RATED: Not rated
- The Ojai Experience
- In-Between Scenes
- The Mothers of Brothers & Sisters
- Bloopers & Outtakes
- Audio commentaries
- Deleted scenes

The Pitch

Soaps ‘R’ Us.

The Humans

Calista Flockhart, Sally Field, Rachel
Griffiths, Ron Rifkin, Balthazar Getty, Patricia Wettig, Rob Lowe,
Matthew Rhys, Dave Annable, Emily VanCamp.

The Nutshell

Season 3 of the Walker family loving, fighting, lying, cheating, stealing, starting new relationships, ending old ones and generally sudsing up the place.

The Lowdown

I feel I’ve generally established the background of this show with reviews of Seasons 1 and 2, so leave us dispense with the who’s who and get right to storylines of Season 3, shall we?  The season opened with the episode “Glass Houses,” which found the family getting together at the beach house of Kevin’s law firm.  Kevin’s up for a big promotion at the firm because of the business he’s brought in including Ojai Foods.  But what Kevin doesn’t know is that he’s about to be fired from the Ojai account by Sarah and Tommy in a cost cutting move, which sparks tension between the siblings. 

Another storyline working this episode is that Tommy and Julia are trying to work through their marriage problems.  Meanwhile, Kitty is having issues with Sarah about a letter Sarah was supposed to write for Kitty.  Also, Justin and Rebecca’s relationship gets outed, as does the secret about Ryan, the illegitimate child of William, whom everyone initially thought was Rebecca.  Nora is happy to tell this fact to Holly, informing her that she wasn’t William’s only mistress.  Eventually, all the secrets and familial tension lead to big fights in typical Walker fashion.

The way that the stories unravel this season are as follows in no particular order: Nora seeks out Ryan and begins a pseudo-paternal relationship with him, to the initial ignorance and later dismay of her own children.  Ryan eventually moves into the Walker household, begins an uneasy sibling relationship with the Walker kids and an unhealthy infatuation with Rebecca, which Justin definitely doesn’t like.  Ryan then takes up a position at Ojai Foods and becomes an unwitting ally to Holly against the Walkers.  Nora’s charity with Ryan mirrors her own desire to start a non-profit center for families with sick members, a Ronald McDonald-type house if you will.  She hires a poncy British architect on whom she had a crush thirty years prior, Roger, and soon begins a relationship with him that gets complicated when she finds out he’s in a loveless marriage that’s kept together only for public appearances. 

Kevin (he’s the gay one) later quits his position at the law firm and goes through money issues until he takes an offer from Robert of all people.  This leads to ideological squabbles between the two and Kevin also finds himself getting in the middle of Robert and Kitty’s degrading marriage situation frequently.  Robert is pushing ahead with plans to run for governor against the incumbent in his own party, even as Kitty is moving forward with plans to adopt a black child.  Robert later has a heart attack, but refuses to let it stop his quest for power.  Kitty later begins an emotional affair with a schlub single father she meets in a dog park, about which eventually Robert finds out.  Their failure to communicate and diverging lives end up in a separation. 

Meanwhile, Sarah leaves Ojai when she feels that she can’t work with Holly, who has become co-president with Tommy after Sarah made some bad business decisions that almost bankrupted the company.  As Tommy always seems to side with Holly on issues, Sarah bolts and ends up at a green website called Greenatopia.  Of course, what neither Holly nor Sarah know is that Tommy is conspiring to pull some illegal business deals to gain more power within the company and oust Holly.  This leads to legal troubles, more family troubles and Tommy’s eventual abdication of his position in the company and border run to Mexico, abandoning his family.

Justin and Rebecca end up having issues with their relationship, which is complicated by Ryan and the legal situation with Tommy as they’re caught in the middle between the Walkers and Holly, who is pushing criminal charges against him.  Sarah eventually rejoins the company and leads the other half of the issue to get the charges against Tommy dropped so he’ll come home.  The stresses lead to a break up between Rebecca and Justin, and later a reconciliation as Justin is considering going to medical school.  Rebecca also reconnects with her father, David (Ken Olin), who also rekindles his relationship with Holly.  Saul comes to terms with his homosexuality and lands a boyfriend.  Finally, after months of searching, the Walkers find Tommy in Mexico and go down there to confront him.  Everybody all caught up now?  Good, because I watch the show (or rather my wife does and so I do) and I’m not even sure I have it all straight.

If you’re looking for a family sudsfest that isn’t centered on all teens, this is likely the show for you.  If not, go watch Gossip Girl or something.  Performances and writing are consistent with previous seasons and there’s never any shortage of the show’s staple, Walker family confrontations and oodles of drama.

The Lowdown

The look of the show is good, as it’s shot on widescreen, and sound is also fine in English, French, Spanish and, what I’m assuming is either Chinese or Korean, with matching subtitles.  In terms of special features, there’s an ABC Starter Kit, a five-minute breakdown on the show and its players, as well as audio commentaries on various episodes by cast and crew.  Since part of the show is set at a winery, The Ojai Experience is a 12-minute look at some of the cast members touring a real life winery.  The Mothers of Brothers & Sisters is a 10-minute reflection by the cast and crew on Sally Field and Patricia Wettig and their roles as Nora and Holly on the show.  In-Between Scenes is a six-minute piece featuring the cast and crew in downtime on various locations.  Bloopers, outtakes and deleted scenes round out the offerings.  

7.3 out of 10