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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User Rating:

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'm so upset over Joel's behaviour. From a long time now he has been behaving like a jerk, and although Julia did try to explain that she did not kiss Ed back, nor did she encourage it, Joel wouldn't listen. I personally feel he's attracted to his boss Pete (why that male name I don't know), and I feel he's going to use Julia's kiss as an excuse to sleep with Pete. That's how dumb and revengeful men can be. I'm hoping though that this marriage can be saved, as I always liked Joel, even more than Julia, so I can't believe he's behaving so badly.


Totally done with Joel. He's blamed Julia for Victors issues and seemingly never cared about her life change from successful professional to housewife. He just assumed because he did it it was easy. I wonder if there is some latent resentment for her not being able to have another child, too. I'd love to see the story arc of Joel handling Victor and his evil boss as a single parent. Loved the scenes with Zeke and Amber/Ryan. Shows there is more to this big lug than meets the eye. What was with the big engagement rings on Ambers finger in the goodbye scene? Didn't she give back the ring (it wasn't mentioned but kind of implied that his big truck was bought with that money IMO).

@ 3dhouse

Why would there be latent resentment when he never wanted a second child to begin with and only agreed to try after he realized that the psycho wouldn't let it go and that refusing her that second baby would end their marriage? I'm sure he was jumping for joy inside when he found out she couldn't have anymore...after all he was going to have to be the one to care for that one too. It's easy to be a 15 minute a day mom.


Good episode. Joel was a jerk yes i can understand hes upset about Ed and Juli kiss and yes it does seem she was not having affair with him but having feelings for Ed but Julia wants to try to works things out and Joel wants to give up. Adam did make things worst with Max and Micah i see Micha likes Max but worried friends will say and poor Max is not going friends cuz of that but Hank is hiz friend witch nice even if adult. Sarah and Hank were ok he was right tho zhes using mozt of stuff he should get 50 50 with her job. I sa am sad about Amber and Ryan i hope comes back and yes am glad zhe said her goodbye. Next week looks good with Amber Hurting and make bad choices but hopefully her dad helps her this might be wake up call that his kids needs even if they are ober 18 he wasnt before hopefully he will help Amber.

@ Tania+

It's amazing the difference 2 episodes and 45 days can make. Before mid-season break I didn't like Julia all. Thought Joel was making an attempt to save their marriage an Julia was going to crush it with affair with Ed. Although I think Julia could have handled a little better an more humble,I think Joel is the one that now looks like a fool. Why can he not talk about it with out throwing blame?I truly hope it's not to late and they can save this.marriage before someone makes another stupid mistake. Amber saying goodbye was great but looks like she is about to make some mistakes. I hope her and Joel don't end up in the same bars drinking to much and hooking up with random people. Zeek's conversations with Amber showed how much he regrets the way he let things go with his wife.

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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.