Review: Parenthood 6.12

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Summary: Zeek and Camille tell the kids that Zeek has decided not to have the surgery, prompting a couple of big decisions. Sarah tells Hank that she wants to get married next week so that her dad can be there, which he quickly agrees to. After a false alarm early in the episode, Amber has her baby, which she names Zeek. Joel moves back in, and, although he and Julia’s issues are far from over, the two remain committed to making it work.

Elsewhere, Crosby is furious to learn that Jasmine went to Adam about the Luncheonette, leading the brothers to dissolve the business again. At Chambers, Adam and Christina head up a Career Day, and reassure Max that he will be able to get a job in the process.

Best Scene: Camille and Zeek visit Amber and Sarah after the birth, where Amber introduces her son to his namesake

Best Line: “You’re my hero.” – Amber, after she and Sarah talk about the baby

My Review: Whew. That was quite the episode, right? “We Made It Through the Night” indeed.

For me, the MVP has to be Lauren Graham. And by that I mean she was the one who made me the cry the most. All of her scenes had such an emotional weight to them: her lovely moments with Amber, her sweet conversations with Hank, and that heartbreaking scene with Zeek.

I loved her scenes with Amber because they provided such a great “full circle” moment from the pilot. In that first episode, Amber pretty much hated her mom. They fought about everything and Amber didn’t respect her or the choices that she had made. Throughout the series, we’ve seen such a realistic relationship progression for them, from fed up mom and sulky teen to two women who see each other as equals. And that progression never felt more apparent than when Amber told her mom that she was her hero. After all that time, it was finally her saying, “Hey, you made the choices you made for me. I’m almost a parent now, and I think I understand it.” It felt all the more meaningful that those words came after Sarah reassured her that everything would change when she had the baby, and after they sang their song together (And speaking of, what do we have to do to get Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham to form an indie-folk duo? Because that is something I could get behind!).

It was also really sweet that Amber only wanted her mom there for the birth, and provided a nice contrast to the beginning of the episode. One minor quibble with the birth though: Am I the only one who thought it was strange that Drew wasn’t there (or at least called, for both the birth and the false alarm actually)? Given how close Drew and Amber are, it seemed like a bit of an oversight. I’m sure that they’ll have scenes together in the finale, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll carry the same emotional weight after the fact.

Like I said, I also really enjoyed the Sarah/Hank moments in this episode. One of my favorite things about Hank is the way that he always knows exactly what to say to Sarah, and this was never more apparent than when he told her that she was a beautiful person because of the way that her dad had raised her. He may have stumbled over his words and rambled on a bit (as he always, endearingly, does), but there was no doubt that that was exactly what she needed to hear. I also love how quickly he’s become a part of their family: alternating between driving like a grandma and a maniac to get Amber to the hospital (and how great was that scene?), hovering in the background uncomfortably as everyone fights in the hospital waiting room, and finally, putting aside his own dream wedding without hesitation when Sarah told him how important it was for them to get married in town. I haven’t been that crazy about Hank’s storyline with his own family this season, but when he’s with the Braverman clan, I’m all for it.

Parenthood has never shied away from showing what I like to call the “seedy underbelly” of family, so I actually appreciated Christina, Jasmine, Adam, and Crosby’s horribly timed, wildly inappropriate shouting match in the hospital waiting room for how realistic it was. It was tough to see it carry into the “siblings only” dinner, especially because of how upset it made Zeek, but it did give us that beautiful scene with he and Sarah. Theirs has always been one of my favorite relationships on the show; all he ever wanted, through all of her job changes and relationship changes, was for her to be happy, and I loved seeing how happy he was that she has finally gotten there. Even though it’s probably going to make me reach new emotional highs, I can’t wait for him to walk her down the aisle either.

Back to the fight for a moment; this can’t be the end of the Luncheonette, right? It was great to see Adam making such a difference during Career Day, but his admittance that he still hasn’t found his passion yet makes me think that Chambers Academy is Christina’s but not his. I’m still hoping he finds a new venture by the end of the finale, but time is a ticking! And as far as the Luncheonette goes, I’m still hoping/assuming that Crosby, Amber and/or Jasmine will work together to bring it back. They can’t just let it go, right?

The Career Day stuff was really, really great. I loved seeing so many people pitch in (Christina and Adam obviously, but Crosby, Jasmine, and Hank as well), and it was nice to see Adam take one of the students under his wing. I also adored he and Christina’s conversation with Max about his future plans. I don’t know if it was just me, but you could almost see the moment where Monica Potter realized that this was the last scene in that room that the three of them would have together, and that made the moment that much more significant. The three of them have had a lot of really tough, important conversations in that room, and I loved that this final one (presumably, unless there’s one next week), was about Max’s future. Also, man am I going to miss Adam and Christina’s relationship. They haven’t been a major focus this season, but their marriage remains one of the most believable ever portrayed on television.

Speaking of marriage, I’m not sure how I feel about Joel and Julia’s scenes this week. I really do appreciate the realism of things not being hunky dory as soon as he moved back home, but the fight they had seemed like a retread of the fights they’ve been having all season. And it was really tough to see Sydney, and especially Victor (whose cautious optimism about the whole thing was heartbreaking), watch them fight again. But I did love the idea of them showing progress by fighting one night and then waking up together anyway; neither of them left, just like they promised, and that was really wonderful to see.

Well, this is it, fellow watchers. Next week we say good-bye to our beloved Bravermans, and I, for one, am nowhere near ready. Any thoughts/feelings/coping mechanisms that you’d like the share? Feel free to put ’em in the comments section because we need all the support we can get!

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