If, for some inexplicable reason, Parenthood is not renewed for a fifth season — and that’s a very big if — no one can say the NBC drama went out without a fitting and emotional ending for each and every Braverman (extended family included).
Tuesday night’s Season 4 finale gifted a majority of its characters with fresh starts after a rough year (Kristina, Ryan, Drew and Victor, to name a few), while others were treated to heartbreak (Mark) and unexpected surprises (Crosby and Jasmine).
Here’s everything you need to know about Parenthood‘s truly satisfying sendoff:
THE TRIANGLE BECOMES
A SQUARE A COUPLE | The finale’s Most Gut-Wrenching Storyline Award goes to the resolution of the Hank/Sarah/Mark love triangle. Early on, Hank heads to Minnesota for a brief visit with his daughter, during which time Mark pays a visit to Sarah to officially throw his hat in the ring… for her heart. “I just needed to tell you that I still love you and I know that I’m always going to love you because you’re the one for me,” he confesses. “I should have fought for you and I didn’t — and now I am.” And here’s where things get painful: Sarah, who had a seemingly warm reaction to Mark’s previous sentiments, drops by his office — to tell him it’s over! “I’m going to try to make it work with Hank,” she says, sounding as if she’s trying to convince herself. “I have to get my life together. I could never explain to you how much I love you…. Goodbye, Mark.” Ouch. Things then take another twist when a back-in-town Hank tells Sarah he’s moving to Minnesota and closing up his camera biz. Being a mother herself, she actually understands his decision completely. Later, Hank visits Sarah with a goodbye, an “I think I might love you,” and a proposition: move to Minnesota with him. Sarah, now able to profess her own love, says she’ll think about it. (A friend and I were just discussing Sarah’s choice to stay with Hank, and if, like me, you’re sad for Cyr, this explanation might help make sense of it. Says the pal: “Sarah always chooses the wrong men. So, Parenthood basically said with her decision that Mark is too good for her.” Agree or disagree?)
CANCER-FREE AND LOVING IT | And just like that, Kristina comes away from the season with a clean bill of health. Having gotten great marks from her doctor early on in the episode, she’s informed that all she has left to do is have a PET scan — just to be safe. But after seeing a familiar face in her last chemo session — one that was recently in remission — all of her positive thinking goes out the door. Adam later surprises his wife with tickets to Hawaii to celebrate their good fortune, but she can’t accept the gift until she knows her fate for certain. Scan behind her, Kristina learns she that she is officially cancer-free — and off the two go on a much-deserved trip to a tropical paradise.
ROMANCE REKINDLED | Ryan opts to spend the finale proving himself worthy of Amber and her affections. Flowers in hand, he begins the process by visiting her place with a powerful (and tearful) profession. “I love you so much,” he spills, noting that he’s in therapy again and things are great. “I think of you every minute of every day…. You’re my best friend in the whole world. I don’t even know what it was like before you. I don’t even think about it.” After much thought, Amber later explains that her intense reaction to Ryan’s outburst months ago was due in large part to the lessons she learned years back after her own drunk-driving accident. That said, she now realizes that she doesn’t “want to waste one more second” without Ryan. “I love you,” she cries, “more than I ever thought I could love anybody.”
WE ARE FAMILY | After months of mind-switching and bat-throwing, everything finally falls into place with Victor’s adoption. Everything, that is, except for Sydney. Little V’s sibling-to-be makes it abundantly clear that she wants nothing to do with Victor’s impending ceremony because he’ll never be a “real” part of the family. Harsh, yes, but things get better so we forgive her. Kinda. Later, Victor accidentally breaks a vase in the house and instead of acting like any other rowdy boy, he seeks reassurance from Julia that this incident doesn’t mean she’s “going to change [her] mind about adopting [him] and not have the ceremony.” The answer is, of course, no, so the relieved child pays a visit to Syd to ask that she reconsider coming to his big day. Why? “Because you’re my sister.” Alas, she can’t refuse. And soon the entire Braverman clan — including Salsa, his new pet lizard from Max — is together to officially welcome Victor into the family.
AND A BABY MAKES… | While celebrating their first anniversary, Jasmine reveals to Crosby that they are going to have a baby. The happy news, of course, makes it much easier for the stubborn hubby to make peace with her mother, who had just moved out of their place in a passive aggressive huff.
BERKELEY BOUND | Drew gets into the University of California, Berkeley, his first choice college! Beaming, Sarah proudly tells her son: “You’re the first one in our family to get a college degree.” Drew later shares a bittersweet goodbye with Amy, herself having just learned that she’s on her way to Tufts in Boston. After a long hug goodbye, the two promise to “never forget” each other.
How do you feel about Sarah’s choice? Are you glad Amber and Ryan are happily reunited? Hit the comments!