Brothers & Sisters

Season 3 Episode 16

Troubled Waters (1)

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Mar 01, 2009 on ABC
out of 10
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138 votes

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Episode Summary

The Walker family experiences the thrill of a new life born and the desperation and terror of loss when one of their own has a life-threatening crisis. Meanwhile, Rebecca turns to her father for help when she discovers some information that could destroy the family business and send one of the Walkers to prison.moreless

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  • A fine example of what family is all about

    A storyline filled with twists and turns, one that will leave you at the edge of your seat. "Troubled Waters" takes advantage of its two hour slot, as it successfully weaves together the setbacks to which each member of the family faces. In the beginning, the unification at the family dinner ends abruptly (when does it not) when Nora mentions her encounter with Ryan. Each character disperses into the real world, facing problems they attempt to resolve on their own: Justin's discouragement of the life he leads following his service in the war, Kitty's frustrations toward Robert and his inability to put family ahead of his ambitious goals, Kevin's struggles to serve as a gay liberal working for a republican, Tommy's attempts to protect the family company, Sarah's desperation for love, and Nora's inability to maintain a utopia among the members of the Walker family. The problems that each character faces seem to dissipate when Kitty hears the news that Trish is in labor. Instead, everyone's problems escalate in the hospital. Thankfully, however, the Walker family have each other. They are able to push each other out of the holes they create although sometimes it CAN be a little bit too late (sorry Saul!) as seen in Mr. Tommy Walker's situation. This episode, like any others, highlight the importance of family, one that welcomes two additional members: Ryan and Evan. This show acts as evidence that the troubled waters a person dives into can be shallow with the presence of the individual's family.moreless
  • Attack Written by Monica Owusa-Breen And Sherri Cooper-Landsman Directed by Ken Olin

    Nora (to Kitty): "This is the beginning of the most incredible relationship you will ever have. So get your big brown eyes back and go meet your baby."

    Something of a rarity with this show is two parters. If this was Grey's Anatomy, then every season would at least have two of them and perhaps a three parter thrown into the mix. Thankfully this show doesn't rely on them quite so much but when they do decide to use them (this is only the second time), at least there's enough drama to justify two whole episodes being dedicated to it.

    First off all, Nora gathered everyone around for dinner so she could tell them about meeting Ryan. Of course, everyone had suspected that when she called them all for a family meal that something had gone down and their various guesses as to what it might be were amusing.

    As for them finding out about Ryan – I thought they had a fairly restrained reaction. I mean, we've seen various members of this family blow up over minor things and while no-one was exactly jumping for joy over the possibility of Ryan factoring in their lives, all hell did not break loose. Wasn't Saul overreacting just a tad?

    Even when they found out that Nora had given Ryan an airline ticket, we didn't get anything too dramatic. Also it might have helped that Ryan himself didn't actually feature in this episode as well, even if he was talked about in various scenes.

    Sarah to her credit actually took an interest in wanting to know a little more about him, something which she didn't exactly hide when talking to Justin and Tommy in later scenes. It's been a while since Sarah's had a scene with the former so this episode amended that.

    Justin couldn't keep quiet about the real reason Rebecca up and left him and it made sense that he would tell Sarah of all people. It also made sense that while Sarah would try and downplay things with Justin, she had no problem in taking Tommy aside and explaining to him how much of a bad idea his little scheme was.

    Once again, I really wanted to punch Tommy in this episode. I'm all for getting rid of Holly but how many times and how people had to tell that what he was doing was a phenomenally stupid idea? Even now, when it's looking like things are going to blow up in his face, he still had the stupidity to rant about Sarah leaving Ojai.

    Her and Saul's mistake last year with the company was at least unintentional whereas as Tommy has willingly put his own family business on the line just to get Holly out of the Walkers lives for good. Worse still for him is that Holly now is out to save herself.

    If this episode was remotely supposed to make me feel sorry for Holly, then it failed. When are the writers going to get into their skulls that people a) do not find Holly all that interesting as a villain and b) are more likely to wait for hell to freeze over a thousand times before bestowing any pity on her.

