Parenthood Review: Breaking Free

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Considering the ominous and notorious commercial promos, Parenthood Season 5 Episode 21 didn't really offer as much as I expected with regard to Amber and Ryan or Hank and Sarah.

Instead, their stories were built up and saved for a later day.

Kristina and Julia were the true headliners this week. Especially Kristina while Monica Potter got some action for her Emmy reel as Kristina dealt with the loss of her friend, Gwen.

Whether we like it or not, Sarah and Hank are going to be a couple. With a rousing endorsement from Adam -- "I think you could do worse" -- as well as his thoughts that he hoped Max would find someone himself someday, Sarah's eyes were opened to the wonders of Hank. 

It helped that Amber dropped like a stone outside his shop when she received a call about Ryan and was about to drive 7.5 hours by herself in a distraught state but he offered to do the driving for her. Hank's a good guy. There is absolutely no question about that. Hank deserves someone to fall in love with him and all that he is. I just don't think that person is Sarah. It seems unfair to Hank to settle him with Sarah. Hell, I'd rather he be the father to her kids than be stuck with Sarah.

Oh well. 

I'm wondering what kind of accident Ryan was in and why he was back from his tour of duty so soon. It was rather quick, wasn't it? The commercial said it was a life-changing event. What was it? A car accident and surgery are hardly life-changing. I didn't notice any missing limbs. What did they leave out? Was he drunk? Did he get kicked out of the military? 

Julia immediately regretted sleeping with Evan, but also felt freed somehow. I'm not exactly sure what she was feeling, to be honest. It was kind of glossed over as if the writers were in a hurry to paint over it to thrust her and Joel into the same scenes again. "Just as she was willing to open her heart, the love of her life walks back into her life." Oh. My. God.

Julia didn't open her heart, obviously. Evan was kinda into her and felt badly when she brushed him off. Then when he said they were just having fun to try to play along with wherever she was trying to go with it, she said she wasn't just having fun. Talk about awkward. 

Peet, meanwhile, has apparently been draping herself over Joel and he didn't take the bait. That's good to know, but it still doesn't explain why he didn't want to go to counseling or try to work on communicating with his wife. There is so much about the story of Joel and Julia that doesn't add up. Sigh.

Crosby was golden. The way he tried to talk Joel into putting in his floor and later his conversation with him about the kids and Aida getting early acceptance to Stanford -- there is nothing Dax Shepard can do wrong. There needs to be a way to weave him into every open storyline. He needs more interaction with Sarah and Hank and Drew, for instance, to brighten up their space.

When Kristina got the news about Gwen at about the same time they were thinking of naming the school and was speaking at her bedside, it was obvious the school would be named in her honor. It's a lovely tribute and it will keep her focused on the project. 

Monica Potter portrayed her character brilliantly as she lost her friend. The pain and guilt she felt at being the survivor while someone she loved slipped away felt very real. When she was breaking down on the bed and Adam came in sporting his running gear, it was all the better because life doesn't wait for the perfect moment to tear you down. It just comes when it comes.

It was also very interesting that Kristina went to Bob Little to assist with landing the property. Bob pretended as if there was 'little' he could do, but he'll help her out. He owes her and he knows it.

We're down to the finale next week. The previews looked... interesting. If there's one thing I know about previews it's that they're relatively worthless. Not quite as worthless as the voiceovers that go with them, however. Haddie's coming home!! Until then, you can relive the entire season at any time when you watch Parenthood online!

Should Hank accept a life with Sarah?


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (20 Votes)

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

Sarah silva

This was a great episode!
I do not like Natalie and so I was not impressed when Drew told her he wants her to be his girlfriend and then she accepted, all the sudden she goes from not wanting a relationship because she is in college an wants to sleep and date tons of guys! I guess seeing Drew with Amy made her completely change her mind and want to be Drew and no one else.
Kristina was so great this week, I cried when she opened the box from Gwen!
I am still not wanting Hank and Sarah to get together (the previews for the finale show they will) but I do like how he is with Max. I also liked that he was there for Amber and drove her to San Diego.
For one episode this season I liked Joel! He was back to the old Joel and his scenes with Crosby were great! I also like when he used the fixing the dishwasher excuse to go see Julia. If we get old Joel back then I want them to get back together! Julia slept with Evan but she regrets it, well not the fact the slept together she needed that but she does not want it to happen again and once again this makes her realize even more she only wants Joel! However it must have been nice to be told by a man how beautiful and smart she is as Joel has not said that to her in a long time!
So will Ryan's injury lead to an Amber and Ryan reunion? I want to know if he got in a car accident or what! I do not think he was injured overseas, otherwise he would not have been in a hospital in San Diego, at least not that I would imagine.
It was nice seeing Sarah and Adam having a talk!
Looking forward to the finale! Please we need Season 6!


not liking the Sara and Hank pairing...I mean, I think he deserves a little better than Sara. Now, just because she talked with Adam, she sees a potential...mmm....what about feelings?!! I am not entirely sure you can switch on/off like that!!! Poor Mr. Knight...he was so cute! and I think Julia should explore a little bit more of freedom from Joel's perfect husband talking, and now he wants to fix the washer???!!! hello??????!!!! I wanted to shut the door on his nose! but of course Julia is sooooo waiting for that!!! unbelievable! not a fan of Ryan being back...he is trouble...and I enjoyed Amber without him. She is much better!


