Honest in the morning I wake
But in my mind know I’ll never change
You know I love her and I do what it takes
I’ve learned my lessons from a world of mistakes
Last night’s Parenthood was full of small, tender moments that are so common in the Braverman’s world. Thankfully the mayoral race was completely out of the picture (although I did miss Jurnee Smollett’s presence), which gave us an Aspergers centralized plot for the first time in what seems like forever. Max Burkholder has proved time and time again that he can handle these heavier story lines when given, and this was no exception. I completely disagreed with Kristina the whole time, but then again I usually do, and wish the show had come down a little harder on her when she continued to believe her son had the right to continue photographing subjects for the yearbook despite the difficulties for all of the other students. However much I disagreed with Kristina’s antics with the yearbook advisor and the school principal, I have to admit the final moment with her and Max, just sitting as a mother and son being upset about things out of their control, was exactly the type of thing Parenthood does so well and I can’t fault that. Using “After All Is Said and Done” by Junip might seem a little too on the nose, with lyrics like “And it’s all about you and me, and what we can do that matters” but the dulcet tones of the verses bleed into Junip’s instrumentals enough so that you can’t really hear what they are, so it works out fine.
Elsewhere, we got a pairing that we rarely if ever see interacting outside of the rest of the family in Joel and Crosby. Drunk Joel was a blessing bestowed unto us by the writing gods so the only thing that could feasibly make it any more hilarious is a stone sober Crosby stumbling upon him at the store. Joel drunk eating cake in the car with Crosby while they talk about life and dreams and blah blah blah was probably my favorite moment of the episode and had the best music cue of the whole episode. Elvis’ “Burning Love” is a classic and can fit into every situation but something about two guys sitting in a car just having a chat goes so well with the song. The scene felt like it could have been lifted from Diner and transplanted into the show without us noticing. The aesthetic, direction and music combined really gave the conversation a nice buddy movie tint.
The scenes where I was counting on some tears coming out actually turned out to be only a few sniffles, whereas a relationship we hardly ever get to see actually accounted for most of the emotion in the episode. The first Ryan and Amber scene had some misunderstandings, sure, and an allegation that Amber didn’t trust her fiancé as much as she should, but otherwise there were no real fireworks happening that could be seen as an actual threat. Shout out to Katims for slotting a Terraplane Sun song here (Ya Never Know) as it worked for the conversation, building up slowly as their frustrations escalated, and also seemed like the two of them could be huge fans of the band. Great choice. Ryan and Sara’s conversation about how all he wants to be is worthy of her daughter and attempts to assuage her fears about their upcoming nuptials didn’t make me as emotional as I thought it would, but maybe that’s because I had been expecting it all week and had me defenses up. It’s always the sneaky moments that make you cry on Parenthood.
Which is exactly what happened with Julia and Camille this week. Not only did Camille get to have an actual story line this episode, she also got to interact with one of her children and talk about her own problems! What a special occasion for Bonnie Bedelia. Zeke has obviously been pretty rude to his wife this season, discounting basically every idea she has about their lives and making big choices on his own. With Julia in a similar situation (or one that could soon escalate to that point) she was obviously already vulnerable when it comes to spousal talk so her conversation with Camille pushing her over the top emotionally was reasonable. I can’t remember the last time Camille and Julia had a private moment where it wasn’t just Julia talking about work, and Bonnie Bedelia and Erika Christenson worked really well together here. Julia finally confronting Zeke about how her mother feels was so heartbreaking because you could see how Julia felt as both a spouse who was worried about her own relationship and a daughter who was looking at her parents and seeing a relationship that was unhealthy and different than how she had always assumed. A youngest child having to parent her own mother and father for even a minute is a hard thing to have to do and the Christensen/Nelson combo sold the hell out of it.
So even without a specific song that got the tear ducts going there were still a lot of great music choices and well executed weepy points this episode. I’ll take it.
Snippets From Next Week’s Episode Synopsis Cry Potential Rundown
Maybe Something, Probably Nothing – “Adam and Kristina ask the family for help as they focus on the campaign trail”
A Few Sniffles – Nothing specific, but hopefully some more Zeke and Camille conversation?
A Tear or Ten – “Joel and Julia try to keep everything together” Angry Joel always makes me sad. Don’t be angry, Joel!
BRB SOBBING – Nothing obvious, but probably an Amber and Ryan scene that they specifically didn’t put in the description JUST so we would cry more.