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'Parenthood' Review: "You Can't Always Get What You Want"


Maybe you can’t always get what you want, but a Hank and Sarah-heavy episode of Parenthood is pretty good.  And with this episode, we saw just how deep Sarah is sinking with her boss.

First, let’s get out of the way some of the lesser moments of the episode. While this was another high-quality outing, there were a few clunker moments. I know I’m just a broken record at this point, but  could someone PLEASE give Joel and Julia a real storyline?  Or at least make Julia less of a whiner?  As a newly minted stay-at-home Mom, Julia is struggling to make the shift from high-powered career woman to minivan-driving soccer mom. And when Joel gets a fantastic, you’d-be-crazy-to-turn-this-down job offer, Julia goes off on him for not putting the family first. Say WHAT? This from the woman who has happily let Joel be the househusband for years?  And to a guy that has supported all her career aspirations, and her desire to expand their family by adopting Victor, even when he had reservations?  Get outta town, Julia. Not only does this make zero sense from a continuity standpoint, but it also further bolsters my belief that Julia, without question, is the expendable Braverman. 

Adam is a much better Braverman.  But again, he’s relegated to “supportive” role as we get further into Kristina’s cancer storyline.  That’s a shame, as it would be cool to watch Adam get his own front and center issues. Regardless, with this episode the cancer developments were quieter, which proved a nice change of pace as cancer treatment really is about getting through daily life, too. Unfortunately, it also dipped dangerously close to the overly-trite territory. Case in point:  Kristina decided Max had to attend his school dance, even though he clearly had no desire to go. But with a stereotypical tear-in-her-eye and a quiver in her voice, Kristina bravely tells Adam she doesn’t know how much time she has and she doesn’t want to miss any of the milestones.  So Adam, being the dutiful husband, tells Max he’s going to attend, for his mother’s sake. Which on the one hand is rather sweet.  But it’s also sort of ridiculous, particularly when you consider how Kristina has always parented Max up to this point. Going forward, I hope the writers are more careful to avoid this becoming a cheesy movie-of-the-week,  filled with the  ‘heartwarming’ clichés and easy resolutions to life’s little problems. Until last night, they’ve tackled this cancer storyline with real guts, so hopefully this was just a one-off.

But all is forgiven with the Hank/Mark/Sarah triangle as the best storyline of the season got even better.  Hank calls Sarah, plastered drunk, to come pick him up and without question or pause, Sarah gets out of bed to do just that. And the look on Mark’s face when she so readily agreed to go on a late-night fetch for her boss was pitch-perfect.  Absolutely no words were needed to see the dread Mark feels regarding Sarah’s growing closeness to her boss. 

And when Sarah delivers Hank to his loft, the deepening bond between the two is so evident and palpable that any fool can see Mark has good reason to worry.  In fact, at work the next morning, Sarah comments to Hank, “So why’d you call me?”  To which Hank replies, “Why’d you answer?”   They know they’re more than just boss/employee. They’re just not ready yet to define exactly what ‘it’ is.

But the common ground Hank and Sarah have as worried single parents, the shared sense of humor and the truly funny back and forth sparring, the obvious physical chemistry….KABOOM.  It’s only a matter of time before they act on this thing they have going.

And it only got worse for Mark as Sarah tried to back out of their long-planned weekend away;  in order to fly to L.A. with Hank.  Ostensibly it’s business, but really, it’s moral support for her boss as he tries to work out visitations with his daughter and ex-wife.  Hank seems to truly need Sarah and I don’t think she  can resist that temptation. And I think Mark knows it, too, as he finally tells Sarah he’s had enough and to just forget their weekend away. As he storms out of their apartment, we’re left wondering where this leaves them as a couple. Will they work this out? Probably in the short-term, but there’s no doubt the issue of Sarah’s strong pull towards Hank remains.  Which makes me a very happy viewer.

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