Not only will Annable's Justin Walker start medical school this fall, but he'll also be planning a wedding with new fiancée Rebecca (Emily VanCamp). Naturally, those two arcs will conflict, and the result will be major drama.
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"We're really trying to tell the truth of how chaotic his life has become," Annable tells TVGuide.com. "Justin gets very frustrated — he doesn't know where to allot his time. The relationship has suffered from the lack of time that they have spent together. For Rebecca, the wedding is such a special moment in their lives, and obviously for Justin his attention is somewhere else.
"So Rebecca feels that maybe Justin isn't giving it everything he's got," he continues. "But he actually is; that's the sad part of it. He's just too busy and is having a difficult time dealing with it."
It's not just the stress of Intro. to Anatomy & Physiology that's eating at Justin. In the season premiere (Sunday, Sept. 27 at 10/9c, ABC), it's revealed that Justin's acceptance into medical school may not have been entirely of his own doing. "There was an outside influence; we'll put it that way," Annable says. "He's not thrilled about it, and he had no idea. It sort of catches him off-guard."
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And of course, the drama spills over into Justin and Rebecca's engagement party, thrown jointly by Nora (Sally Field) and Holly (Patricia Wettig). "In typical Walker fashion, the party doesn't go smoothly," Annable says. "There's definitely a Holly-Nora rift in the middle of it. And Justin is actually so stressed with school that he really doesn't even have time for the engagement party. He shows up late and that becomes another issue with Rebecca."
One bright spot, Annable says, is the introduction of Justin's lab partner, a 16-year old prodigy played by Denzel Whitaker. "The character is like Doogie Howser; he is so ahead of his time," Annable says. "He wants to be the youngest guy to do everything, so he's put a lot of pressure on Justin. I think it takes Justin by surprise, but it also makes him want to work that much harder. Eventually it's going to be a symbiotic relationship. They learn from each other."
Though tight-lipped about storylines that aren't his own, Annable says that Tommy (Balthazar Getty) — who was last seen being left behind by his family in Mexico — will have a presence on the show this season. Annable also confirms that Justin may be an uncle again, as Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Scotty (Luke MacFarlane) attempt to have a child via surrogate.
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We can only hope for more of those famous Walker dinner scenes, which Annable says are never as fun to film as they appear on-screen. "Truth be told, they're kind of disasters," he says. "They're about 14 hours for a two- or three-minute scene. Another drawback is how long that food sits out in front of you. We had some sort of Mexican dish this season, and after about [the third hour], I could see Rachel [Griffiths] dry-heaving throughout the day. So that gets a little interesting."
Annable says one thing that won't complicate Justin's life — at least not right away — is half-brother Ryan Lafferty, who last season took a liking to Rebecca. "It's cooled off a bunch," he says of the love triangle. "[The writers] tried it, and it was successful for what it was, but I don't know if they're going to keep pressing the issue. But who knows? I could get the new script and see that they slept together!"
So if Justin can keep juggling all of his responsibilities, could we see another Walker wedding this season? "If the writers end up going down that road, hopefully it will be something special and something fans of our show will remember for a long time," he says. "And because Justin doesn't have any friends, I'm pitching for George Clooney to be my best man to really grab those ratings." Good choice: We bet Clooney throws one hell of a bachelor party.