Brothers & Sisters

Season 3 Episode 3

Tug of War

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Oct 12, 2008 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
126 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Two Walkers leave Ojai Foods. While on a dinner with Justin and a fellow soldier, Rebecca begins to question Justin's sobriety as he does not mention anything about his time in Iraq. Kevin faces uncomfortable questions from a very important client and the client's wife; meanwhile, Nora finds herself drawn to someone.moreless

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  • Career Moves Written by Liz Tigelaar And Josh Reims Directed by Gloria Muzio

    Kevin: "It validates us in the eyes of the client. If for some godforsaken reason someone on this planet does want to love, honour and cherish a lawyer, we can't be all that bad."

    Scotty: "Wow, I'm so glad we had our commitment ceremony."

    Kevin: "I didn't put a ring on your finger for nothing."

    And like many other viewers, I am glad for that moment in the series' history. Another thing I'm particularly fond of is Scotty being more than just a buffer for Kevin. Even though he basically only has two scenes in this episode, Luke MacFarlane certainly makes them worthwhile.

    At this point in the series, Kevin and Scotty are happily married and are at ease with one another. That comes to the point where Kevin has no problem with inviting Scotty to a dinner with his firm and a potential new client. Also like a fair amount of spouses, Scotty's somewhat less eager to participate.

    This isn't a commentary on Kevin's profession but the idea of making small talk with some client's wife might not be the most entertaining of ways to spend an evening so to speak. Although thinking about it, Scotty would get on famously with the wife and would probably end up getting Kevin's firm a few extra clients to boot.

    However Scotty doesn't really get the chance to impress when Kevin ends up having to go on his own. Scotty probably would've been relieved if the reason why he was excluded from events had nothing to do with Kevin's sexuality being an issue with Browne Carter.

    Mitch Pileggi from The X Files is a really good find for the character of Carter but immediately I've taken an active dislike to the guy. Telling Kevin to stay in the closet on the count that a potential client might not have approach of the man being gay is pathetic.

    More disappointingly is that Kevin went along with it and given how fiery he can be when backed into a corner, I really wished he hadn't. Robert didn't make the situation any better with his advice to Kevin, even if he did think that what he was telling Kevin was practical.

    The dinner scene itself was pretty random in of itself. We had Kevin uncomfortably forced to refer to Scotty as a wife (grossly insulting) and Carter incessantly bragging about how Kevin wasn't a pushover. In any other episode that would've been accurate but here, Kevin sadly did become a doormat for Carter.

    Needless to say that going back into the closet didn't impress Scotty either. I was waiting for a massive shouting match between Kevin and Scotty but found myself impressed when the writers had the sense to avoid it. Scotty wasn't best thrilled with Kevin but he made a firm point and Kevin realised that he needed to stand up to Carter.

    The only problem is that when it boiled down to it, Kevin chickened out again and given that losing the Ojai account has put him in a tight spot, I can understand that he might not want to rock the boat but the same, he shouldn't have to hide his sexuality in his line of work but then again, no-one should.

    Careers were definitely the front and centre of this episode and now that Ojai lost one Walker, two other ones were destined to fly the coop. Come on, short of Holly getting the boot, there was no way her and Sarah were going to be able to work with other for a prolonged period of time without wanting to kill the other.

    Holly and Tommy really pushed the wrong buttons this week by wanting to change Ojai Foods to Walker Landing and by wanting 500 acres of landing for wine. Given that Ojai is barely out of the predicament that Sarah and Saul put it into, Tommy and Holly really should've put this one on the backburner.

    It also helped neither of them when they blatantly refused to listen to Sarah and Saul's concerns either. For those of you who were reasonably annoyed that Ron Rifkin only got two scenes in the last two episodes, then this episode nicely gives Saul some better material.

    First off all he decides to quit Ojai and neither Tommy nor Holly make much of an effort to change his mind. This lead to a fantastic scene in the Walker mansion where Nora offered support to Saul after Sarah reacted badly to the news. More importantly, Saul's sexuality gets some addressing so presumably he will be getting a boyfriend later on in the season.

    Then there's Sarah. Ever since the fallout and Holly joining Ojai, she's been on the edge and this episode finally saw her quit. Sure, it's a risky thing to do when you're a single mum but at least she backed Tommy and Holly's proposal before highlighting her reasons to leave Ojai once and for all.

