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Parenthood returned with an all new episode this week after taking a two week break. And as always it was another great episode. But before we dive in, can we just take a minute to really appreciate that Monica Potter has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, TV-movie or Mini-Series? It's only taken 77 episodes for the show to get some recognition but I suppose it's better late than never.



All That's Left is Hugging moved forward with the events of the last episode and brought about some new developments as well. We saw Julia succumb to temptation, Kristina move on, Drew deal with lady troubles with the help of Crosby, while Sarah got another love interest and Ryber, was as dysfunctional as ever.

Cake, Drugs and Eggs-The Kristina Braverman story
The first time we see Kristina and Adam post the election party results, Kristina is eating her face. Well, a giant cake with her face on it anyway. Adam, admittedly a little upset with the results himself, watches as she eats it, trying to goad her into showing her emotions. She persists she’s fine and ready to have her life back, he says he's ready to sledgehammer a cake with Bob Little’s face on it. He even makes a crazy face with her photo, as Max goes crazy on the cake. This sweet little moment is something I think most viewers could connect to, making light in a tough situation. Later, Heather is at Kristina's and Adams place, cleaning up the rest of the campaign remnants. Kristina tries to cheer her up, and Heather, tells her that while she always wants her clients to win, she really thought she would have made a good mayor. After proclaiming everything is done with the packing and she’ll be moving on, Heather lets Kristina know that all that's left is the hugging.(See what they did there?)

While having family day in the park, Adam and Kristina are discussing just how nice it is that they have time to go to the park with Nora. No matter how many times she says it, I don't buy she’s this okay with losing. They are approached by a playground mom, who recognizes Kristina as the woman running for mayor, she promises Kristina her vote for fixing the slide. Kristina painfully informs her the election is over, and Adam very pointedly mentions the low voter turnout. The mother still suggest that she does something about the slide and I just wanted sand to blow in her eyes. So, is this foreshadowing, will NBC soon have two blonde Golden Globe nominees working in the Parks department? It's a move that I'm not opposed to. Kristina may say she wants to get back to cooking and kids, but I'm thinking as someone who survived a brush with cancer she'll want more than that.

And then as if to remind us that Kristina has gone through cancer, we get another scene between Kristina and Gwen, her dying friend with cancer. Rose Abdoo still steals the scene even as she plays a dying person and though I hate how her demise is to show Kristina's gain, I do welcome her presence. She asks Kristina while smoking (She's dying, don't judge) how much she lost by. Kristina tells her 2 points. Gwen asked what is that(Because we were all thinking that), to which Kristina replies 947 votes. Gwen's reaction is gold here, telling her that's a whole building, preceded by a drawn out Daaaammmnn. She tries to get Kristina to smoke, and she refuses. Gwen, seems to be the only one who gets that even though she says she's fine, she isn't. With some prodding, Kristina admits to her that she feels that since she didn't go negative, she lost. Gwen encourages her to go negative next time, before pushing Kristina to smoke(who does) and reminding us that she'll die soon. I'm sure when that happens I'll have some tissues handy.

Next, on date night we have Adam leading Kristina to a giant Bob Little billboard, with a brown bag full of eggs. He wants her to get out how she feels because like a good husband he knows she isn't okay despite her brave face. She is against the idea, calling it juvenile to throw eggs, but once she tries it, she gets into it, telling giant Bob off, calling him a jerk and a weasel. A car alarm goes off and they scamper off to enjoy date night.

While this week was lighter in plot for Kristina I felt it was necessary in order to show the kind of person Kristina is. She put on a brave face and spent time comforting Heather and Adam rather than admit that she was having a hard time. It was nice to see her get closure on the election. I feel like the scene with he woman on the playground was foreshadowing that she may still find her way into politics. Whatever she does decide I'm sure Adam will be there for her, like he always is, whether it be watching her stuff her face with cake or throwing eggs at Bob Little, he prove he knows just what his wife needs.

Sometimes it feels like there's Three.
Joel and Julia are still dealing with the fallout of their confessions on election night as Joel is sleeping on the couch and Julia is worried about what the kids will think. Joel tells her he will tell them he fell asleep watching TV. Julia hesitates before telling Joel, this isn't them, sleeping on the couch and not making up. She apologizes to him for barging in on him and Pete, and tells him it scares her to spend the night like this. She tells them they have to fix it for the kids, for them. The look on Joel's face felt uncertain and I was expecting tool Joel to emerge but, he tells her he'll try.

