Brothers & Sisters

Season 1 Episode 7

Northern Exposure

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Nov 05, 2006 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (16)

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  • A Weekend In The Ranch Written by David Marshall Grant And Molly Newman Directed by Lawrence Trilling

    Kevin: "Okay take a minute, Sarah and think this through. This does not fall within the primers of normal brotherly duties"
    Sarah: "Since when has this been a normal family?"

    Tackling a good few themes that have been done on plenty of other shows before, this week throws the suggestion of escape as the Walkers took their usual bouts of dramas this week away from Ojai and into a ranch that's been in the family for years.

    It's also the ranch that due to William sabotaging his company left, right and centre that have been sold off along with the orchards from the company for a tidy sum of $9.3 million in the hopes of delaying the slippery slope to total bankruptcy. It's finally nice to see some assertive action being taken by anyone in order to save the company and this is as good as any a start to have been made.

    Of course before the new owners set up shop, Nora wants to take all of her family there to give the place one last goodbye and quite expectedly, each and every single one of them makes their excuses and opts out of going there with their Mum. I understood their unwillingness to go to that charity ball last week or any other public event where Nora attempts to make her family look like the Cleavers but even I think that they were being a tad insensitive here.

    Aside from briefly asking Nora how is she keeping her time in "An Act Of Will", Kevin and company haven't been helping their Mum actually get through her grief even if Nora has been a bit too clingy at times. It wouldn't have killed them to do this last thing before the place was being sold.

    Thankfully their refusal to accompany Nora didn't deter the woman from going up there herself in order to retrieve a wooden wall panel and when her family bailed, Dave seemed more than happy to step into the fray and offer his own services. I said it back in the review for "Date Night" and I'll say it again – these two work so well and it's clear at this point that it's a mutual attraction rather than a one-sided feeling.

    Getting the panel is the easy bit for Dave, it's the getting wet part and then being caught by the first of Nora's kids to arrive wearing a very pink dressing gown and no, it definitely didn't flatter Treat Williams in any way at all so I don't think there was that much acting when Dave was embarrassed during that particular moment. Still it was pretty amusing to watch no less.

    On the kids' front, I knew it was a total cop out that none of them had a desire to stay away from the ranch. It was obvious they just didn't want to go with Nora and even more obvious that each of them wanted to bring their spouse or current squeeze. It's not unrealistic either but it is a rather predictable scene when you watch each and every single one of the Walker kids and their Plus One's show up.

    At the start we had Sarah in one of her more fun moments telling Joe about that one time in the ranch where she had her cherry popped and more or less insisted that her and Joe left their own little mark there too. This saucy side of Sarah is even more fun to watch than when she launches into teasing mode and the sex deprived Joe only seems too happy to accommodate his wife's wish.

    She wasn't the only with hanky-panky on her mind as a loved up Kevin also reminisced over the times he lost his virginity one year to a girl and the next to a guy, which only seemed to whet Scotty's sense of horniness as Kevin went on. Maybe it's me but is Scotty quite easy to excite or what?

    I love that get to see these two behaving in the same loved up and thoughtful manner than in the previous scene we had gotten with Sarah and Joe. This show is continuing to emphasise Kevin's importance without necessarily going overkill on his sexuality.

    But if Sarah and Kevin also have weekend sex on their minds with their partners then so do Tommy and Julia who simply need something to take their minds off trying the harder way to becoming parents. Last week, Tommy had just found he was sterile and this week, him and Julia are already looking at sperm donors, which didn't take them very long.

    You feel for the two of them but there's also not a single viewer who didn't see that plot coming a mile off either. I don't mind Tommy and Julia becoming parents if it helps vocalise them as much as everyone else but some other plots along with their baby quest for the remainder of the season would also be a wise tactic to employ as well.

    Less taxing on the other hand would be Justin's persuasion to get Tyler up to the ranch too. She might've played the good Christian girl act but Justin didn't have that hard a time trying to get her to see things his way and as far as I can tell these two are only other people who actually got some action courtesy of the tree house.

    Tyler has definitely proved in the three episodes she has been in so far that she's a good influence on Justin. In "Family Portrait" she saw the good in him during his messed up state and in this episode she's able to lay into about smoking a joint without him protesting and heck, the girl even succeeded in actually getting him to not get high as well. Plus them falling out of the tree house was even more hilarious than Dave in the pink dressing gown and this episode needed some light entertainment. Justin has definitely landed on his feet with a hot girl who can talk some sense into him. I wouldn't imagine that Fawn would've gotten away with talking to Justin in the same way Tyler was able too.

    Also the first of the siblings to actually make it up to the ranch was Kitty, who despite not actually being a defined relationship as such managed to bring Warren. Last week he threw the hypocritical comment about them being a wrong match due to his thing with Amber and this week, both him and Kitty are getting out of an interview so they can spend time with each other.

    Amber's surprising intelligence from the previous episode is on display this week when Kitty realises that the girl has enough brain cells to do an interview that other interns wouldn't get a chance to do so early in their careers but even Amber has a weakness and his name is Warren.

    As soon as the man enters the room she reverts into a love struck schoolgirl and she almost sounds a bit too dippy when she's trying to get him to attend parties that even the emotionally immature Warren might sniff at. Plus Kitty's hot and cold stance does absolutely nothing whatsoever to help the situation.