    It was a nice thing for Sarah to do but there's a part of you as a viewer that almost wants Holly's little plan to fail so Sarah can get the last laugh. The scene with her, Saul and Kevin celebrating over wine no less their freedom and crap jobs is one of my favourite scenes from this episode.

    As for Tommy, I know he doesn't do a whole lot to endear himself but I did like that towards the end of the episode, he had the sense not to change the Ojai name. Not only was it a nice little slap in the face to Holly but it's wise for the business to keep as much familiarity as they're still in a rough predicament.

    Justin on the other hand has also gotten a career. Still bound to the army, he has now has to inspire youngsters into joining and less surprising, he's not especially all that good at it. Or he would be good if Officer Collins wasn't such a stickler for adhering to the script.

    Thankfully the boredom of Justin's new position is skimmed over in favour having him reunited with fellow soldier Anthony. Anthony's a character we've met or heard about now and his arrival certainly puts Justin in an awkward position when he's invited to dinner.

    It seems that on Justin's last tour of duty he saved Anthony's life and while this is something to be proud, Justin finds himself being rather tetchy. First he tries to dissuade Rebecca from coming with him to Anthony's party and while she tries asking him some questions he snaps at her.

    The party scene itself is notably awkward. Justin's really on edge with all of Anthony's family and friends taking it in turns to call him a hero. I do actually feel quite sorry for Justin because it's sort of obvious that even being called a hero would end up stirring some bad memories for him.

    It's a bit of a complex plot because Anthony's need to thank Justin for saving him is very sweet and Rebecca wanting to understand Justin's experiences in war are also very human, as is Justin's tendencies to lash out and nearly get pissed when he stops by a bar.

    His argument with Rebecca about his life being pathetic though is his own problem to an extent. If he doesn't want to be living with Nora, he should move out. That being said I can understand why he might want to trade Anthony's life for Charlie, given that the latter was a friend and the former was someone he barely knows.

    The last scene between Justin and Rebecca still isn't selling me as a couple but I'm getting over the awkwardness of them as a pairing. It's also nice that despite being loaded, Rebecca still seems determined to maintain her independence by working. She's also great in finally getting Justin to come out of his shell towards the end of the episode too.

    As for Nora, she didn't have all that much to do here. On one hand, she's talking about Kitty's book being great and then she's supporting Saul. Her scenes with Sarah provided the most poignancy though and it was good to see he contain herself with Holly during the Ojai meeting.

    Robert on the other hand had less to do, which to me is a good thing. I do like the character and Rob Lowe but there's definitely nothing wrong with the character having very little to do from time to time. There's an inkling that he's determined to get on the campaign though.

    Kitty was also another character who barely appeared this week. On the plus side, she'll definitely be stepping down as Robert's communications director when she finally manages to pick a publisher for her book. Like I said last week, I'm more than in favour of this development.

    Also in "Tug Of War"

    I think this was the first episode of the season were we didn't have all the Walkers together. On the plus side, no major arguments either.

    Justin (re potential recruit): "I don't think he really understood that."

    Officer Collins: "Then give him an idea. Mission. Loyalty. Brotherhood."

    Justin mentioned 9/11 during some of his speeches with potential recruits. Needles to say, this is probably why some of them didn't sign up.

    Sarah: "I didn't fire you, Kevin. Tommy fired you."

    Kevin: "That's why I'm not speaking to Tommy."

    Kevin: "Jason served God, I'm a corporate lawyer."

    Robert: "Then solve it from the inside."

    Is it weird that Scotty spent most of his scenes sitting down in this episode? I know some readers did comment on it.

    Saul: "I think I should retire. I don't need to a job. I need a life."

    Nora: "You need to meet someone."

    Saul: "How do you know I haven't?"

    Nora: "Have you?"

    Saul: "A man can dream, can't he?"

    Nora: "Don't worry about Sarah, alright? You just keep on dreaming."

    Scotty: "I'm not asking you to start over."

    Kevin: "Then what are you asking me?"

    Scotty: "I'm asking you to be careful."

    Keeping up with careers, Rebecca's working at a diet food place, where she even brings home of the food.

    Justin: "That's a nice sign."

    Maggie: "They've been working on it all day. They wanted to thank the man who saved their father's life."

    Ron: "How did your family get into wine?"

    Kevin: "By drinking it. I think my brother uses us as quality control."

    Julia, Paige and Cooper were all absent from this episode.

    Tommy: "You can't leave. I won't let you do this."

    Sarah: "I've made up my mind."

    Tommy: "Your timing sucks."

