Parenthood Recap: Election Results, a Brutal Brawl, 5 Missed Calls and a Stunning Song

ParenthoodThis week’s Parenthood finds Ryan spiraling out of control, while Julia lashes out at “the other woman,” Kristina learns the results of the election and Hank sweetly schools Max on the language of love.

Here, we break down the seven key takeaways from the NBC weepfest’s latest installment:

Winning isn’t everything. Especially when you’re Kristina Braverman, who loses her bid for mayor after Bob Little bests her at the polls. But to the not-so-casual observer it appears that she actually comes out on top, when a special needs child — the daughter of the first constituent she bonded with, in fact — offers up her heartfelt thanks for Kristina making school more tolerable for her and thus changing her life. (Sob.)

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Crosby is to blame for those unfavorable election results. OK, not really, but it turns out the reformed Braverman bad boy has never registered or voted. At first Crosby attempts to hide this fact from Jasmine by offering up one of the season’s funniest moments: a story about how he sobbed with joy after voting for Obama. But after coming clean — and being told that if Kristina loses, it’s on him — Crosby “buys” a vote for his in-law from a neighbor. Too bad his $40 couldn’t sway the outcome.

Mae Whitman has the voice of an angel. To quote Step Brothers, it’s “like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.” Amber is finally given a chance to showcase her vocal chops when she’s asked to record a guide track for the Lucheonette’s new in-house band. But after they love the way her voice sounds paired with Tyson Ritter’s Oliver, they decide to include it, as is, on the album. The good news sends her celebrating with the guys, but most unfortunately leads to one of Parenthood‘s most gut-wrenching moments to date.

Amber should just answer the phone each time Ryan calls. It’d save them both so much strife. But we digress… The newly betrothed couple continues to grow apart this week when Amber’s aforementioned activities keep her from home more often than Ryan would like — not in a possessive way, but in a jealous, anxious, “We had plans, you bailed and I missed you” way. When she flakes again in favor of beers with the band, Ryan rushes out to give her a sober ride home. When he arrives, Matthew Atkinson’s Zach has his hand on Amber’s arm, Ryan makes a remark about the two cuddling, Oliver playfully nudges the veteran and he in turn loses it. After choking the rock star for a split-second, Ryan turns his aggression on Zach, brutally attacking the bandmate and punching him repeatedly.

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Zeek and Amber together = TVLine kryptonite. This grandpa/granddaughter duo has always been able to destroy us with every emotional scene, and tonight was no exception. With Ryan presumably behind bars (they’re at a police station), Zeek shows up to assist Amber and she breaks down, crumbling into his arms with sobs. The quiet scene brought back memories of Amber’s Season 2 car crash and Zeek’s tough-love approach to coping with it.

Joel and Julia are thisclose to reaching their breaking point. We’re not quite sure who’s the Big Bad in the destruction of what was once a beautiful marriage, but sadly it doesn’t matter. Fighting looks good on no one and these two have become the poster children for it. After Victor’s return to the fourth grade goes horribly, Julia reaches out to her husband for support. He, however, doesn’t return any of her five (!) phone calls, which leads her to storm into his office and lash out at Sonya Walger’s Pete. Joel sides with his boss in the moment and later confronts his wife about her actions. “I championed you for nine years and you can’t give me three months,” he argues. Julia, of course, says that she does support him, but needs it to be reciprocated now because the family is in crisis. The fight is left unresolved, but after catching a glimpse of her phone earlier, he’s no doubt worried about her budding relationship with Ed.

Hank and Max are Parenthood‘s new “it” couple. Max informs Hank of his intentions to make the latter’s recently resurfaced daughter his girlfriend (they’re both 14 and single and a boy and girl, duh!) — news the photog doesn’t quite know how to handle. At first he advises Ruby to just play along for Max’s sake, but Sarah later weighs in and her advice leads to a sweet interaction between Hank and his protege. Basically, he explains that “guys like us don’t need to rush” things with girls; it’ll happen when it happens — advice Max responds to with a simple but loaded, “Thanks.”

What were your favorite moments from Thursday’s Parenthood?

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46 Comments
  1. webly3 says:

    Although the episode was very bittersweet, I thought it was the best episode of the season to date.

    It was pretty shocking – I honestly thought that Kristina was going to win, but I loved how they played it off. I was also shocked by the fight, even though it was inevitable because the commercial totally spoiled it. But the Amber-Zeke relationship made me cry though not as much as season two of course.

