kevin, I'll be here when you get back. That's what we're celebrating, right?"

    Blimey, Scotty really is a saint, isn't he? Can we please see Wally and Bertha again next season?

    Rebecca (re engagement): "Mom, say something."
    Holly: "It's a lot to take in."

    Justin (to Holly): "Look, I know we've been through a lot but I love your daughter and I'm gonna be a good husband to her."

    It was good that Saul told someone the truth about William and Connie. I hope he told the full story to Ryan as well.

    Justin (re Tommy): "If he doesn't know who we are, he could be a completely different person."
    Kevin: "Well, I'll keep my fingers crossed."

    Ryan: "Why did they send you? You don't even work here."
    Saul: "Oh, I used to work here. As a matter of fact, I helped build this company. Take a look at that."

    Both Rob Lowe and Sally Field are popping up in ads with other ABC actors to promote various shows that are returning this fall for the station.

    Nora (re Tommy): "I shamed him in front of everyone. I hit him."
    Kitty: "Oh, you didn't hit him. Okay, you slapped him but there's a very big difference."

    Kevin: "Come on, look at this place. Does it even have a bathroom?"
    Justin: "Yeah it does, down by the hall."

    At one point, all of the Walkers (including Kevin) were helping Tommy fix the fountain.

    Kitty: "Stop being such an egomaniac. Whatever's going on with Tommy is not going to be solved just because you descended from the sky."
    Robert: "I was talking about us."

    Rebecca: "Justin, let's just do it, let's just do it here. Let's just find the priest and do it. I mean this, this is perfect."
    Justin: "Yeah, Rebecca, we should just find a priest and get married. My uncle Saul's gonna kill himself but what the hey?"

    What was up with that comment? Wasn't it last season that Saul lost the will to live? He's been mostly okay (if savagely underused) this season.

    Justin: "I'm sorry; I just want to get married in front of our families, that's all."
    Rebecca: "Really? Because you wouldn't even tell them we're engaged."

    Sarah: "I never planned to be the only Walker there."
    Kitty: "You may not have expected it but it doesn't surprise me. Ojai was always gonna be yours. I knew it, Dad knew it, even Tommy knew it. I'm sorry but you're the heir apparent."

    I liked the last scene with Tommy picking up the family photo that Sarah left for him. Moments like that are sweet but they enrich the series in a way.

    Tommy: "I'm trying to change, it's not easy."
    Kevin: "I know."
    Tommy: "At least I hope that when I do."
    Kevin: "I'll see it too."

    Nora: "Maybe I've learned something over the last few days."
    Kevin: "Really? The only thing I've learned is that vegan food gives me the trots."

    Standout music: Ryan Adam's "Wonderwall" and James Taylor's "Mexico".

    Sarah: "He'll be alright, Mom."
    Nora: "I know."

    Chronology: A year since "Prior Commitments".

    "Mexico" to me is probably the weakest of the finales that we've had but seeing as there has been so many disappointing finales this years, I thought it was also one of the strongest episodes from the third season and it left me wanting more.
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