New Show Recap: Parenthood Episode 5.1: “It Has to Be Now”

Parenthood is back! The season ended so long ago last spring, it took me a few minutes to remember where things left off. But the Bravermans and all of their drama are back, at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

Season five opens with Jasmine and Crosby picking out car seats for the baby that is close to arriving. They are debating names, partially because of Crosby’s sordid past and his association with every name suggested. As they chat, Jasmine announces that “this is it.” Jasmine give birth to a beautifully fussy little girl — one who doesn’t get named until the very end of the episode. As the baby cries in every scene, tension grows between Jasmine and Crosby. We start to see glimpses of arguments past, and it’s clear they both need to sleep. In a lighter moment, Crosby rolls by Adam’s house, and instructs him to hop in. Adam gives Crosby a pep talk, and as Crosby drives away, I think Adam sees that his little brother is transitioning out of the man-child phase.

Amber and Sarah cringe at the baby's crying at Crosby's house
Pro Tip: Don’t invite your entire clan over at once days after your wife has a baby.

We see Sarah Braverman alone, in her new job as a superintendent of an apartment building. She laments to Amber that Drew is being distant. She’s not currently dating anyone, even though Hank is back from Minnesota. Amber eventually asks Drew to pay attention to their mother, and when he shows up with pizza, Sarah is delighted.

Adam and Kristina are still reveling in Kristina’s breast cancer remission. On impulse, Adam makes a midnight call to Zeek to arrange for overnight babysitting so that he and Kristina can go to funkytown. When Bob Little, the political candidate who attempted to seduce Amber last season, comes knocking on Kristina’s door, Adam is not pleased. When Little asks Kristina to manage his mayoral campaign, Kristina starts to think of another approach. At the end of the episode, we see Kristina after she’s filed her petition so that she herself can run for mayor.

Julia and Joel are still searching to find themselves and steady employment at the opening of the episode. Julia’s former employer isn’t making it easy for her to get hired anywhere else in town, and she’s feeling less than accomplished as a stay-at-home mom. Joel gets the news that he’s been awarded a huge contract that will keep his crew busy for two years. Something tells me that the person who awarded Joel that contract will be around some more this season, and something tells me that Julia will not be pleased about this.

Because he just can’t stay away, Hank is around, and he’s being helpful to Max. He plants the idea in Adam’s head that Max has an eye for photography, and once again alludes to the fact that he knows a lot about autism. Max is growing into a teen and venturing out on his own a little bit. The entire reason he was able to go see Hank is because it’s “within his radius.” Which is very much a Max kind of thing.

Max visits Hank's photo studio with his broken camera

The game changer scene in this episode, is, of course, the closing scene — it’s music, it’s faded audio, it’s emotion on the screen… and then it all comes to fruition. Throughout the episode, Amber has been lamenting her relationship with Ryan. He’s been called back up into the armed forces and was deployed overseas again. Their separation has been hard, and she has doubts. That all changes when his unit returns home. As they reunite, he gets down on one knee and proposes right there in the gym.

The first episode of Parenthood this season was a good one, and it promises more good things to come. What did you think? Does Amber have a future with Ryan? Will Crosby’s daughter help him find his groove? Will Julia find her place and will Joel remain the steadfast rock he’s alway been?

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