Parenthood recap: 'Lean In'
Joel and Julia find a common ground regarding the state of their marriage, and Zeek has a potentially life-changing moment.
After last week’s mostly uneventful episode, where most of Team Braverman was noticeably absent (stupid contract stipulations), it was a relief to have (most of) our favorite players back in the game and get back to some good stuff, wasn’t it? Well, except for Max’s storyline, which, thankfully, found some closure this week. Let me be clear, I think Max Burkholder is an amazing little actor. Truly, to be able to make so many people so irate each week takes real talent (and by “people,” I may or may not be talking about those actually on the show). But, much like Hank, the Dylan storyline has grown old and tiresome, hasn’t it? We want more Sarah! We want more Zeek! We want some progress on the whole Joel and Julia fiasco! Wishes granted, but first let’s slog through the hassle with Max and Dylan. Quickly. You’re welcome.
Kristina continues to ignore Dylan’s pleas that Max is harassing her and forces the two to work together on a project. While badgering her about why she doesn’t like him, Max grabs Dylan, who freaks out. As you would when being physically assaulted.
A. immediately removes Max from the scene and apologizes to Dylan, later suspending Max from school
B. assures the other parents that Chambers Academy will not tolerate bullying and harassment
C. shrugs her shoulders and makes excuses for Max
I think you all know the answer. Sigh.
Dylan’s parents aren’t settling for excuses, however, and they are incensed to discover that Max has been harassing Dylan for over a week. Giving voice to many, many of last week’s commenters on this here recap, they yell at Kristina for not disciplining Max for his offenses. (I could imagine all who commented standing up and cheering as this scene played out. Was I right?) Suddenly, Adam shows up out of nowhere. “I’m sorry your daughter is uncomfortable …” he begins. Uncomfortable? UNCOMFORTABLE? He calls BS on Max getting physical with Dylan and loudly accuses her mother and father of being absentee parents. “You only see through the eyes of your son, obviously,” they spit at Adam. I hope all of you didn’t sit down, just to have to stand and cheer again.
Dylan and her parents finally get apologies from Kristina and Max (after Adam and Kristina have another involved discussion with him about that whole confusing “scale of affection”) and for all intents and purposes we’re supposed to believe that this story line—this story line that has taken up about 75 percent of the last few episodes—is all wrapped up and tied neatly with a bow. I call foul. Foul that the parents so easily accepted Max’s abrupt apology, foul that they didn’t expect one from Adam, and foul that after knowing how headmaster Braverman “handled” the horrible and frightening situation they’d be so quick to entrust her with their daughter again.
Moving on from one infuriating teen to another; let’s talk about Ruby. Actually, let’s talk about Sarah, but as usual, Sarah’s story line is all wrapped up in Ruby’s. Thankfully for all of us viewers (and for Hank, Sandy, and Sarah), Ruby is the good witch this week and very excited to play the part of “Sandy” in her school’s production of Grease. When Sandy, Hank, and Sarah are waiting for the show to start, Sarah’s old fiancee, Mark Cyr (Jason Ritter) appears on stage and makes eye contact with Sarah. Awkward! After seeing their uncomfortable interaction after the show, Hank jumps to the conclusion that there still might be something there and lays his heart out on the line for Sarah … in Hank style (bumbling his words and with little eye contact). He tells her that she’s the best thing that ever happened to him and that he’s working on communicating with her. Aww. Almost makes me take back that comment I made earlier about him being old and tiresome. Almost.
The next night, after Mark and Sarah have a one-on-one conversation (Mark is going to be a father!) it’s clear to both of them that they’ve moved on. “I’m glad I knew you,” Sarah tells him with teary eyes. “I’m really glad I knew you, too,” he responds. For those of you hoping for a Sarah/Mark reconciliation, my condolences.
