…an episode reminding us all the importance of “being lower on the cool-o’meter.”
One of the many qualities I admire about Parenthood is that, although its storytelling is highly serialized, each season contains a definitive beginning, middle, and end. That’s not to say significant events from previous seasons do not have lingering effects in future years (Kristina’s grueling battle with cancer in the show’s outstanding fourth season continues to motivate her character in interesting ways, for instance), but this show avoids the temptation to leave us with a cliffhanger. So, with this mostly stellar fifth season drawing to a close and the end standing clearly in sight, we saw Parenthood take meaningful steps toward providing resolution to its myriad narratives this week.
Before we get to the particular developments of the episode, I wanted to pause and share an observation I found this week. As we hopped from one plot to the next, one phrase continued to recur: “it’s a _________ thing.” Various characters filled in that blank in different ways. Ed said his friendship with Julia was a “good” thing; Evan Knight said that Julia dropping by his house (more on that later) was “a Braverman” thing; Hank chalked up his social awkwardness to “an Aspergers” thing. The repetition of such phraseology does not seem random. Rather, the many characters, whether of the Braverman dynasty or simply caught in its orbit, are in the midst of challenging their previous senses of self. The times, they are a’ changing, and Parenthood being Parenthood, that means the Bravermans reside at the epicenter of it all.
Anyhow, enough of this high-falutin’ analytical nonsense. Let’s get to it!
Zeek and Camille
It seems like Zeek Braverman was not fooling around when he told Millie last week (after his deeply symbolic Oregon-bound quest with Crosby to obtain a rare grille for his car) that he wanted to accept the buyer’s offer for The Braverman Homestead. Whoa! This is really happening, and Camille and Zeek sat down and signed the relevant paperwork to prove it. That must have been an emotional decision for them. Boy can I relate because once I bought a flat screen television from Best Buy and did not want to say goodbye to my old one. But it was so worth it in the end (all those pixels!), and I have a sneaking suspicion that our Braverman patriarch and matriarch will find that out soon enough!
We’ve grown accustomed, over the course of the season, to Zeek’s reticence toward the move, so it felt extra meaningful this week when Camille interrupted Zeek boxing up family valuables** and paused to reflect on the various trinkets acquired over the years. The sentimentality and ensuing uncertainty that spilled out of Camille felt honest, real, and raw. I loved how Zeek had to become the one to remind Millie of the soundness of their decision. What a great reversal.
**Excellent system there. Um, why were the first things designated to the trash box the sweetly sentimental artifacts given to and created by his children? No house means the systematic murder of pleasant family memories apparently. Ha! Classic Zeek!
Okay, I know I’m not the only one who felt like Zeek’s walk-through of the potential new house was more for my personal benefit than Millie’s. Right? With each new space, I found myself nodding. I could see a spontaneous Braverman dance party breaking out in the living room. And plenty of heartfelt conversations could take place on the back deck overlooking that breath-taking scenic expanse. It’s a keeper, Millie! Plus, that scene between the two of them weaving through the house? The small character moment that Parenthood nails every single time.
What a great new chapter for these two, not to mention an excellent potential plot for season six. Yes please!
Julia and Evan
Remember when you threw up in your mouth a little bit at the end of last week’s episode watching Julia met up with Ed for a drink? Oh, that was just me? My bad. Anyway, at the beginning of the episode, Julia seemed interested in perhaps pursuing her dalliance with Ed a tad further and sought out Kristina for a bit of friendly advice vis a vis the horizontal mambo.*** Kristina not only reminds her not to do something that Julia might later regret but also asks her to look over some of the charter school paperwork.
