This week’s episode of NBC’s Parenthood resolved Haddie’s drama, introduced John Corbett as Sarah’s ex-husband, and put the spotlight on Crosby & Jasmine’s fragile relationship. In a somewhat undramatic fashion,
Haddie moves back home. She’d been at her grandparents house, after her parents forbade her to see her love interest, Alex. While at grandma’s, Alex won’t actually see her, since she still doesn’t have her parents permission, and when grandma suggests she go home, Haddie starts to see the light. When she goes home, her parents are greatly relieve, and you can tell Haddie is too. She wants her parents to give her guidance and rules, but she also wants a part in the process. They agree on the terms upon which she can see Alex, and Adam seals the deal with Alex with a handshake.
Meanwhile, Drew and Amber take the news in that their father, Seth (played by John Corbett) is in town. Drew meets with him for lunch, and Seth invites him to the show he’s playing in town. When Sarah finds out that Seth is in town, and that Drew has seen him without her permission, she becomes unglued. It becomes clear that Amber, the older sibling, either remembers or has picked up on what happened between her parents, and why her father is toxic, while Drew hasn’t been paying that much attention. Sarah reminds Drew that he’s not to see Seth without her permission, because she needs to see if Seth is currently under the influence and safe to be around. Amber offers to take Drew to the concert he’d like to go to, to save Sarah from having to do it. Sarah still visits Seth in his hotel, to see how he’s doing and make sure he understands what he’s doing. As she leaves, she very calmly says, “If you hurt them again, I will kill you.” I’m pretty sure he believes her.
This whole story line, did a great job of illustrating the messiness of break ups when children are involved. And even though Sarah’s dated other men, and making her own way in the world, it’s obvious that Seth pulls her toward him. To make it more difficult, Sarah’s kids are now old enough to make their own decisions regarding how they are going to interact with their father. In the background of these scenes you see Zeek, who’s clearly seen the damage Seth has done to his daughter and her family. There are some tense scenes, and as the episode winds down, a tender scene between Sarah and Zeek. Just like Sarah has no control over how Drew & Amber interact with Seth, Zeek has no control over what Sarah will choose to do.
As all of this is happening, Crosby and Jasmine begin to make preparations for their wedding. At the direction of Jasmine’s mother, the two go to a premarital counseling session at her mother’s church. There Crosby begins to realize that in a lot of ways, Jasmine is calling the shots. As the Reverend is asking them both questions, Jasmine answers. When they begin to talk about their future, it becomes clear they haven’t talked much about mutual goals and aspirations. When Crosby then walks in to Jasmine and her mother planning a reception for 150 people in September, rather than 40 people in October, he realizes there’s a problem. It comes to a head when Crosby has an opinion about loading the dishwasher and Jasmine disagrees. There’s a lot of screaming, her removal of her engagement ring, and Crosby leaving.
Like real life arguments about the dishwasher, it’s never really about the dishwasher. It’s about not being heard, it’s about carrying more than your fair load of the responsibility, it’s about making a decision when your partner is apathetic toward something. It’s never really about the bowls going on the bottom rack or the top rack.
The episode left two interesting plot lines in flux – will Seth be able to have a relationship with his estranged family? Will Zeek let him try? Will Crosby stick with Jasmine (and vice versa) to work on their relationship? Or will he live up to his reputation as a screw-up and jump ship?