    Nora: "It's gonna be okay."

    Sarah: "I hope so, other wise me and the kids are moving in."

    Nora: "That would …"

    Sarah: "Don't even joke about it."

    Standout music: I'm gonna go with Coldplay's "Lost", which has recently been released as a single from their latest album.

    Kevin: "You know for the first time in my life, I went back into the closet after coming out. And you were absolutely right, it's a very dark place."

    Scotty: "Then don't do it again."

    Chronology: A few days since the events of "Book Burning".

    "Tug Of War" is certainly an episode with conflict but we've seen more of that in the previous two episodes than here. There's plenty of interesting career talk with only Kitty actually prospering from it.moreless
  • Sarah quits her job at Ojai foods

    In this episode of Brothers & Sisters, the following happens. Justin, as he is still enlisted, has to go and work in a recruitment centre for the army. Kevin is upset when he is basically told not to take Scotty to an event with work. Sole hands in his letter of resignation. A man, who was saved in Iraq by Justin, tracks him down and thanks him for saving his life. Rebecca & Justin go to Anthony's house and the whole family are there to thank Justin. Sarah also quits her job at Ojai foods. At Anthony's house Rebecca & Justin argue and he leaves. We then see him in a bar ordering a drink. When he goes back home, Rebecca is there waiting for him. They argue and he storms off and she leaves.moreless
  • Really the best episode ever!

    Really one of the best episodes ever and that it was really well-acted and well-written. By both the cast and crew. Saul and Sarah finally stand up. To Tommy and Holly and quit their jobs. It was about time that they stood up. Because someone needed to stand up to both the latter couple. Kevin is having a very rough time holding his relationship with Scotty a secret. Despite wanting to keep his job. People would look down on him as a gay young man. Justin's storyline was great as well. Because Justin's character is really developing well. Can't wait to see the next episode of the show!moreless
  • Saul and Sarah quit working at Ojai.

    Let just start off by saying that all things considered, I thought that this was an absolutely amazing episode. This episode was pretty dramatic, but I still really loved it. I'm so glad that Saul and Sarah finally stood up to Tommy and Holly and quit their jobs. It's about time! I also felt really bad for Kevin with him having to hide his relationship with Scotty from people at work. While I felt really bad for Kevin, I really enjoyed his storyline in this episode. I just wish that they had featured Scotty more in this episode since Luke Macfarlane is a series regular now. I also really enjoyed Justin's storyline too. All in all, I thought that this was definitely a very dramatic episode, but it was also 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
Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Browne Carter

Guest Star

Rick Worthy

Rick Worthy

Officer Collins

Guest Star

Dane Garretson

Dane Garretson

The Potential Recruit

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Scotty: Then, don't do it again... or do, but you can't play the game and second-guess yourself at the same time, either accept what you did because it'll get you what you want, or go in there tomorrow and tell them you're drawing a line in the sand. Make a decision!

    • Sarah: (talking to Kevin on the phone) It was unbelievable, Tommy just unleashed his inner Donald Trump.

    • Saul: I think I should retire. I don't need a job. I need a life.
      Nora: You need to meet someone.
      Saul: How do you know I haven't?
      Nora: Have you?
      Saul: A man can dream, can't he?
      Nora: Don't worry about Sarah. You just keep on dreaming.

    • Kevin: It validates us in the eyes of the client. If for some godforsaken reason someone on this planet does want to love, honor, and cherish a lawyer, we can't be all that bad.
      Scotty: Wow, I'm so glad we had our commitment ceremony.
      Kevin: I didn't put a ring on your finger for nothing.

    • Kevin: You know for the first time in my life, I went back into the closet after coming out. And you were absolutely right, it's a very dark place.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic - Vzpomínka z války (Remembrance of War)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Portugal: Friday, February 13, 2009 on RTP2
      Norway: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 on TV2
      Latin America: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 on Sony Entertainment Television
      Czech Republic: Sunday, April 10, 2011 on Universal Channel

    • Music:
      Lost! (acoustic) by Coldplay - in the last scene of the episode
      Tonight The Sky by Sun Kil Moon


    • Sarah: (talking to Kevin on the phone) It was unbelievable, Tommy just unleashed his inner Donald Trump.

      Donald Trump is an American business magnate, who hosts the reality television show called The Apprentice.

    • Kevin refers to his dinner with the clients as a moment of "Faustian-proportions". Faust is a character in a German legend that makes a pact with the Devil in exchange for knowledge.