Parenthood Recap: Matters of the Heart

Parenthood Season 6 Episode 3

On this Thursday’s episode of Parenthood, more than one family member reminds us you can’t spell Braverman without “brave.” 

Even though the family has encountered challenge after challenge for five seasons, the obstacles — both physical and emotional — presented in the NBC drama’s latest hour are some of their most harrowing yet.

Who steps up to the plate in the face of adversity? Let’s recap:

…who is finally forced to undergo the heart surgery he’s tried so hard to avoid. Before Zeek’s surgery (and during the actual procedure), the Braverman family mantra seems to be, “It’s going to be OK.” But there are certainly chinks in the armor: Adam copes with his fears by sending out “worst case scenario” emails and remaining all too realistic about what could go wrong during Zeek’s surgery. Millie won’t let her guard down until the hour is almost over, when she chats with Julia about the significance of her wedding vows. “In good times and bad, for richer and for poorer. We’ve been through all that,” Millie admits. “It’s this one. This is the tough one.”

And even though he puts on a good poker face prior to going in for surgery, Zeek admits to his wife that he’s scared just before he’s brought into the operating room. So scared, in fact, that he won’t take off his wedding ring until he absolutely has to. But the family’s fears are (mostly) calmed when Zeek’s doctor reports that everything went well. Millie and the kids are able to visit Zeek in his room, but only Millie actually enters — and places his wedding band back on his finger. (Please allow me one use of the phrase “I can’t even,” to be cashed in now. Zeek and Millie certainly have lived out the highs and lows of their wedding vows, and watching her put that ring on his finger got me more than a little choked up. On a related note: Might I be too invested in the lives of these characters? Decide in the comments.)

Also showing a different kind of bravery in this episode: Crosby, who gets into a motorcycle accident while en route to stop Oliver Rome’s latest hissy fit, then returns to the hospital without breathing a word of his obvious injuries. (Side note: I can’t be the only one who thought Crosby’s accident was going to be fatal, right?)

…who decides to visit Ryan in Wyoming and tell him about her pregnancy in person. Drew goes with her, and for good reason. When Ryan is overjoyed about the baby news, causing Amber to want to stay in Wyoming and figure things out with him, Drew calls it like he sees it and admits Ryan is still a mess — just like their dad. At first, Amber seems like she’s tuned out her brother’s honesty, but when she asks Ryan about his pill-popping habit and realizes he hasn’t taken any steps toward recovery, she sadly confesses that he’s not ready to be a full-time dad just yet. (And although Ryan definitely isn’t in any shape to be a father, watching him and Amber slowly distance themselves on his couch is a gut-wrenching visual.)

…who watches Hank’s daughter shoplift a tube of lipstick and immediately tells him about it. (I know that teenagers will be teenagers, but Ruby infuriates me. That backhanded comment about Sarah’s age was cold.) Hank admits he “sucks at being a parent” when Sarah tells him what happened, but Sandy argues that he’s not a parent at all. She confesses that Ruby has been stealing frequently (among other things), and says in no uncertain terms that she doesn’t want Sarah around when Ruby’s over for the weekend — which will probably go well!

…who finally admits to Joel that she’s seeing someone. (I’m not happy with this development at all, but it’s a courageous move on Julia’s part, nonetheless.) Joel is visibly crushed by the news, especially after he makes an effort to visit Zeek and comfort Julia about her dad’s surgery. But none of this has deterred Julia’s new beau Chris, who may or may not still be in love with her from back in their law school days. He remembers the tiniest details about their dates and sends her a waiting-room survival package brimming with Twizzlers. (The sad truth: He’s a little charming. Thoughts on having #TeamJoel and #TeamChris T-shirts manufactured? Is that too much?)

So, what did you think of the episode? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

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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  1. GabrielaD says:

    Thanks for the recap… I needed to make sure Zeek didn’t die before I watched. I needed all the spoilers! My heart can not take a death. I hope the series ends on a joyful note.

  2. Carla G says:

    Have to admit, thought Zeke was a goner. Camille made me cry. What a great episode! I’m on pins and needles trying to figure out who will die. Crosby? Ryan, od’ing? Love your column!

