I know I might get flack for the headline, but come on! Is there any other character on Brothers & Sisters who is so incapable of admitting fault, so eager to pass the blame to someone else, so prone to jumping down throats, so unrelentingly and unrepentantly assy? It looks like the only competition on the Walker Family Annoyance Index is about who will come in second! (But fear not — there’s plenty of people in the running for that!)
Let’s get the plot out of the way quickly so we can get to yelling at the characters. Tommy is an ass. Nora, who the family is keeping in the dark about Tommy’s legal troubles, wants everyone over for dinner to meet Ryan. Sarah tries to ask Holly to drop the charges, then asks Justin to ask Rebecca to ask Holly the same thing when Holly doesn’t budge. Justin and Rebecca pledge to remain neutral — like that’s going to happen. Ryan wavers between very nice and moderately creepy. Kitty is worried that Robert is pushing himself too hard, and pissed that he’s not telling his kids what really happened. Robert wants to deny everything.
At the dinner, Tommy is an ass, Ryan overhears Kevin talking about the felony and lets slip to Nora, who is seriously pissed. She slaps him. Tommy is an ass. Rebecca defends her mom, and Justin tells her to stay out of it. Rebecca is not pleased. Ryan comforts her, and is either very nice or moderately creepy. Later, Justin and Rebecca break up over the whole situation. Ryan appears at Rebecca’s door to check on her, which is, again, either very nice or moderately creepy. Robert finally tells his kids when happened, and then breaks down in terrified, heartbroken (literally) sobs as soon as they’re out of earshot. Nora tells Saul that from now on, she wants to know the truth. Justin goes to Sarah and admits he needs help. Tommy is an ass. The end.
Walker Family Annoyance Index
Look, Tommy has this one locked up. I don’t know if I can even count high enough to total up his score. Instead, we’ll give the highlights:
- Failing to tell Nora what’s going on: 1
- Trying the “don’t you worry your pretty little head about it” tack with Julia: 1
- Not showing any concern about his committing a felony: 1
- “Deal with what?”: 1
- Getting pissed that Rebecca dared darken Nora’s doorstep, as if Rebecca did anything wrong: 1
- Getting pissed that Rebecca gave Ryan and Nora a tour of Ojai — “Your mother must be so proud, Rebecca!” — when she was just running interference so Nora wouldn’t find out about the felony: 1
- Telling his siblings that he’s the only one with the balls to take on Holly: 1
- Trying to blame everything on the existence of Holly: 1
- Yelling at Rebecca when she raises the valid point that Holly didn’t do anything wrong: 1
- Accusing Holly of “destroying my parent’s marriage,” as if William had nothing to do with it: 1
- Saying “We all know whose side you’re on” to Rebecca, who continues to point out that Holly committed no felonies: 1
- This whole exchange: Nora: “What your father did was unforgivable. I despise him for it.” Tommy: “Really? Well, you sure loved living off it, mom.”: 1
- Getting aggrieved that Nora smacks him for that comment: 1
Score: Eleventy million billion trillion. No one is more annoying than Tommy this week.
- Showing up out of the blue without calling first: 1
- Self-depreciating statements like this: “I feel like I just kind of came out of nowhere. I just don’t want it to seem like I’m being presumptuous, like I can just show up… ” That would carry a lot more weight if he hadn’t, in fact, just come out of nowhere: 1
- Continuing to make Nora uncomfortable with all the woe is me, I’m a bastard comments: 1
- Occasionally coming up with decent lines like this: “Didn’t you get the memo? It’s bring your illegitimate child to work day!”: -1
- Passive-aggressive statements like “Oh, wow, what did you do, threaten them?”: 1
- Offering to help cook, putting dishes away, making coffee, and otherwise not treating Nora like a servant — unlike her kids: -1
- Eavesdropping on Kevin and Tommy: 1
- Not running screaming from the whole family: -1 (I worry about his sanity, though)Letting slip the secret to Nora: 1
- Actually respecting Nora enough to believe her kids would have told her Tommy’s secret: -1
- Checking on Rebecca: -1
- Kind of looking like he was putting the moves on Rebecca at the same time: 1
- Showing up at Rebecca’s apartment out of nowhere — seriously, kid, have you never heard of the phone?: 1
- Trying not to get involved in the Walker/Holly fracas: -1
- Witnessing Holly’s schadenfreude and trying to ask her to back off on Tommy, for her sake: -1
- Trying to conceal Tommy’s secret from Nora, even though Tommy is an ass: -1
- Not telling Nora something she deserved to know: 1
- Being sympathetic to Ryan’s plight, instead of looking at him as a rival: -1
- Going to the family dinner when she HAD to know it was going to be bad: 1
- Not snapping Tommy’s neck when he sneered at her presence: -1
- Being the only one to point out that Holly didn’t break the law: -1
- Being surprised and bitter that Justin didn’t stand up for her — where has she been?: 1
- Not snapping Justin’s neck when he got all pissy about seeing her sitting next to Ryan: -1
- Telling Holly to go after Tommy if it made her happy: 1
- Telling Ryan that she and Justin just broke up — and inviting him in. Sigh: 1
Score: -2 Rebecca was negative annoying this week!
