ABC’s Brothers & Sisters ended its fifth season with an eventful episode. Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) marries Luc (Gilles Marini). Kitty (Calista Flockhart) learns she is pregnant, and wants to keep the baby, despite the health risks. Saul (Ron Rifkin) accepts a proposal from Jonathan (Richard Chamberlain). Tommy (Balthazar Getty) puts in an appearance. And Sarah makes peace with her father, Brody (Beau Bridges).
While season five has certainly been a weak season overall, there are some really great elements in this episode to remind viewers of how good the show used to be. The drama in “Walker Down the Aisle” is realistic, and none of it comes out of left field. The wedding actually goes off without any major hiccups. The characters mature and relate to each other in ways they haven’t in awhile. And there is some real closure, as well as setup for new story, should the show get an abbreviated sixth and final season, which looks likely at this point.
Sarah dealing with Brody is the biggest development in the episode. While she has only known for a short time who her biological father is, Sarah has been in denial, wanting to pretend Brody doesn’t exist. Yet, like a real father, he stays near, not pushing, but giving her plenty of opportunities to open up to him. She finally does, just before the wedding, and he confesses to always keeping tabs on her over the years, having suspected the truth.
While the Brody story did come out of nowhere, William Walker is established as a not-very-good husband early in the show. As such, it isn’t totally out of line for this whole mess to pop up years later. While Sarah, especially, has trouble letting Brody in, her reactions are authentic and in character, as is her final acceptance of him. Now that Sarah is letting Brody in, he is free to finally be with Nora (Sally Field), his true love. Brody’s story is sweet all around, and he’s a wonderful addition to the cast. If anyone is promoted to series regular for season six, it should be him.
Even when Brody’s daughter, Lori Lynn (Trieste Kelly Dunn) crashes the wedding, she doesn’t make too many waves. She doesn’t ruin the day. While it has not been discussed that Sarah has new brothers and sisters, it makes sense, since after Nora married William, Brody would have been free to move on. Now that it has been revealed there are four more siblings out there, hopefully Sarah will get a chance to meet and bond with each of them before the show comes to an end.
Which opens the door for an even larger family. The Walkers have welcomed in others before. They will accept these new brothers and sisters of Sarah’s. Which would swell the cast too large to continue the series, if they are going to be in it in a large role, which is a good thing it is likely to end soon.
It’s fascinating that the show is choosing to bring back Tyler (Marika Dominczyk), Justin’s (Dave Annable) season one girlfriend at this point. Yet, there is a sort of symmetry to it. Justin used to be a very different man, and clearly, Tyler was a different woman. They couldn’t help each other get better, but now that they both have stabilized, they deserve love. While I miss Justin’s wife greatly, it’s nice he is heading towards a happy ending. He deserves one.
Speaking of happy endings, it is thrilling that Saul and Jonathan are now engaged. Saul often doesn’t get enough screen time, so hopefully this will provide a meaty story for him in the final season. Will Chamberlain join the cast full-time so close to the end, or just do a lot of episodes? It’s possible their relationship won’t last, but at this point in their lives, hopefully they have found what they want in each other, and the bond will not be broken.
The wedding itself is great fun. Luc is the most consistently well written character, despite this year’s rough patches, and he kills singing to his bride, backed up by the male Walker relations. He has become an integral part of the show, and it’s nice to see it formalized. While other new additions didn’t take (cough, Ryan Lafferty), it’s hard to imagine Brothers & Sisters without Luc at this point.
The weakest part of the episode is Kitty’s story. Once more, back to the baby drama. It’s been done. Kitty already went through all the trouble, and ended up adopting a perfectly wonderful boy. It is not necessary to bring up the same bad stuff over and over again. Poor Seth (Ryan Devlin) is trapped in it this time. Devlin should escape back to Cougar Town! Flockhart’s order of episodes next season, like this one, will likely be reduced, so thankfully every week won’t be about Kitty.
Considering the at times painfully bad fifth season, Brothers & Sisters ends on a high note. Let’s hope they can keep that great spirit going that used to make the show so fantastic as they approach the end.