“Just say, ‘Mom, Tommy didn’t come back from Mexico.’”
“Because I’m always having to break the bad news. I’m like the family Grim Reaper.”
“Okay, you know what? Someone – Mom – is going to blame us for this. I think you – the smooth-talking lawyer – should do it.”
Nora interrupts this hilarious debate between Kevin and Justin when she comes running in with some treats that Scotty has made for the opening of The Center. Does The Center have a name? Or is it always going to be just “The Center”? Because that’s kind of lame, Nora. Justin, however, is not hungry. Nora: “Why, you’re always hungry?” Heh. So, he tries one, and mumbles through a mouthful and frosting on all over his mouth, that it is like heaven. Well, of course it is – Scotty (!) made it.
“Dude, you do it!” “No, you!” “No, you!”
Apparently, one of the runner-ups from “that singing competition show” has cancelled on Nora, but Justin doesn’t even know who that person is. Kevin voted for her 18 times. Of course he did. Nora thinks that they’re there to celebrate her opening privately as a family, and she runs upstairs to tell Ryan that they’re gathering. She should know by now that any gathering of the Walker sibs usually means trouble. And how long is Ryan planning on skipping out on school? I know it’s college and attending classes is kind of optional, but I certainly didn’t have any professors that would have been cool with me missing weeks of class. Why am I even trying to rationalize a TV show? It’s called “suspension of disbelief.” Moving on.
Kevin and Justin realize that Nora is expecting a donation, so they try to pool their money, but Justin only has a couple dollars and some pesos left over from Mexico. Kitty, Saul and Sarah arrive, saying that whatever they have to say better be good. Kevin tries asking them if anyone brought a checkbook, but Justin’s all, “Dude, that is so not even going to help.” Kevin says that they have to wait for Nora, because these gatherings have rules, apparently. I freaking love the Walkers. Sarah whips out her phone and shows off the new Greenotopia office space. Speaking of, where is Kyle and Ethan? I miss them. Kitty then whips out her phone and shows off her three-week-old lifting his head. Kevin and Justin look sort of sick about ruining their happy moments.
A-coochy-coochy-coo! You adorable little phone, you!
Nora comes in and says that Ryan is already up and out, and also says that he’s the first of the Walkers to be an early-riser. This causes an uproar from the kids, who all claim that they always got up early for various reasons. I love when they all talk over each other. Nora notes that Tommy’s not there yet, and Kevin ends up breaking the news that he didn’t come back from Mexico. Nora didn’t even know they were in Mexico and Kevin explains that the judge didn’t think he was a flight risk. They’ve tried him on his cell, and of course, he’s not answering. They tell them what the note said and explain that they were trying to talk him into taking a plea. They decide to not tell anyone, especially Rebecca and Holly, but Nora insists that he’ll come back because he wouldn’t abandon his family. Kevin is not so sure about that, given the letter to Julia, which they shockingly didn’t read. Nora goes on that Tommy needs help and that if it were any of them, he’d be the first up and out the door. Nora clearly doesn’t know her son very well. She storms out.
Elsewhere, Ryan is at Rebecca’s, of course. He has brought breakfast and wants to discuss his mother’s death some more. He still seems to think that William was somehow involved and that Ojai might have some travel records or phone calls that might help. Rebecca’s like, “Dude, this is my job,” and he agrees that he over-stepped. Justin stops by and is shocked to see Ryan there. He gets all stammery and adorable and says he’ll just talk to her later, but Ryan (because he’s really a lovely person), tells them to catch up and to enjoy the bagels. Rebecca tells Justin that it’s not what he thinks and Annable totally owns the line, with voice-cracking and all, “What do I think?” She asks him why he’s there and he tells her that he just wanted to see her. You know, I think the fact that they were so close before the romantic relationship has created this co-dependence, this need for the other one in their lives. For two years now, Rebecca was the person Justin went to when he needed someone to talk to or to listen or to tell him that everything would be OK. I think he literally doesn’t know what to do without her. She invites him in, because while Ryan is a nice guy, he’s no Justin.
