Parenthood Review: Reaching Out

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Don't be shocked, but I found that the majority of the stories on Parenthood Season 5 Episode 13 were enjoyable this week.

It seems that instead of approaching dour topics in a depressing manner, we're going to see a more them more objectively - and that greatly enhances the viewing experience.

Let's start by talking about Hank. I loved how he and Adam danced around the Asperger's topic, both knowing fully well that they were discussing the disease outside of the world of Max, but neither fully committing to it until they had more of a dry run at getting to know each other.

Catching the Sunset

Hank's approach to Adam with a photo that was relevant to The Luncheonette was a nice touch, and it gave Adam that warm feeling he needed when it came to thinking about Max as an adult. Here's a man who can conduct himself in social situations when necessary, has a child, dated his sister -- Max's future looks bright. 

It was even cute that he and Kristina felt they had to check themselves when they realized they were almost wishing Hank had Asperger's so that it would make them feel more comfortable about Max's future. Despite the fact that the poker game fell to hell, it was pretty honorable of Adam not to share what Hank was going through with Crosby, with whom he normally shares everything. Everything about this journey of Hank's is working.

Watching Julia and Joel is still incredibly painful, and it was a relief when Julia visited with Sarah. She really needed someone to talk to, even if the advice Sarah gave her wasn't the best. I'll really be surprised if they salvage the marriage, and a little bit disappointed.

There is so little left between the Grahams that to circle back around at this point will feel false. I'd like to see the realistic breakdown of a relationship play out. We've seen them happy so now let's see what happens when they fall apart. They adopted a son who they promised a happy family. How do they deal with that? How do they break apart when the Bravermans will be all over them? That's where the story is now. It's not in salvaging the marriage.

When Camille came home, Zeek seemed a little put out that her trip had changed her fundamentally. She's seen the world and it has made a great impact upon her. She not only wants to see more, she wants to experience more at home in the city in which she lives. She's not satisfied to just pitter patter around the yard.

She looked younger and refreshed upon her return. It made me wonder if Bonnie Bedelia might have had some surgery. She looked simply fabulous and it would explain her desire for an extended absence from the show. If she did, it worked well for the story. I don't imagine Camille and Zeek will be traveling down the same road as Joel and Julia, but Zeek might have to change his expectations of what his twilight years were going to look like. 

I'm a little worried about where the Drew and Amy story arc is going to progress. It seemed nice until we discovered that Amy is in a dark place and counting on Drew to keep her from tumbling into that darkness. That's a lot of pressure on Drew that a college freshman doesn't need and makes me wonder if we're heading toward a suicide attempt or something else really deep.

It never dawned on me that Amber had set out specifically to find Seth, but what a fabulous scene we got out of her. Finally, Mae Whitman was able to shine unlike anything else she has done this year. Her performance by the car when she confronted Seth was fantastic. Like many of us, he thought she was angry that she had chosen a man like him, when she was worried that she was like him.

I replayed that scene several times. It was so powerful and I wonder how many takes it took to get it right. Somehow I don't imagine many. It felt as though Whitman had been holding that in and just waiting to let it spill out and all the words were there, right on her tongue, tumbling out without the need for anyone to tell her what to say. 

That it was followed up with the pancake breakfast and Seth telling her she could never be him because she is full of her mother was also perfect. If the torturous crumbling of her relationship with Ryan brought us to this place, I am happy for it. Next year that should be on Whitman's Emmy reel. That's the stuff. 

Which storyline did you find most compelling tonight?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

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


I agree with the comments about Joel. The script has changed him from a loving and supportive husband and dad, to a self-absorbed, unfeeling character. He says no to counseling, stating that it's not the marriage, it's Julia! It's never all one person's fault. He should stop moping around and work to save his marriage. And, yeah, Seth is back!


I'm really liking the Drew/Amy storyline. It's about more than adjusting (or not adjusting) to college--although that alone can be interesting. I think this is about 2 kids who went through a major loss (an abortion) last season without ever really discussing or dealing with it. Although it was Amy's decision to end the pregnancy, that doesn't mean the abortion was the end of her (or Drew's) emotional turmoil around this issue. It may have been just the beginning in fact. And for those saying Drew shouldn't have to deal with all this at a young age, well, unfortunately, there's no age threshold in real life for when tough things can start happening. They can and do happen at any time.


Natalie had a point to Drew-he is a college freshman, he needs to be out there instead of holing up in his room with Amy. I fear that Amy will hurt him again after he has given up a lot as he did at home and he will be more confused. It's a good and realistic storyline as I saw many people go through this in school. It mirrors what Camille is going through experiencing things she loves that she gave up for her family and Zeke later in life. I'm all for Camille. Zeke has been a selfish lug and although he's coming out of the clouds, he still expects her to be the same as she was before, despite her telling him over and over what she wants. She doesn't love him any less, but she is not going to be only orbiting Zeke's life but having her own as well.
Not a fan of Hank and Sarah getting back together. I like her with the neighbor. He has the ability to give Sarah what she wants and needs and Hank will always struggle with that.
Mae Whitman was amazing as always. Happy to see Seth getting it together as well.
Joel and Julia, I think its dooms ville and I'm not sad about it. They may just be too far gone. They should have never adopted Victor when he wouldn't accept Julia - it was a Hail Mary for their family that has backfired. I may have missed it, but haven't noticed much about how Victor is handling being held back a grade? I'd love to see Parenthood explore a break up. There is just too much manipulation from Joel right now for me to root for them.