  3. Laura says:

    Definitely not the only one who thought Crosby ‘s accident was going to be a much bigger deal. I still hate Julia’s new guy. Nice move with the twizzlers but there is just something about him. Guess you can sign me up for #teamjoel.

  4. Carla Krae says:

    I like Chris. That waiting room survival kit was incredibly sweet!

  5. Carla Krae says:

    And I really don’t need them to kill anyone off. Dealing with the possibility of death is fine. They don’t need to actually do it in the *final* season. I don’t watch this show for character deaths.

    • sonja says:

      I totally agree with not needing character death. It happens so often there is nothing shocking about it, except Will on The Good Wife. I think the Braveman’s can finish the show without anyone dying.

    • Michelle says:

      I really hate the idea of them killing someone off too, but if a show can do justice to death, to turn it into something completely heartbreaking AND beautiful, it’s Parenthood.

  6. lori says:

    Great episode. Actress who plays Amber is just outstanding and continues to shine! Hank’s daughter and ex wife are unneeded annoyances in the last season. Let’s focus on the core family. Still annoyed that Julia broke up the marriage then continues to get rewarded and punishes Joel and tells him it’s all his fault!

    • Kim R says:

      Just reading your comment made me realize the Hank/ex wife/daughter storyline is annoying me too! If was have this limited time left with the Braverman’s let is just be about them. I have to say that I am proud of Julia though. When she finally let Joel know how much he destroyed her by refusing to work through anything and not even talking to her, I could not have agreed more. She had forgiven him when he erred. He acted like a child and, in my opinion, was the one who threw the marriage away. :)

      • English says:

        But is it fair that Sarah doesn’t get a separate storyline because we find them annoying? If they weren’t there people would be complaining that there wasn’t enough story for Sarah apart from whole family matters.

      • Rhonda says:

        I agree on the Julia/Joel/Chris storyline. Julia did the right thing by telling that big baby off once and for all. Who does he think he is to be allowed to condemn her and then think he can just pick up where he left off! TeamChris!

  7. Kim R says:

    In my opinion Craig T. Nelson & Bonnie Bedelia gave performances of the week. Having gone through my dad’s open heart surgery, it could not have been more realistic. Camille holding it together until he was wheeled away hit it exactly right. The fear in Zeek’s eyes, fantastic acting. I was pulling for Zeek, hoping Crosby didn’t die in a bike crash, that Ryan didn’t go crazy with Amber and that she and Drew didn’t have a car wreck on the way to or from. I was a mess by the end! :) I’m going to miss this show when it is done. There is nothing like it on TV. Nothing.

  8. J Ellis says:

    This episode was great. Drew really stepped up to protect his big sister and help Amber realize that Ryan is still a mess and no different than their dad. Millie having her moment having Zeek was wheeled into the operating room was the moment that hit home and had me in tears. I loved Julia and Joel together, but Chris sending that survival kit gave him some brownie points.

  9. joefromwb says:

    Did anyone else find it distracting how much of the cast was missing in this episode? If even Joel, who is separated from Zeek’s daughter, came to visit, why were his sons’ wives nowhere to be seen? I can understand the grandkids not being at the hospital, but it seemed really awkward that Kristina and Jasmine weren’t there. And unless I missed it, they weren’t even referred to. I realize the show has a budget, but it just kept pulling me out of the reality of the show.

    • Sarah T. says:

      Not really. I assumed that Christina was at the school (since that’s very much her full time job now) and Jasmine was likely home with the baby. I realize it was a big surgery but having immediate family there seemed appropriate so they could support their mom and dad.
      I felt like Joel stopped by mainly because things are strained between he and Julia. He won’t have the benefit of stopping by to visit Zeke in the hospital later (like the other spouses would) so he came by before hand. I also think that was his way of showing Zeke, man to man, that he knew he screwed up and was trying to make things right with Julia. I know I could be reading too much into that part of it.

    • Melinda says:

      I noticed this too and I think it has to do with the negotiations to keep the show on the air for one more season. There was talk that they didn’t want to pay for all cast members to be in all thirteen episodes; the funders wanted nine out of thirteen and the production company would not agree. They finally settled on eleven of thirteen. They made the best of it and kept the core characters (the Braverman siblings) in this episode.

