High tissue alert: The family gathers at the hospital while Zeek is in surgery, and Amber makes a trip to Wyoming to tell Ryan about the baby.

By Michelle Newman
October 10, 2014 at 05:23 AM EDT
Ben Cohen/NBC
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Attention Parenthood fans: It is now safe to open your eyes and resume breathing. Zeek is out of surgery. Out of the woods is another issue entirely, though, and one I fear finding out the answer to, but for now our beloved father figure is okay. Who else needed a few (or 20) tissues after that news? I don’t know about you, but if this is any indication of the kind of emotional anguish that’s in store for us over the next 10 episodes, I might need to medicate. Let’s break down the most poignant moments from “The Waiting Room.”

The night before Zeek’s open heart surgery Millie is blathering about his lovely courtyard hospital room view when all the Braverman kids (plus Amber) show up, apparently for the sole purpose of making the viewers cry. One minute into the show. Well done, Parenthood writers, well done. Zeek is touched and has a moment of clarity: “I’ve got four wonderful kids, nine grandkids, and a great-grandchild on the way.” Whoops. Seems the proud great-grandpa to be spilled the beans about Amber’s pregnancy, but Amber doesn’t care. In fact, she shares her first ultrasound picture with Zeek and wants him to have it. After wondering aloud how Ryan is doing with the realization that he’s going to be a father (Oops! Ryan still doesn’t know!), Zeek promises his granddaughter he’ll be around to hold her baby in his arms and tells her to give the photo to Ryan. They both admit they’re scared and Amber tearfully tells Zeek that “we all get our strength from you.” Three minutes in, four tissues gone.

Zeek and Amber have always had a knack for making us cry, haven’t they? Remember in season 2 after Amber crashed her car and almost died, when Zeek took her to the junkyard to see her totaled car and gave an emotional and moving speech about how he imagined having grandkids when he was in the war? “You do not have permission to mess with my dreams,” he told her, which effectively erased all Zeek’s grumpy old man characteristics and solidified his place in our hearts forever.

The next day Amber shows up at Drew’s dorm room (good to see you, Drew!) and admits she should’ve told him about her pregnancy. Drew totally understands, as usual. Seriously, has anyone ever seen that boy show any emotion other than passiveness? He asks his sister what Ryan thinks about all of this. “OMG, WOULD EVERYONE PLEASE STOP ASKING ABOUT RYAN ALREADY!” Amber shouts. Wait a minute, maybe that was me. When Amber tells Drew that she wants to borrow his car to drive to Wyoming to tell Ryan face-to-face, he insists on going with her. Of course he does. You know what this means? PREGNANCY ROAD TRIP! Cruising to Wyoming in the convertible Pontiac, the two siblings have one of their typical conversations that go nowhere and mean nothing, but they decide to play “I spy,” so that’s fun. You know what I spy? A PREGNANT WOMAN NOT WEARING A SEAT BELT.

When they arrive at Ryan’s run-down house in Wyoming, they find it’s as big of a mess on the inside as Ryan clearly still is. Ryan is obviously confused what the wonder kids are doing on his doorstep, but Amber clears things up quickly. “I’m pregnant,” she tells an immediately happy and supportive Ryan. Really, did anyone expect any less from him? Yeah, apparently Amber did. She’s surprised—and wary—at his reaction, but wants to stay and give things a go with him. Well, that was quick.

Drew won’t hear of Amber staying in Wyoming. The two have an argument where they talk over each other (as usual) and Drew accuses Ryan of being like their dad (bingo!) and Amber of using the baby to try and change Ryan, but Amber is adamant about staying. However, when she asks Ryan about his pill use (or abuse) and he tells her that he’s just right then decided it’s time to get clean, she has a change of heart and tearfully tells him that while she believes in him, he has a lot of work to do before he can do this whole parenthood thing with her. It’s heartbreaking, but brave. Looks like Amber may be following in her mother’s footsteps in more ways than one after all.

NEXT: Waiting room brought to you by Twizzlers

Meanwhile, Zeek is checking into the hospital the day before his surgery and is instructed to remove his wedding band. He won’t hear of it and tells the orderly that “it’s my last night with my wife, so I’m gonna keep my ring.” Last night? LAST NIGHT? STOP IT, ZEEK. The next day all four kids show up to wish him well before he’s wheeled to surgery. I’ll be honest, I was expecting a lot more emotion from the team. When it finally comes time to take off his ring, he hands it to Millie and starts to cry. “I’m scared, Millie,” he says as they wheel him into surgery. Blindsided by Zeek! Pass the tissues. Millie’s emotions finally get the better of her after they take him away, but in true Millie form her breakdown only lasts about four seconds before she pulls herself together. Seriously, I cried longer and harder when I gave myself a paper cut yesterday.

In the waiting room, the gang is a bit self-absorbed and trying to distract themselves. Crosby is watching a baseball game, Adam is trying to be the voice of reason (although he’s sounding a lot like the voice of doom), Millie clearly is expecting Zeek to die on the table, and Sarah and Julia are discussing Julia’s dreamy new boyfriend. [Sidenote: Julia’s new boyfriend, Chris (Cody Ryan McLaughlin), is apparently an old boyfriend from law school.] When Julia’s associate brings her a briefcase from Chris—with a brief she needs to look over—she opens it to discover a “waiting room survival kit” containing all her favorite things, including giant bags of Twizzlers. Julia thinks she likes him. Sarah thinks she likes him. The Twizzler marketing department really likes him.

Later, Joel calls Julia at the hospital and offers his care and support. She finally tells him their relationship is just too hard and confusing, and that she’s seeing someone. You should’ve sent Twizzlers, dude.

Zeek’s doctor later comes out and tells the family that the surgery went well and that there were no complications, but that they’ll just have to wait and see how he responds. After some hugging and tears (running out of tissues over here!) the family goes to recovery to see him, and Millie puts Zeek’s wedding ring back on his finger while all four of their children watch the emotional scene through the window. Good news, right? RIGHT? Then why am I so scared?

Other things that happened that did not require tissues:

–Hank’s belligerent teenage daughter, Ruby, steals a lipstick when shopping with Sarah. When Sarah tells Hank about it, he’s despondent. When Hank tells Ruby’s mom, Sandy, about it, she’s enraged. “She needs a father!” she yells at him and accuses him of not spending time with Ruby and passing the troubled teen off to Sarah, who she then prohibits Hank from allowing Ruby to spend time with. The whole family is a real treat. Sarah needs to escape. Paging Dr. Carl!

–Crosby has a motorcycle accident after zooming off in anger from the hospital after a heated phone call with Luncheonette client Oliver Rome, who once again is causing problems. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of his accident was, as he ended up hobbling back in later. Seriously, as he was zooming around the bends in the curvy road and crossing the double lines, I expected that to end much, much differently.

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