Once and Again
Strangers And Brothers

Episode Report Card
Strangers And Brothers

I feel the need to forewarn you that this episode focuses on a funeral and mental illness, so the recap is a little lighter than usual on snide asides. Some people may consider it a personality flaw, but I just don't have it in me to kick mourners when they're down or get all smart-assed about bi-polar disorder and its effects. Especially since the show has made an earnest effort to present the issues in a sensitive and intelligent manner (thankfully, the writers did not take their cues from Ally). Okay, that's the disclaimer. For those who are still with me, let's plunge into the tear-ridden, character-driven episode (that means nothing much actually happens, but there's lots and lots of talking) that is "Brothers and Strangers".

The show opens with a close-up of Lily, looking like she smells something foul. The camera pans back and we see that she's in the doorway of Phil's hospital room, confronting its emptiness. She reluctantly approaches the bed, where Phil's slippers and a plastic bag containing his belongings sit. Lily gingerly picks up the bag and pulls Phil's watch from it. She holds it to her ear, listening to it tick with a faraway look in her eyes. I think we are meant to be struck by the strangeness of it all -- how this little piece of machinery can continue working while someone as big and dynamic as her father has stopped. Hold on tight, guys, it looks like were in for another tear-jerky ride.

Meanwhile, the Manning house is a typical mourning scene -- people in dark clothes are everywhere, milling around and talking in hushed tones. We follow the camera into the kitchen, where Grace and Zoe are doing battle with a mountain of food. Food, and its distracting properties in the face of death, plays heavily in this episode. Zoe is freaked out by all the "weird people" in the house, and Grace points out that they're "not weird, they're just old." Speaking of the devils, an elderly couple strolls in at that moment, carrying a box of food. "Veal chop," the old man blurts at the girls, smiling. Wha? He proceeds to spin his short yet fascinating tale: Every Thursday, he and his wife had a veal chop at Phil's. Off the menu. "Veal chop" and his wife circle the kitchen and disappear out the door. When they're gone, Zoe asks Grace if she's cried yet. Grace admits she has, a little, but feels weird, like she doesn't know how to let it out. Lily comes in the back door, bearing Phil's belongings. The girls swoop in for a group hug as Lily exclaims over all the food that people have brought. Another person comes into the kitchen and mumbles some unintelligible thing about his relationship with Phil, says he'll miss him, and then leaves. Lily asks the girls how their grandmother is doing, and Grace's answer implies that Barbara is pretty much a zombie. The girls ask if they can escape upstairs.

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Once and Again




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