    • Rhonda says:

      I “pretended” the 2 wives were keeping the home fires burning with all the young ones (to include Max) while the siblings were supporting the parents at the hospital. However, it did bother me that Amber picked THIS time to go see that loser and dragged her little brother in on that stupid road trip. IJS

  10. Sarah T. says:

    Great episode! I thought for sure Crosby was a goner when he angrily got on his motorcycle. I’m really hoping they won’t go the character death route (unless it’s maybe Haddie since she hasn’t been around much the last couple of seasons). I don’t think the show needs it as they handle the emotional route well.
    I was frustrated with Joel last season and though I like Julia’s new beau Chris, I’m still pulling for Joel and Julia to get back together. I really hope Camille’s talk resonates with Julia and she’ll try to work things through with Joel so they can gain a deeper relationship.
    I thought the Hank/Sarah/Ruby storyline showed us a very real possibility of how Joel & Julia’s daughter, Sydney might become someday. Ruby was an absolutely pill. It’s clear she’s acting out. I hope that Hank really grasps that so he can help her through it.

  11. joannf says:

    Amazing episode…which makes the fact that this show is ending absolutely heartbreaking.

  12. CJ says:

    Maybe I am reading too much into it, as the bike crash may have just been them showing Crosby’s way of dealing with everything that is going on, but I’m not convinced yet that there won’t be consequences from it. The bike definitely landed on his leg, and I can see them going the compartment syndrome route and killing Crosby, instead of Zeek who we’ve assumed it’d be all along. I’m probably just over analyzing it but it definitely crossed my mind.

    • Mary says:

      It cross my mind too that they were going to have Crosby die but then I thought they wouldn’t be that cruel to kill him on the day of the operation. I have a sick feeling that Camilla is the one who is going to end up dying. Everyone thinking it is Zeek but it ends up being her.

      • CJ says:

        Based on the direction they’ve taken Camille and Zeek the last two seasons or so, I was convinced coming into this season that she’d be the one who dies. I wouldn’t be too surprised if there is a twist and she ends up dying instead of Zeek. This show is torture but I love it so much.

      • Jan says:

        Yes, I still fear that Camille will be the one who ends up dying, though deadly repercussions from Crosby’s accident seem plausible, too. Rebecca, IMO, there’s no such thing as being too invested in TV characters (my family & friends would probably disagree). Why didn’t Sandy reveal Ruby’s kleptomania when they first got back? [Though I really don’t care about them too much.] My favorite characters from the beginning of the series have been Camille and Amber. Just don’t let anything horrific happen to them!

    • Sarah says:

      Is anyone old enough to have watched “thirtysomething” in the 1980s? Everyone thought a female character (Nancy) was going to die of cancer, but instead the most Crosby-like character (Gary) was killed suddenly in a bike accident. I was thinking that as soon as Crosby rounded that curve. I really wish we didn’t already know someone was going to die this season.

  13. TriciaW says:

    So, I started wondering. Where did all this talk of a death come from. Are we just all propagating rumours or did one of the Parenthood creators actually tell us. According to an interview I saw with Lauren Graham and she said that this season they haven’t seen beyond the script they are working on. At that point, they’d done 5 episodes. So, if there is going to be a big death, they don’t know about it? I kind of hate watching every episode wondering who it will be? Will Zeek die on the operating table? Will Amber and Drew get killed driving to Wyoming? Will Crosby’s accident be fatal? I’m going to try and forget all the rumours and just let the show happened. Too stressful otherwise!

    • YadaYadaYada says:

      I also wonder where all the death talk came from, as I hadn’t heard anything about a death on the show until these comments.

  14. DEFINITELY -> (Side note: I can’t be the only one who thought Crosby’s accident was going to be fatal, right?)

  15. i would wear a #TEAMJOEL shirt with pride. Yes, he screwed up, but there was a lot of ish going on, and anyone with Sydney as a child is bound to go nuts. Additionally, I am now paranoid with every action from every family member in fear of death. Then I also say “well they can’t kill THAT person, because …” it’s really all very stressful

  16. robinepowell says:

    I am happy to see Julia with someone new. After all she did to try to be a stay at home mom and the later try to Joel back, she deserves some happiness in her life.
    If she and Chris make it work, good for them.