    Holly really went above and beyond in being as much of a pain in the ass as Tommy did this week. David's return gave Holly yet another excuse to act like the victim and if Robert can't pull that off convincingly, then Holly shouldn't even try it.

    Maybe David is a deadbeat but laying into him for abandoning her and Rebecca all those years certainly made me laugh. Did Holly not remotely think that her habitual lying and annoying fixation on the Walkers might have contributed to David being largely absent from her and Rebecca's lives?

    I liked that David actually called Holly out on a lot of her crap. I loved that he castigated her for being so obsessed with William that she was willing to settle for being second best. It doesn't however mean that I remotely care about Holly and it also didn't surprise that Holly would find some twisted way of using David's dressing down to her own advantage.

    They do say repeatedly hell hath no fury than a woman scorned and Holly certainly wanted to stick the knife into Tommy. She was willing to even bankrupt herself to do that until her lawyer talked her down, so she opted to pay a house call to Julia. Holly figures that she can probably shoot Tommy's marriage and his career in one fell swoop. If I didn't dislike her, I might actually salute the irritant.

    As for Rebecca, all she did this episode was defend David and tell Holly that Tommy was trying to screw her out of Ojai. Perhaps it's good that Holly had already figured that out beforehand. I'm sure we'll have to deal with some Rebecca/Justin stuff that'll involve more fighting/making up.

    As for the main event of the episode, Kitty's maternal dreams were pretty set to come true in this episode. After getting confirmation from Robert that he is capable of caring about something other than his political ambitions, Kitty's dour mood went out the window. Plus it helped that Trish was going into labour as well.

    I have to admit that the writers took a very interesting tack with the character of Trish. Despite casting The Wire's Sonja Sohn, the character's only cropped up for a third time and now she's here to essentially deliver the baby. While I don't want any custody battles later on (or at all), it's kind of a pity that Trish won't be around after this two-parter concludes.

    Having Nora and Kitty trying to create a peaceful surrounding was hilarious, especially given that the two of them are like bulls in a china shop. They couldn't even let Trish have a decent kip with their yapping about Ryan, though it did make for a fun moment when Trish actively enjoyed Nora to go through William's sexual history.

    Of course the main point of this episode was trying to get Robert to attend the birth of his own child. I think at this point, Robert would willingly allow himself to be kidnapped by terrorists just to get out of seeing his child being born. The writers certainly cooked up enough distractions to keep him as far away from the hospital as they possibly could.

    First off all, there was the threat of his running for the governor seat being leaked prior to his own announcement, so Robert had the radical idea of moving the announcement to the very day that Trish would be giving birth. In all fairness, Robert could've at least waited one more day. The world wouldn't have melted as a result of him actually being with Kitty and his new child.

    The other distraction was the confrontation with current governor Eve. The scandalised woman mentioned back in "Do You Believe In Magic?" wasn't impressed with Robert trying to usurp her seat and I'm fairly certain she would live up to her threat of ruining him. Robert's smugness might work sometimes but this was clearly a time when he shouldn't have goaded Eve. That being said, if he was right about some of her recent voting decision, then she might not be that much of a threat to him getting the governor's seat after all.

    The annoying part was that at the beginning of the episode, Robert did seriously promise to be there for Kitty with the baby and even when they went back to their own place, he tried to tell her that their family was a priority. So far, he's off to a disastrous start in getting her to believe that.

    Kitty can often be whiny but over the last couple of episodes, even I side with her more than Robert. It's not that Kitty begrudges Robert being politically ambitious but she's right to be concerned that he's not fully committed to being a parent. Robert doing his announcement at the hospital seemed to a final straw for her.

    Every marriage of TV (and in real life) has those ups and downs but unless Robert doesn't dial it down a little, I have a feeling that Kitty might wind up becoming a single mother by the time the season was out. This has been something that the writers have been drawing on for a bit now.

    Even Kevin had to point out yet again to Robert that Kitty was going to be furious with him. Robert might have acknowledged but he certainly took his time in trying to get to the hospital. And then when he actually bothered to go, the biggest distraction of them all came.