***Turns out Kristina has a slight case of straight up horndogging on strangers. Girl, you bad!
Donning her lawyer hat once again, Julia finds herself energized, eager to immerse herself in that world, even briefly, again–and nothing gives Julia the glow like reams of paperwork. But you know what? It really turns Ed’s crank, who compliments her newfound vibrancy. But, sorry, Ed. You can replicate Food Network recipes for molten lava cake all you want. Julia’s not ready for a relationship, and your awkward across-the-table hand fondling didn’t help the situation! Julia flat-out bounces with her belly full of home cooking and a parting thanks for helping out with a spreadsheet. Hurray Julia!
But amidst all this, Mr. Evan Knight and Julia are introduced because of the ongoing Braverman High School project. Taking the bull by the proverbial horns, Julia schedules a meeting with the local school board to present the charter proposal. She thinks their case would be stronger if Evan stepped forward as official headmaster, though the PhD candidate and teaching wunderkind seems unsure. And then, as is a bizarre pattern of behavior with Bravermans, she drops by his house and tries to pressure him further.
There was then the single most EXPLOSIVE Board of Education meeting montage in the history of television. I mean, it got real. Really real. Fade ins, fade outs, passionate declarations, and Evan stepping forward as headmaster. Needless to say, the Bravermans received their charter because duh. They then began to chant “Yes we can.” So, just to catch you up: after it got real, it got real weird.
But before you could say round of lemon drops at an Ashes of Rome record release party, Julia and Evan are bumping uglies. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Sorry Ed! It’s not that Julia didn’t want to be with you; it’s just that she chose to be with someone not like you. You see the diff, right? (#ItsNotMeItsYou)
Side bar. What is this pattern of behavior of Braverman siblings sleeping with people central to Kristina’s and Adam’s lives? I think we need to start some kind of group. Seriously, Julia. You crazy, girl! If you eff up Braverman High School, my beans will be steamed. Steamed, I say!
Hank and Sarah
We knew things with Sarah weren’t going well when she dropped by Amber’s apartment with a Cuisanart as a means of coping with Mark’s recent engagement.****
****Though thanks for basically kicking Drew in the rump and forcing him to return to campus. Dude was straight up peeing his mom’s money away due to his recent bout of what doctors call Emo Bullsh*t. Seriously, Drew. Quit being such a dingleberry.
But Sarah’s plot this week had little to do with Mark, which was refreshing. Instead, it focused mostly on Hank, who continues to visit Dr. Pelican as therapist. Dr. Pelican tries to explain to Hank how Aspbergers affects long-term relationships after Hank fails to recognize (at first) how his decision to follow his daughter to Minnesota at the end of last season might have hurt Sarah.
How much did you love Hank’s confession to Sarah in her apartment about his propensity for pushing people away. He doesn’t want to push Sarah away, and he tells her as much. Now that’s growth! You can, Hank!
If these two end up back together (and they should because yes) by the end of the season, I will fully endorse that. How Sarah and Hank have found themselves back to each other has felt true. Somebody call Captain Ahab because I’m shipping these two hard!
Elsewhere, Crosby’s mold situation has resulted in torn-up floorboards throughout his house, Oliver Rome gets wooed by boy band 4D (lol because obvi parallel) as an opening act, Drew and Roberto (#LaxBro) bury the hatchet following a botched attempt to heal over cashew butter thanks to an entertaining pastime known as Truth Telling and Beer Chugging, and Adam mentions Haddie which is EXCELLENT news because I had considered sending out a search party out of fear that the earth had swallowed her up.
The end’s in sight for this season of this great show. I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out, but I have trust in Jason Katims and company that the ending–in whatever form it takes–will be incredibly satisfying.
Conversation Around the Dinner Table
– Sarah: “Mark Cyr got engaged. I’ve been buying some appliances. Don’t judge.”
– Crosby: “Oliver likes appletinis. He’s a lady.”
– Julia: “Sorry to barge in on you like this.”
Evan: “No, it’s okay. Your brother did this to me already. I’m starting to think it’s a Braverman thing.”
– Drew: “You have terrible taste in music! My mom makes better CDs than you!”
– Hank: “I don’t want to push you away. I like being around you too much.”