Parenthood Review: Endings and Goodbyes

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Who would have imagined a time when the best advice in an installment of Parenthood would come from Jasmine?

That's just what we got in Parenthood Season 5 Episode 12, though, when she inspired floundering Oliver not to let fear keep him from greatness. 

Carl gave similar advice to Sarah, but his was more comical. The only reason she's never done a huge job as a photographer is because she's never done one. And if she screws it up, she'll never work again and he'll look stupid. Eh... okay. What does she have to lose?

Amber Tries to Understand

Endings were the bigger focus of the hour. Max is outgrowing the phase of his Asperberger's where he can get away with odd behavior because he's cute. Unfortunately, kids with Asperberger's aren't the only ones who say what's on their minds and can't control their ability not hurt the feelings of others. 

Just like Max tells Micah that basketball is stupid and he can't play because he's in a wheelchair, Micah's new friends think Max is weird and don't mind letting him know. When Max walks straight onto a gymnasium floor through a basketball game as it's being played to ask Micah to a game with he and Adam, it only makes things worse.

It was refreshing that Kristina didn't want to rush in and make things right for Max, although I understood Adam's desire to do it. Human beings are as cruel as we are kind, and we all feel alone or humiliated at some time or another. Right now Max has his family and other friends to curb the pain. It's better to let him ride through it now than when he's on his own.

Ryan was getting ready for his redeployment, and thanks to a little help from Zeek, Amber and he got to say a proper goodbye. Ryan's leaving is difficult for Zeek. He's feeling partially responsible for bringing him into his family and introducing him to Amber and for telling her to stand by his side when the going got tough. 

Amber reminded him of that when Zeek wanted to her say goodbye. He knows there's always a possibility Ryan won't make it back and if Amber doesn't make things as right as they can be before Ryan leaves and something goes wrong, Amber would never forgive herself or Zeek.

It was fitting that Ryan didn't explain to Amber why he broke things off with her, because he wouldn't have the time to explain it anyway, even if he could put it into words she'd understand. The ambiguity hurts, but also lets her build her own story -- especially if something should happen.

Then we have Joel and Julia. Was it any surprise that Joel was shut down when Julia tried to talk to him? It wasn't to me. He reacted exactly as I expected him to react, as he has been reacting for a very long time -- distant and without a care for their marriage. It was funny, actually, listening to him whine again about it was all Julia's fault and their marriage wasn't broken but she was. 

Where was Joel those many times she stood by the car as he went to work asking if they would be able to talk that night when he got home? Those talks never happened. She asked many times, and was met with an icy glare and the back of his head and he ignored her pleas. 

The character assassination on Joel Graham is complete. The women standing outside the elementary school who think he's the best husband in the world are welcome to him. Julia deserves someone who is at least willing to fight it out with her. Scream, yell, go to counseling -- whatever they need to do - anything but turn and run. 

Their best story now is one that ends in divorce. The unfortunate end to that story likely means Joel taking Victor and Julia taking Sydney. It won't be a pretty divorce, but I'm no longer rooting for their marriage. Are you?

Is there more to the marriage of Joel and Julia?


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (27 Votes)

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


I absolutely love this show. Me and my grandmother were hooked on the
first episode and watched all episodes in 3 days. I look forward to
Thursdays to see the this very exciting and loving show. I think every
person in the whole cast crew was picked carefully because they all
make me believe they love each other. I really hope ya'll plan on
making another season because this show is my favorite. I really think
this show has touched lives because it has to mine. I know that's hard
to believe because its just a show, but if you haven't watched it, you
wont understand until you do. I love the Crosby story and how much he
has changed for the better, he choose his family over partying and all
the other stuff. I came from a very broken home and I am breaking the
past and making my own future. This family has ups and downs but are
always there for each other and that is heart felt.

@ lis101

I'm glad to hear you like the show, and agree that Crosby's story is particularly compelling. His character is definitely a favorite, and I think that's true of many viewers. The growth he has shown has been remarkable, and yet he still retains the same heart he had when the series started. True character progression and so believable.


I love this show! I caught up on every episode all seasons in three days. I am hooked please don't take it away.


I disagree with your take on Joel and Julia. Julia is the first to admit that the reason they grew apart is their dissenting opinions on how to parent Victor. Well, who wanted another child? Julia, and Julia alone. When Julia wanted to get pregnant, she nagged and nagged and nagged poor Joel to have another baby, even though he was already reluctantly a stay at home dad taking care of their child while Julia was NEVER home and only dropped in for 15 minutes to tuck her daughter in. It's easy to want another child when you're not even the one caring for it! Despite this, Julia basically made Joel's life HELL until he pretended to want one too (knowing it would basically end their divorce if he kept saying no, even though he didn't WANT another) and then she couldn't get pregnant. You'd think Julia would see that as a SIGN but no, she decides instead that they should adopt. As most baby crazy women she obviously was expecting a baby, but guess what, they're not the only kids who need homes so she got Victor. She's the one who pushed for this and wanted this. Of course, she's now the one bitching and whining about how she is sooo unhappy that she had to quit her job, but guess what? What she's dealing with from day to day now, being an at home mom and not having a job, is EXACTLY what her husband's life was before- they literally switched positions. So she's completely miserable living the life she was making her husband live and yet she couldn't even hear him when he said that he was miserable enough himself not having a life and that one kid to take care of was enough. Well, she shouldn't have been so selfish as to want to have two children, a full time career, and a door mat for a husband who doesn't work because he takes care of wifey's children all day long when he clearly didn't even want any. If Julia didn't push for Victor her and her husband would still be happy but baby crazy women and their selfishness almost ALWAYS lead their partnership to divorce. Joel did nothing wrong- perhaps he doesn't want to talk to Julia but Julia didn't want to talk to him when he kept trying to tell her that they couldn't handle a second kid. You can't have everything!


