Parenthood Finale Recap: Change is Good

parenthood-season-5-finaleIf there’s one thing we’ve learned this season on Parenthood, it’s just how much the Bravermans hate change. But as Thursday’s season finale proved, not all change has to be bad.

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TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT | Welcome home, Haddie! Adam and Kristina’s eldest returns home from school, with her “super-awesome best friend” Lauren in tow (who we can all agree looks like Michelle Williams in her Dawson’s Creek days, right?). As Max discovers when he unceremoniously walks in on them kissing, the two aren’t just friends, but they’re dating. Haddie doesn’t want to tell her parents the news, but after Max questions his mom about what it means when two girls kiss, Haddie really doesn’t have a choice. She admits to Mom and Dad that she’s in a relationship, and — as if we should expect anything less — Kristina and Adam are totally cool and supportive. (Side note: Major kudos to Sarah Ramos, who seemed so conflicted throughout the episode, I felt like I was keeping a secret from my family.)

COLD SHOULDER | Back at the hospital, Amber and Ryan get a visit from Ryan’s estranged mother (played by Pretty Little Liars’ Annabeth Gish), who greets him oh-so-warmly: “Well, you’re a damn mess.” Ah, I can really feel the bond between these two. The dynamic isn’t any better between her and Amber, especially when she learns that Amber and Ryan didn’t exactly “just date” a little bit before he was injured. And with that in mind, Mrs. York delivers a bit of bad news: Ryan’s been discharged from the army, and he’ll be returning to Wyoming with her after he gets released from the hospital. Amber confronts Ryan about the discharge, and asks him how exactly he got all banged up. The answer? Drunk driving and using his phone while driving. (Ryan, I am so not happy with you right now.) But Ryan takes this opportunity to be extra-honest with Amber, telling her he still thinks about her every day. If you didn’t reach for the Kleenex at least once as the two kissed (and did a little somethin’ somethin’ on Ryan’s hospital bed), I hereby declare you need to check for a pulse. But that’s not all: Before episode’s end, Amber grabs a pregnancy test at the drugstore.

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HE LOVES ME NOT | As Drew and Natalie say their goodbyes for the summer, she tells him she loves him. And Drew, well… just stands there. Oops. The teenage Braverman remains moody for the rest of the episode, but it’s nothing Zeke can’t solve. After convincing Drew to help him move furniture out of the house, Zeke hands over the keys to the ol’ Pontiac. Yep, now Drew can visit his girlfriend in Portland, and he wastes no time in doing so — and finally tells her he loves her, too.

TOMATO, TOMAHTO | Hank’s season-long character development isn’t all for naught: After he remains a supportive and concerned — dare I say it? — father figure to Amber, Sarah agrees it’s time to finally discuss where she and Hank stand. The bottom line? Despite Hank’s Asperger’s, she needs open communication in a relationship, which Hank recognizes is not easy for him. Still, Hank’s progress throughout the last few months seems to be enough for Sarah, and at the end of the hour, she walks into his studio and greets him with a long-awaited kiss. (My favorite quote of the episode? Hank’s stunned “Really?” after Sarah planted one on him. So cute!)

READING BETWEEN THE LINES | Here’s something to put in the “win” column for Victor: Not only did his entry to the school essay contest win first place, but he gets to read the piece aloud to the entire school. Proud parents Joel and Julia can’t help beaming as they watch Victor recite his essay, and for the first time in a long time, the happy family celebrates together with some frozen yogurt. Later, after Sydney begs Joel not to return to his apartment, he and Julia tuck their daughter in, sharing with her the story of when she was born. And if you audibly squealed when Joel grabbed Julia’s hand, you were not the only one.

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HOME SWEET HOME | Throughout the episode, Crosby and Adam reluctantly help their parents pack up their childhood home, reminiscing about some of their best memories from yesteryear. Bobsledding down mattresses on the staircase? Check. Learning that Crosby didn’t actually make that awesome birdhouse in art class? Check. And although the Bravermans are sad to say goodbye to their beloved home, the entire gang reunites for one last family dinner in the backyard. And all of us watching at home cry, “This show must be renewed!”

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the Parenthood finale? Grade the season ender via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!