- This line: “If you think that I’m going to be dating Ryan in a year, that’s really weird and gross.” Hee!: -1
- Telling Rebecca that they could remain quite and neutral — like THAT will happen: 1
- Trying to insist on neutrality to Sarah when she first shows up: -1
- folding like a cheap suit within seconds: 1
- Telling Rebecca that he’ll defend her, no mater what! : -1
- Not defending her: 1
- Getting jealous when he sees Ryan’s hand on Rebecca’s shoulder: 1
- Seeming to blame Rebecca for this: 1
- Realizing he needs help after he broke up with Rebecca and pen he night wanting to get high: -1
- Trying to strong-arm Justin into asking Rebecca to ask Holly to drop the charges against Tommy, who is manifestly guilty: 1
- Going to Holly with some semblance of humility and a plan to make restitution that would keep Tommy out of jail: -1
- Getting all pissy with Holly as soon as things didn’t go her way: 1
- Telling Ryan that Nora tended to rewrite history. Pot! Kettle! : 1
- This line: “You’d think I would know what to wear to one of these meet your new half siblings shindigs by now.” : -1
- Opening up her house to her two desperate brothers — even though one of them is an ass.: -1
Score: 0. Sarah’s annoying and admirable actions balance this week. When does THAT happen?
- Treating Rebecca like a witness for the prosecution — to her face: 1
- Complaining that Tommy should show a little humility (Pot! Kettle!): 1 for bitchiness, -1 for accuracy
- Bitching about Tommy’s felony charges without checking to see if Nora (or anyone else) is listening: 1
- This line: “OK, tell Robert I… like him a lot.” You’re allowed to love your brother in law, even if he is a Republican!: 1
- Forcing this Ryan-intro dinner on everyone — because family dinners go sooooooooo well with this group!: 1
- Guilting Saul into being her enforcer to get everyone to the dinner: 1
- Remaining oblivious to her family’s obvious wigged-outedness: 1
- Calling Tommy on his idiocy: -1
- Slapping Tommy. I sooooo wanted to do that! (Although I probably would have added a knee to the crotch and an atomic wedgie for good measure): -1000
- This line: “I know why he came to you — the same reason William did. Because you’re comfortable dealing in lie, Saul, you always have been.”: 1
- Admitting that yes, she willfully remained oblivious in the past, but saying she doesn’t want to live like that anymore: -1
Score: -998. Let’s face it, slapping Tommy would make me forgive Nora anything this week.
- Strong-arming the family to come to dinner even though he KNOWS it’s going to be a disaster: 1
- Not telling Nora with truth: 1
- Thinking that having a conversation or two with Tommy in which he disapproved of illegality gets him off the hook: 1
- Calling Nora on her past tendency to remain willfully blind to bad situations: -1
- Using that tendency as an excuse for why he didn’t tell her: 1
- Refusing to tell his kids — or his constituents — about the heart attack: 1
- Snapping at Kitty and Courtney when they told him to take it easy: 1
- This line: “Look at the two of you. That’s why I never understood polygamy!” They’re trying to help, Robert!: 1
- Yelling at Kitty when she tells him he needs to be honest with his kids: 1
- Actually being honest with his kids: -1
- This exchange: “I should have told you sooner, but I was just scared.” “You were scared?” Yeah, everybody gets scared. Even daddies.”: -1
- Breaking down in sobs after his kids leave, either because he’s just admitted is own mortality, or he’s just realized how incredibly scared he actually is: -1
Ryan makes a strong showing in the annoyance sweepstakes, tying with Kevin and Saul for second place. Welcome to the family, Ryan!
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends
- Note: I did not include Holly in the Walker annoyance index because (1) she’s the nemesis, and is therefore SUPPOSED to be annoying, and (2) no, really, she’s not the one who broke the law. Yes, her schadenfreude is a bit much, and yes, it’s within the realm of possibility that maybe mercy would be a good quality to show, but she’s not to blame for all of this. Tommy is.
- I am glad that David does call Holly on her obsession with he Walkers, though. Will he be a good influence, or is it too late for that?
- The siblings discuss Tommy and his unrepentant denial: “He thinks he’s invincible.” “No, he thinks he’s dad.” Tommy: William Walker is NOT a good role model!
- Scotty attempts to drink away the pain of a family dinner. Oh, Scotty. Surely you could have come own with food poisoning or accidentally chopped your own arm off. We’d understand!
- Justin tries to reassure Rebecca: “You’re Switzerland. You’re beautiful and neutral.” But does she bring chocolate? Cheese? Impenetrable banks? Anything?
- Rob Lowe does a great job with the terror and anger he’s suppressing — and finally expressing — after his heart attack.
- Ryan: Very nice or moderately creepy? I haven’t decided yet. What about you?