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New Show Recap: Parenthood 5.09, “Election Day”

The tension of Election Day is vibrating through the Braverman family this week, though not everyone is running for mayor. Amber and Ryan are on edge, Julia and Joel may have gone over the edge, and Crosby’s dirty little secret comes out.

A still from "Parenthood" episode 5.09 of Amber singing.For weeks, Amber has been on edge with Ryan. Something isn’t quite right, and it seems that as Sarah has backed off, Amber is more on alert for things that may not be right in her relationship. This week Ryan is edgy and annoyed that she’s spending time at the studio and not with him. Amber finds pills in his drawer, and while he denies using them, she notes that the prescription is only two weeks old. Things come to a head when Amber records a guide track at the studio, and the band decides they’d like to use her track on the song. Ryan calls after she’s had a couple of drinks, and he’s clearly annoyed at the situation. While he scores points for coming to pick her up, things are destroyed when he gets into a fight with the band. Their story closes at the police station, where Amber runs to Zeek in tears. Oh Amber.

Julia and Joel are equally, if not more, stressed than poor Amber. Election day is Victor’s first day back in the fourth grade. First off, let me say, this should not be happening. I get that it works for the plot, but just know those changes happen at the very beginning of the school year, and typically the kid would get sent to a different school. Because, sheesh, talk about damaging. ANYWAY. Julia is still stressing out, and Joel has decided to make it all about him. Which is weird and un-Joel like. But he doesn’t like the texting that Ed and Julia have been doing, and he’s sensing that they are becoming close. Julia clearly doesn’t get the boundaries that happen when your spouse has a day job. Joel seems to think it’s all about his working, which isn’t exactly true. Ugh. Their situation stresses me out.

Crosby continues his role of “comic relief” this season — while agreeing with Jasmine how moving it was to vote for President Obama in 2008, it turns out he’s never voted in any kind of election. Granted, he’s spent most of his adult life drunk on a houseboat, but still. He tries to cover when he takes Jabar to vote by announcing that he’s voting publicly (announcing his mayoral choice to the poll worker), which of course, backfires. He ends up paying another voter to promise to vote for Kristina.

Another humorous story line this week was Max taking interest in Hank’s teen daughter, Ruby. For starters, the fact that they are named Max and Ruby made me laugh (see: books by Rosemary Wells). As Hank watches Max interact with Ruby, and Ruby’s response, he tries to step in to make it a little less painful for Max. He goes to Sarah, who points out that telling Ruby to “pretend” to be Max’s girlfriend really does no one any favors. Hank then has a good (one-sided) conversation with Max, which Max thanks him for. That evening, at the Election Day party, Max runs into Drew and his non-girlfriend, Natalie, and the interaction is classic Max.

Kristina and Adam have spent Election Day together, and their feelings are all over the place as they talk to voters, get poll results and interact with each other. In the end, Kristina concedes to Bob Little (ew). Right after conceding, she meets the woman from the first debate who was struggling to find the right placement for her daughter with special needs. Kristina has a heart warming conversation with them, and it makes me think that she will end up on the school board or in the role of an advocate some how.

What do you think? Will Amber say good-bye to Ryan? Will she end up with the band member making puppy dog eyes at her? Will Julia and Joel get through this rough patch? Also, for fans of the music made at the Luncheonette, there’s a Tumblr for that.

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