‘Parenthood’ Season 5 Episode 16 Recap: “The Enchanting Mr. Knight”

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Just about everyone in Parenthood spends “The Enchanting Mr. Knight” trying to move on. In fact, just about everyone in Parenthood spends most episodes of the show trying to move on — from bad break-ups, unrequited crushes, car accidents, health problems, and everything else you can think of. This theme is what can make Parenthood feel so realistic at times: we tend to spend an awful lot of our lives preoccupied with the past and trying to move forward, and we sometimes fail. It can also go the opposite route and make the show too heavy-handed but last night’s episode had a good balance.

The Parenthood family is so big so the best way to tackle these episodes is to break them down by Braverman. First up comes the least-engaging storyline of the week: Crosby’s still being a brat about his parents’ house because he can’t move on from his childhood memories there. After last week’s conversation with Zeek, Crosby felt like Camille was pushing Zeek to sell the house so he took it out on her. Crosby can often be a jerk but he was especially bad last night so it was great to see Camille shut him up. He’s selfish and she explicitly tells him that, and he finally gets it through his head that maybe he should stop getting involved in his parents’ private affairs. He grew up in the house, but it isn’t his, and while it’s fine that he has strong nostalgic feelings for it, it’s wrong that he’s going in between his parents and causing a riff in their relationship.

Next up: Sarah Braverman. Her new relationship with Carl is going well. So well, in fact, that he invites her on a trip to Africa and she agrees to go. This is short-lived because of — who else? — Hank. I was dreading this story because of the boring love triangle plots that this show is so fond of but Hank didn’t ask her to stay because he loves her, and she didn’t agree to stay because she suddenly realized she’s still into him. Rather, he calls her out on how she tends to give up good things in her life, such as her budding career, for a guy. It is a frustrating character trait of hers so I was happy to see her decline Carl’s invitation (and so happy that he didn’t get angry!) to hang out with Hank in a truly platonic way.

Julia is having opposite luck in her love life as she tries to move on from Joel (while, of course, still missing him). Once again, we focus on her separation (and according to previews, we’re in for the same thing next week). I don’t know why this storyline has been rubbing me the wrong way — the way the characters are written, perhaps? — and I do feel weird that I am so annoyed by the unhappiness of two fictional characters but it’s been going on forever! And it barely goes anywhere! Ed, the man Julia kissed, returned tonight though so that added a little to the episode. He’s a complicated guy and sometimes it’s not clear how the show wants us to feel about him but it was nice to see him explain to Julia that he’s not the sole reason why her marriage is failing. There were problems between Joel and Julia long before Ed came along — otherwise, Julia wouldn’t have formed that emotional bond with Ed or kissed him. She was clearly looking for something else and Ed just helped her along. The episode ends with her giving in and bringing over dinner to his house. It’s a nice little ending, and it doesn’t seem like the show will push them together but rather have them help each other out, so that’s a definite plus.

Kristina and Adam have a pretty light night. She goes to the doctor for a checkup and learns that she’s still healthy and cancer-free (great news for Kristina and great news for Parenthood that they aren’t bringing that whole mess back). Now she has time to just up and start a charter school! They meet the titular enchanting Mr. Knight, played by the equally enchanting Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), who has a philosophy about children not sitting in chairs or something weird and new age-y that makes Kristina totally fall for him — and realize that he’s the perfect person to help him out with this endeavor. I’m not invested in this at all — just as I was never invested in Kristina’s mayoral race — but I’ll give it a chance because it means Knighton will be on my television a bit more.

Finally we have Amber and Drew, my two favorite little Bravermans. The “we need to move on” theme is especially explicit with these two. Amber has had both the most engaging and most devastating arc this season; her fiance left to go reenlist and it was absolutely heartbreaking (as a rule: when Amber cries, I cry). Meanwhile, Drew is wallowing after his non-break-up break-up. Amber forces him out of the dorm room and into a frat party where they both pinky promise to make out with new people that night (Amber is definitely the friend you want after a bad break-up). Both fail — Drew is trying to make up with Natalie, who doesn’t seem to want anything to do with him and Amber strikes out, only to be kissed by Drew’s young and off-putting roommate. It didn’t really go anywhere special but it didn’t have to. I’m just glad Amber is relatively happy again and glad to see how much these siblings care about each other.