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'Brothers & Sisters': Two marrow is another day

January 4, 2010 |  6:05 pm
"Brothers & Sisters" returned from a monthlong hiatus with a bang of an episode that took me on a roller coaster of emotions.

First, I was crestfallen. After collapsing at Justin and Rebecca's beach wedding, Kitty landed in the hospital with a chemo-induced clot in her lung and a bleak outlook on her situation. Bald and confined to tubes and machines, it was the first time we'd seen Kitty look so sick, and a tiny part of me feared the show would actually take her down this morbid path. Thankfully, it did not. Kitty was given one viable but risky option: a bone marrow transplant. The result could literally be life or death, so after a moving speech about being present for her son's life moments, Kitty placed all her chips on the chance to live. 

Next, I was curious. While she waited to hear if any of her siblings matched as a donor, Kitty requested that Sarah retrieve a box from her closet. Inside the box were letters from a former lover, a famous, married politico whom Sarah and Kevin later dubbed "the silver fox" (trust me, after Bill Clinton was taken out of the running, my wheels were turning as to who it could have possibly been inspired by).

At first, the relevance of these letters were uncertain, and it seemed as though they merely served as a reason to break from the serious stuff. If Kitty really didn't want Robert to see them, she would have destroyed them before going into surgery. But she kept them as a symbol of her past and of the person she had once believed herself to be. The letters' significance came to light in the last scene. As she fed each note to the fire, a phoenix rose from the flames. Kitty had emerged with a new license on life and I with a renewed hope in the series.

Before that, I was relieved that not only was Kitty going to be saved but Ryan was finally given a purpose. After creepily existing in the periphery, Ryan temporarily put aside all vengeful feelings toward the Walkers to donate bone marrow to his half-sister. It was perfect timing because he had also been busted by Holly for tampering with the wine reserves. As both a hero and a criminal, Ryan now faces a complicated dichotomy, which is a much more interesting challenge for him than the brooding, bitter loner that audiences have grown to despise. 

Between the sadness and the relief, I felt bursts of surprise as Robert and Kevin scuffled in the hallway, sympathy as Kitty clutched Evan in tears, and reverence as Robert stepped down from the gubernatorial campaign to spend more time with his family. To me, it was a landmark episode in the season. Some may argue that Kitty's cancer was dealt with and solved quickly, but her remission does not mean she's cured. She will continue to live with the experience, and it will definitely inform her character (and the show) moving forward.

Time for your thoughts. What did you think of the episode? What were your favorite moments? What were your guesses as to the identity of Kitty's former lover?

-- Enid Portuguez

Photo: Rob Lowe as Robert McCallister and Sally Field as Nora Walker in 'Brothers & Sisters.' Credit: ABC