    Julia/Joel cannot divorce, they promised they never would in season two! I remember! Divorcing would be very shocking and I don’t think that it will happen but imagine what consequences would come with divorce. It would be a huge mess. I don’t really love that storyline this season but it has definitely brought some notable great acting performances from Erika Christensen.

    • NotafanofNeverland says:

      If Joel and Julia divorced and if I were Sydney, I would start to feel like Victor’s inclusion into the family ended up breaking up the family. A possible storyline that could be explored if Joel and Julia divorced.

      • Bill says:

        Apparently, judging from the previews, Julia disregards all of that. I do think that Joel could be more sipportive, but I do recall him taking the lead on a lot of issues with Sydney in the first couple of seasons while Julia focused mainly on her job. And lately it almost seems like Julia is trying to justify having an affair with Ed, who comes on as the most caring person in the world, except when it comes to his wife who he is about to cheat on. Julia is about to cross a line that I expect will cuase a lot of pain to many people she supposedly cares about. How sad. Last season this show was really inspirational. This year is turning out to be depressing as hell. Given how gleeful Camille was when Zeek called her – and not because he called – I don’t see much future for those two either. And of course, Amber and Ryan are done, but that’s been fairly obvious for thelast couple of episodes.

    • Kate says:

      I don’t remember a promise of no divorce, but I do remember Joel promising never to cheat on her. And as I recall, Julia didn’t promise the same thing back…

  2. Stephanie Burkamp says:

    Kristina Braverman… tears almost every time! What a brilliant actress.
    Love the Hank and Max relaltionship. Hoping Hank and Sarah will reunite. Love this show to pieces!!

  3. These characters can really get on my nerves sometimes. And how stupid is Crosby? Seriously.

  4. Alex says:

    I like Zeek’s (that the correct spelling of his name, BTW) softer moments. Often he comes across as overbearing, but then you get the bits where he’s supportive of his family.

    My other favorite scene this week was when Hank talked to Max about getting a girlfriend.

  5. neha says:

    I think I’m on team Joel here. Julia went to his place of work, disrupted him, and then yelled at his boss. In lots of places, that could get you fired. At the very least, you would get a warning and/or glares from your co-workers. Considering that Joel is their only source of income, Julia should have been more considerate. Also, Julia was able to drive her children to her parent’s home, but wasn’t able to ask her dad to help? Seemed unrealistic.

    But, I do still feel for Julia – I think it sucks, with adopted children, especially, to feel like you are not their mother. And, I think that Victor has shown that he doesn’t think of Julia as his mother and doesn’t trust or respect her. Notice how he called her Julia again today. However, he does like and respect Joel (who he calls Dad). I can understand how Julia would feel like Joel was her only option. It’s not good parenting, as Victor should learn to respect her too, but I can understand it. Also, Joel should have picked up the phone if he had FIVE missed calls. For all he knew, there actually had been an emergency!

    • Saabgirlatx says:

      I hate to say it but I really thought they should have decided against adopting Victor. All of the drama last season with him gave me chills and it seemed like the writers wrapped up that storyline so tidily in the finale. I caught the “Julia” as well and it have me chills again.

      • Diana S says:

        It seems to me that they haven’t gotten anything positive from adopting Victor. Their lives seemed much happier and certainly more serene before he entered the picture. It’s been nothing but chaos and drama since. Sydney certainly has suffered. He doesn’t appear to have any appreciation for what they are offering him.

      • NotafanofNeverland says:

        Agreed. It’s really put their family through a lot, especially Julia. It would cause me so much pain if I adopted a little boy, and he would call my husband “dad” but call me by my name. They just had such a hard time connecting.

    • rowan77 says:

      For the most part, I agree. Joel is working on a major project. What I think the biggest problem is that Julia was the major breadwinner for years and Joel was a really terrific father. He understands kids and knows how to talk with them. But now Joel is also really good at his job as a contractor, and Julia is just not good with kids. She doesn’t have the patience or understanding that Joel does, but it’s her job now – and she can’t handle it, so she keeps trying to engage Joel – who can’t understand why she successfully can’t do what he used to do – be the stay at home parent. Add to that the far that Pete keeps him late to work on changes and it’s a recipe for disaster. All that said, Joel should have returned his wife’s calls long before the 5th time. When your spouse calls that often, you know something is wrong. That seemed very out of character for him.

    • Completely against Joel. They’ve made him terrible this season. He does not listen to Julia. Ever. He always says he knows better, he ignores her, he excludes her from decision-making to her face. It feels so forced, too. Like, he’s not even human anymore. Just some kind of angry yelling robot.

