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