Brothers & Sisters

Season 1 Episode 18

Three Parties

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Apr 08, 2007 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • Some Parties Are Best Left Early Written by Marc Guggenheim And Jon Robin Baitz Directed by Sandy Smolan

    Last week we had another disastrous dinner at the Walker homestead and this week, even outside the mansion, chaos still follows this lot like locusts in fields. Still the results are nowhere near as catastrophic as previous instalments have shown to be.

    Nora might have a real hard time in trying to get any of her kids to spend any real time with her nowadays but it is nice that outside the home environment she has certainly gotten a fair amount of attention. The joy of courses, huh?

    Compared to the previous episode, the apathetic students seem less hostile to her ongoing Dora saga and Mark is even impressed enough to use it as a means of berating a fellow student's prose. Nora's writing certainly isn't bad but at the same time Mark is exaggerating how good it is too.

    It doesn't much to guess the reason why he's being so generous in his assessment of Nora's writing is more to do with him fancying her and less about her potential of being a decent writer. Then again unlike Jenny from The L Word, at least Nora's prose doesn't make me want to kill myself.

    Mark may have a thing for Nora but for the most part in this episode, that's supposed to be ambiguous as we focus more on Nora's crush towards him and her rationing that she can't act on it because of the whole student/teacher thing. Nora has a very good point and in some ways it would be interesting to actually see Nora not pursue a relationship with Mark but this episode more or less gears towards the opposite.

    There could be tonnes of reasons why the writers are doing this relationship. One is that since Dave the contractor, Nora really hasn't had any sex and compared to her more randy kids, that's something the show should be tackling more of and also because I have a feeling that despite some obvious stuff, the writers might be clever enough to turn things on their head.

    Also significant is the fact that both Sally Field and Peter Coyote do have enough chemistry even if Nora's dalliance with Mark is a temporary thing. Though with five episodes left after this one, Mark might last a bit longer.

    Another good thing about the notion of Nora getting laid on a more regular basis is the much welcomed return of Emily. When I see this two on screen, I can't help but not think of Ruth and Bettina from Six Feet Under and for Emily's second outing, I can't help but not think about that even more.

    Emily does what every supportive friend does when they find out their mate fancies someone but isn't sure that the person they admire feels the same – they tell them to get off their backside and find out for certain. Emily wastes no time in joking how the cocktail party Mark invited Nora to was a ruse to get her all alone and Emily is even quicker to cut one of Nora's dresses down to more curvy size.

    It's great that this show seems unafraid to highlight the sex lives of characters in their 60s and given the fact that Nora could never be classed as a spare part in the series; the focus on her sexuality post widowhood doesn't feel forced.

    She's also pretty justified in thinking that perhaps Mark was lying about there being a party. They did have lunch beforehand and there was an element of flirtation between them and there was something quite Jack the lad about him as well, even though he did open up about being alone as well. Plus it was rather funny that Nora ended up being wrong and one of Mark's academic pals thought she was a lap dancer. Maybe the guy has guilty pleasure of watching Jerry Springer. Nora did look a little racy but not by much.

    However if they are two people who definitely saw the funny side of Nora dressing half her age, you can bet that Nora gave birth to them and once again both Justin and Kevin had some pretty inventive hooker jokes at Nora's expense. Even funnier is that Nora admitted that her family was wacko. It's taken her eighteen episodes to come to that logic conclusion?

    Unfortunately dating aside, the chances of actually shipping Nora and Mark as a couple get decimated when it turns out that Mark is really a bit skeevy and has been shagging one of his students. Juliet was the girl that earlier on in the episode he slammed for bad writing and because he's now fixated on Nora, he's discarded her. Nora gets to take some fun revenge by turning his critique into a bit of a slagging match but even she seems almost taken in when he starts going on about how much he fancies. Back away, Nora because if this guy can screw girls Rebecca's age, you really stand no chance of getting anything real or satisfying from him.

    Speaking of backing away, was there any chance that Justin and Rebecca were getting a bit too close, too soon? I loved that Justin embraced Rebecca and treated her like an equal because four episodes in, nobody else has bothered to do that but there is always the problem of getting too close and having a moment where it backfires.

    Even though they can do idiotic nicknames with each other, their views on partying are way different. A year ago, Justin would be totally all for getting off his face on drugs and hanging out with major pricks like John but now that he's doing a great job of staying clean, the novelty for hedonism has worn, which for Rebecca seems to be more the pity.

    She wasn't necessarily understanding when he admitted his own addiction problems and even though she seemed to have enough savvy to realise that John was someone untrustworthy she still got high with him and let some of that resentment towards being abandoned by William out a little. If Sarah and company have no right to blame Rebecca for existing then Rebecca certainly has no right to be hostile with Justin either. I have a feeling they will make it up but there are still issues with Rebecca growing up without a father that will need some more exploring. Nora had the sense to tell Rebecca all the important bits and as much as I enjoy the Rebecca/Justin rapport, I also think it's brilliant that Nora and Rebecca seem to have one too. Nora seems to view Rebecca as another member of the family and that's great because last week did more than emphasis that Rebecca wasn't going anywhere. That and Emily Van Camp's name in the opening credits too.

    Getting away from the family element, it's also interesting to see that Kitty and Robert's fight from last week has also been unresolved and Kitty's fears about their sex lives affecting their work is realised when Robert takes his frustration out on his staff and him and Kitty argue in front of them. Personally I still think Kitty is right so there's an element of pure tedium watching this argument as such.

