Parenthood Review: Zeek's Soulful Journey

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One of the things that makes Parenthood so amazing is that you don't have to be a parent to enjoy it. You merely need to have some experience with a family environment. "Road Trip" made that perfectly clear, as there was something for everyone to identify with, no matter your familial role.

It never even dawned on me that Zeek might still have a living parent, but his unsupportive and condescending mother seems to be chugging along. So great was their rift that she was a virtual unknown to the grandkids and Joel.

Zeek and His Mother

It was really hard to watch Zeek struggle with his anxiety in anticipation of seeing his mother. I can remember seeing my dad cry when his own dad died, and it was like seeing this rock crumble. Feelings I didn't think he could have came out of nowhere. That's what I was seeing in Zeek. He was completely out of his element. 

His mom was turning 86, and had recently had a fall. Obviously it was weighing on his mind that she might not be around much longer, and his desperate need for her approval drove him to put together a last-minute family road trip to see her. He packed up a $900 chair as a birthday gift, roused the troops, handed out walkie talkies (one per car, mission control communication only) and off they went.

Can you imagine introducing a more wonderful family to your mother? As his inner turmoil increased, he finally laid the blame of it at the feet of his family and ended up ditching them. Despite their initial desire to turn around, they all showed up to celebrate Grandma Blanche's birthday. But, in the end, it wasn't enough. Zeek finally had to come to the realization that he might never have from his mother what he needed: the knowledge of her love.

Zeek wanted to show her the very best thing he had done in his life, the warm and wonderful Braverman clan. She couldn't quite comprehend the enormity of his accomplishment. But she did tell him, finally, that she loved him. Something he said to his own children as often as he could so they would never be left with the question he had of his own mother's love. I cried.

Two other items of note:

  • Max called Kristina a bitch. Not just once, and with a ferocity I found alarming. Her punishment was to banish him from the road trip. You can imagine how much this upset Zeek's applecart, but Adam had to support her in following through on discipline, lest Max learn that it is always a false threat. Max did a lot to make up for the mistake and Kristina flew them to Blanche's. One of the best scenes of the episode was between Zeek and Kristina once she arrived, as she shared with him how blessed she was to be a part of the family.
  • Just a quickie, seriously. Drew walked in on Mark and Sarah having sex and it was so uncomfortable and icky and yet they dealt with it in a really understandable way. I just hope it doesn't happen every week!

Frankly, I know the depth of this episode escapes my review, but I am unable, in timely fashion, to gather my thoughts and eloquently state how much it meant to me. There was something so elemental in Zeek's yearning for his mother's approval. To ensure she saw and understood the breadth of his achievement. It was subtle and incredibly moving. Just another week with the Bravermans.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (45 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


What a treat. It crosses all generations. Love all the actors.
Max definitey deserves an award. He's an amazing actor. Every one
is perfect in the role they play. Keep up the great story lines.


This is without a doubt one of my FAVORITE shows. My 26 yr old daughter likes it as well. It is multi-generational. I, also, feel it is a very real show. Crosby is my least favorite character as he always seems to be carried by the rest of the family. Great angst. Great joy. All emotions that comprise great families.


Love Love LOVE THIS SHOW! In my opinion, it's the best show on all of television, regular or cable channels. I don't agree with the woman above who said Christina is always a bitch -- IMO she and Adam are the best part of the show -- but to each their own. I was so SO glad she put her foot down with Max! He does get away with an awful lot, due to his disability. When I saw the bug card, I knew they would arrive at Grandma's before Adam and the others :-)) Just as I knew the recliner would be stolen when Zeke was in the bathroom :grin: I Laugh Out Loud many times during this show, every week, and last night cried a couple of times too. I can empathize with Zeek, not feeling like you're good enough. Anyway, I WISH the people that gave out awards would look past the shows that get nominated every year and OPEN THEIR EYES!! This is the BEST SHOW ON TV. I'm hoping hoping hoping that more people will realize it and start watching every week!


Last night's episode was so, so good! I laughed and laughed because I recognized my family & others. I felt so sorry for Zeek and his anxiety with seeing his mother again. I cried when they had their conversation outside, and she told him that she loved him. That generation did not say, "I love you," very much. My parents were the same way. I love the Bravermans. I can relate so much to everything they do. I was taken aback, though, when Max, called his mother a bitch. I would not be able to tolerate that at all, but I know that was probably his Aspergers coming out. I look forward to this show every week, and I wish it would get the notoriety it deserves. It's the best show on TV. Keep up the good work.


Awesome episode. Why this show doesn't get more accolades is beyond my comprehension.I snickered when Max called Kristina a bitch. She is.It showed that he had more balls then Adam. It was inappropriate though and he was out of line, however I was still irked with Kristina for picking an inopportune time to put her foot down, mostly because she didn't want to go.she redeemed herself later on w/ Zeek. But she's still one of the most intolerable characters to watch. And I was surprised she expressed that the Braverman family meant so much to her, since she finds a way to not get along with any of them. I felt for Drew,but who hasn't walked in on their parents or somebody "wrestling".some of us more than once. It was fantastic finally seeing Zeek have air time. He's the pivotal character of the series and he's been lacking all season. I felt for him, felt for how unsupportive all but Camille were for a bit, but they made up for it in the end.


This is the best show on TV. I discovered it in the first year and have turned my whole family on to it now. You laugh, you cry, every episode is awesome. I wish more people would discover this gem.


This show never ceases to amaze me. I cannot believe how "real" it is. The whole family traveling, eating
at a restaurant, talking at once, the issues they deal with - I could go on and on. And last night's episode
was one of the best. I hope it stays on for years. It is the best show on television in my opinion.


I actually didn't know there was a new Parenthood last night until I checked my DVR way past my bedtime. Of course I had to stay up to watch it. The lack of sleep was so worth it. It was yet another incredible episode. I love the Bravermans!


For me, this is the best show on TV and the one I look forward to the most. Last night's episode was stellar -- I laughed out loud many times and was just so happy to enjoy this great show. The acting is so amazing... words fail me as to how great Monica Potter is as Kristina -- she simply IS Kristina... frazzled, stressed out and overwhelmed. I have not always been a fan of Crosby and the choices he tends to make, but last night changed that. I just love every member of this family and the actors that portray them -- I don't think you will find better acting anywhere else on TV. Who can say enough about Bonnie Bedelia, Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Mae Whitman, Lauren Graham, Sarah Ramos, and Max Burkholder? And, the oh-so-loveable Jason Ritter of whom we don't get to see enough. Simply amazing!!


You're right Carissa. One of the best things about Parenthood is that you can probably relate to one or more of the characters. I loved that Kristina finally put her foot down with Max. It needed to be done and he obviously learned from it. Adam and Zeke's argument in the bathroom also rang true. As disappointed as Zeke was, I doubt he would have let someone push him around when it came to his family if the roles were reversed. Zeke and Kristina's conversation was another wonderful moment as she reminded him what a special family he'd made. And I even loved Crosby as he stood up and took the blame for losing grandma's chair. There was so much to love in this episode I don't think I could go one and on.

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Parenthood Season 3 Episode 12 Quotes

Camille: Zeek, the walkies...
Zeek: One per car. Please don't lose these.
Joel: It'd be hard to.

You are such a bitch!