Greenotopia! Kyle! Ethan! But he doesn’t have his sexy geek-glasses, so the moment isn’t as special as it could have been. She explains that she got stuck in a family thing, which they don’t even hesitate or thin about, because it’s the Walkers. They start gibbering about how they tried to call her and the site was overrun with traffic and they sort of, kind of had to dip into their reserve funds to buy more server space. Sarah nods and tells them good job and they are shocked that she is not mad. The boys are doing this thing where they’re talking back and forth and finishing each other’s sentences, just like the Weasley twins, and they’re even more adorable than usual. She says the office looks great, and Kyle proudly says that he painted it himself. Ethan comes running up with a box, which he giddily gives to Sarah. They’ve printed her new business cards on recycled cereal boxes and with soy ink. She tells them they didn’t have to do that, but they say they couldn’t have done it without her. Aw. They’re like her little puppies.
Oh, it must be awful to be adored by two young, strapping boys.
Julia’s house, where Nora was waiting for her on her doorstep. Julia mechanically gives Nora The Letter and says she has to get lunch ready for Elizabeth. Nora starts reading and can’t believe that he didn’t tell Julia where he was going. All he left her, Julia says resignedly, was dirty laundry. Man, there is no coming back for Tommy, is there? I mean, the character could never recover from this sort of behavior, I don’t think. Julia finally starts to break down when she tells Nora to stop making excuses for him – that this is not how you treat people you love. When Nora asks her to convince him to come home when he contacts her, Julia shakes her head firmly. She doesn’t want him to come home. She’s done.
I recently read a book (Dewey) where the author talks about how she eventually left her alcoholic husband. How there’s a pain scale of one to ten, and until you hit ten, you won’t leave. She discusses a friend who had an abusive husband, and despite leaving him several times, she always went back. She hadn’t reached her limit. Only you can decide when enough is enough, and it doesn’t have to be something big, like your husband breaking the law and fleeing the country. For the author, it was just her husband coming home late one night, when he hadn’t come home in almost a year. She’d reached ten. The affair wasn’t enough, the lying wasn’t enough. Even the prospect of jail time wasn’t really enough. But this? Julia has finally reached ten.
Senator Ranch. Kitty has told Robert about Tommy, and he manages to be a selfish jerk and insult her family (not just Tommy) all at once. He deems it good that Kitty may never see him again, and Kitty says this is why she didn’t tell him sooner. She leaves. But not for good, you see, because, unlike Julia, she hasn’t reached her limit yet.
The park. A little blonde boy comes up to Kitty and says hello to Evan. His father reminds him to not touch him with his dirty, playground hands. Kitty, however, does not know these people. Apparently, they met Evan last week when Nora brought him. This? I sort of call bullshit on. Evan is only three weeks old and I just really don’t think you’d be able to recognize him, you know? Unless they recognize the hideous red monstrosity of a stroller, which is entirely possible. The father is either named Alec or Alan, and his son is Ben. Alec/Alan still watches Kitty’s show, “Red, White, and Blue” and she says that that feels like ages ago. I hear ya. I always forget that she’s a semi-celebrity.
Um, who is this strange child standing so close to me?
Anyway, he mentions her book, but when she asks him if he read it, he admits that Nora just told him about it. That is so Nora. I bet she tells everyone she meets that her daughter is a published author and offers to get them free copies and autographs. It’s sweet, really, how fiercely proud she is of her children, even when she doesn’t necessarily agree with them. They have some small talk about babies and children, and then they’re interrupted when her phone rings. She apologizes, but says she’s hoping for a call, and he is very polite and says it was nice meeting her. It’s Robert, but from her facial reaction, I think she was actually hoping it would be Tommy. He asks her to come home, and she literally goes, “Oh, Robert,” all exasperated and annoyed, like that’s the last thing she wants to do. Heh. She says she’s at the park, but he says he wants to talk, so she aggress half-heartedly. Like, he can’t wait an hour until she’s done? Whatevs. You know how I feel about this whole thing.