    Luckily for us, Kitty has to get separated from Robert by having to go to his hometown Castroville and interview several people from his high school/local past in order to make him look like a strong presidential candidate. Even better is that Sarah leaves her **** behind and makes the actual trip with Kitty fun. After all, it's only been nine episodes since our last road trip and this episode certainly needed a good healthy dose of fun.

    Unfortunately being stuck in a town like Castroville during Artichoke season (and here's me thinking my hometown is weird in the bad sense) means that only getting pissed is the best way of passing the time. Then again, the Walkers love their alcohol and this episode serves as a nice reminder that Sarah happens to be a lot fun when she's slightly intoxicated as well.

    Even more fun is the very idea of seeing two hot Thirtysomething ladies like Sarah and Kitty being invited to a kegger and finding out that not only are the college students actually high school lads but that the one of them happens to be the son of the ex-girlfriend of Robert. The same woman that Kitty managed to piss off earlier on when she was trying to get some dirt on her boyfriend.

    The scandal in itself that Kitty was trying to get wasn't half as interesting as you would expect it to be. Basically Robert is such a great guy that he helped his girlfriend adopt a baby that resulted in infidelity but there's an even better moment when Robert tarnishes his war hero story by admitting to Kitty he ran but allowed the press to believe what they wanted to. It gave the episode an interesting ending but Robert's reasons for telling didn't seem too noble. Kitty did push the issue and if she hadn't, he might've kept that one to himself. I'm not exactly sure if it's something that vilifies Robert either and it's the first time the show has done anything to give the character a shade of ambiguity and that isn't a bad thing because the whole squeaky clean image does seem a little too far fetched even for a decent bloke like Robert.

    With one relationship forming, another evolving, the third romantic entanglement in this episode had to end and it really couldn't have came any sooner. Now I love Kevin kissing all kinds of hot men but so far the two major relationships he's been involved haven't been as ship worthy as David/Keith and that was a TV relationship with more than it's fair share of problems but the thing that made me still ship them (excluding the hotness of Michael C. Hall and Matthew St. Patrick) is the fact that both men underneath it all still seemed to love each other no matter. With both Scotty and more so with Chad it feels like lust. Since Chad came onto the show, the writers have seemed way too quick to overemphasise Jason Lewis' hotness and having Kevin during a heated argument admit to being mainly attracted to Chad's physique makes him sound like a total bastard. Human but still a bastard in that regard.

    Chad talked out about coming out in the past two episodes and credit where it's due, he actually did it via his website and giving gossip moron Dan Silk something to be smug about. It also proved that Kevin's assessment of Chad (and even mine earlier) was off base. Kevin was also pretty hasty in dumping Chad too and undermining his seriousness about coming out.

    Chad was willing to fire Donald in order to be honest about sexuality and even when Kevin later apologised and wanted him back, Chad had the sense to not take him back and decided to go it alone. Justin may have been awesome for commiserating Kevin on yet another break up but seriously Kevin is better off on his own until he keeps those judgemental issues of him aside. Plus in seven episodes I went from not caring that much about Chad to siding more with him than Kevin. Also with Jason Lewis signed on for the Sex And The City movie in 2008, he'll still be in the papers for a while to come and it's also not like Kevin will be single for too long.

    Also in "Three Parties"

    The episode opened and ended with Robert's speech in a direct homage to The West Wing. Is it me or has many episode either opened with big speeches or post sex scenes?

    Kitty: "We're whispering"
    Robert: "In front of an open mike".

    In regards to Nora's writing, the tone doesn't really seemed to have evolved much since "Love Is Difficult".

    Rebecca: "You look like a hardcore partier"
    Justin: "That's the problem".

    Chad: "I keep thinking about the good things that couple do that we can't"
    Kevin: "Like getting a good night's sleep?"

    There are tons of great nicknames in this episode. Nora labelled her kids "murderers", Mark labelled his "killers", Kitty called Robert "McSainthood" (very Grey's Anatomy) and Emily called Mark "professor Sexenberg".

    Sarah: "You and I are gonna find the nearest bar and close it down"
    Kitty: "Oh I'm sure it's already closed for the festival".

    Nora: "You've also inherited a big family, William's family. Is that alright?"
    Rebecca: "That's fine".

    Interesting that Rebecca told Nora about the doll story. Maybe someone will tell her about her initial being included in William's password.

    Dan (re Chad's coming out letter): "It's worthy of some comment, don't you think?"
    Kevin: "Yeah, here's my comment – bite me".

    Emily (to Nora): "You're not auditioning for the position of a faculty teacher's wife. How do you survive without me?"

    I noticed on second viewing that Holly seems to have a chalkboard in her kitchen, a pretty large one too.

    There are six missing regular characters in this episode – Paige, Tommy, Julia, Joe, Saul and Holly. Adding some of them might have made this episode a bit better.

    Kevin: "Everything is happening so fast and you did it all alone"
    Chad: "I just thought about what you said to me".

    Nora: "What's going to happen to poor Juliet?"
    Mark: "Might help her to write a coherent story".

    Standout music: "Shine On" by Jet and "Something Beautiful" by Tracy Bonham.

    Robert: "Kitty it was all a blur. The last thing I remember was trying to get the hell out of there".

    Chronology: A week since "Three Parties".

    Better than the previous and a bit more varied in the bad social gatherings but "Three Parties" is still a rather weak episode and aside from Kevin and Chad breaking up, very little in terms of progress was made in this episode. Hopefully though we'll be getting back on track with the remaining episodes of the season.