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Parenthood-Episode 5.11-Promises-Review

Parenthood was back this week and the drama was in full swing as we dug deep into some plot points that have either been hinted at(Hank!) or front and center this season(Joel and Julia). Let me preface this by saying I love Max Burkholder's portrayal of Max, and Jason Katims' handling of the character and his ever evolving series arc, specifically because like Katims, I have someone in my life who has Aspergers. So I just want to take a minute and really say kudos for them for always handling Max in a way that feels realistic and not over done, at least to me. This week, and going forward I am going to start grading the overall episode at the end of my review to make it feel more review-y(Whedon speak ya'll), so feel free to add your own grade as well.

"Promises" saw a lot of inclusion and interaction of characters to assist the moving forward of storyline, something I have felt was severely lacking. With a cast this large and talented, that is supposed to portray a family, they have all felt really isolated to me this season, so to see Adam and Crosby be there for Julia, and to see Sarah and Jasmine hanging out, really warmed me.

This episode brought us some great Max and Hank developments, some decent Sarah moments, that weird Drew love triangle, and more Joel and Julia decimation. So lets dive in shall we?

Julia Braverman: Wife, sister, liar.
The last we left off, Julia and Ed, had shared a very passionate kiss, after some heart to heart about why his relationship had failed. Julia had yet to tell Joel, who had just come around to the idea of working on their marriage.
Did Julia really think she could escape this? Ed corners her as she is picking up the kids and wants to apologize, so things aren’t weird when he sees her at the auction the school is having. She tells him she doesn’t know what he thought, to which he replies, he thought he felt something from her. Her response, I’m married. Not exactly the words of denial we or Ed was looking for.
Later Julia shows up at Adam’s house, asking him to watch Sydney and Victor the night of the auction. Adam says it’d be great, and it would give Joel and Julia some time together. Watching Julia admit to Adam what was going on was heartbreaking (To quote my fiancé, “I feel like I’m watching a real person”). You could see the layers Erika adds to the character as she tried to deny her emotions, yet succumb to them. She lets him know what happened with Ed, and she tells Adam, that he kissed her. When Adam attempts to relate his own situation to her, she pointedly asks, you didn’t kiss her back? Julia then tells him it’s different, that she and Joel aren’t on the same page and how he doesn’t look at her, and how Ed just sees her. Adam tells her she needs to get Ed out of her life, and focus on Joel. Adam proves once again why he’s the most supportive man in the world.
Adam shows up at Crosby’s with more good intentions at heart, He informs Crosby that “PUDGY” Ed Brooks has kissed Julia, but that Joel and Julia are also having problems. He asked Crosby to keep a look out for Julia at the auction, which Crosby agrees to, because his heart is in the right place as well.
The night of the auction, Joel and Julia seem to be enjoying themselves, Crosby is bidding on dog photos under Ed’s name and Ed is drunk. He confronts Julia when she steps away from Joel to inform her how his ex-wife has turned the whole school against him in four weeks. Joel sees them and head over while Crosby is detained by an annoying parent. Ed claims that Colleen is not his problem, but she is. Joel steps in, and asks Ed to leave Julia alone, and Edi n turn tells Joel to relax. Ed having touch Joel, causes Joel to do anything but relax, and a few seconds later Ed is on the ground and Crosby is trying to soothe the audience of shocked parents.
Joel finds Julia outside and wants to know what is going on. Julia apologizes for his behavior to which Joel bluntly replies, are you having an affair with Ed? Julia protests and Joel asks her if there is anything going on? Anything at all? She again tells him no, to which Joel replies, he doesn’t know if he can believe that. He then hands her the keys and informs her he’s taking the cab.
I have lost all sympathy for Julia at this point. She should have told Joel about the kiss the moment it happened, she didn’t. Joel gave her the opportunity to tell him about it and she did not. Does she really feel that keeping this secret is in her relationships best interest? This plot has been ongoing since the premiere with these two and halfway through the season it’s just gotten darker to the point of wondering, is there a way back for these two?

