The moment we saw coming finally arrived this week on Parenthood: on the eve of finalizing their divorce, Joel turned up on Julia’s doorstep begging for another chance. How he doesn’t see that he’s been fighting for a way back in these last few months is sort of crazy, but Joel’s just the kind of guy who needs to make a grand gesture. Tears well up in his eyes but never spill over. This man works with his hands, he is the boss of laborers. He was TV’s most perfect husband, until suddenly he wasn’t. We remember, though. Julia remembers. She remembers a little too much as she entertains other men in the house Joel made a home, but wants her to keep. No amount of expensive red wine and Ann Taylor Loft separates strewn on the bedroom floor will let her forget: Joel is the best man she will ever know. And she should forgive him for needing time and space to forgive her own indiscretions.
All this, however, will have to wait for next week. What a cliffhanger. To Julia, I say…
As for less heartbreaking developments this week, Zeek tries to bond with Drew in a way he understands: shooting guns at cans of creamed corn. It was one of the weirder moments on Parenthood in a while, particularly when they roll up to a liquor store and Zeek whips out a gun like he has no common sense. Drew’s girlfriend, Natalie, was once a party girl hesitant to commit, but the show’s writers have succeeded in transforming her into a Real female foil for Drew, who is at times aimless and in need of wisdom. She straight-up calls Drew a selfish ass for failing to see that Zeek, now realizing his own mortality, was just trying to share some of his childhood memories with his grandson.
Drew makes things right with a trip to the shooting range, but there was one smart thing he initially told Zeek that should be considered: “You have no idea how I even feel about guns.” This made it seem like Drew was all for gun control, which goes out the window for the sake of familial bonding. Isn’t that always the way for Parenthood — anything can be sacrificed or pushed aside if family is involved? Initially it seemed like more than a mere generation gap, so I felt sort of torn when Drew shows no issue going to a shooting range.
In general, this week seemed to be all about reading between the lines and at times, women explaining hidden emotions to men. Sarah clues in Hank about the fears lurking behind his ex-wife’s freak-out over Ruby watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High: she doesn’t like seeing Sarah bond with Ruby. When Hank goes to make things right with Sandy, he ends up revealing his secret struggle with Asperger’s. Though he stammers it out in a way that sounds extra clumsy in that dudely Ray Romano way, Hank’s apology for simply being himself is touching. Sandy gets emotional in a way that you can tell she’s kicking herself for all the times she screamed at him, and it’s nice.
Then Sandy does something weird the next time she picks up Ruby at Hank’s apartment: she orchestrates a family day with the three of them. She gives Sarah one of those fake-ass asks for permission to “steal Hank for the day,” as if Hank can’t make his own decisions (eh, then again, sometimes he can’t). Sarah gets this look on her face that suggests she appreciates Sandy’s gesture, but she senses something is up. AND I AGREE. Is Sandy trying to win Hank back now that he’s making efforts to be a better man, emotionally? That seems like a bizarre plot move to introduce halfway through a show’s final season.
Also bizarre: no Adam or Kristina in this episode. I get it, save some money on budget, but it’s really obvious that this is the reason why neither are around while Amber watches their children for an extended amount of time. That is not a very Kristina thing to do. Anyway, that whole plotline about how Amber is going to be an awful mother — didn’t we hear similar worries last week, and the week before? — made me need a Xanax so hard. I guess we’ll find out next week when the baby arrives early. Can any TV show just let a woman have her baby on its due date? I know that’s not dramatic and all.