    At least by the end of this episode we know where their relationship is going and perhaps shocking to some viewers, Kitty decides to not enter a relationship with Warren after all. The reasoning is a little schmaltzy, especially given the fact that there had been reasonable enough obstacles in their way (Jonathan, Amber) but a part of me thinks that maybe it's for the best. It's also kinda disappointing because both Calista Flockhart and Josh Hopkins do have decent if not electrifying chemistry with one another.

    However there are at least another set of important issues to contend with and when Tommy isn't icily excluding Justin as best he can, he's quick to ask Kevin for sperm to which Kevin refuses and even more surprisingly no-one bothers to see his point of view on the matter, let alone take his side.

    Things escalate even further during dinner when Sarah hypocritically launches into Kevin's refusal and has the cheek to call him selfish. Excuse me but if Tommy/Julia had asked Sarah to be a surrogate and she refused, it would be alright but it's selfish because Kevin said no to giving his brother sperm? I'm sorry but I don't think so. What Tommy asked of Kevin is a huge thing that impacts his life every bit as it does Tommy, Julia and their future offspring and perhaps Sarah should've considered that before getting up on her high horse and acting like Kevin didn't have a choice in the matter. If anything it should've been her apologising during that later scene and trying to find out the reasons behind Kevin's refusal rather than Kitty.

    What's even more annoying is that Tommy didn't berate Kevin for refusing him. In fact he was dealing with it pretty well and while Kevin made an **** of himself for snapping at Scotty who also didn't take Kevin's side on the matter. Scotty reacted a bit childishly by storming off with Warren at the end but I didn't hate him for not agreeing with Kevin, just more for not seeing his position on the subject matter.

    Still, at least it wasn't Nora or Justin who were making everyone else uncomfortable at the dinner and while Nora went off to apologise to Dave for family (something she might be doing a lot if these two really get serious), there was a touching scene the next day between her and Kitty involving the wall panel.

    Back to the sperm problem, with Kevin refusing and having that heartfelt conversation with Kitty about his hang ups, Tommy really kinda overstepped the mark with Justin's offer. In fact Tommy really did go overboard with the way he behaved towards his younger throughout the whole episode and it's amazing that in the end both Justin and Kevin agreed to donate sperm for their big brother but Tommy's latter words about not wanting to hear anything else sperm related echoed a similar sentiment for me too. Less sperm talk please.

    Elsewhere after her appalling behaviour in the ranch, it's good to know the writers found some other way of redeeming Sarah when after and Joe got their naughty on in the attic of the ranch, a familiar picture got Sarah's spidey sense tingling.

    After we all learned about Holly's daughter Rebecca last week and came to the assumption that she was in fact another Walker, the rather perceptive Sarah was also able to come to the same conclusion. Then again when you have one of the least convincing liars for an uncle like Saul, wrangling the truth must be a very easy thing for Sarah. The bigger question remains as to which sibling Sarah tells about Rebecca first too. More than likely it'll be either Tommy or Kitty.

    Also in "Northern Exposure"

    The episode opened up with a debate about DDT being used in Africa to combat Malaria. You do have to give kudos to this show being the only one on US network TV dealing with governmental issues outside of terrorism.

    Sarah (re Tucker Booth): "Tall, blue eyes, blond hair. A very hot day in the tree house"
    Joe: "Okay. Don't need to hear more on that".

    Tucker Booth certainly got around. Not only did he pop both Sarah and Kevin's respective cherries but he also gave Justin his first drug experience too. It's a pity he didn't pop up in the episode.

    Kevin: "Hey you know what we should do?"
    Scotty: "Google Tucker Booth?"
    Kevin: "No we should go up to Ojai this weekend".

    Julia: "Are you alright?"
    Tommy: "When I think about that guy's sperm in your body, I just want to strangle him".

    Is anyone surprised that William is of Irish descent and Nora of Jewish. The names "Walker" and "Saul" might've helped viewers come to that conclusion.

    Tommy: "Hand me a screwdriver. You know what a screwdriver looks like, don't you?"
    Kevin: "It's orange and comes in a glass with ice".

    Scotty: "Don't you find it odd that you a gay man are suddenly embracing the idea of being normal?"
    Kevin: "For once, I would like to have an opinion without you connecting it to my sexuality".

    Kevin raised an excellent point here. As much as Kevin might have judgemental issues, Scotty does attempt to use sexuality as a way of attacking Kevin at times.

    Sarah (to everyone else): "Kevin's decided its his role to save the traditional American family, which is pretty strange considering he's here with his boyfriend".

    Kevin: "I can't believe that you don't think this is weird"
    Kitty: "You know Kev, what Julia and Tommy want is the essence of family values. If I think and I'm a Conservative, where the hell are you coming from?"

    For this first time, at least one regular is a no show and that person is Holly. Come to think, I don't really remember seeing Cooper or Paige either.

    David: "You have nothing to apologise for"
    Nora: "Oh please. If they're not falling out of trees then they're killing each other over sperm".

    Standout music: "That Summer" by Andy Stochansky and "Shelter" by Ray LaMontagne.

    Kevin: "You know, this whole anonymity thing is a joke. If the kid's well dressed and witty, it's mine"
    Justin: "You don't stand a chance. My little dudes have been to war"
    Kevin: "And stoned for the last ten years"
    Tommy: "Okay, that's enough sperm talk for the rest of my life".

    Chronology: At least a week or two since "For The Children".

    While this episode might score some rather high points for predictability, even when this lot are at loggerheads and behaving immaturely, they're still fun to watch and "Northern Exposure" is quite the episode. It scores high for timely debates and furthering the Rebecca arc as a result too.
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