Holly’s Awesome Kitchen, which is probably my favorite set on the whole show because of the huge chalkboard wall. It is literally a whole wall of chalkboard, where she writes her grocery and to-do lists, and where her and Rebecca used to leave notes for each other. I think I recall some tic-tac-toe and hangman, as well. I would loooove to have one of those in my house. It also reminds me that Holly is not always a heinous bitch. Anyway, enough about my love of super-sized to-do lists (because that’s really what I love about it). David comes home and tells her that he got them a reservation at some new pizzeria, but she’s preparing for the first board meeting without Tommy, and doesn’t think she has time. David is understanding, but tells her to remember the big picture, which she says is exactly what she’s doing with Ojai. He gently tells her that the big picture is actually her, him and Rebecca. She also apparently told him that the reason she was doing all of this was to give them a real shot at being a family. She agrees that the Ojai stuff can wait and that a $50 pizza sounds good. You know, I’m barely making rent payments, and the thought of $50 pizza just sounds really foreign to me. I’m living on pasta and Ramen, and whatever I can scrounge up while working at Outback. The life of a recent college graduate, in the suckiest economy in decades.
Rebecca’s, where she’s asking Justin to please tell her what happened this morning, but he says it doesn’t matter. She speculates about another girl in a bikini, not that she should care. He says that he wants her to care and that the only thing he did while in Mexico was miss her. Aw. He goes on that he was an absolute wreck and nothing feels right without her. And then he gets quiet and tells her that it’s OK if she doesn’t feel the same way. She admits that it’s been hard for her, as well, and that sometimes she just wants to tell him how much she loves him and misses him. Justin gets a little desperate and asks why she doesn’t just do that, and she says that nothing’s really changed as far as their families go. She points out the reality of the situation, which is that if Tommy goes to jail, the rest of the Walkers will not be able to look at her the same way again. There will be resentment and choosing sides.
Oh, come on – no on can resist the sad puppy dog eyes.
Justin is practically begging at this point, telling her that they can work through it and that they’ve learned their lesson, and he pleads with her to give it a chance. She agrees that they could hang out and take it slow, and he is thrilled. She mentions that Nora invited her to the opening, but he says that Tommy will (should) be there. He says he was thinking more along the lines of them hanging out just the two of them, and she says that sounds good. She also asks him to be nice to Ryan at the opening, since he’s going through stuff. Justin is so happy about hanging out with Rebecca again, that he smiles goofily and deems Ryan his new best friend. Aw, he’s so going to get his heart broken.
Senator Ranch. Robert admits that he was a jerk earlier, and that he even called Nora to show his support. He also tells her that he’ll be attending the opening, as a replacement for the American Idol, whose name I just cannot catch. Sean something? I have no idea. Let’s see if I can figure out how to get closed captioning. Ah, it’s Shawna Renaldo. I still have no idea who that is, though.
Nora is meeting with the Director of The Center, Maggie, where they discuss the opening, and the fact that she is the mother of a cancer survivor. Maggie notes Nora’s mood and asks if there’s anything she can do to help. She tells Nora that there is always something you can do in what seems like a hopeless situation.
Cut to that night at Walker Manse, where Nora is trying to explain something to Saul about Tommy. About how Maggie had no hope, but she got the doctors to try some radical new treatment, and it worked. Saul’s like, “Yeah, but Tommy doesn’t have cancer?” He also doesn’t think that Tommy wants to be saved. Nora tells him that she has invited the board to the opening, and that she hopes she can talk them into going to the DA and getting him to drop the charges. Saul and I don’t get why they would do that, but Nora thinks they might still have some loyalty to Tommy and the family. Saul says they have a “fiduciary” responsibility to the company. I’m not gonna lie, I have never ever heard that word before, and Word can’t give me any synonyms. In context, I’m going to sue my SAT skills to guess that it means a financial responsibility? It turns out that Nora is so upset about this whole thing because the last time she saw Tommy, she hit him, and she begs Saul to help her fix it. He goes to her, takes her in his arms. His little sister. He tells her that he will help her. He’ll fix it. He’ll make it all better. Just like big brothers are supposed to.
The Opening. Scotty is there! I know we’ve heard him mentioned like ten times already, but we haven’t actually seen him, so I need a moment to squee. The Center finally has a name, too, judging by the signs behind Robert. It’s called “Open Doors,” the logo is a blue house, and it’s being billed as a “family support center.” Robert is speechifying about honoring Nora Walker and her dedication to community. Kitty wonders why there’s so much press there, and Scott guesses that it’s not to gush about his canapÃ©s. Scotty is underestimating his powers of awesome.