I am disappointed that people are rooting for Julia and Joel to divorse. They should fight for their marriage. Is a kiss enough to end a marriage, to have Joel move out. He doesn't even want to go to counseling. Camille I do not like her now. She is selfish and acts like a single lady. Zeek is trying. She didn't even invite him on the trip. She didn't look happy to be home. I think drew's girlfriend might feel at a loss due to the abortion she had. Did she go to counseling

@ Connie

I'm not sure where everyone got the idea that the kiss is what provoked this decision in Joel. He has been absent in the marriage for the entire season. Go back and read the previous reviews. Long before Julia befriended Ed she was begging for Joel to talk to her and he was turning his back on her. The kiss was symptomatic of her loss of Joel. Joel made the decision to turn away from his wife long ago. Imagine Camille, who had dreamt her entire life of being an artist. She wanted to see the world but never left the US. Upon her return she's going to feel very conflicted. She knows her life is finite. Her children are grown. Should she never follow her dreams? She's not asking Zeek to change, only to allow her to, but within the marriage. It seems fair.


I find Joel's behavior this year totally out of character. After years of a good marriage you just dump a marriage after a bad patch. It was not Julia's fault that their son needed to be held back and she was correct when she said to do it sooner rather than later. Joel has gone from a compassionate and loving man and husband into a bit of a jerk. Since he got his new job, he has been like a different person. He had to known after all these years that Julia is someone that defines herself by her work and the loss of it would be profound. I am really bothered that the writers altered his character just to create this story line, ruining the integrity of a loving character.

@ Bennington

Agreed. People seem to want to make the end of their marriage about the kiss. I seem to have been watching a different Parenthood, because their marriage was faltering long, long before the kiss, and Julia only started a friendship with Ed because she felt she had lost her best friend, Joel. And... she had. It's because they changed Joel to create the story that I want to see them carry it through to the end of the marriage. They started down the path, now have he guts to it see through.


I can understand Joel's pain and hope he realize that he should give Julia a chance to explain what happen and why it happen with Ed. She was completely out of line running to Ed when she knew how he felt about her.
Their marriage is worth salvaging and I hope it happens. I am not a Hank fan but it looks as though he and Sarah are heading down a path to be together and it would destroy my hopes for her happiness because, despite his illness he displays narcissism and nefarious behavior. That's how he broke up Sarah and Mark.

Sarah silva

Personally I found this episode to be a little depressing, still a great hour of TV.
I hope after Amber's day/night of drinking, yelling at her dad and then the talk the had the next day all helped. I really do not want to see the old destructive Amber.
I loved her and Seth's talk over breakfast and his call to Sarah.
I say it every week but I do not like Joel this season! I had a feeling early in this season after reading about what was to come on Parenthood that Joel would move out. I was really hoping he would not but that was the direction they are going with the storyline.
Looks like they will go to see a Councellor, however I fear it is too late for their marriage.
Camille, where do I start, I am not liking her either. At the start of the season I sympathized with both her and Zeke, she wants to sell the house get something smaller and travel and Zeke wants to stay in the house. However now it seems like she is punishing him and will never be home. She also does not seem to have missed the rest of the family either. Sad storyline too.
I do not like Natalie. Drew is a relationship guy and he and Amy are prefect for each other. Natalie does not want to be forced into a relationship, she wants to sleep around. So she should not force Drew to not want a relationship, which she was doing with that you are in college comment.
The funny part of the episode was Kristina and Adam talking about Hank and Max and how Max could grow up to be like Hank.


I enjoyed your article Carissa! I don't usually comment, but your review followed my thoughts and it was fun to 'see' that others feel like I do about the Bravermans/Parenthood! I have to disagree about Joel and Julia though. I so want them to stay together and have their storyline be full of tender moments between them. Joel is hurt. He never saw any of this coming (but that was part of their issue). I wish them a forever and ever!

@ Michelle St. Mark

I also agree with your views on the article. Thought you nailed it Carissa especially in regards to Amber.Writers took this story line that could have been very ugly and turned it into something great. However I also hope your wrong about Julia and Joel. I don't think it's too late for them .Joel is acting like a fool right now . Iam sure he is hurting but by not addressing it more with Julia he is looking like a heel. She shares alot of blame here ,but I think she truely is sorry for what happened. She just needs to own up to her leading it on. Judging by next weeks preview there is more trouble coming

@ reality adict

I agree! Julia should own up to her fault of having a emotional affair with Ed, about lying about it, not thinking its not a big deal, the kiss and going to his house. However that does not merit a divorce. He should fight for his marriage and family.

@ reality adict

Mae's (Amber) acting is amazing. I saw her play a patient in Grey's Anatomy several years ago. She is so genuine and honest with her emotions. I hope Amber sings and plays guitar again. Music can help her heal now.


Is Crosby divorced? You never review him at home with his wife.

@ carol

My review discussed Crosby and his wife last week when Oliver stayed with them, saying he wanted to marry a woman like her. They weren't featured in the episode tonight. They are happy, and therefore not receiving much attention in the overall scheme of the series at the moment.

@ Carissa Pavlica

I really miss them: Crosby and his family. More Crosby. Less Drew.


EVERY single week this show gives me the feels

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Parenthood Season 5 Episode 13 Quotes

I guess I want to know if there's a reason why I've been blowing it with the person I care about most in my life.


Camille: You really missed me, huh?
Zeek: You're tellin' me.
Camille: I missed you, too.