    Robert's exhibited no health problems as far as I can tell so having him collapse at the end of the episode as Trish gave birth took me by surprise. Until I get conclusive proof in the next episode, I'm fairly certain that Robert won't be kicking the bucket any time soon; though he'll probably wish he was dying when Kitty gets her hands on him.

    Also in "Troubled Waters Part 1"

    The episode opened with Nora rushing to the hospital (dream sequence? Something we see in the second part?) and saying the man getting 300 volts was family.

    Justin: "So does anyone wanna guess why we're really here?"

    Saul: "Don't you think it's possible your mother wants to have her children over without an agenda?"

    Everyone: "No."

    Sarah thinking that the meal was in aid of her success with Greenatopia (where are Kyle and Ethan?) was amusing, though apparently it only warrants a roast chicken and not a rack of lamb.

    Justin: "How are things going with Henry?"

    Saul: "Great. He wants to have dinner with you all separately."

    Sarah: "We don't do separately."

    Robert (re sex): "Don't tell me you haven't thought about it?"

    Kitty: "The thought may have crossed my mind."

    Robert: "Let's take advantage of it."

    Justin showed more discomfort when Nora probed him about working but didn't seem to mind getting roped into fixing Sarah's pipes.

    Robert: "When was the last time I told you, you were doing a good job?"

    Kevin: "You've never told me that."

    Robert: "Really?"

    Kevin: "No."

    Robert: "Well, you're doing a good job."

    David: "Just give me a break."

    Holly: "I am sorry but your sudden need to be a father is a little hard to swallow."

    So David was jealous of William. How long is he staying around and will it actually be good for Holly and Rebecca? More importantly, will viewers actually care?

    Kitty: "Let's visualise."

    Trish: "All I can visualise is an epidural."

    Kevin: "Robert, I'm a gay democrat. The only reason I came to work for you is because I believed you when you said you wanted to govern in a different way and now was our time."

    Both Trish and Scotty aren't particularly fond of Sandalwood Candles. Maybe it was just being in agony that turned Trish off them and Nora with her ice cubes.

    David (to Holly): "Just walk away from this. You don't need William, you don't need the Walkers. You deserve more, you always have."

    Sarah: "I think I can hear Trish calling for you."

    Kitty: "No, no, she's not calling for me. She's screaming in agony."

    Standout music: I am definitely going with Coldplay's "Fix You", given how brilliantly it was used in this episode but I also really liked AM's "Live A Lie".

    Kitty: "Mom, thanks for being here."

    Nora: "Where else would I be?"

    Chronology: This episode aired during the first week of March 2009, so I'm going to go with that for now.

    As the start of a two-parter, "Troubled Waters Part 1" is a brilliant set piece. The strength of this show is certainly the Walkers and how they interact with each other and others and this episode works with that alone. I would've dialled down some of Holly's scenes but essentially this is a high point for the season and of the same quality that made viewers (myself especially) fall in love with the show from the beginning.moreless
  • The first of a 2 part episode

    In this episode of Brothers and Sisters, the following happens. We open this episode with Nora running through a hospital and a man lying on a table have CPR preformed. Who do not see his face, but we know it's a man, as we see his chest. We then jump back to 24 hours earlier. We have everyone at Nora's house having a family meal together, although everyone thinks that there is more at play, than simply a meal. During which Robert announces that he is going to be running for Governor. Nora then announces that she went to see Ryan the previous weekend. The next day Kitty gets the phone call she has been waiting for, Trish (the birthday mother) has gone into labour. So the ring round for the whole family is on, and so everyone soon hears about the happy news. Nora and Kitty get to the hospital, but Robert can't make it, not yet, as he has to announce his run for Governor earlier than expected due to a leak (that actually didn't come from the Walker family). Rebecca returns home and tells her mother about what she thinks is going on with Tommy and the company. So Holly tells her that she was right about the deal. Nora and Kitty stay with Trish whilst she is in labour and help her to get through it. When Kitty realises that Robert isn't going to be there in time for the birth, she asks one of her siblings to get hold of him and to tell him it's over, as he has now chosen the job over his family. As Robert and Kevin rush to get to the hospital, Robert collapses (in the car park) and.......... the baby is born. And the baby is a .........boy.moreless
  • This first part of a double episode was classic brothers and sisters drama.

