You just know it will be deliciously messy
Being ahead of the revelations for the characters leads to some juicy ironies
Brothers & Sisters 9.30pm, Seven ( except WA)
‘‘ WHY are you so quiet?’’ Lena ( Emily Rose) asks Justin ( Dave Annable) tonight, in the afterglow of the lovemaking session they both decided in last week’s episode should not happen. Why not? Well, Justin had developed an addiction to painkillers, was in recovery from it, was not ready for a commitment ( apparently sex is the kind of pleasure that’s a no- no for recovering addicts; perhaps they will replace their substance abuse with sex addiction or something), and he was already late for a meeting with his sponsor. ‘‘ Ah, screw it,’’ he had said, somewhat indelicately I thought, before locking lips with luscious Lena.
Lena, you see, works at the wineproducing offshoot of the Walker family business. She’s been having it off with handsome Tommy Walker ( Balthazar Getty) since his adored wife went home to mommy, blaming him for the death of one of their twins, a decision they made together, as viewers would recall.
But wifey has come to her senses and Lena has shifted to troubled, recovering addict and war- injured Justin. So far, so soapy, you think? Well, to a point.
The terrific thing about B & S is that we know more about the characters’ lives than they do. Justin doesn’t know Lena has been diddling his brother. And Tommy doesn’t know she is diddling Justin.
This sense of being ahead of the revelations for the characters leads to some juicy ironies, most uncommon in American soaps, er, dramas.
It works best with the queen of adultery, still the series’ most interesting character, Holly Harper ( Patricia Wettig), who works with Tommy in the Walker wine business.
Holly bore Walker patriarch Wil- liam an illegitimate child, Rebecca, who strives to integrate herself, as a legitimate half- sister, into the already outsized Walker clan.
Lena works with Holly and Tommy, so the knowingness that viewers share with Holly, who sees all between Lena, Tommy and Tommy’s wife Julia ( Sarah Jane Morris), is delicious.
Brothers & Sisters is at its best when it strives to integrate unusual elements into the Walker clan ( and the show), such as adultery and its consequences, through the generations, and the troubled sexual and romantic life of gay Walker brother Kevin, played with terrific wit and sure- footed self- confidence by Matthew Rhys.
It’s at its worst when it falls into quirky urban neuroticism, which seems to be the strong suit of mother Nora ( Sally Field) and sister Kitty ( Calista Flockhart). Tonight there’s way too much of the latter as Kitty and senator Robert McCallister ( Rob Lowe) tie the knot. You’ll wonder if you haven’t flicked back in time to Flockhart as that notorious queen of quirk, Ally McBeal.
Here, Kitty: Calista Flockhart and Rob Lowe work on their issues