Let’s stand in the corner and talk shit about your husband, K?
Robert introduces Nora, as well as Maggie Stevens, and the three of them pose for pictures. Nora decides that a picture with all of the Walkers would be lovely, and Sarah points out for all the dummies in the viewing audience that it won’t really be all the Walkers. She calls Ryan over, and Justin gets snarky about how she’s swapping out one kid for another. Kitty scolds him and tells him to be nice, while Kevin notes that he could be phony like Kitty, and she gives him a good stomp on his foot. Justin compliments Ryan’s tie, and I thought he was just being nice like Rebecca told him to, but Ryan apologizes and says that he didn’t have any. Ah. So Justin was being snarky again. Justin does tell him he can keep it. The picture gets taken without a hitch, which shocks me.
Nora then splits up the board members between her and Saul and gives him a pep talk about how they can totally do this. Elsewhere, Robert is talking to some press about political stuff, and Kitty is worried that he’s overdoing it. He insists that this is fun for him, but he promises to finish up quickly. She approaches Kevin and asks him to go get the press away from Robert, but she pauses when he seems to be … crying? He’s been talking to Maggie Stevens about her daughter, and did Kitty know what she went through with the chemotherapy? Kitty: “Um, no?” Kevin goes on about how life is so fragile and you have to live each day t the fullest and then he actually says, “Carpe diem.” Kitty’s like, “Who are you and what have you done with my brother?” I thought they were going to say he was drunk or something, but apparently, he’s just really moved by the story. Which is fine, because I’m sure it’s a very heartwarming and touching story. We just don’t usually see Kevin acting like this, is all.
This is my Justin impersonation. You like?
Anyway, she says that she will definitely remember that, but that he really needs to do his job and go communicate with the press instead of Robert. He tells her that Robert is fine, especially since he invited the press.
Kitty: “No, no, no. He invited them all for himself? No.”
Kevin: “I think that’s the idea, yeah. It’s his first public appearance since his ‘minor’ heart attack.”
Kitty: “Oh, unbelievable. That is truly un-believable.”
Kitty and I both laugh at his “altruistic” contribution to the opening, and Kevin calls her “Kit” again. I love it when he does that, because no one else uses that pet name. It’s like their thing. She heads over to the bar, where she plans to seize the day, but she runs into Alec (closed-captioning is your friend) from the park. Nora invited him, which Kitty thinks is so Nora. He tells her that he’s actually been involved in cancer charities since his wife died. Me and Kitty: “Oh.” She tells him that she is so sorry, but he tells her it was a while ago and that he hates how it always brings conversations to a screeching halt. They talk about Robert’s speech and Evan’s gas, and he suggests pressing his knees up into his chest, which I actually just read about in a Parenting magazine while waiting at the doctor’s office. I tried it on my sister (who is my age, mind you) and it totally worked. Was that TMI?
Kevin and Justin are trying to call Tommy again, unsuccessfully. Kevin frets that they should have never taken him to Baha, and they should have left him alone, and they should be down there looking for him. Kevin is continuing to act out-of-character and says that he just can’t be angry at Tommy right now, and Justin’s all, “Good for you, dude, but he’s ruining my life right now.”
Ryan is outside drowning his sorrows in some wine. Yup, he’s definitely a Walker. Justin approaches him and apologizes for being weird at Rebecca’s. Ryan assures him that they’re just friends and that she’s really great, and he understands why Justin is so devastated about the break up. Justin informs him that he thinks they’re getting back together, and Ryan does a terrible job of masking his disappointment. He then asks why Rebecca’s not there, and Justin says it’s complicated. Ryan realizes that Rebecca doesn’t know that Tommy has fled and says that that makes sense, but that he thought the whole reason they broke up in the first place was because of all the lying. Justin is getting more and more pissed and tells him to leave Tommy and Rebecca out of it. He then asks what Ryan wants and why is he even there, living in their house and living off of Nora. And then Ryan is all, “Oh yeah, I forgot that was your job.” Oh, no he didn’t! Justin has had it and tells him that just because their parents slept together, that doesn’t mean that Ryan belongs there. Ryan’s like, “I so did not come here because I think I belong.” He storms off, looking very Edward Cullen, as per usual. I’m not even sure who started that, so I’m not sure whose side I’m on. I guess Ryan was lashing out a bit about Rebecca, but he was upset, so I think I can forgive him. I hope this conflict doesn’t continue too long, because I adore them both.