      • sydney says:

        I agree! I don’t think his actions have been in character at ALL for the past couple of episodes.

      • blancaster60 says:

        Yeah, he’s kind of like Julia was in the first couple of seasons when she pretty much expected Joel to handle everything at home while she worked late hours every night at her law office. But as I recall, Joel didn’t deal with it by having an affair or going to Julia’s office and yelling at her boss. Joel could definitely be more flexible and understanding about Julia’s feelings concerning Victor’s school problems. But it’s just not that easy to feel sympathetic toward her when she is having an emotional affair with another stay at home parent and is about to make it physical in the next episode. Fans would have raked Joel over the coals if he had done something like that in Season 1. Their reaction to Julia doing it now should be no different. Gender should have nothing to do with it.

    • Ginger says:

      Joel keep saying that he did all this for 9 years, but he only did it with 1 small child who had no issues aside from a smart mouth. Joel was not the sole parent of Victor at any time, no is he ever there to see the dynamic of Victor and Sydney. SO, Joel, I’m glad you could handle a 5 year old girl, but you would never have gotten through with Sydney AND Victor.

      • Saabgirlatx says:

        Excellent point. I am not thrilled with where they are taking Joel’s character but it is realistic for a couples dynamic to change drastically when one gets more success than the other. Do we think Joel is that focused on work or possibly happy to be away from the drama at home???

      • Kim R says:

        Yes..excellent point. :)

      • NotafanofNeverland says:

        Yes! Exactly what I’ve been thinking. Julia’s stay at home situation is completely different from how Joel’s was. If it was just Sydney, I don’t think Julia would have such a hard time being a stay at home mom (prob just feel bored/stagnant).

      • blancaster60 says:

        True, Julia has a tougher situation (I get it – my first two were 22 months apart). But none of the stress that Julia may be under excuses what she is about to do. Based on the previews, she is about to blow up her marriage and bring a lot of pain and shame to her kids.

    • tp says:

      In all fairness, she only yelled at Pete because Pete felt the need to say something. Pete really should have kept her mouth shut and just gave them some space.

      • NotafanofNeverland says:

        But Pete was probably just going to say that she’ll step out for a little bit to give them the room.

        • tp says:

          Yes but you don’t say it! Pete has to have enough smarts to know to get the hell outta dodge. Pete knows what she’s doing isn’t exactly above board. Even without knowledge of Joel’s trouble at home.

          • blancaster60 says:

            Oh, good grief! I can’t believe people are criticizing Pete for not running out of the room. It was a place of business (hers, technically). Julia was the intruder. She could told Julia to take it outside. Julia was way out of line. I don’t care how many phone calls Joel didn’t return (although, granted, he should have). Don’t put any of this mess on Pete. And now judging from the previews, Julia is going to start a physical relationship with Ed. Who all will be to blamed for that, other than Julia, of course?

    • blancaster60 says:

      Agree with you 100%. And based on the previews for the next episode, Julia is sadly, going to take her relationship with Ed to the next level. What a stupid thing to do. She thinks her life is in the crapper now. She is about to find out just how much worse it can be. And Julia can’t see that if she suddenly got a job and Ed was still out of work, she would have nothing in common with this guy, who is so nice he is about to cheat on his wife and possibly break up his family. She and Joel have been through so much together, and now she is going to toss him and her family into the gutter.

  6. Susan Martin says:

    Love the complexity of this show. I may not like all the story lines but it’s one of the best things on television now or ever. Little nugget of wonderful lost in the land of awful and mediocre.

  7. neha says:

    Another thing I wanted to mention – I’m supposed to believe that her family was SO worried about her dating Bob Little (who was intelligent, successful, and respectful of her), but have shown ZERO qualms about her marrying Ryan? Even though he has had episodes like this in the past? The only person who has said anything has been Sarah, but Camille basically told her to shut up.

    • kimberly says:

      I think the family was right to be worried about Amber and Bob Little. He’s an older man taking advantage of a young girl. But, I do agree with you on the last part. They should be worried about Amber and Ryan, and hopefully, after this last episode they’ll try and talk some sense into her. I think she’s just too young to deal with these issues. She can support Ryan and try to help him, but as his friend and not his wife.

