Parenthood Season 6 Premiere Recap: What Happened in Vegas?

Parenthood Season 6 Premiere

“We’re like… old. We’re real-life grown-ups, dude.”

That piece of wisdom, courtesy of Amber Holt on Thursday’s season premiere of Parenthood, just about sums up the NBC dramedy’s return.

The first hour of Parenthood’s final season found the Braverman clan dealing with a number of thoroughly grown-up changes, all of them eliciting reactions ranging from, “How could she?!” to “Can someone pass the Kleenex?” Read on for a recap of “Vegas,” then tell us what you thought of the episode.

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MATTERS OF THE HEART | When creator Jason Katims hinted at a huge challenge that would ripple through Parenthood’s final 13 episodes (later hinting that death was a necessary topic for the show to tackle), most of us jumped to a tragedy involving the Bravermans’ fearless leaders, Zeek and Camille. So, when Zeek collapses at a blackjack table during a birthday trip to Vegas with Sarah, it’s not entirely surprising — but it’s gut-wrenching all the same. (Lauren Graham’s line reading of, “Dad, no!” legitimately sent a chill right through me.) The hospital’s initial tests are able to rule out a heart attack, at the very least, but more exams are required to understand exactly what caused Zeek to hit the floor. In true Zeek fashion, he’s having none of it.

Rather than let the doctors poke and prod him, Zeek puts it in writing that he’s refusing the hospital’s treatment and heads right back to the craps table — this time joined by Adam and Crosby, who take a trip to Sin City when they get too worried about their dad. But even though the Braverman patriarch gets through the rest of his birthday trip unscathed, a trip to his usual doc indicates that further tests have to be done. (Or, as Adam points out in a heartbreaking preview for next week’s episode, Zeek could very well be gone for good. Kleenex count: 1.)

Parenthood Season 6 PremiereCLASS IS IN SESSION | Meanwhile, Kristina puts all her focus this week into the grand opening of Chambers Academy, her charter school created for kids just like Max… except Max is the only one that has no interest in attending. He’s against the idea for just about every reason — he doesn’t need any more friends, he gets his work done faster at home and, most traumatic of all, he still isn’t over those bullies peeing in his canteen a few months back. Kristina’s attempt at a heart-to-heart with Max doesn’t seem to stick — “You should have asked me first. I’m not going to be attending Chambers Academy,” Max asserts — but a lecture from Adam does the trick. After reinforcing just how important this endeavor is to Kristina, Max shows up on the first day of school and shakes the hand of his teary-eyed mom. (Kleenex count: 2! See, it’s like a drinking game, except waaaaay more emotional.)

WHOA, BABY | Even though NBC spoiled this for us weeks ago, we find that Amber’s hospital-bed tryst with Ryan did result in a pregnancy — and Amber’s flying solo as she hears the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Throughout the hour, Amber’s big secret has her acting majorly hostile, especially toward Haddie (who is looking stunning, by the way). When Haddie confronts her cousin about the sour attitude, Amber admits that she’s expecting, and the two share a terrifically sweet scene on the high school’s football field, talking about the past (remember when Amber slept with Haddie’s boyfriend? Good times!) and getting freaked out by the future. With a little convincing from Haddie, Amber finally admits to her mom at the end of the hour that she’s expecting. Sarah’s reaction? “Oh.” (Sounds about right.)

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NO LOVE LOST | Let’s get something out of the way: I am perhaps the biggest supporter of Joel/Julia. Their arc last season had me in a perpetually grouchy mood on Thursday nights, and I want nothing more than to see them reconcile by series’ end. But we also need to acknowledge that Julia’s new beau — Chris, her ex-boyfriend from law school and current colleague at the firm — is an attractive human being. He just is! But now that that’s settled, let’s turn to this week’s devastating Joel/Julia moments. First, Joel drops everything to help Kristina and the family get ready for Chambers Academy’s opening. Then, he drops everything to watch Victor and Sydney when Julia has a family crisis. And after that, he offers to continue dropping everything for as long as Julia needs him to. (Kleenex count: 3.) When Julia breaks down at the sight of Zeek in high spirits, Joel holds his estranged wife close — but when he kisses her, Julia pushes him away, which I suspect has something to do with all the hot sex (and maybe more) that she’s getting from Chris on the side. Sigh.

Parenthood Season 6 PremiereFATHERS, BE GOOD TO YOUR DAUGHTERS | While Hank and Sarah keep working at their newfound relationship (they have a cappuccino maker!), they’re thrown a curveball in the form of Hank’s ex-wife Sandy, who returns to town with daughter Ruby in tow. (Disclaimer: I am going to mix up “Sarah” and “Sandy” at least once this season, because I’m scatter-brained and those names are painfully similar. Go easy on me when that day comes, folks.) Sandy desperately needs help with Ruby, who’s officially hit the teenage years and can’t be bothered to say more than a few words at a time. She can, however, find the time to confront her dad about Sarah’s underwear, which she finds lying around his apartment. (Side note: My teenage years weren’t very long ago, and I cannot imagine a single scenario in which I would pick up a stranger’s thong and ask my dad if he had anything to do with it. No. No.) Hank admits to his ex-wife that he and Sarah are seeing each other, and she’s OK with the relationship — as long as she and Hank can split 50/50 custody of Ruby, now that both ladies are back in town.

OK, your turn. What did you think of Parenthood‘s final season premiere? Is there anything more adorable than baby Aida taking her first steps? Grade the episode via our poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  3. Tran says:

    Perfect way to start the final season of Parenthood if only they need 12 remaining boxes of Kleenex left. I knew Zeek would bite the dust in the season premiere over Amber.

