You just know it will be de­li­ciously messy

Be­ing ahead of the rev­e­la­tions for the char­ac­ters leads to some juicy ironies

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

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.

Ian Cuth­bert­son

Here, Kitty: Calista Flockhart and Rob Lowe work on their is­sues

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