This week, the Braverman clan is forced to deal with the various crisises that dropped out of left field last week, along with a few new unsettling events. As the episode opened with Max planning his middle school vending machine purchases, only to discover that the vending machine has been removed, things are clearly not OK in Bravermanland.
While the vending machine issue clearly isn’t the focus of the episode, it’s a pretty good barometer of how the grownups are feeling about things.
Adam and Kristina
At the end of last week’s episode, Kristina discovered that she has breast cancer. This week, the Braverman’s are starting to see specialists, and Kristina makes a new friend, Gwen, along the way. As she starts working her way through the maze of terminology, doctors and treatment options, she discovers that she needs to be in the driver’s seat. That Adam, while supportive, can’t be the one making the decisions at the moment. Really, this is a good thing, since he’s clearly going to have to help Max navigate the fact that he cannot buy Skittles from the vending machine that no longer exists. Also, he’s got to run things at the studio. So it’s good that Kristina’s taking ownership, right?
I’m not making this heading Sarah and Mark, because Mark is appearing more inconsequential each week. Sarah’s still dealing with Hank, her cranky boss. Mark does help her work through the parts of her job that bother her, most of which revolve around Hank’s moodiness. Hank is eventually receptive to her observations, which is weird, and that’s all I have to say about that. The fact that they photographed a wedding together, when he normally refuses weddings is not foreshadowing. The fact that when Mark asked to talk about something other than Hank, Sarah didn’t have anything else to say, is not foreshadowing. I repeat, Hank is not to become competition for Mark.
Amber gets her own paragraph this week because Julia and Crosby weren’t really involved in this episode. Adam lashes out at Amber as things start to fall apart at the studio while he juggles his home life. Parallel to Sarah talking to Mark about Hank, Amber talks to Crosby about Adam. Amber’s conversation with Adam prompts him to say the words out loud, the words “Kristina is sick.” This is when I realized that Adam and Kristina haven’t told anyone about her diagnosis.
Zeek and Camille
You know what is awesome? Hearing your grandpa saying, “Goddamn crap hell!” as he’s getting pulled over by the police. All we really see of Victor, Sydney and Jabbar this episode is in the altercation with the police. As Zeek is driving the grandkid carpool, he gets pulled over by the police. Being Zeek, of course, he mouths off to the officer, and ends up getting taken into custody. Can you picture Adam, Julia, and Crosby picking up their kids at the station? Yeah. It went just like that.
The Braverman siblings have once of those all-four conversations, where they plan an intervention about Zeek’s driving. Because what does every Gen-X adult need? An aging Baby-Boomer parent to care for, along with their own careers and their kids. As the episode goes on, the kids do convince Zeek to get his license renewed, and for some reason, he’s nervous about it. I couldn’t really figure out what the that problem was- the heart medication? Just nerves? Just the fact that he was unaware that his license was expired? Who knows. Camille remains very supportive of him, helps him study, and goes with him to renew his license.
The good news is that Zeek can drive again! Oh- and Max has a plan of action for his vending machine dilemma. He’s going to run for student council and lobby to get the machine back.