‘Parenthood’ Season 6 Episode 6 Recap: “Too Big To Fail”

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This week’s Parenthood felt like a game of catch-up with a simple strategy: keep it fucking real. I have a feeling it will be the only episode this season to not feature Zeek — the midpoint seems like a good spot to do this — since his health struggles are so integral to the season six plot. But by pausing his story for a second, other characters were able to work out their own personal problems.

When I heard that Parenthood‘s final season would include an overarching plot involving Zeek’s health, I was worried other plotlines would take a backseat while the Bravermans gathered ’round their patriarch like the dutiful kids they feel they must be. This week, Crosby’s story in particular was finally given its necessary space, time, and tears — while the fate of the Luncheonette is weighed in the process. Drew’s plotline about declaring as an economics major seemed almost a direct reaction to Crosby’s, though the two stories never overlapped (unless you count Amber’s #LeanIn for a raise).

Meanwhile, Amber’s pregnancy skipped ahead a trimester (what, they don’t make fake pregnancy bumps any smaller?), while she prepped for parenthood’s later stages via Hank’s “Drunk Girls” daughter Ruby. There’s a distinct feeling that Amber is now ready to be a mom because she patted Ruby’s forehead with a washcloth while she vomited at 4 a.m. I don’t totally see the parallel, but you know, nice try. I did, however, appreciate how these two pairs of plotlines seemed to be talking to each other in a way, though I found Drew’s conundrum a little contrived for the sake of sibling sweetness. It’s hard to start a dialogue between the distinctly individual stories happening within characters on an ensemble drama without it seeming a little forced, so for the most part, I was impressed with what Parenthood did this week.

That said, do we really need to endanger the Luncheonette right now? Is this just a set up for A Big Win to cap off the season? You gotta love Parenthood and its ceaseless positioning of the characters as underdogs despite their relative privilege as (mostly) white, middle-class small business owners in the liberal paradise of Berkeley. Or you at least have to roll your eyes and quietly accept that it’s always been (and will always be) part of the deal here. Do I think it’s a little silly for Crosby and Jasmine to get riled up with guilt about not being able to afford a cross-country trip to Harry Potter World for Jabbar’s birthday? Yeah, I do — but then again, wouldn’t people without kids find a number of parental worries kind of silly?

Anyway. Forgetting all I just said about plotlines having a dialogue from across the aisle, this week’s finest moment — besides Jasmine’s monologue about ~real love~ and family 4eva — came via Kristina Braverman and Max’s pseudo girlfriend, Dylan. There were a few things happening here: Dylan falling for Max, Dylan bonding with the Bravermans, and Kristina fretting over both a tremendous amount before finally giving in and perhaps seeing Dylan as a proxy for Haddie (RIP, not really but y’know). It becomes clear that Dylan’s parents are workaholic types (BAD PARENTS ON PARENTHOOD), so when she cozies up to Kristina for a movie night sleepover, Kristina is concerned Dylan’s there for her, not her son. Dylan is so wise for her age, considering the way she responds assertively to Kristina when confronted by her principal’s fears (oh there are so many). I have such a good feeling about Dylan and Max… and Max’s mom. All jokes aside, it’s cute as hell, and terribly Parenthood. This will turn out much better than Michael B. Jordan’s role as Haddie’s boyfriend Alex, I am sure of it.