The show opens at Julia and Joel’s, with Sydney and Victor raiding Julia’s closet as Syd is saying, “This is where they hid them last year.” When Julia and Joel gently remind the kids that Santa won’t bring anything for snoops, Victor announces that Santa isn’t real. This is news to Sydney, and you can see a part of Julia die a little inside.
In Amber’s loft, the season is merry and bright. She and Ryan are making cookies, and he tells her that he’s not going home to Wyoming for Christmas. He doesn’t seem thrilled at the prospect of hanging out with the Braverman clan, but Amber doesn’t pick up on the reason.
Sarah is back at Camille and Zeek’s, lamenting over her life. Drew breezes through, off to Amy’s house.
At Adam’s house, Kristina looks under the weather, while Adam’s on the phone with Haddie. She’s stranded in the airport, and isn’t sure when she’ll be able to get a flight. (It’s December 23rd. Haven’t classes been done for at least a week?) Kristina shares with Adam that she knows she’s gone overboard, but that she wants this to be “the best Christmas in their entire lives.”
We get a quick glance at Jabar, Jasmine and Crosby — they are looking picturesque, snug on the couch, and making plans to go cut down their own tree on Christmas Eve (does anyone wait that long anymore?).
In the middle of the night, Kristina takes a turn for the worse, and Adam calls Crosby to watch the kids while he takes Kristina to the hospital. It’s interesting how close these brothers have grown this season; in previous years, I think Adam would have called nearly anyone else. As Adam is giving orders to Crosby, he mentions not to tell anyone, especially their parents, that Kristina’s in the hospital. Of course, once Max knows, Crosby doesn’t need to tell anyone. Zeek drops by the house, and then beelines toward the hospital once he knows. When he arrives, Adam is less than civil toward him.
Max starts making demands on Crosby, it’s Christmas Eve and they must go to the mall. The mall is the last place the Crosby Braverman family planned to be, but Jasmine and Jabar go along for the ride.
At the mall, we find Sarah dressed as an elf. She’s a very cranky elf, and Hank actually comes off as the people person in this scenario.
Meanwhile, Kristina goes into septic shock, but before she loses consciousness, she tells Adam there’s a file on her computer for the kids. At some point, Zeek returns, and brings things for Adam, including the computer. Adam apologizes to Zeek for his behavior earlier.
As the episode goes on, Amber finds out about what happened to Ryan on the job site from Julia. She encourages him to go talk to Joel, and he takes her car to do so. He then goes off the grid. He returns later, a bit drunk, with her car damaged. They fight, and he stomps off.
Sarah and Hank enjoy drinks at the bar in the mall, and end up in bed together. As they are having an awkward-afterglow moment, Sarah’s phone rings and she learns about Kristina. This is the out she needs to remove herself from Hank’s house.
We then have one of those ensemble moments, where most of the cast is present, and in this case, opening presents. Zeek tells the kids the story of how he met Santa, which enamors Sydney and Jabar, but Max and Victor are still skeptical. Crosby and Jasmine have a quite moment outside, with Nora on Jasmine’s lap. They have a conversation about having another baby, and it looks like things are very good between the two of them, despite the change in their quiet Christmas-for-three plans.
Hank knocks on the door, and makes amends for their very awkward after-the-afterglow moment. Huh.
Back at the hospital, Adam is still by Kristina’s side. He watches her video, where she talks to each of their kids, telling them that she loves them and that she’ll always be by their side. It made me have feelings. Adam watches with tears streaming down his cheeks. He then bows his head and clasps his hands and prays the way a man prays when his wife appears to be dying.
Back at the Braverman Christmas Eve gathering, Ryan texts Amber that he’s outside. He apologizes profusely, and tells her that he will do whatever it takes. Amber’s response takes Ryan by surprise — she talks about how she’s watched her mom throw everything she had into her dad, to no avail. She tells him they need some time apart. It’s kind of heartbreaking.
Kristina wakes up before the episode ends. Adam makes the call, and all fourteen Bravermans trek to the hospital to see her. They run into Santa in the hallway, and he asks Victor if he liked his new shoes. The smile on his face said that maybe he believes, at least a little bit. Zeek brings a gift basket to the nurse’s station, and thanks her for not seeing what she’s seeing as they file by. The episode ends with Haddie walking in, and giving Kristina a hug.
Oh, Parenthood. The previews featuring “Silent Night” and the lyrics, “Sleep in heavenly peace?” Not reassuring. But logic did tell me that they wouldn’t kill Kristina off on the Christmas episode. Whether Ryan can find his place in civilian life, and maybe in Amber’s life remains to be seen. What did you think? Is letting Ryan go the best thing for Amber? Is sleeping with Hank the best thing for Sarah? Will there be another Braverman baby? So many questions for 2013!