And try he truly does, He came home from work early to make
pizza as a family and Julia tells him it's really nice and thanks him. Did anyone else catch Victor's "Did you quit your job like mom did?". Later as they are putting Sydney to bed, and she asks for a pool, she mentions that Charlotte (Ed's daughter) is getting a pool because her parents are going to separate. Julia assures Joel, she had no idea Ed was separating and Joel brushes it off.

Try as she might to ignore Ed's calls and texts, she has to go see him because it's eating at her. While he seems happy to see her, she tells him not to call her or text her, because it's not fair to Joel or her. He tells her sarcastically this is the cherry on top of a fantastic week (Well Ed, she IS married, even if you aren't or won't be). Then she asks the question that we all want to know, is it her fault his marriage is falling apart? He tells her it wasn't her fault but his inability to be happy. She apologizes and hugs him, and he assures her they will both be okay. which is followed by a kiss, well not a kiss but two, very passionate kisses. This made me groan because at this point I can no longer validate Julia's actions, she's being incredibly reckless. She begged Joel to try to fix their relationship, but you went to Ed because you felt guilty, and then you kiss him. How will that ease your guilt? If there was one couple I felt would not succumb to infidelity, it was them and now that is ruined. I hope she sticks to her word and stays away from Ed(She won't).

Poor Joel, he seems actually excited to have date night, and Julia is keeping this secret from him. Hopefully she comes clean soon, it may be rough, but it's better to be honest.


Before this week I was on the fence as to whose side I was on, but now I am Team Joel. Julia begged him to fix this, and now she's betrayed him. It was not like he kissed her and she did not kiss back, she was into it. It's a testament to the actors and their portrayals of their roles that it feels like you have just watched your friend do something stupid, because that was how I felt. I don't want their marital woes to drag on, but in real life, problems just don't fade overnight and Parenthood likes to be as realistic as can be, for a television drama.

Sarah the Slumlord.
This week Sarah sound herself slumming it with Carl, her hot tenant who likes younger ladies. It all starts when Sarah is confronted in the hallway about the lack of heat in the building, Carl helps her out by saying there's another problem in his apartment. Turns out there is no problem, just wine and space heaters, fearing heading back out in the hallway, she chooses to stay with him, and I choose to dread where this is headed. They discuss the tenants and his ability to adjust, she claims he is no longer her most annoying tenant, and the power goes out. He tells her she's officially a slumlord. They banter about flipping the breaker before, yep, kissing. C'mon Sarah, make better decisions, this is what we call slumming it.

Of course when we pick back up with them later, things are awkward, she is trying to avoid him, and he's outside her door. She was leaving, but upon seeing him, she heads back in, for "coffee". He mentions he's dying for coffee but the door is shut before he can even get the words out.

Later she shows up at his door, and her first words were, we can't sleep together again. He of course jokes about it, asks if she was offering, she replies just wants to clear the air. He tells her it's was a lovely evening and that he doesn't understand why she's guarded. She tells him she's 42 and can't have lovely evenings, not until she works on herself, and her career and that maybe someday she'll find a guy who isn't crazy, doesn't have drug problems and is not socially awkward, and while he is some of these things, it's not about him. She's just trying to set some boundaries. This is the last we see of Sarah and Carl, for now.

Look, from the moment that Carl was introduced I knew where this was headed. That doesn’t make me any less prepared. When Sarah set her boundaries, she was speaking the truth. I hope above all else she sticks to it. Sarah's history says otherwise, but I wish we had more for Lauren Graham to do than date a string of different men and be flaky. Sarah is 42, has two adult kids, and has no direction of her own. I thought maybe being a super would help her find some sense of self, but I see this thing with Carl, with a subsequent thing with Hank following, as the same old Sarah seeping in.

Maybe I'm being too much of a drag, maybe Carl will be good for Sarah, he is her age (Unlike Mark), he is not on drugs(Like Seth), and he is not a grumpy old hermit(Like Hank). Parenthood has of way making me care about even the worse plot points, so maybe I'll come around on this one.

The Fall of Ryber
The brief hiatus left me anxious to know what the next move was for Ryber following Ryan's attack on Dreamy Band Guy. Dreamy band guy looked terrible as Amber made apologies for Ryan's actions, which have cost Ashe’s of Rome two weeks of studio time. Adam then calls Amber into the office so he and Crosby can talk to her.


Amber is making apologies and even offering to clear out her desk, but c’mon as if her uncles would really fire her. Adam tells her they are lucky the band didn't press charges and Crosby asks if Ryan has been violent with her. She assures them he hasn’t and they tell her he isn't allowed at the luncheonette until this blows over. Adam then asks her has she told her mom, and of course she hasn't.