    This first part of a double episode was classic brothers and sisters drama. While Trish is about to have Kitty and Robert's baby, Robert has a heart attack. Tommy gets in deep water as Holly hunts for evidence that he carried out illegal acts trying to get rid of her from Ohai Foods. It seemed like everyone was involved in some sort of crisis or dramatic storyline here. This was fantastic TV and I was gripped throughout. The opening scenes did not show who was almost dying, though it was obviously one of the male characters. By the end, it was clear that it was Robert. Brilliant stuff.moreless
  • It's time for the birth of Robert and Kitty's baby, and Robert has a medical crisis.

    Let me just start off by saying that all things considered, I absolutely loved this episode. While the promos for this episode were misleading when they said that there would be a shocking death and in the end no one really died for good, I still loved this episode. There were so many great things about this episode. The highlight of this episode for me was definitely the family dinner at the beginning of the episode. Two other things that I loved about this episode were definitely Justin and Kevin's storylines. It's so great seeing Justin finally start to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Kevin's storyline in this episode was just great in general. Matthew Rhys' performance as Kevin in this episode was outstanding. Scotty was great in this episode too. I loved all of the Kevin and Scotty scenes too. It was great seeing David come back and put Holly in her place. I loved all of the scenes with Nora, Kitty and Trish when Nora and Kitty were trying to distract Trish by telling her about Ryan and everything that's happened with their family. As for the ending of the episode, I absolutely loved that too. It was definitely very exciting with Tommy getting arrested and Ryan unexpectedly showing up at the Walker's house. The whole cast did an amazing job in this episode, especially Sally Field, Dave Annable, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe and Matthew Rhys. In closing, I thought that this was a very well written, well acted and well made episode of Brothers & Sisters from everyone involved, and I can't wait to see the next episode of Brothers & Sisters.moreless
Sonja Sohn

Sonja Sohn

Trish Evans

Guest Star

Michele Greene

Michele Greene

Governor Kern

Guest Star

Jim Gleason

Jim Gleason

Walter Geary

Guest Star

Ken Olin

Ken Olin

David Caplan

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Robert: When was the last time I told you, you were doing a good job?
      Kevin: You've never told me that.
      Robert: Really?
      Kevin: No.
      Robert: Well, you're doing a good job.

    • Nora: Kitty, when they put you in my arms and we looked at each other, and I looked in your big brown eyes, I didn't care that your father wasn't there. What mattered was that I had that one precious moment with you and I will always have that. This is the beginning of the most incredible relationship you will ever have. So get your big brown eyes back in there and go meet your baby.

    • Sarah: You're not stupid.
      Kitty: No. I am stupid. I married a politician and then I'm surprised when he lies to me?

    • Nora: (reading from a book on baby names) Rutherford. Ryan. Oh, sorry.
      Kitty: No, actually that's ... Ryan, why not? That'll give you two of them to coddle.

    • Tommy: Do you know that every CD store in the city is going out of business?
      Sarah: Don't tell me you didn't get the music?
      Tommy: Oh, I got Sister Sledge and Elvis Costello, but Harold Vick I couldn't even find him on iTunes.
      Saul: I have everything he's ever done. The man is a total virtuoso.
      Tommy: Why didn't you speak up before, Uncle Saul?
      Saul: I did speak up. But for some unknown reason, your sister preferred to torture me with car seat installation.

  • NOTES (4)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic - Rozbouřené vody (Troubled Waters)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Norway: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 on TV2
      Australia: Monday, June 8, 2009 on Channel 7
      Latin America: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 on Universal Channel
      Czech Republic: Sunday, May 22, 2011 on Universal Channel

    • Although credited, Luke Grimes (Ryan Lafferty) do not appear in this episode.

    • Music:
      Live A Lie by AM (Kitty and Robert talking in bed)
      Fix You by Coldplay (The baby is born while Robert has an attack)
      Darlin' Do Not Fear by Brett Dennen (At the beginning, when the family is at the dinner table)