Do we need to take this outside? Oh, wait …
Saul is talking to some guy named Harvey about Tommy, and Nora approaches and admits that they’re ganging up on him, if that’s what it takes. They all laugh, and Kevin and Sarah are noticing the sucking up from afar. Sarah tells him about their plan to get the DA to drop the charges, but Kevin thinks it’s hopeless. The family has lost Ojai and Nora needs to accept it. Sarah says she can’t live with that and Kevin just sort of wanders off. What is up with him? A second ago, he was all “carpe diem” and loving Tommy, and now he’s all doom and gloom. Maybe he has a brain tumor or something.
Ryan calls Rebecca and tells her that he wasn’t feeling very welcomed. He tells her that Justin thinks they’re getting back together, which is not what Rebecca thought was happening. He tells her that either way, Justin made it clear that he wanted Ryan to stay away from her, which is not really how I read that conversation, but OK. She’s all, “What is wrong with him?” And then he’s totally all, “Well, I guess he was upset about Tommy,” and then he tells her that Tommy took off! Oh, come on, Ryan, don’t turn all villainous on me. I like you. Rebecca though Tommy was going to be at the opening, and Ryan tells her she should talk to Justin about that. She tells him to ignore Justin and that they’re friends and Justin can’t change that. Ryan seems happy about this turn of events.
Sarah is calling Tommy and leaving him a message, begging him to come home. Justin approaches and offers her a tissue. They don’t know how he could do this to all of them, and he can’t imagine what it’s like for her, watching Ojai slip away from them.
In the kitchen, Scotty is directing everyone and it’s pretty hot. Robert comes in and asks for some water, and Scotty notes that he doesn’t look too good, and Robert admits that his heart medication makes him light-headed. Scotty gets him to sit down. And … scene.
Kitty and Alec are having a grand time together, discussing parenting, when Kevin interrupts them and takes Kitty to Robert. Scotty has found a doctor and Kitty tells her about his bypass surgery, which he apparently didn’t tell her about. He says that he doesn’t think that has anything to do with that, and Kevin shushes him and tells him to let the doctor decide that. The doctor tells him that his blood pressure is very high and he needs to go to the hospital. Robert resists, even implying that the doctor doesn’t know what she’s talking about because she’s a pediatrician. She insists that he needs to go to the hospital, but he won’t let Scotty call an ambulance. They’ll drive. Maybe if we’re lucky, he’ll just kill himself trying to protect his campaign.
I don’t have time for this shit. I have canapes to attend to.
Senator Ranch. Kitty claims that she’s not angry, despite him not listening to her and having spent six hours in the hospital. He’s apparently fine now, but Kitty is quiet again and is just not talking. He says that it’s time they had The Fight and claims that she should be happy that he stepped in for her mother today. She gets on him about all the press, but he’s like, “Yeah, and it got your mother ten times more attention than it would have. What’s wrong with that.” She backs down again, just like Sarah said she would, and agrees with him. He’s right. She’s sorry. He doesn’t know what she wants from him anymore, and she says that she doesn’t want anything. The “from him” is implied. She says she just wants to go to bed. I think she’s detaching herself from the situation, because deep down, she’s preparing to leave.
Rebecca’s. Justin has stopped by and Rebecca immediately confronts him about Tommy, and he argues that he was just buying Tommy some time. He realizes that she’s giving up on them, and then she opens the door for him to leave. Man, I hate to go all fangirl and shippy on y’all, but I really want them to work it out.
