If you were among those who worried that Parenthood‘s Sarah might suffer whiplash, given the way she went from being Mark’s fiancée to falling into bed with her boss, showrunner Jason Katims wants to shed light the single mom’s seemingly abrupt change of heart.
“The idea with that episode,” in which Sarah (played by Lauren Graham) slept with Hank (Ray Romano), “was to talk about how everything is so charged around the holidays,” Katims tells TVLine. “To me — and obviously at this point this is just my opinion — that’s my feeling, that around the holidays things are so charged. So her ending up with Hank was not the decision of, ‘Oh, this is where I’m heading in my life.’ It was something that happened because she’s coming into the holidays in such an emotional place.”
Regardless, the odd man out in this sticky situation — for the moment, at least — is Jason Ritter’s Mark. Sarah’s fiancé tried hard to look past the ruse that took her away on a “business” trip with Hank, but in the end he was so shaken by the experience (including finding the coworkers stumbling drunk down a hotel hall, late at night) that he decided to call things off.
With just four episodes left in this shortened Season 4 (resuming Tuesday, Jan. 1 on NBC), one might presume that Sarah/Hank is endgame. But don’t count out Mr. Cyr just yet.
“We certainly have set up that there’s a chemistry between the [Sarah and Hank] that they both are aware of, but this does not mean that Sarah has put an end to the relationship with her and Mark, either,” says Katims. Meaning: Ritter will return before the Jan. 22 season finale.
“We have not seen the last of Mark,” Katims stresses. “That will get picked up again in this last group of episodes. So, there’s still more to be figured out. It’s not just over.” (With reporting by Meg Masters)