Mandi Bierly
May 11, 2009 AT 05:58 PM EDT

If I learned anything from Brothers & Sisters this season (in addition to the fact that vegan food gives Kevin the trots, of course), it’s the power of the henley: Robert (Rob Lowe) was slightly less douchey in my eyes any time he wore a blue one; I was not completely unhappy to see Tommy (Balthazar Getty) last night when he popped up in Mexico wearing a white one.

What we’ve always known about this show, however, is that any situation that activates a Walker sibling phone tree  is acceptable. So what if Nora never would’ve gone to Mexico without asking Saul to go with her? It allowed Sarah to conference in the family after she got a frantic call from Nora saying that Tommy had gotten mixed up in some kind of cult. Justin understood that Nora being kept from one of her children could quickly escalate into an international incident and was immediately for the rescue mission. (I loved how Rebecca was in on the call at first, and then just sat there reading. That’s how many Walker family crises she’s seen — she’s bored now.) Kitty was in, too. Kevin, however, needed some convincing because he still can’t forgive Tommy for abandoning Julia and Elizabeth. Scotty, a.k.a. the best husband in the world, urged Kevin to go even if it meant missing their anniversary.

I have to say: Med school is already making Justin smarter. Or, at least his dialogue cleverer. When Nora came speeding into the center of town in a truck to pick the kids up, he deadpanned, “Ohmygod, they got her, too.” Off to the spiritual retreat they went, where Nora explained that everyone there eats their meals in silence (Kitty: “No way”) and does “selfless service” (Sarah: “I don’t like it”). I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who eagerly anticipated the Walker clan having to dine without talking. Sarah stole the scene by writing “I am back at Ojai” on a napkin, showing it to Tommy, then miming blowing her brains out. After the family spotted the $20,000 (!) watch Rebecca had gifted Justin on his wrist, Rebecca attempted to act out that he’d gotten into med school in a way that I would need to rewind to fully understand. (Nowhere as funny as that scene in the silent Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Hush” when Buffy mimed staking someone repeatedly. Do the motion, you’ll see the comedy.) The celebratory commotion got them kicked out of the retreat, and they ended up, where else, at a cantina.

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The show sent Tommy out gracefully: He was trying to work through his breakdown and become a better man by meditating and installing new pipes that would allow the town’s fountain to work again. Tommy preferred Kevin’s honesty about his disappointment to Nora, Kitty, and Sarah’s coddling, which made me not hate him for a second. My Tommy Wall further crumbled when he reminded Nora that he wasn’t like the rest of the family — he didn’t get a lot of screen time he doesn’t like to talk about his problems — and she just sat there beside him, quiet, until he sobbed in her arms. He’s going to stay in Mexico with his working fountain, selfless service, and picture of the family (and yet somehow be a dad to Elizabeth). My gut reaction is still to write “Hooray!” — so the Tommy Wall was also repaired.

That resolution aside, this episode was really about raising questions for next season:

• Did Saul tell Ryan about his role in Ryan’s mother’s death, or just Holly? It’s nice that Sarah wanted to give Ryan a cushy severance package, but it’s lame that she didn’t take it to him herself (or have human resources do it). Let’s show her as the strong woman we know her to be, thanks. She asked Saul to do the honors, which seemed strange since he doesn’t work for the company, which Ryan noted. But it had to be him so that Saul could tell Ryan not to take the offer. Saul then asked Holly for a job at Ojai so that he could watch over Ryan. He told Holly he owes him: That night in Reno, it was Saul who coldly offered Ryan’s mother a check to stay away from William, because William couldn’t make the trip since Sarah had gone in to labor with Cooper. Saul resented his role in the situation so much that he was “unfeeling” to her screaming, crying, and humiliation. So do you think Saul told Ryan about that? I’m thinking not, and that it will come out, explosively, after Saul becomes Ryan’s mentor at the company. Regardless, a big yay! to potentially seeing more of Saul next season. What will Holly want in return now that he owes her?

• Why couldn’t Kevin call or text Robert and tell him that Kitty was chasing after the helicopter? Not that I wanted her to catch the helicopter, really. Robert and Kitty, presumably to keep their separation hush-hush, were working with Kevin on the terms, negotiating things like the number of public appearances Kitty would make with him a month and where she’d live. She thought he wanted her to stay in their home to avoid gossip, but when he flew to Mexico (Kevin’s idea, not yours, Robert!) he told her that it was because he thought if she moved back to Pasadena to be near her family, she would never return. This, combined with Sarah’s uninspiring “make a decision” speech, was somehow enough to make Kitty realize that she wanted to save her marriage and she went running through the wilderness to no avail. Here’s my thing: Robert doesn’t want to go to counseling — and that has to be because he’s worried about his image. He’s still putting his ambition ahead of her. I want to see more of Kitty next season, so she needs to be closer to her family. Sorry, Robert.

• Is Rebecca going to go psycho? Looks like we’re also going to be seeing more of Rebecca next season, as the writers used Holly’s reaction to her engagement to Justin as a way to remind us that Rebecca has an impulsive past (remember, she followed the married social studies teacher she’d been sleeping with to Chicago when she was 16). I guess we’ve seen that side of Rebecca before: her impromptu trip to New York to find David when the Tommy deal went down. But that had a healthy result. And her relationship with Justin seems healthy, too, now that we’re over them having thought that they had the same father, right? Rebecca was able to let Justin go before, so they better not make her clingy now. The $20,000 watch congratulating him on getting into med school was a bit much, as was guilting him in to telling his family about their engagement. (Though Justin kneeling and proposing again in front of them all as they completed Tommy’s water project was sweet.) Here’s hoping Rebecca stays sane and that the only drama surrounding the wedding is created when Rebecca wants supportive Nora to help her plan it instead of Holly. Those two are due for another food fight.

Your turn: What did you think of the season finale? What are you hoping to see — or not see — next season?

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