  8. Kim R says:

    Joel & Julia. I think the writers are doing such a good job on this storyline. I’m so frustrated at Joel even though I could see every point he spat at Julia last night. Yes…he was home with the kids…yes..he supported her career (don’t forget….while she was supporting the family)…yes, he did all those things but this is not where they are at now. Now there is a crisis with Victor. So…as a wife I would feel like let’s put a pin in the other issues for the time being and deal with this boy’s devastation etc.
    Not answering his phone? Maybe 1 or 2 calls but 5? That is just stupid and hurtful. It could have been anything. There could have been and accident. And I totally understand the anger/frustration on Julia’s part to decide….okay buddy…you’re not going to answer? I’m coming to you!
    In this situation, I’m on Julia’s side. Joel is really being an idiot. He refused to even look at the fact that Victor was falling so far behind he needed to be put back to catch up. He actually blamed Julia. I don’t know why he seems to be all of a sudden so full of anger at her. I feel like I missed something.
    That all said….this is such a great, one of a kind show. Simply about the workings of a family. I love it, even when I yell at the TV. :D

    • Ginger says:

      Also don’t forget, he was never home the “kids” – he was home with perfect little Sydney. He’d be barging into Julia’s office too if he had ever experienced Victor’s tantrums or the sad dynamic between Sydney and Victor…

      • Ann says:

        Well, then, it’s Julia’s fault for insisting to adopt Victor. Joel didn’t want to do it at first, but he conceded and opened his heart to Victor. Julia likes to whine. “I can’t have kids, so let’s illegally buy one. Oh, the mother changed her mind? Let’s adopt…but not adopt someone we both want. Let’s adopt a 10 year old kid with a troubled pass…it’s be easy for you to care for him, Joel…Boohoo…the boy likes Joel and is bonding with him more than he’s bonding with me!” “Oh, crap. I just got fired! Now I’m going to be stuck with the kid that I forced my husband to adopt…now I have to deal with him. It’s your fault Joel for working too hard with Pete and earning money to support this family and the lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to and leaving me with the kids all day!” Gosh…I hate to say this, but Joel deserves much better than Julia.

        • Kim R says:

          Wow. I don’t think adopting has anything to do with having a difficult time with one of your kids. You can raise them from birth and still run into trouble. You can bring someone into your home at a 10 year old and not have 1 minute of grief. I feel for Julia as a mom who just doesn’t know what else to do and has also lost her partner’s support in at least trying to figure it out. Joel put blinders on about the issue and just won’t hear that Victor may need to go over some things in a previous grade which will help him in the long run though it feel humiliating to him now. Joel needs to grow up and stop making it all about him and start to realize that regardless of his discontentment with his wife at the moment, Victor is in crisis. Instead of it being just that Joel is making it an entire family/marriage crisis.

        • Dawn E. says:

          I agree Ann! While Joel could handle some aspects of situation better, Julia is a bit much. I don’t understand why she had to have another child. She barely had time for Sydney and was always feeling guilty. Raising that beautiful 10 yr old boy from a broken home is complicated, but I have a feeling she would have also been ultra frazzled staying at home with a new born. She insisted on not only having another child, but she signed up for this one with all it’s complexities. Their situation is sad, but very realistic. What you want, is not always what’s best especially if you’re not equipped to handle it. In true Parenthood fashion, I’m sure it’ll turn out just fine with lots of annoying tears and a bow on top.

    • blancaster60 says:

      As I read all of this outpouring of sympathy for poor stressed out Julia. I can’t help but wonder how much understanding would be expressed if Joel was still the stay at home parent and he started having an affair with a mom from school. Would so many fans be saying “poor Joel?” I seriously doubt it. They would be screaming for his head on a pike.

    • blancaster60 says:

      Yes, Joel should have returned at least one of her calls. But maybe since she didn’t leave a voice mail or text that something serious had happened, he didn’t think it was critical he call her back right away. And sorry, I don’t agree at all with Julia going to his work and creating a scene with his boss right there. Julie would have gone nuts if Joel had pulled a stunt like that at her law office.
      Also, I saw no criticism at all of Julia for dealing with her stress by having an emotional affair with Ed. And when she starts getting physical with the guy in the next episode, is that going to be all Joel’s fault, too? Agreed, Joel is not being as understanding as he should toward Julia, but having said that, she is about to give the term, “idiot” a whole new meaning.

  9. Arien says:

    my heart aches very time Hank and Sarah share a scene but theya re not together. I want them back together!
    Erica does a darn fine job acting and its not straight forward to decide with whom to side.

  10. Chablis says:

    Love this show. Kristina losing was really realistic. Hope not the end of Jurnee liked her. Not good situation with Ryan – not at all.

