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Parenthood on NBC: Season 4, Episodes 8 and 9

These past two episodes of Parenthood on NBC have had it all – nearly every Braverman’s plot line has advanced, and we’ve seen less of Hank. I think that’s all about to change, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.One More Weekend with You, Season 4, Episode 8

Episode 8 features a weekend in the life of the Braverman clan. Kristina is about to start chemo, but she’s also agreed to entertain Max’s friend Micah for the weekend. Adam, who will be doing all of the heavy lifting in this situation, is not enthusiastic, but takes on the added responsibility admirably.

Remember the last episode where Drew kind of plays the sympathy card with Amy? Well, it worked. It worked so well that Mark walked in on the two of them getting busy. Mark sees this as a chance to start parenting Drew, but of course Sarah has to insert herself. They have a good conversation about co-parenting, but uh, Mark, don’t count on her end of the bargain.

Jasmine and Crosby are preparing to host a party with parents from Jabbar’s class. This leads to a good old-fashioned fight reminiscent of years past. This time, however, they seem reach a resolution, which is what never happened in the past. Crosby continues to evolve before our very eyes!

Crosby and Jasmine fighting

In Julia and Joel’s world, Sydney is working on adjusting to Victor’s presence. She’s doing typical slighted sibling things, much to Julia and Joel’s surprise. Oh Syd. It’ll get better.

Amber gets an inside peek into Ryan’s world when she invites herself along on a trip to attend a fellow soldier’s funeral. Over the course of the weekend, she learns that this soldier committed suicide, and she sees various ways soldiers react to it.

Amber and Ryan embracing

My favorite scene from this episode is when Adam is on the edge at home – Kristina is sick, Max is throwing a tantrum, Micah’s shaking his head, and baby Nora is crying. Adam scoops up all three kids and goes knocking on Crosby’s door, right in the middle of his grown up party. Adam barges through and then quietly asks Crosby for his pot stash. While he acts offended that Adam assumes he has a stash, he dutifully passes on a joint of the good stuff for his sister-in-law. It’s kind of hilarious. The good news is that Kristina feels much better after she inhales, Micah goes home, and Adam can live to tell the tale.

The episode ends with Ryan apologizing to Amber about how their weekend panned out. Amber then pulls off to the side of the road and they go for a quick moonlit-dip in the Pacific. Oh young love.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Season 4, Episode 9

This episode picks up where we left the Bravermans. Julia is adjusting to life as an at-home mom to two, Crosby continues to morph into a grown up, Adam is being the nurturer, and Amber is learning how to navigate the road with Ryan. Drew’s still back with Amy, and Mark and Sarah are tested to what may very well be their limit.

Remember how Max was elected Student Council president? He’s currently really enjoying using his gavel. This episode opens with him “vetoing” the planning of the annual middle school dance. To the frustration of his faculty adviser, Max isn’t budging on his stance, but it turns out he doesn’t have absolute power. Adam is siding with Max on this, but Kristina has her reasons for wanting him to go.

In Mark and Sarah’s world, Hank makes a return appearance. He never really left, but we’ve seen more of Mark and Sarah at home since they’ve moved in together. Now Hank’s invading. As Mark and Sarah are getting excited about their upcoming weekend in Napa one night and browsing the online site for their hotel, Hank calls completely trashed. Sarah jumps out of bed and makes sure his drunk ass gets home safe. She then learns that Hank’s ex-wife and daughter are moving to Minnesota, and that he can’t stop them. He tells her she’s scheduled a job in LA, and that he’ll go talk to the ex-wife when they’re not working. Sarah reminds him that she’s going out of town for the weekend weekend, but you can see her wheels turning on how to please both Hank and Mark. Oh Sarah. Please make the right choice.

Mark and Sarah Talking

Amber continues to be let into Ryan’s world. Zeek is coaching him on the job interview, and he strongly advises Ryan to downplay his military service. It seems rude until Ryan reports that his interviewer actually asked him if he killed anyone while in Afghanistan. Amber turns to Zeek, and he gives her some reassurance about the situation. This is a really interesting storyline, and one that I hope gets more airtime as the season progresses.

Crosby meets his very cranky next door neighbor, who on several occasions during this episode railroads Amber and interrupts recording sessions. She hates the noise, she hates the cigarette smoke, and she really hates that the musicians are blocking her parking spots. We see the boy in Crosby come out, and then at Julia’s prodding, the man. The cranky neighbor cannot be won over by his gift basket or calm words though. Uh oh.

We finally get a peek into Julia’s world sans billable hours and it’s not pretty. She’s making a lot of homemade pasta and doesn’t appear to be interested in the coffee klatch at the kids’ school. Joel, on the other hand, is entertaining the idea of taking a foreman’s position on a job site. As he gets more excited about the prospect, Julia raises her hackles. In a rare Julia and Joel fight, he articulates what I think a lot of parents feel. He starts ranting about having respect for each other and says, “I knew you could work and still be a parent, and I wish you could pay me that same courtesy.” Wow. Of course Julia eventually apologizes, but I do wonder how this whole Joel-being-the-bread-winner thing will work out for them.

Joel looking sad

This episode wraps up with Adam talking to Max about going to the dance to please Kristina and then Max getting ready to leave for the dance. Adam watches from a distance as Kristina shows Max how to dance with a girl. Her reason for insisting that Max go to his first dance was simple – she simply doesn’t know how much time she has left.

Max and Kristina Braverman Dancing in the living room
Screen caps from NBC.com

So, what did you think about these episodes? Are Amber and Ryan sustainable? Is Crosby really going to be able to run things while Adam tends to Kristina? Is the Luncheonette really at risk of being shut down? Will Sarah really screw things up with Mark to tend to Hank?

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