Later, Hank wonders aloud if Sarah is happy. Tells her he knows he has baggage. Way to call it like we all see it, Hank. He wonders if this is really where she wants to be. Cue Ruby the bad witch storming in, yelling incoherently at her mother. Strangely enough, Sarah tells Hank there’s nowhere she’d rather be. “HOW ABOUT IN AFRICA WITH DR. CARL?” I shout, but clearly she cannot hear me. I just don’t get it, but I love Sarah so much I’m glad she’s happy. I guess.
NEXT: Julia can’t forget, but can she forgive?
When we last left Joel, he was declaring to Julia that he was fighting for her and we all held our breath waiting for her response. FOR TWO WEEKS. Well, guess what, folks? Don’t exhale—and pray you don’t drop over and die—because we don’t get to know what she said! Are you kidding me? Maybe the most pivotal moment of season 6 so far and we were denied knowing how it played out? We pick up, instead, with Julia having a conversation with Chris. She tells him she’s having lunch with Joel and assures him that she’ll get him to sign the papers. Spoiler alert: She doesn’t.
Joel is no idiot. He’s chosen the restaurant where they had their first date and one that is full of other memories from the blissful years of their marriage. You know, when she worked and he didn’t. Joel tries to take a long, slow walk down memory lane, but Julia isn’t having it. Sensing her impatience, Joel lays it all on the line. He admits that when things fell apart, he bailed. Despite Julia taking partial blame for the whole Ed thing, Joel takes responsibility for all the offenses I’ve blamed him for over the past two years, and I have to say, he’s damn convincing. Even Julia wavers when he tells her that, “as long as you’re my wife, I am going to do everything in my power to uphold our vows.” Uh-oh. “Does sleeping with my college boyfriend— a lot—count as breaking our vows? I mean, we were on a break,” I can imagine Julia thinking. She says nothing and makes a hasty exit.
After a gigantic blow-up with Chris (he’s a bit impatient about the whole “divorce not happening” thing), which ends in him walking away from the relationship (at least that’s what it looked like), Julia gets some advice from mama Millie. “He bailed on me,” Julia says of Joel. “It was the first time we were tested, and he was weak.” Good point. Millie reminds her that marriage is about forgiveness. Better point, but Julia just doesn’t think she can. Marching into Joel’s apartment, she demands he sign the papers, which he dejectedly does. (Or does he?) And then they make out. Heavily. Man, I did not see that coming, but I’m glad it did. Anyone else?
Let’s talk about Zeek. Without crying. Although, after seeing the previews of what’s in store for him, I’m not sure we can. Making grandson Drew his accomplice (once again), Zeek is trying to plan a surprise anniversary trip for Millie to a quaint inn in France that he remembers falling in love with after his tour in Vietnam. Drew is worried about his granddad taking a big trip because of his recent heart surgery and after Millie pressures him to find out what Zeek is up to (loved that scene!), he spills the beans.
Later, when Zeek has Drew find the exact inn on Google Maps, Zeek is so thrilled and so full of excitement and vigor he’s like a kid who has just been told he’s going to Disneyland. He’s ready to book the trip, but when Drew tells him he can’t because he told Millie, who forbade it, Zeek does a complete 180 on his grandson and tells him he let him down. Poor Drew. It’s clear he’s in a horrible position, and it’s frankly surprising how Zeek reacted. He may be disappointed in Drew, but I’m sorely disappointed in him (which doesn’t happen very often and is painful to even say).
Later, Zeek dejectedly tells Millie about the surprise trip. When she hears his romantic plan and sees the inn, she starts to cry and immediately agrees to go … as soon as Zeek is cleared to travel. I think we all know where this is headed, and sadly, it’s not to France. Because later, in the middle of the night, Zeek awakens to chest pains and can barely get out the words to wake Millie and have her call an ambulance. He seems to be in full-on arrest.
Looks like we’ll have to ponder Zeek’s fate for seven long weeks, friends, as Parenthood doesn’t return until Jan. 8. I don’t know about you, but after watching the scenes from the next episode about five or six times, I fear our initial prediction of our beloved Zeek’s death will come true. Are there still naysayers out there who think it will be someone else? If so, please convince me. Please.