    As for Hank, he’d better wake up and pay attention to Ruby’s antics.

    • Ray Inanob says:

      Didn’t Julia sleep with Max’s teacher last season? As soon as Joel said he’s not ready to go to marriage counselling “right now”, she starts going on dates with Ed and has sex with the teacher. Were those the actions of a woman who wanted to work on her marriage? To me this is a woman who makes unhealthy choices.

      Joel on the other hand had the ground removed from under his feet, couldn’t trust his wife (rightly so) and just needed to feel he’s in control. That’s why he moved out. He’s better off, IMO, now that he is not holding out hope of reconciliation. I hope he shows some balls and not pursue her and move on.

      • Mary Ann says:

        If I remember correctly, when they went to the marriage counseler he said he felt that the marriage was over, much to Julia’s shock. She wanted to try to work things out. He said no.

      • TPInman says:

        Thank you! This is what I’ve been thinking all along. Julia is getting a pass on her behavior with Ed – which may have begun as a kiss but certainly was an emotional affair. She was obviously unhappy with their role reversal when Joel went back to work while she became the stay at home parent. There were numerous reasons involved in their demise as a couple, but I do not believe it was all Joel’s fault.

  17. Kenna says:

    You are totally not alone in thinking it was the end of Crosby, Considering I can’t go more than 5 minutes without trying to figure out who it is (because I wouldn’t be okay with any of them….eh, maybe Camille) that will die.

    I am so torn between Team Joel and Team New Guy. I think Julia seeing Camille put Zeek’s wedding ring back on will maybe trigger some things. I can’t believe there is only 10 episodes left. I’m already so sad!

  18. Rose H says:

    I will definitely miss this show. No other show makes me teary eyed like this one. I was sure that Crosby would end up in the hospital too. So glad he didn’t! How much more can this family take?

  19. webly3 says:

    #TeamJoel . I’m sorry but Julia did you honestly think that Joel would never come back. If he really wanted her gone forever, he would have divorced her last season. I’m mad at Julia right now, but I love everyone else’s plot line. I can’t help but feel bad for Jasmine who hasn’t had anything significant happen to her since having that baby. And that storyline seemed to be more about Crosby than Jasmine.

  20. marc says:

    This whole season so far is too melodramatic, too saccharine, too too much. It’s hard to watch.

  21. shrinknurse says:

    I cried throughout the whole show. I’m really going to miss it. Are they going to have a full 22 epi season?

  22. Carlton says:

    Did anyone else notice Crosby wincing as he walked down the hall at the end? I think there are lingering injuries from the accident…stay tuned.

  23. Dhb1022 says:

    Crosby is going to die – the accident was fatal, just not immediately.

  24. Linda says:


  25. Rebecca Decker says:

    I think it’s stupid that this is the last season. This show is one of the few good shows on TV!!! I too hate Julia’s new guy. But I think they should have put them back together after counseling! I love Julie and Joel together…No dying, it’s bad enough the show is dying.

  26. Tammy says:

    I was disturbed when I saw Julia with the new guy but was also angry with Joel for his lack of forgiveness last season. The new guy seems into Julia but seems too immature to be a step-dad type. Seems like therapy would be beneficial for Julia and Joel before they finally call it quits.
    Also, it was very frustrating to hear Hank’s ex accusing him of not being a father and insinuating that the girl’s issues were his fault, when she was the one who moved his daughter away from him. He even tried moving closer to them for a while and leaving his girlfriend behind.
    Anyway, none of this matters now. It’s the final season, already written and we are just watching it all play out. Hoping to get some closure by the end of the season with all this. Plus, I am anxious to see Ryan get better and stay that way. Yes, PTSD is real but do we really need such a bleak picture of it? I’m rooting for some real healing for Ryan and hope and happiness for the next generation of Bravemans in this final season!

  27. Laura says:

    I think Crosby is going to have a blood clot and I’m telling thoses producers right now, DO NOT KILL Crosby!!