Joel is pissed at Julia for many things, and the fact he lost it at work, too. I think he wants to blame it on the kiss, because he doesn't want to deal with his own mistakes. when a relationship ends, no matter how, it's never one person's fault only. I liked how Amber tried to deal with Ryan leaving, but I am afraid her next storyline will be difficult to stand, I hope the writers don't try to make her an alcholic..please! Hank is such a kid. he couldn't stand Sara being the one who won. flash news, it's not only about being good at something, you need some carisma too, and Sara has that, even though she is not that qualified!who cares, she has a chance to shine!


I absolutely hate what they're doing to the Julia and Joel storyline. They were the 'breath of fresh air' couple on TV. They were cute and quirky, but they still had their fair share of mishaps and marriage issues to overcome. They were believable. I don't feel like they are anymore. Especially with Joel behaving the way he is, even though he admitted something similar happened in the first season with Rochelle. Why wasn't it a big enough issue then? I really don't understand where they're going with them. If it's an attempt to exit some characters, I'd much rather they just wrap up the series on a good note, than fizzle out miserably by getting rid of characters left and right while still trying to continue on (like Brothers and Sisters did.)


Julia's confession about Ed's kiss was identical to Joel's confession about one of the mothers at school in season one. Joel needs to dig into his past and his own reactions to better understand Julia's. Julia needs to find a new legal position to regain her self esteem.

Sarah silva

Sadly I do not see how Joel and Julia will survive. Joel is not willing to own up to anything and try counselling. There are 2 people in a marriage and he is not willing to try and save their marriage. I used to like Joel but not anymore.
Hank was way to harsh on Sarah, he has no faith in her. I like Carl more each week,he has faith in her. She got the job due to her portfolio, not because she knew Carl.
I fear for Amber. Hope Seth can help her.
I felt bad for Max. I did love the end when he, Adam and Kristina when to the basket ball game.
The Oliver story line was great. I loved Jasmine's talk with him. As always Crosby was funny and I laughed so hard when he said Oliver and Jasmine's mom should both stay with them over the holidays, in bunk beds no less!


I'm voting that Joel and Julie come back together (remember Jasmine and Crosby). Joel is too angry right now to figure out that Julia couldn't possibly be the family support for six months much less the 10 years that Joel did it. Julia is a high powered, overthinking, A type personality. Joel will calm down and realize the kiss was meaningless (it didn't look one sided to me) and I hope they will be back.


I usually look forward to Parenthood, but this hasn't been the best season. Camille's departure set the stage for a mediocre year. Max is the only Kid with a story line now, everyone else is reduced to one liners. Inless your old enough to have sex on screen or cause some kind of stir these writers find you useless! Joel has become useless to me! Lets face it His character was never intirely been developed, nor has he ever been given the meaty lines! He just sort of became a boring ole bump on a log. Although in the back of my head I'm waiting to see some kind of shake up like he has been sneaking around with his boss this whole time. Gotta be something nobody on this show including Hank is this UNLIKEABLE!
Jasmine got one whole scene where she was actually likeable! She seems to have squeezed all the personality out of Crosby! Their whole story went awry with the crazy Mother in Law power struggle, the only place you can go from dull is right on down to boring. Hopefully they will figure that out.
I love Sarah this year! Her new love interest is HOT! But of course that relationship will never be, the writers see Hank as the love of her life. I would really just like to see Sarah and Amber have alittle happiness before this show is cancelled!
The fact that they no longer even mention Haddie makes me wonder did they fire her? Because if the dump you for being boring, Joel should have been long ago.... Jasmine are you next?


I loved the scenes with Amber. I liked how she told Zeek that he encouraged her to stand by Ryan and now he wants her to be the one to go to Ryan when it was Ryan who broke off with her. But I'm glad she still went to talk to Ryan. I'm sad that they broke up, and hope that he makes it back home one day. I really do think they make a great couple, but he needs some therapy; he has serious issues.Hank always makes me laugh. Loved his scenes with Sarah about the job. Sorry for Max in a way. When will Sarah and the doc get seriously together? Liking that possible relationship.

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Parenthood Season 5 Episode 12 Quotes

Max has lost his only friend at school and kids at school are starting to notice his differences and he's all alone.


You know what I'm thinking for the holidays? He and your mother stayin' here. Bunk beds.