I'm going to finish my Joel rant. I don't love how quick they made him come around back to Julia but I still don't understand how he was catching so much heat from fans. Julia had been the cause of the majority of their marital problems and joel was getting frustrated. Joel handles his frustation by getting distant. Julia handles her frustration by getting close to other men. I am not a fan of bringing back Haddie as a lesbian. At least right away and on the finale. There"s alot of stuff to resolve and a lot of moments that Haddie has missed in the past 2-3 seasons and now they have to spend twenty minutes of the finale on her sexuality. I missed Haddie and they should really just have like a welcome home storyline with her while they close everything else out. What is Sarah Ramo's doing at the moment they should bring her back for next season with like a early graduation or dropout or something to get her back to berkley. And then they could have had her "friend" from college visit and they could make an arc out of it.

@ jerseyboy9085

Joel got distant and he refused to communicate. Not with his wife and not with counselors. He chose to move out of the house and shut down. Not impressive. Nothing you say in defense of him is going to work because he was not written true to character. Haddie has been MIA. It's entirely plausible that's because she has been investigating this new side to her life. Makes perfect sense, really. It doesn't appear from the previews she intends to bring it up but that Mad Max spots them kissing and makes an issue out of it. Again... all about the writing.

@ Carissa Pavlica

No problem with Haddie being lesbian and it might be a great arc for her. I assume her return is just like a one episode thing though and I would have preferred it to be like a Haddie homecoming/nostalgic episode then like a episode where they have to explain sexuality to max or something. But if I knew she was coming back for next season and they had time to expand on her college experiences I think its a great idea. Joel's character has been written perfectly. He was the perfect husband but he felt wronged for the reasons he and I have belabored on about. So yes he got frustrated he shut down and yes he may have lost a part of who he was. Thats not because the writers decided to flip his character thats a human thing. I've seen it happen in my parents marriage where one of my parents felt they were treated unfairly and wanted a break, didnt want to talk to counselors or my other parent. It's doesn't make you a bad person but heartbreak can change you a little bit. And I always knew Joel just needed a little space to think and refind himself and he would come back around because like Peete said hes a family man. Sorry I am not trying to be hostile just a really big Joel fan and I love Crosby also so their scenes together were just amazing for me.


The Drew storyline is dumb. In their effort to wrap up this S/L, the writers are pairing him with the woman who previously said she wanted to play the field. Agree about Sarah and Hank. I like Hank, but can only take Sarah (and the actress who plays her) in very small doses. Crosby CAN do wrong and did so several seasons ago with Max's aide worker.

@ Philada

I didn't say CROSBY can do no wrong, I said the actor that plays him DAX SHEPARD can do no wrong. There's a difference. He's brilliant all the time; even if his character is being bad, his acting makes it impossible to hate Crosby.

@ Carissa Pavlica

They're all good actors (except possibly Lauren Graham playing Gilmore Girls II), but I don't agree that Dax Shepard is "brilliant." He's OK. I also agree with Danielle: Kristina is not my favorite character. However, she did a great job with the Gwen scene.


This season has been a little slow going as far as I'm concerned (probably because they had almost double the amount of episodes!) but I still love it. This penultimate episode proved me right for still watching. The scene with Kristina and Gwen was heartbreaking, and Kristina is my least favorite character. I LOVE Crosby and Joel together. If, god willing, we get season six, more of this pair needs to happen! Lastly, I've been "team" Sarah and Hank from the get go. I love his character, I love them, I love the work he's put in this season to make their relationship seem like a viable endeavor. I'm looking forward to next week's finale and season six. They can't leave us hanging...can they?!


This episode was awesome. I agree that Crosby can do no wrong and the scene with he and Joel was good. We can't leave Drew's story line out of the discussion though, he coming out of his shyness and I love it. As for Sarah and Hank...they are the cutest (well Ray As Hank is) and you can't help but love the interaction between he and the annoying Max. The season got off to a slow start but it hasn't disappointed. And the season finale looks promising especially with a blonde Haddie returning


Seriously stop with the ENTIRE show being about Max. Now they're opening a school for him. It's getting worse. Pretty sure I won't be watching Parenthood anymore. It's so boring. btw, here's an idea send Max to boarding school,,,and take Kristina with him! Ughhh

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Parenthood Season 5 Episode 21 Quotes

Julia: I can count on one hand the guys I have slept with.
Sarah: One hand?

It's also spore free in there so feel free to take deep, deep breaths.