Always bet on Black
Sarah was slowly reeling me back into her corner after her speech about fulfilling and figuring out herself, so of course she has to screw that up.
Carl shows up at her door all coy and bantering asking her would she come out with him for a charity function. Sarah reiterates that she will no longer be sleeping with him, and he says that conversation is seared into his brain permanently. Carl tells her it’s a function that you bring a plus one too and not a date, and that she’d be the perfect plus one, and of course the promise of a little networking didn’t hurt either. So she agrees to go.
Later she is with Jasmine, a pair, I didn’t quite see coming, but I liked it. As Sarah raids Jasmine’s closet looking for something to wear to the gala, Jasmine decides to Google Carl. What they find is that Carl is like the best guy ever. He is head of some non-profit and a doctor. He saves babies! It’s then that Sarah decides to wear the black that Jasmine was so adamant about.
Sarah obviously has feelings for the guy, seeing as the night of the event when Carl ducks off and leaves her to network, she fumbles after noticing Carl with younger ladies.
It became even more evident that she has something for Carl as she gushed over him as he was honored with an award at the event.

While I’m still holding out for Sarah to discover herself, I am really interested in where she’s at right now. While I feel the attraction to Carl is genuine, I don’t think Sarah can have a future with him. Sarah likes men who are projects, Carl has his life together. Do you think the revelation about hank will drive her back to him? Or do you think it’s about time she settled for someone with less baggage like Carl?

Stay the night, and the morning too.
Picking sort of up where we left off, Drew and Amy seem to be enjoying her visit, playing cards and laughing, when Natalie just stumbles her way in. She sees Amy, and we get an Idea of where this is headed. Amy wants to know if she’s his girlfriend and Drew assures her, she isn’t.

Just when I couldn’t hate Natalie more, she has to sink more lows. Drew, Natalie and Amy are lying under the sun and Natalie decides to mosey on over to Drew’s lap and ask intrusive questions. She jokes about his music taste and then says, not it’s one of the reasons why we love him right? I’ve seen Mean Girls, I know what she was doing, this was girl code for look, and he’s mine! Drew, unable to have a mean bone in his entire body, lets her lay there and says nothing.
After returning from a party where Natalie naturally got wasted, Drew and Amy clear the air like I’ve been expecting them to the whole episode. She makes note of Natalie’s jealous behavior and he assures her they are just friends. She apologizes for her behavior post the abortion and admits she misses him, and Drew, of course, forgives her and proclaims he gets it.
They kiss and she decides to stay the night, except the next morning after Natalie sees her leaving from the shower, Amy decides she wants to stay a little while longer, and Drew just seems okay with it.

While not the biggest fan of Drew, this story is a little more than entertaining so I’m not quite annoyed with it yet. I do feel that maybe this will push more of a focus onto where Drew’s moral compass points. Will he be willing to watch Amy put her academic career on hold for him? Will his academic career suffer if she’s around as a distraction? Will Natalie just go away, forever?

