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'Brothers & Sisters' season finale: Highway to destiny

May 17, 2010 |  8:12 am
B&S_Robertfinale The question we have all been pondering for the last five months -- exactly how Rob Lowe's character Robert McCallister was going to exit the show -- was finally answered on last night's "Brothers & Sisters" season finale. The beloved senator met his demise on a stretch of highway with Kitty by his side after a big rig lost control and collided into their SUV. My and many viewers' assumption that he would die by heart attack proved too obvious. The show acknowledged the theory by giving him an arrhythmia scare the night before the accident, but it was a sharp metal beam that crashed into his driver's side window that finally did him in.

Even though we knew Robert's moment was coming, it didn't keep those last dramatic five minutes from being any less shocking. It was the first time we'd really seen any of the Walkers in grave physical danger and the initial sight of Kevin, Scotty, Saul and Holly bleeding and hurt was pretty startling. From the moment Justin and Rebecca pulled up to the wreckage, the camera seemed to stretch their (and our) feeling of dread as they encountered each mangled car and began to heard screams from familiar voices. They came upon Saul's overturned car first. Scotty sat up dazed while Kevin pulled shattered glass from his hand. Saul stood a few feet with a gash across his forehead, a reminder of his new reality (more about that later). Sarah and Nora emerged shaken but unhurt as they rushed to get more help for Holly, who sat unconscious in her car. Then came Robert's and Kitty's SUV, nestled against the belly of a big rig.

Robert's last minutes were brief and so, so sad. The jutting beam and a giant bloody head wound kept him still as he recalled his fears on the day that Evan was born. Kitty's strength quelled his fears back then and as he sat dying, and while she pleaded for him to hold on and keep talking, the light went out from his blue eyes. If there was one thing Robert consistently stood by during his time on the show, it was his dedication to his family, so it was fitting that the comforting memory took him through his last breaths.

To dramatize the ending, most of the episode kept a relatively mellow pace except for the revelation of two big pieces of news that will inform some of the stories next season. The first was Saul's discovery that he has HIV/AIDS. While preparing the menu for his and Scotty's upcoming restaurant, the subject of getting tested came up after a man from Saul's past requested his friendship on Facebook. He learned that the man was currently an AIDS activist living with the disease, which set off alarms that he should finally get tested after all these years of being in the closet. Scared and still reeling from a lifetime of shame and hiding, Saul lied to Nora when he first got the test results. But the news sank in at the sight of his own blood after the accident -- the results were positive and he and the Walkers would be facing a whole new challenge come Season 5.

The other piece of news was the breakthrough at Narrow Lake, which after the closing of Ojai Foods now belonged to Sarah, Nora and Holly. Never one to give up on a good mystery, Nora continued to fund more digging with the hopes of finding the land's true value. Her efforts paid off. Narrow Lake contained an aquifer, a body of rock capable of yielding groundwater -- a gold mine in a state that frequently suffers from water shortage. Their financial future was secured at that moment, and as the ladies danced in the geyser, one of the season's big mysteries was finally resolved.

Since the show plans to flash forward a year during Season 5, the questions raised in the finale set the stage for the time jump. Kitty will grieve over Robert's death and we'll find out whether she won the election. Justin will volunteer in Haiti while Rebecca stays behind to take on a new job, leaving their relationship vulnerable. Kevin and Scotty will be new parents, and Saul will fight a new battle. It's yet to be seen what injuries Holly will sustain from the accident, but it'll probably affect her somehow. Sarah and Luc will explore their relationship further and Nora will continue to be the rock holding it all together. I think flashing forward is a brilliant move for the show. After a lackluster third season, "Brothers & Sisters" proved its mettle with the fourth, and this new perspective will give viewers even more incentive to watch. Rob Lowe will be sorely missed, but the Walkers will trudge through as these startling new events leave the future precariously and excitedly open with possibilities.

What are your thoughts on the season finale? Feel free to chime in below!

-- Enid Portuguez

Photo: Rob Lowe in his final episode as Robert McCallister on "Brothers & Sisters." Credit: ABC

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