Holly’s House. She is on the phone with someone, finding out some bad news about something that just went down. She says that she doesn’t have a choice in the matter and then hang sup. David and I are all, “What is going on?” I assumed that she was hearing about the board wanting to drop the charges, but then we cut to Saul and Nora, who are lamenting the heartlessness of someone. Saul reminds her that she did so well today. Sarah comes in with some news that she’s coming back into Ojai and that she’s replacing Tommy as President. She called the Board and they agreed with her, though she doesn’t know what she’s going to do about Greenotopia yet. And she was the one who called Holly to tell her about it. Nora and Saul are thrilled, and Sarah says she’s just trying to keep Ojai in the family. She also talked to Harvey about why keeping the case going would be bad from a business standpoint, forcing him to think about it a little more. Nora positively squeels with delight and starts jumping up and down and clapping. She has hope. That was a nice scene. I feel like I haven’t seen these people smile in weeks.
Ojai Board Meeting. Sarah broaches the Tommy subject, but the Board isn’t sure that it’s appropriate for them to get involved. Sarah argues that it’s not in their best interest for this to go public, but the Board is still not convinced and are concerned about how this would look to their employees and clients. Then Holly, our “villain” in this particular story, asks how it would look to destroy the founder’s son. Both Sarah and Nora stare open-mouthed. She acknowledges that the danger to Ojai has passed and that they need to move past this now. She then even goes on to say that William created a family business and that ultimately, this is about family. This behavior is fairly shocking, and I have to wonder what the ulterior motive is. But, I’m also sort of hoping that Holly is just being awesome, as far as her business skills go. At the end of the day, she’s proven repeatedly to be a savvy business woman, and it would say a lot about her character if she was willing to put this behind her to protect the company. But I guess we’ll see.
OMG. What. The hell.
She announces that she will go with her new partner (Sarah) and that she will also be withdrawing her cooperation as a witness. What the Board decides to do is up to them. She leaves, which is a bit dramatic and not really all the professional, but whatever. Nora’s mouth is literally hanging open and Sarah just looks thoughtful. She puts it to a vote.
Sarah comes to see Holly, says she got the vote, and asks why she did what she did. She reminds Holly that she refused to drop the charges when she came to her before, and Holly claims that the difference is that Sarah is working there now. They need to work together and she always said she’d put Ojai first. She’s thinking of the bigger picture, just like David told her. She welcomes Sarah back and shakes her hand. Sarah thanks her sincerely.
That night, Ryan and Rebecca are going through old paperwork. Rebecca finds a hotel bill for somewhere in Reno, at the same time that Ryan’s mom was there and the day before she got in the accident. Rebecca tries to tell him that this doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but he’s not listening to reason right now. He actually says, “That son of a bitch killed my mother,” and it’s very dramatic and actually very poorly read. I don’t blame him, though, because that was a horrible line. He leaves.
Kitty is at the park, with her red monstrosity and baby Evan when Alec approaches. She tried the leg thing, and it still didn’t work. She asks him to not talk about burping today, and he tells her that they can talk about whatever she needs to talk about. He’ll listen. So, she starts to tell him about her brother, and the music rises and the camera pans back, and they sit together on that park bench, and he listens.
My eyes! My eyes! The red monstrosity strikes again.
Greenotopia. Sarah is telling the boys about everything, and they don’t think they can handle it without her. She insists that she wouldn’t leave if she didn’t think they could do it. It was their idea, they built it up from the ground. It’s their company. Ethan realizes that Ojai is her Greenotopia. Noooo! I love them! I hope they’re still on the show. I actually think her and Ethan are adorable together. Man, this sucks. I need to read some spoilers and find out if they’re leaving for good.
Julia’s, where Nora has come to tell her that the DA is dropping the charges. She tells begs her to tell Tommy to come home, and Julia says that if he calls, she’ll tell him it’s okay to come home. I hope she means “come home” in general, like to California, and not to her home. Stay strong, Julia!
Justin is at Kevin’s, where they discuss that they just want to talk to Tommy. Kevin doesn’t know if he’ll come back, and they both just sit and stare, in the dark, missing their brother together.
Could Tommy ruin any more lives if he tried?
On April 19th, Brothers and Sisters returns, as does Roger Grant. Boo! I like Ryan’s dad. He needs to come back. It also looks like Sarah is having sex in her office, with someone who isn’t Ethan, so boo to that, too. Man, with Justin and Rebecca broken up for good, stupid Roger Grant coming back, and no Ethan and his geeky glasses of love, I’m not going to have anything to look forward to. Except Scotty. Scotty always makes tings better and brighter. See you in a few weeks!