This week’s Parenthood was one of those “tying up loose ends” episodes that inevitably precedes a series finale. If you know this show, you know it’s rare to see all the individual character plotlines converge into an overarching feeling of closure and clarity. It’s also rewarding to watch this play out among the core cast, now that the characters you don’t necessarily feel attached to — Ruby and Sandy, Dylan, whoever Drew’s dating — are nowhere to be found. “It’s just us now,” Parenthood seems to be saying in this time of Braverman crisis. The result is a series of over-the-top displays of emotion that speak to how life is so, so short.
Finally, Joelia is back! “I’ll never leave you,” Joel assures Julia, never losing an opening to prove, yet again, why he’s one of the best dads on TV. A comedy of errors played out this week when Julia tries to hide a naked Joel from Syd in her room. Of course there’s a cheesy phone snafu in which they’re almost discovered, but all is made right in the world when Joel goes all John Hughes and shows up at the ice skating rink where Julia and the kids are. Cue the big kiss.
Sarah comes to a similar conclusion about Hank, accepting his marriage proposal after some intense soul-searching, confrontation of her darkest issues, and uh, crib construction (for Amber — oh lord, Sarah is not preggers). Camille provides the light, instilling her with the belief that love and happiness are all that matters — the rest is just details. This was, in many ways, the theme of last night’s episode. Amber is terrified about having the baby alone, but Sarah assures her they’ll figure it all out. I suspect Ryan will magically show up next week when Amber gives birth, because that’s how this season’s going.
Adam doesn’t want to continue on with the Luncheonette and has the spreadsheets to prove it. Jasmine shows up with a desperate plea: don’t shutter Crosby’s dream. Parenthood would not be the kind of show it is if Braverman dreams were simply abandoned, so of course Adam looks at the budget again (*pushes up glasses*) and decides to make a go of it. As sweet as it is, it’s a terrible idea that would, in all likelihood, breed bitterness between brothers. One silver lining of this whole thing ending: the writers don’t have to consider how their conclusions will play out. Ugh.
I know my reaction to the Luncheonette makes me a grinch, but if it’s any defense, I did appreciate the episode’s sappiest moment: Zeek visiting the old house and leaving his signed baseball hidden there for good after he sees the loving family that lives there now. “They’re gonna think they found the hidden treasure,” he tells Camille. “It’s gonna be the best day of their lives.” Zeek waited until the very last minute to go soft.