The book of Truth
Hank is in the shop taking pictures when Max comes in ready to develop some of his pictures that Hank has promised they would develop today. Unfortunately due to the client he’s working for, he won’t be able to get to them today, and Max loses it, because Hank promised. He has a tantrum, and calls Hank a liar and storms off. I was expecting Hank to just let him run, but Hank chased him all the way to his house, where he continued to throw his tantrum. Hank dumbfounded, explains what happened to Adam and Kristina, who apologize to Hank for Max’s behavior, before running up to deal with him. I think it’s a true testament to how much Hank cares for Max that he followed him home and wanted to make sure he’d be alright.
Hank is later visited by Adam, who just came off as a pusher to me in this scene. Adam came by with a book on Asperger's, one he hoped Hank would read when he had time, so he could understand Max. While Adam’s heart was in the right place, I just never had the feeling that Hank was the kind of guy who just walks away, at least not from Max.
Of course Hank reads the book, and once he does, he realizes that the book doesn’t just describe Max, it describes him. In a panic, he runs to Sarah of course looking for confirmation that his behaviors mirror that of those with Asperger's. He is having a break down about the book and this discovery, and she just seems at loss. He claims that in this book he sees his life. He wonders if this was the reason his life is the way it is. He then notices how Sarah is dressed and asks is she going on a date, before bouncing back to how he’s just like Max. Sarah is in the midst of comforting him, just stopping at how she doesn’t blame him for their demise and then Carl knocks at the door.
This development here took the cake for me this episode. I always felt that this was a possibility why Hank and Max shared a bond, but I chalked more up to Hank was just a grumpy man who appreciated Max’s honesty. Having Hank develop the theory he may have Asperger's was a bold but brilliant move, it adds more depth to his character, more depth than any love interest of Sarah’s has ever had, and to me this signals he and Sarah have to be end game. Ray Romano has been a revelation in this role and I have really come around on him because of it.
Hank shows up at Adam’s the next morning after his freak-out to return the book. Did anybody else see Kristina’s face? I believe she took note of all the post-its and knows something is up. Either that or I am just making excuses because I missed her this week. Hank heads upstairs to see Max, and he lets Max know he brought his pictures. Max Apologizes and invites hank to play chess. Hank agrees and they begin to play as Adam and Kristina watch from the hallway.

I’m really hoping they touch on Hank having Asperger's a bit more in the future and what this means for his relationship with Max. Both Bukrholder and Romano knocked their performances out of the park as usual. Were you surprised by Hank’s revelation, or did you see it coming?

Never too late to make new friends.
What a nice little montage we got here, Zeek leading the Bachelor’s life after all these years. How heartbreaking was it, as we watched his sit-down chat with Camille and she asks about the car? His reply is it’s coming along, and she says it worked out great; we both get to peruse our passions. (Ouch) Camille then informs him she is thinking of extending her trip to a friend’s villa for a week.
Zeek obviously in down spirits wonders into a diner (One with beer!) to get dinner, because he doesn’t know how to shop or cook. Its here we get to meet Zeek’s new friend, who gets a very icy reception at first. Zeek obvious wants to be alone and this guy is very much tired of being alone.
But the loneliness gets to him as he later returns to the diner and strikes up a conversation with the fellow, Rocky. The two seemed to form a instant bond over their military background and football and Zeek even orders what he orders.

While hanging out, Rocky asks Zeek when he lost his wife, to which Zeek gets a little defensive and lets him know his wife is in Italy, painting, not dead, having a great time and even thinking about extending her trip a week. Then Rocky lays out some wisdom about women their age and how they just want to play bridge, but if his wife were alive and wanted to go to Italy, he would go with her in a heartbeat.
The next we see, Zeek is sending an email to Camille, letting her know that he misses her, and that she should come home. Then he erases the message and decides to tell her to take the extra week.

I don’t know if I care about Zeek’s journey so much right now, he had his chance to see the world with Camille and he refused. He chose to be stubborn and now he’s dealing with aftermath. To believe he even had the audacity to consider asking her to come back, rubs me wrong. Hopefully now that he has a friend who can show him what how good he has it, maybe he will appreciate what he has more. Even better, do you think he would hop on plane to Italy to be with Camille?

All in all it was another solid entry for season 5. Parenthood never fails to deliver stories that feel realistic and I think that may be why it feels so dark sometimes. Real life is dark and scary. While some stories may feel unnecessary, they really do play a big role in how our characters grow.

I would give this weeks episode about a B+, if not A- for some predictable moments, like Zeek heading back to the diner, or Crosby being used again and still failing at that.

What about you guys? Did you like the episode? Do you think Julia should have said something when given the chance? Once Joel finds out do you think he will forgive her? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Should Sarah pursue something with Carl? Should Zeek have sent Camille the first message he typed?

It looks like tonight’s episode will be rather intense with the return of Ryber and Julia telling Joel about the kiss. I’ll be out of town this weekend but hopefully I get tonight’s episode reviewed sooner, though this one was just in time for tonight’s episode!

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