TV Recaps

Parenthood Recap: "Left Field"


Never was an episode title more apt.  Episode Two of Season 4 packed a wallop on the back end.  One of those hit you in head with a two-by-four moments.

Never was an episode title more apt.  Episode Two of Season 4 packed a wallop on the back end.  One of those hit you in head with a two-by-four moments.

However,  it started rather low-key and innocently enough, with Drew getting dumped by his girlfriend on the first day of senior year. OUCH.  Poor Drew. It’s always the quiet, studious ones that get the shaft in high school.  Good thing for them they get their revenge as adults, when they’re running Microsoft and Google.

In any event, the adolescent Drew found comfort after talking to the man-of-few-words Hank.  Hank is proving the most interesting addition to the show.  I’m shocked to say it but I’m truly enjoying Ray Romano’s take on this character. He’s a breath of fresh air to the sometimes overwhelming earnestness of the Bravermans. (That’s not an insult; I love the Bravermans. But let’s be real. They are pretty intense folk.) 

So when our grumpy Hank learned Drew got the brush-off, he  told Sarah that women are always heartbreakers and the best way for Drew to get over his bruised heart was to sleep with the ex’s best friend.  Of course, Sarah was horrified and told Drew to ignore any advice Hank may offer.  Which, needless to say, meant Drew talked to Hank. Who was a typical male and offered the gruff, but very true advice that it’s okay to feel bad when you get dumped. Short, sweet and honest. Hank could be very good for the Bravermans.

Jasmine and Crosby dealt with more newly-married adjustments, as free spirit Crosby’s refusal to live by the dreaded family schedule made him forget to pick up Jabar after school.  Yawn.  Boring storyline. Don’t get me wrong; I love Crosby and he will always be one of my favorite characters on Parenthood.  What could save the  overwhelming boring flavor of Jasmine and Crosby as newlyweds, however, would be if their opposing personalities created a stronger conflict than who picks up the kid after school. We’ll see how it plays out as the season moves forward.

As someone who hasn’t overly loved (meaning I hated) the Joel and Julia adoption storyline, the latest development proved surprisingly poignant. Victor faked a stomach ache to avoid school for two days running. On Day Three, Julia made Victor go to school. As they pulled up to the entrance, Victor was obviously terrified to go in. And with this, Julia finally saw her adopted son as a little boy; and not the tough street-smart kid she was struggling to reach.  Julia promised to stay in the parking lot all day, as long as Victor went to school. And, she did. And, he did.  It was sort of lovely, and a nice way to show Julia finally bonding with her new son.  Leave it to this show to make me a fan of storylines I previously disliked.

In what was the best development of the episode,  Max got wind that Adam and Kristina were considering adding a dog to the mix. So in typical Max fashion, he relentlessly and continuously talked, cajoled, yelled and begged his parents into going through with it.  No parent could withstand Max’s determination and as far as I’m concerned, no family is complete without a dog, so I heartily approved of Max’s efforts.  There is now a Braverman dog!

And just when you think Kristina is ready to embrace this new chapter of her life,  WHAM!  Here comes that two-by-four I mentioned earlier.

In the last series of scenes, eerily filmed without a stitch of dialogue, Kristina got a mammogram, then sat in her doctor’s office as she obviously received bad news, and then met Adam and Max as they were picking out the new puppy. With one look at Kristina’s face, Adam knew something was seriously wrong. He rose from petting the puppy, walked over to his wife, and again WITHOUT ANY dialogue, we see Kristina tell Adam the news. She has a lump in her breast. 

And Wow. What a fabulous moment. Monica Potter and Peter Krause hit that scene out of da damn park, and  it’s a testament to their acting ability how easily they conveyed fear, love and dread without a single word.

As for what this cancer storyline will mean to the show, time will tell. I love Parenthood and all its slice-of-life realism.  And  there’s no doubt cancer is a challenge faced by millions of families.  I, too, have been deeply affected by it as my own Mom battled the disease twice and passed away from it  seven years ago.

But in the interest of complete honesty, when I saw Kristina getting the mammogram, my first thought was, “Oh no, please don’t do this storyline.”

That may have been just a knee-jerk reaction  and if any show can do this storyline justice, it will  certainly be Parenthood.  At this moment, I’m partly curious to see it play out and I know the acting will certainly be superb. But I’m also partly dreading what’s to come.

And I guess that’s life, isn’t it? And why Parenthood works. 

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