Oh my, fellow Parenthood fans. Last night, I was ready to settle into the show I’d been looking forward to all week, and instead, I got weather. My local NBC affiliate felt last night’s storm was too dangerous to go with mere cut-ins during commercial breaks, so they chose instead not to run the season finale of Parenthood. WTH?
This morning I woke up bright and early and tried to watch on NBC.com, but I was having trouble loading it. So I turned to Hulu, and I was finally in business.
If you haven’t watched it yet, beware: there are spoilers. Also, get tissues. Lots of them.
Parenthood is one of the few shows left with a real theme song and opening montage. There’s usually an opening scene, then the opening credits. This episode’s opening scene played longer (I felt), and it picked up right where last week’s cliffhanger left off. Last week, Amber was struck in a car accident, tonight’s episode opens with Sarah getting the phone call. All Bravermens gather in the hospital waiting room, and Drew’s seen calling his dad and leaving messages. Jasmine walks in, ignoring Crosby, but she is clearly welcomed by the rest of the family. It’s intense, and then Max announces that he’s done waiting and he’s ready for pancakes. Adam tells him that it’s time to be patient, that everyone’s waiting for Amber. Max replies that he doesn’t care about Amber, and then Zeek starts yelling. Kristina removes Max from the situation. The doctors come and give the report on Amber: she’s going to be fine. Sarah and Drew go into see her.The relief that Amber is OK is palpable, and with that news, the opening credits finally roll. Amber looks a mess, but she’s going to be just fine.
As with any good finale, this episode wraps up every storyline and introduces a few new ones.
As Jasmine leaves the Bravermens at the hospital, Crosby reveals his plans. He holds up the picture the Jasmine drew during a premarital counseling session, the one where she drew a picture of their house. She resists his pleas to come and see what he’s done.
Back at home, Adam talks to Max about the scene at the hospital over his long-awaited pancakes. Adam is very calm, and you see how far he’s come in understanding how Max ticks. He explains to Max about empathy, and tells him that his Asperger’s makes empathy hard for him. Adam tells Max he should apologize to Aunt Sarah, and while Max doesn’t agree, you can tell he’s thinking about it.
While Julia is leaving the hospital after Amber’s accident, a former teacher of Sydney’s sees her. This teacher, Grace, is in hard labor and her husband is unable to be reached because he’s in court. Grace wrangles Julia into the delivery room and she’s there while Grace is screaming her head off. When Julia returns home, and during a delightful family-of-three tea party, she tells Joel that she’s OK with not having more babies.
Kristina tells Adam that Max needs a new (expensive) retainer, and oh yeah, she’s taken Haddie to the gynecologist, and that she’s now on the Pill. Adam is still uncomfortable with the whole Haddie-getting-it-on concept, and Kristina sympathizes.
Sarah’s play is in readings, with Zeek staring as himself. It’s funny to see her family played by actors – everyone in her family is represented. At a reading, Sarah tells Zeek that she’s scared for Amber, that she doesn’t know how to get through to her. Her attempt at getting Amber to see the seriousness of the accident, and that Gary (the driver) now is being charged with a DUI didn’t go as she had hoped.
Crosby makes another attempt with Jasmine. This time, he gives a heartfelt apology and sets her free.
Adam attempts to work with Max in finding his retainer, and the talking escalates. Max asks a touching question – he asks Adam if he’s mad at him because he has Asperger’s. This brings Adam back to earth, and he says no, he’s not mad about that, not ever.
Zeek then takes Amber to the junkyard where Gary’s car is. He shows her the car, and while she’s looking, he tells her a story. He tells her that while he was in Vietnam, what got him through was the dream of having a family. The dream of having children and grandchildren gave him a purpose. He tells her that he dreamed her, and her cousins, and that she has no right to wreck his dreams. It’s incredibly heartfelt, and if it doesn’t make you cry, nothing will. It’s the kind of speech that makes insecure Amber secure – it’s a clear declaration of his love and acceptance of her.
In kind of a random scene, Adam yells at Corey, his new hippie boss. Corey had fired the artistic director, and Adam gives him a speech about Corey being young and cool and Adam being old and sucking. A few days later, Corey lets Adam go. Adam, after years of dedication to the shoe company, is now unemployed.
The entire Bravermen clan gathers for the public reading of Sarah’s play. Amber makes amends with her brother, Alex declares his love for Haddie to Adam, and Max apologizes to Sarah. During the reading, Amber rushes out of the theater, with Sarah close behind. She apologizes to Sarah for everything, and there is finally resoltion between the two of them.
After the play, Julia goes to visit Grace and baby in the hospital. Joel brings Jasmine to Crosby’s house and tells him to try again. Who put Sydney to bed is unclear, let’s assume it was Grandma. Crosby begins to show Jasmine the house and they are talking. Back the the Julia Braverman house, Julia shares with Joel that she’s “not done.” After visiting Grace’s baby in the hospital, she’s thinking about adoption, and wondering if that’s something that Joel would be interested in doing. Because he’s pretty much perfect, Joel says yes.
Adam comes home late after the play reading (it’s not clear why he’s not home with the rest of the family), and has to face Kristina about his unemployment. He makes a desperate attempt to find Max’s retainer and in the trash he finds a positive pregnancy test. Adam storms in the house, ready to kill Alex for knocking up his sixteen-year-old daughter. Kristina interrupts him, and tells him that it’s hers – she’s the one who’s pregnant. Adam is in shock, happy shock. Max calls down the stairs and says he’s found his retainer.
And Adam and Kristina, newly unemployed, with a sixteen-year-old and a nine-year-old, are having a baby. And Season Two is over.
I was glad so many characters got attention in the episode, and that next season (assuming there is one) there are many new story lines to explore.Amber needs a purpose. Julia and Joel have a lot of paperwork and decisions to make. Haddie is still navigating her first love. Kristina is pregnant. Adam’s unemployed. Crosby and Jasmine are looking like they are back together. Sarah’s play needs to be produced.
Screen shot from NBC.com