She comes home from work to find a very anxious Ryan waiting for her. He called in sick instead of going to work, because he wants to know what they are doing. She tells him that she's spent her day at her job, her dream job, defending him. He offers to pay for the lost time, and she tells him they don't want him there. He then asks what about us, to which she replies she doesn't know. She tells him she loves him but she can't overlook the real world for his love. He says things have been perfect and I need to find the Kool-aid he's drinking because things have not been fine. They argue about how he disconnects and he hides things, like the pills she found last episode and of course he tells her he didn't take them and she says it doesn’t matter, it's about how he couldn't tell her, how he doesn't trust her enough to tell her the truth. He says he's having a hard time to which she counters so is she. Then she delivers the real blow, she feels alone she needs time to figure out if they will work in the real world.

Ryan seeks out Zeek for advice and what we finally see is the a true moment from Ryan. He opens up about how he feels Amber and Dreamy Band Guy have no idea what's really important, and Zeek tells him it's important to Amber. He also clues Ryan in about how no one will ever be good enough for Sarah to approve of when it comes to being with her daughter. Ryan then drops a bigger bomb, he doesn’t like civilian life. He may have hated Afghanistan, but it made sense, everything mattered there and he can't shake that. Zeek tells him he has to decide which world he belongs in. Maybe it's the romantic in me, but I thought for sure I knew which life he'd choose. More on that later.

Amber comes clean to Sarah and we see a moment of growth from Sarah, where she is able to keep her emotions in check and speak to Amber from a place of love. Amber asks her to speak to her as if she were not her mom, but a person, and Sarah obliges telling her she used to worry about her falling in love, but that she is so brave and strong, and that no matter what she can handle it. Then Amber asks her to tell her as her mom, and Sarah, as her mom, tells her just because she is tough enough to handle it, doesn't mean it's what she wants form her. It's moments like this, that truly show what Parenthood as a show and in real life is about, being there for the ones you live, through thick and thin, as a shoulder, as a confidant. Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman just light up the screen when they are together.

Finally, Amber tells him she's been thinking about how he has been through so much, things she may never understand, but it's what makes them amazing, they help each grow and they respect each other enough to try. She confesses how much she loves him, that she wants to marry him and have babies and he cuts her off and tells her he can't live this life, that he's gone back and re-enlisted. Watching the shock, fear, anger and confusion on Amber's face really got to me. The way the music played over her reaction was simply magic, watching the way she screamed his name and not actually hearing it gave me chills. Later we see a knock at Sarah's door, it was Amber, crying into the arms of her mother.

This was not the turn I was expecting for this pairing, what is so broken in Ryan that going back to war is normal for him? Can he really just turn his back on the woman he proposed to? Kudos to Mae Whitman for knocking out the park this week, though, she was stellar with her emotional acting.

Sweet is Boring
Drew got his heart broken again this week by Natalie, and while he made be sad for a moment, something tells me he won't be for long.
Drew's roommate asks him what's the deal with him and Natalie because he saw her hooking up with some guy at a frat party. He tells him they are friends with benefits, but you know the conversation made him uneasy. while spending some time studying, Natalie makes a pass at him and he rebuffs her, asking about the frat party. They then have an awkward conversation about what friends with benefits relationship means, where she drops the line that Drew is sweet, but sweet can get boring. Poor Drew.


Later Crosby emerges from D-plot land to give Drew some advice on how to deal with Natalie. While I appreciate pairing these two off, I just felt it was unnecessary much like this whole storyline. Drew tries to set up some rules between them and Natalie decides to break it off because she doesn’t want rules she wants freedom. Then she say the thing all guys want to hear, she hopes he can get over it and they can be friends.
Natalie is the WORST. I can't say I'm not happy to see her go. She's the girl who, ten years down the line complains about how she can never find a nice guy, not admitting she drives them all away. Luckily Drew got a late night visit, from his ex, Amy. The way these two left things was quite intense so it'll be interesting to see how they pick up.



Overall this episode felt lighter than most of the season has been, and I appreciate how the episode gradually pushed the characters forward to some places they need to be.


What about you, did you enjoy the episode? Where do you think Kristina should put her efforts next? How adorable are Kristina and Adam? Can you believe Julia kissed Ed? Do you think she tell Joel or keep it a secret and fix her marriage?
Are you glad Sarah set some boundaries with Carl? Do you think they make a good pair? Do you agree with Ryan's decision, or are you heartbroken over Ryber's future? And finally are you happy to see Natalie go?

Hit the comments below with what you thought and as always feedback is welcome!

Parenthood returns January 2nd!

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