Last night’s episode of Parenthood will have to tide us over, at least for a while. Elections tend to put the kibosh on regularly scheduled programming. Fortunately, this episode was sweet enough to last, but many questions remain unanswered.
Some of the nicest moments came from Crosby. Desperate to show big brother Adam how helpful he could be during Kristina’s surgery, he volunteered to take new puppy Otis to the dog park and to pick up Kristina’s favorite take-out meal the night before her breast cancer surgery. Unfortunately for both Crosby and Otis, he screwed up the dog thing and let Otis bother a large husky/malamute type dog. As big dogs tend to come out of these encounters the winners, it was no surprise to see Crosby show up to the house late, not only with the take-out bags, but also with poor Otis wearing one of those dreaded plastic collar/cones that vets hand out to prevent licking wounds.
All was redeemed for Crosby when he gave Kristina a hug, and whispered, “Do good work tomorrow.” Kristina just closed her eyes and smiled; another classically quiet, lovely, perfect Parenthood moment. In the midst of screw-ups and chaos, love trumps.
Speaking of screw-ups, Sarah, in her guilty-conscience-over-kissing-Hank haste to move in with Mark, neglected to consider how the change affected Drew. Moping around, and refusing to pack, Drew finally confessed to his mom that he just didn’t want to move again, especially not during his senior year of school. Worst of all, Mark doesn’t have CABLE!
By the end of the episode, though, Drew and Sarah hash it out and Drew agreed to give the new living arrangements a try. Mark, being the decent guy he is, also installed cable and promptly became addicted to never-ending channel selections.
While this little storyline was a bit rushed, it actually illustrated a couple pretty important points. First, that Sarah is torn between two pretty good, stand-up guys. There’s just no bad guy in this triangle. More importantly, though, Hank was only in one scene last night and that, more than anything, definitively proved to me the already great strength of this new character. I truly missed his presence. More Hank!
Moving much slower is the Amber/Ryan potential romance. But how adorable is this pair? Ryan showed up at The Luncheonette and in the most nerdy, awkward, totally charming way asked Amber out. Things continued in this bumbling fashion after their first date, when at Amber’s door, Ryan refused her invitation to come inside and instead shook her hand and left. HORROR.
He completely redeemed himself the next day, when he showed up to her door again, this time with flowers. Amber straight up asked him if he liked her or not and he admitted that yes, he sure does like her, but confessed he’s terrified of screwing it up and asked if they can take things slow.
(So, seriously, where are all these awesome men in real life? That’s really what I’m taking away from this episode.)
Speaking of wonderful men, Adam continued to be a rock for Kristina as she faced her cancer surgery. Refusing to leave Kristina’s side, even when they learned Max’s school elections were to be held the same day. That’s a tough choice for a husband/parent.
But Haddie, who is truly growing up in the face of her Mom’s cancer (and even offered to take a semester off school to help out at home), came to the rescue and was there for Max as he gave his speech to the student body. In fact, Maddie gave Max his inspiration, calling him “tenacious”. And sure enough, Max won over his class by defining his tenacity and how it would benefit them. Moreover, he, in simple terms, explained Asperger’s to them and ended by saying, “It (Asperger’s) is my greatest strength.” What a golden moment and it culminated with Max winning the election. As Adam said to Kristina, “Our son is President. God help us all.”
Less great was Kristina’s after-surgery biopsy news. Apparently, her cancer was more aggressive than thought and it had also spread to one of her lymph nodes. Further treatment will be in her future. The viewer understood the seriousness of this when her surgeon gave her his personal cell phone number. This was a difficult scene to watch, with Adam struggling to process the information, and Kristina just looking terrified and so, so sad.
When they got back home, however, they put on their bravest faces and outright lied to Haddie. Unwilling to let her stay home from college, they told their daughter Kristina got a clean bill of health and she could get back to school. I actually hated this part of the episode and I felt the worst for Haddie. Because when she inevitably learns the truth, not only will she feel renewed fear for her mom, ALL OVER AGAIN, but she will feel betrayed by those she trusts most to tell her the truth.
Like I said, there are many quiet cliff hangers waiting for us when Parenthood returns.