The opening scene was a punch to the gut. Seeing Kristina in a breast cancer oncologist’s waiting room literally took my breath away as it was perfect in its awful accuracy.
The inevitable, interminable wait to see the over-booked doctor, the other waiting women with hats and colorful bandanas wrapped around their bald heads, and the startling lack of men in the room. All of it was spot on, as was Kristina and Adam’s numb shock as they listened to the doctor rattle off recommendations to fight the cancer. Apparently, Kristina’s tumor is small, but lymph nodes will be removed to check for cancer spread. This little nugget of info doesn’t sound promising to me and I suspect we will watch Kristina endure chemo and/or radiation as the season unfolds. Deep breaths, everyone.
Equally realistic was Adam’s relentless determination to stay positive, no matter how devastating this cancer news was to him on a personal level. His self-appointed Head Cheerleader role was, while understandable, truly annoying. And by the end of the episode, Kristina had a well-deserved meltdown and told Adam she needed to just feel scared. This rang painfully true, as it’s just impossible to ALWAYS be a warrior. Kudos to the writers for letting Kristina be not only brave, but also entirely human. If Parenthood is going to do this story, my hope is they make it really real. Show Kristina scared, sick, exhausted. And then show her survive. Please.
As a fellow cancer patient told Kristina, “The bad thing is already happening.”
Meanwhile, Mark and Sarah spent an awful lot of time talking about Hank. It would appear Sarah is starting to obsess, just a wee bit, over her photographer boss. And don’t think Mark hasn’t noticed as he, nicely, asked Sarah if they could talk about something else. Watch out, Mark.
And Sarah, in her preoccupation, decided to railroad Hank into taking a wedding job, even though he has steadfastly refused to shoot any nuptials. Turns out he’s divorced and bitter about the whole “till death do us part” stuff. Since Sarah also has a failed marriage under her belt ( as do a whole whack of middle-aged folk) the two shared a nice moment of understanding. And it highlighted, again, the age difference (and more importantly, the life experience differences) between Mark and Sarah.
And maybe it’s just me, but Ray Romano and Lauren Graham seem to ad lib many of their moments together. If so, it’s working, as their banter has this natural flow and rhythm to it.
Among the more dramatic stories presented in Episode 3, we were still treated to the more ordinary, but deceptively complex Parenthood gems. For instance, Zeek had to re-take his driver’s licence exam, as he somehow forgot to renew it for over a year. Which led to his kids fearing that perhaps their aging Dad was no longer capable of driving. I mean, who forgets, for a year, to renew their licence? As the daughter of an aging Dad, I absolutely related to this moment. When do you step in and say, “You can’t do this anymore” and when do you back off and let the parent remain the independent, capable person they still are? The best part was Zeek passing his re-test with flying colors and his glee at the prospect of rubbing it in his kids’ faces. Proving that no matter his chronological age, Zeek is still a boy at heart. Awesome moment.
All in all, Episode 3 was the strongest of the season, so far. It was almost entirely character-driven, tightly written and with a lot of interaction among the different Bravermans. Everything you ask for.