The ‘Parenthood’ Cry of the Week: Three Cheers for Braverman Tears

Parenthood

Parenthood

Well, that was brutal. If the final act of last night’s episode is any indication, Parenthood Season 5 has found its rhythm. In just a few minutes, there was an emotional barrage including a crying Amber, a despondent Adam, and a shattered Julia. That’s a lot of Braverman emotion, and just what we came for.

Prepare the tissues, because you’ll be furious and sad

Lauren Graham is a goddess. When the show began, it seemed as if she were playing a character too similar to her signature role in Gilmore Girls. Luckily, Sarah Braverman has become a distinct character, with little help from compelling story lines. I gleefully digest all the Sarah-Hank pas de deux action, but at what point does it all become too repetitive? Regardless of her paramour, Sarah spends most of her time navigating a romantic back-and-forth. Her photography career is taking off as she primed to be Hank’s boss on a project, but it’s all just a prelude to her next love triangle. Secretly successful doctor Carl helped get her the job in the first place, so this is just the latest iteration of the tropes we know too well.

Prepare the tissues, because you’ll be overwhelmed with happiness

Adam Braverman is undergoing a transformation. He used to be prone to panic and hysteria, usually apologizing for something after overreacting. Who is this calm and judicious guy that has taken his place? Last night, Adam learned that Max lost his only friend. Max isn’t just a weird middle schooler fighting for the vending machine. He’s a decidedly uncool high school kid now. The old Adam would have called the other kid’s parents (as Kristina suggested) and somehow made it worse. This time, though, he recognized his own powerlessness. The ex-friend refuses to attend a Golden State Warriors game with Adam and Max, so Kristina goes in the kid’s stead. Adam and Kristina are great cheerleaders, for the Dubs and their son.

Cry Moment of the Week runner-up

Thank the lord, Ryan is really gone. Off to the Army he goes. He was holding Amber back, and surely she’ll see this one day. At the moment, however, she’s devastated. We’ve kind of been here before. There was the time she ran away and Sarah picked her up at the gas station in the rain. There was the time she sent her dad away, and the time she didn’t get into college. Breakup Amber is my least favorite sad Amber, but at least there’s the benefit of watching Grandpa Zeek console her. If Zeek says everything is going to be OK, it will be, and that reassurance nearly brought me to tears.

Impressive camerawork this week, allowing us to see that Amber’s garish engagement ring is off, but she has replaced it with a different band. We’ll know she has moved on when she is ring-free.

amber

Cry Moment of the Week kill shot

Just watch.

What is Julia supposed to do now? Her husband says the marriage isn’t the problem, she’s the problem. They both acknowledge that their strife began when Julia quit her job, so why aren’t they trying to find a way for them both to work? The kids aren’t so young, anyway. Julia’s indiscretions in this mess are easier to enumerate. Failing to tell Joel about her kiss with Ed was either a lie or, as Julia paints it, a lie of omission. Either way, I believe she felt it wasn’t a big deal, which guided her actions. I find myself on her side — at least she’s looking for solutions. Most of Joel’s screen time culminates with him walking out of a room. As Sonya Walger hangs around as Joel’s boss, Peet, an affair between the two seems inevitable. Almost every challenge that Joel and Julia have encountered this season has felt that way. Hopefully divorce will be the one inevitability they evade. Keep Sam Jaeger on the show!

Filed Under: Recaps, NBC, Parenthood, TV

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Juliet Litman works on the Grantland Quarterly.

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