    • Rook says:

      Or Zeek’s test results come out fine and in a shocking twist Camille ends up dying.

      • Amber says:

        You read my mind. I think that’s what’s going to happen. The stress from Zeke’s not cooperating gets to her :(.

      • Kathryn says:

        I was thinking the same thing. When Zeke came home, I suddenly had the thought that the whole thing was a red herring and that something will actually happen to Camille instead. She seemed a little off to me.

      • Bonnie says:

        I’m right there with you. We’ll worry about Zeke all season and when he comes through everything OK, last episode, Camille will be in a car wreck.

  4. robinepowell says:

    I was surprised to see Jasmine and Crosby has been recast as a black baby after they made a point of having Crosby say “she so white” when she was born. No to mention every time she was shown she had white blonde hair like Adam and Christina’s daughter.

    Don’t like Amber’s black hair. That girl changes her hair colour like some people change the socks. I hope she goes blonde again.

    Really enjoyed the season premiere. Typical Zeke, not going to little fainting spell get in the way of his weekend in Vegas.

    Loved how Crosby was on board with his father’s gambling.

  5. Joey Padron says:

    Good premiere. Sad Zeek is gonna die. Glad Amber & Haddie had some bonding time. Good moment Joel & Julia had at home. Good Max is giving Kristina’s new school a try. Previews for new episodes looks good & sad.

  6. Carla Krae says:

    People, just because a conversation about death might happen, doesn’t mean a character *will* die. But scary things are things families have to face – including the mortality of parents they seem like they’ll be around forever. Geesh.

    • John says:

      Yes, but the executive producer already stated in an interview that there will be a death in the family as it is the one story line that the show has yet to tackle.

      • TV Gord says:

        I don’t believe he has ever said that anyone will definitely die. He says the season will have a “larger story that has a huge effect on everybody, and that it will present “a huge challenge for this family, the kind we haven’t seen before”. I think he has carefully avoided saying anything definite.

        If anyone does die, I have a feeling it won’t be Zeek. I think he’s a red herring. If there’s one thing that I count on from Jason Katims, it is that we can expect the unexpected. That’s part of the reason this show in particular resonates with so many of us and why it’s one of my all-time favorite shows!

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  8. Carlie says:

    It was great…just get rid of Hank. It’s enough with the Braverman family drama.

  9. I don’t think it will be Zeke either…I’m afraid Christine is going to be the one to go…

  10. Ave says:

    It was awesome! I really will miss it. I am going to be sad to see it go off air. It had filled the void from ABC’s Brothers& Sisters. It is the only steady family oriented show left. I guess all we’ll have left will be police procedural, scifi/futuristic (still centered around police procedures) and medical dramas. There is no room for the family on Prime Time I guess. It was good while it lasted, will watch to the very end. farewell good Bravermans!

  11. ArchieLeach says:

    So is Zeek going to be an asshole the entire season?. You tell your wife you’re in the hospital and then the only way anyone else finds out you’re okay is because you send a selfie from the blackjack table? So is Zeek going to be an asshole the entire season because then I might not give a damn if he dies.

  12. brawl2099 says:

    I rated it a “b” only because I’m with Rebecca on the Joel/Julia separation. I haven’t yelled at my TV more than each time that storyline pops up. Just get the hell back together. Thank goodness you saw hesitation in Julia’s last conversation with Chris.

  13. I am not ready for the emotional heartbreak that is Julia rebuffing Joel all season. Yes, he screwed up but gosh darn if he isn’t just 99/9% perfect. COME ON JULIA. If not, well… I volunteer.

    Also can we discuss the growth spurt Xolo has had over the off season. He looks like a freaking teenager

    • herman1959 says:

      Yes, Joel seems to be all in now, but it’s a little too late. I predict they’ll break for good but continue to be friendly co-parents. That said, I agree that they shouldn’t draw it out too long. On the subject of Xolo’s growth spurt – that’s Puberty for ya!

  14. Maggie says:

    I am so happy that Parenthood is back and enjoyed this episode. The only disappointment was Hank’s family. It is the final season, I want to see the Braverman family not Hank’s family.

  15. Sarah J says:

    Did anyone else notice jasmine’s and crosby’s daughter is black now? Coming from a mixed family and having lighter pigmented skin, it was so nice to see a relatable occurance of what happened when she was born.. I had been picked on with people claiming I had to be adopted because I wasn’t darker like my dad, but instead lighter. My father is mixed and looks black. My mom is Scandinavian so very pale straight blonde with blue eyes. My siblings and I are very tanned with thick curly hair. To see production change this up when it seemed like a great dialog starter is disappointing. Peoples assumptions that u have to be dark cuz 1 parent is dark is misplaced and color should be able to be ignored. Again disappointing that they caved.

  16. Aly says:

    All I’m gonna say is Adam better be safe. Peter Krause already got killed off on Six Feet Under, I’d like to not see him dying on another show I’m in love with.

  17. Television says:

    I want to say it again, no one cares about Haddie, we were glad when she was off the show. And Joel needs to just be an ex that they share kids with. Julia does deserve someone different, never could stand Joel. There is just something so off about him, like he is an emotional abuser to her.

    • drhenning says:

      I suspect they used Sarah Ramos some this summer before she heads back to college.. Having her leave for Europe writes her out… Though I’d be curious how her family is paying for all of this with them starting a new business??? And what about her young sister??? Did I miss seeing her???

    • TV Gord says:

      You’re incorrect; I care about Haddie. I’ve missed her since she’s been away. I hope they have her with the family as much as possible this season.

  18. Ana Paula says:

    What the hell happened to Aida?! Wasn’t she blonde?