  11. tp says:

    Joel is really pissing me off. Five phone calls and you can’t step out for a second and call your wife back? How about when Pete went to get sushi…could you call her back then? If something had happened to one of the kids and he didn’t answer her call would he have found a way to blame her? He is being unfair to her.

    I’ve said from the beginning that Amber is too young to deal with the severity of Ryan’s problems. Bob Little wasn’t as bad. He was just a little too old for her to me. Otherwise he was cool. Now Crosby and Adam can ask the questions that, in the absence of her father, they should have been asking in the beginning.

    • blancaster60 says:

      Agree, he should have called her back. But none of that justifies the emotional affair that Julia is having with Ed and definitely not the physical one she is about to enter into with him in the next episode. And she was wrong to go into Joel’s office and yell at him and his boss that way. I have no doubt that Julia would have gone ballistic if he had come to her law office and created a scene like that, regarless of the situation. As for Ed, he is a scumbag for what he is doing to his family.

      I think Joel probably dealt with a lot when he was a stay at home dad and he thinks that Julia should be just as understanding now that he is the main bread winner as he was when their roles were reversed. From the early episodes of Parenthood, I got a sense that Julia was pretty disconnected from what was going on in her house every day and Joel was often left to deal with everything on his own when Julia was pratically living at the office working on one big case after another. I think Julia is about to make a huge mistake and she may soon find out that the stress she is dealing with now is nothing compared to the s***storm she is going to create for herself.

  12. missvci says:

    Joel and Julia’s relationship just shows the brilliance of Parenthood. I can’t say I’m team Joel or Team Julia because they are both right and they are both wrong at the same time. But I was really hoping Julia wouldn’t cross that line with Ed, although she was already having an emotional fair with him. I think storyline wise it would have made much more sense for Joel to be the one to cross the line with Pete because he frustrated and has been emasculated by Julia time and time again and it would make perfect sense for him to act out sexually.

  13. HB says:

    I love this show. I get sucked in like the rest of the fans and cheer for the characters. Julia and Joel are a perfect example how things can turn sour. There is not a black or white, life is complicated and one can see how easy a loving relationship turns into an everyday struggle. I hope that writers stay real with this and do not turn it into a fair tale marriage fix over night. I think they can mend the marriage, but it has to be written in a very clever way. What happened to Haddie? She was such a big part of the show.

  14. jay Jones says:

    great show , great episode. sad Kristina lost, but I am overjoyed at her more positive attitude post cancer. she used to be totally neurotic-now she is soaring. Crosby-ok, he’s a dingbat but I was laughing out loud at him trying to tell Jabbar he was “voting public” versus “voting private”-then trying to buy the guy’s vote to assuage his conscience-HILARIOUS! Amber-what an awesome actress. I’m kind of sad how they suddenly tanked the relationship with Ryan in just a couple of episodes-but she is too young for his problems to anchor her down. Joel has turned into the Hulk or something-I have never been a Julia fan but he is driving ME crazy-he won’t help her, won’t answer 5 calls-WHAT?-he gets to be the breadwinner but man, is he ANGRY about it-I don’t understand but I feel sorry for Julia for a change-it’s a shame, but bringing in Victor seemed to tank their marriage. Very sad. This show is like reality-not neat, not happy ever after, but always so satisfying. And I LOVE HANK AND MAX.

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  16. kat says:

    I love Parenthood! It’s the best-written, most heartfelt and heartwrenching show out there (and grossly underrated, as was the ridiculously amazing Friday Night Lights). I love Amber and Ryan’s storyline/relationship, so I hope he doesn’t leave the show. I don’t want him to go out on such a sour note, and honestly, every time Amber helps out with a band at the Luncheonette, someone ends up having a crush on her. I’m not saying she was flirting with Zach, but she should be more communicative with her fiance and not treat him like a chore while she runs off to hang out with her new bandmates. Amber and Ryan have an amazing connection, and I want to see them work it out. I understand Sarah’s concerns, and Amber needs to be honest about her concerns. Obviously Ryan was upset about taking back the ring–it has nothing to do with money. He picked it out for her, and all she does is ask, “Are you sure you’re not mad at me.” She’s so angry about Sarah speaking up because she is secretly having doubts. That scene at the bar and then the police station was incredible and terrible. I was shrinking down into my seat with dread. I do love Amber and Zeek’s relationship, so sweet. He has his flaws (love him eating ice cream for breakfast and fruit loops with whip cream :) but he’s such a sweet, supportive father and grandfather. Ryan is right, not everyone has their family. The Bravermans are so, so lucky.

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