As most of the Walker clan gets ready to celebrate its first non-Nora Thanksgiving (awesome timing, ABC!), one family member's tragic emergency manages to keep the family together. To remedy the situation, the Walkers must learn the identity of Elizabeth's biological father. While it all sounds a little gloomy, I have to say this episode had a lot of comedy, and more importantly, a lot of heart, easily making it my favorite of the season so far. So how did this un-Thanksgiving turn out? Let's dig in!
As I said, this episode had plenty of funny moments, and luckily the show packed the first 10 minutes with most of it, before the tragedy began creeping in. The episode opened with yet another brilliant Walker family tree call, stemming from Kevin and Kitty's discovery that both had planned to go along with their husbands' plans for Thanksgiving instead of making the usual trek to Nora's. They call Justin, who is spending the day with Rebecca and Holly ("husbands trump boyfriends") and then Tommy (who is preparing to visit Julia's mother), realizing they all decided to ditch Nora the same year... and that none of them have told Nora yet. Luckily, they have Sarah to be the "buffer" since she is the only one who will be around (even Saul is away visiting his and Nora's mother). She's none too happy about it (evidenced by the food war she starts), but since her kids are with Joe, she's pretty much out of options.
But the fun and games slows down when Julia and Tommy have to rush Elizabeth to the ER after she vomits blood and loses her color. The news gets worse at the hospital, as they learn that Elizabeth is suffering from liver damage, perhaps because of the drugs the doctors administered when she was born premature. The doctor tells Julia and Tommy that they will both need to be tested as possible liver donors should the tests reveal the need for a transplant. One problem: Tommy isn't Elizabeth's biological father. So Tommy calls his two brothers (even Kevin, with whom he still isn't comfortable being around) to inform them that they might be needed to save Elizabeth. Only then do the consequences sink in: The family will now know who the real father is, something they had hoped to overlook.
While Kevin and Justin exchange barbs over which of them might be the father ("Your nose on a girl?" says Justin), the reality begins to sink in to others around the situation. Rebecca, who has gone through most of her own life not knowing her real father, reminds Justin that knowing he's the father isn't something he would just likely forget. Meanwhile, Rebecca, despite Holly's disapproval, feels a need to call her real father to catch up. But after Holly warns, "He will only let you down." Rebecca chooses not to act for now.
As it turns out, Kevin is the father, and will be the one going under the knife, leaving Justin "relieved and disappointed" and not feeling good, scarfing bags of potato chips to deal. Meanwhile, Scotty is settling Kevin into his hospital room when Sarah decides to order Chinese for the entire group, which is cracking jokes and making the best of the situation. However, an obviously frazzled Tommy is in no mood for cheer, accusing Nora of being happy things worked out this way, pretending she's throwing a dinner party for the whole family for Thanksgiving just like she wanted.
Kitty talks to Tommy, letting him know that she understands where he is coming from. Sharing her own hang-ups with having to be an adoptive mother, Kitty basically paints the portrait of emotion Tommy is going through: He's mad that Kevin is able to father a child that he couldn't and resents him for it, even though he is saving Elizabeth's life. (It's only compounded by his ongoing grudge with Kevin.) She says she knows what it's like to have to feel grateful, even if it's unfair, and makes Tommy see things a slightly different light.
Kevin and Scotty share a sweet moment the night before the surgery, as the thought of the operation going poorly scares Scotty. Kevin assures him all we go well, and, as it turns out, it does, with Elizabeth improving and showing no signs of organ rejection and Kevin only loopy from the morphine drip. (Good thing Justin wasn't the father!) Tommy takes Kitty's words to heart, reaching out to Kevin to thank him for his sacrifice, and apologizing for firing him. "I put business first, and that's bad for business," he said. "It's not about fruit, it's about family."
And about family it was at the episode's end, as Nora transported her massive Thanksgiving meal that almost wasn't to the hospital waiting room where all the Walkers (even Kevin) were able to gather. (Nora quickly forgave Tommy's stressed out overreaction the night before.) Complete with "sparkling apple cider," Justin hogging the cranberry sauce and numerous toasts ("Kevin gives new meaning to the words, just a sliver"), the Walker family share a ridiculous but heart-warming holiday meal that we'd only expect from their family.
So what did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And while I won't spoil anything here, what did you think of those very tease-y promos for the show's return in January? All I can say is based on what I saw, things are going to be great or really, really off track for me personally. Only time will tell!
As most of the Walker clan gets ready to celebrate its first non-Nora Thanksgiving (awesome timing, ABC!), one family member's tragic emergency manages to keep the family together. And while it all sounds a little gloomy, I have to say this episode had a lot of comedy, and more importantly, a lot of heart, easily making it my favorite of the season so far. So how did this un-Thanksgiving turn out? Let's dig in!