Parenthood Recap: A Girl Worth Fighting For

Parenthood Season 6 Episode 7

Is there an official petition we can sign in protest of NBC’s spoiler-filled “Next week on…” promos?

I realize that might be a bit excessive, but there’s no better example of the Peacock Network ruining a climactic moment than Thursday’s episode of Parenthood, which found Joel and Julia finally taking a baby step toward reconciliation.

Even though we Joel/Julia fans were cheering at our TV screens (and/or wiping that darn dust out of our eyes) when Joel finally fought for his wife, didn’t we all know this moment was coming? Aside from the dialogue, weren’t we completely prepared for those last two minutes, rendering the scene way less impactful?

Perhaps I’m alone in my indignation — which is very possible — but I’m going to leap off my soapbox and instead focus on recapping Thursday’s exceptionally cathartic episode. Join me, won’t you?

Speaking of Joel and Julia, the drama’s latest hour focused mostly on their fragile relationship, which is nearing a devastating end as they prepare to sign divorce papers — a process that’s gone remarkably quickly, especially when Joel gives Julia their entire house without hesitation. The house isn’t merely an asset, Joel insists, even when Julia gives him a second opportunity to “take the emotion out of it” and reconsider his decision to let her keep it. It’s where they shared their family’s best memories. And although Julia has put on her best lawyer face throughout this entire ordeal, the cracks start to show early on in this week’s episode. First, the couple shares a heart-wrenching moment in the law firm’s elevator, as Julia reaches out for Joel’s hand upon realizing their marriage is, indeed, a signature away from its conclusion. Later, Julia is overcome with emotion again after Joel confesses, “If I can’t have you in it, I don’t want [the house].”

But Julia seems most uncertain about signing the divorce papers after an evening at home — at her home — with Chris, where her beau is unsure how to discuss the divorce topic and is ultimately told to go home instead of staying the night. And she’s not the only one having second thoughts: When Joel pays a visit to Zeek to thank him for being a role model, and to unofficially say goodbye to the Braverman family for good, Zeek is having none of it. (Pardon any forthcoming typos, these sudden tears in my eyes are blurring my vision.) “If you love her, Joel, you fight for her,” Zeek tells his son-in-law. And fight for her he does. In the episode’s final moments, Joel drives over to Julia’s place and pleads from her doorstep, “I don’t want to live another day without you. Another second. I want you back.” And while Julia doesn’t immediately respond, I think we can call this a victory for now — piles of Kleenex notwithstanding.

Elsewhere in the hour:

* Amber gets a crash course in parenting as she babysits for Max and Nora, which quickly spirals into a failed outing to Alcatraz Island. Max has a complete meltdown when their travel plans get derailed, and upon realizing that Amber’s ride isn’t car seat-compatible, screams that she’s going to be “the worst mother in history.” (And while I know Max’s outbursts can’t always be helped, this thoughtless insult even stung me.) Fortunately, Sarah comforts her daughter later that night, assuring her that parenthood doesn’t start out with the teenage years — just a lot of poop.

* Also in Sarah’s corner, she’s put in yet another awkward situation when Sandy arrives to pick up Ruby earlier than planned. Sandy doesn’t take too well to her 15-year-old watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High with Sarah, and Hank flees the scene when he realizes the ladies are once again having a tense moment. Fortunately, Hank realizes his vanishing act was a bad idea, and later confesses to Sandy that he’s got Asperger’s. (Something that, strangely, hasn’t been brought up in Season 6 until now.) “It must have been hard to be married to me,” Hank admits. But there’s a silver lining to all this: Sandy, with a renewed sense of commitment to her family, commandeers a frozen yogurt date with Ruby, Hank… and definitely not Sarah. Whoops.

* Hoping to make some new memories with his grandson, Zeek gets Drew to drive him around California in search of some good times. First? A (sorta) harmless trip to Big Top Burgers. Next? Drew’s first time shooting a gun, a milestone for which the younger Braverman isn’t on board. But later, when Natalie points out that Drew is selfishly keeping Zeek’s nostalgia at bay, he finally agrees to take shooting lessons with his grandfather — but at an actual shooting range, and not the front steps of a liquor store. (Once again, Drew’s levelheadedness saves the day!)

OK, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Wasn’t it a little hilarious that Zeek shouted to an “off-screen” Camille, even though Bonnie Bedelia was clearly not in this episode? Sound off in the comments!

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. Kate says:

    I just want Joel and Julia together and happy so finally feel like my wish being granted. I also feel like Hank is going to end up with his wife and Sarah is going to end up with Mark even though I really really DONT want that (I can’t stand Mark)

    • analythinker says:

      I love Mark! I think he understands Sarah the best. My problem with Hank is that Sarah seems to always be the one tolerating the situation, and that probably feels her time with Seth.. I know a lot of Parenthood fans think she’s immature and is not a very good mother, but I think her past mistakes and insecurities made her that way. Her success lifts her up. And I think she’s the best version of herself when she’s with Mark.

      • analythinker says:

        *feels a lot like

      • Saabgirlatx says:

        I agree! I’ve never really gotten the Hank attraction unless it was just a reason to keep his character around to help Max. If not Mark, then hot neighbor guy seemed a good fit, too.

        • lizzie says:

          Hot neighbor guy, definitely! With Mark, there’s still the problem of him wanting children. Although, maybe that urge could be satisfied if he becomes a step-grandfather!

    • Abby says:

      But mark wants a family and Sarah has already raised hers. Unrealistic if they come back together yet again with that having been firmly established and mark getting engaged, unless he gets to raise ambers baby WITH Sarah because ambers going to die…

      • Katie says:

        OH MY GOD I literally spit my drink out of my mouth when I read this… I can only hope that the writers/showrunners wouldn’t be THAT cruel. *knocks on every wood surface in sight*

        • Abby says:

          I’m with you I swear. I don’t want Mark and Sarah back together AGAIN after their ship sailed with his engagement.

          • Abby says:

            And Mark having a family with Sarah is the only reason they would (or should!) get back together. The only way that happens is if Sarah has a baby. Since she doesn’t want to be a mom all over again, she’ll only have a baby if she’s raising someone else’s.

  2. Saabgirlatx says:

    I’m disappointed they are going to reunite Joel and Julia (not that I expected any different, though). I was enjoying how this show was exploring how couples grow apart and move on, etc. Plus I think the law school beau Chris is a great fit for Julia. Oh well!

    • Tony says:

      I’ve been under the impression that Joel and Julia never really wanted to split apart and have let their emotions send them down a path that (until last night in Joel’s case) they weren’t really sure they could come back from.

    • Abby says:

      Good, I’m not the only one who feels this way!

  3. Joey Padron says:

    Great and emotional episode. Happy Joel wants to get back together with Julia. Glad his talk with Zeek give him strength to fight for her. Poor Amber had a hard time babysitting Nora and Max, glad Sarah’s talk with her made her better. Good Zeek and Drew bonded.

  4. Sarah T. says:

    An excellent episode all around. It was a little spoiler-ific on NBC’s part but I didn’t think that took the impact out of it too much. I really hope that Joel and Julia manage to work through this and become stronger. I feel like this rarely happens on TV anymore and it would be nice to see a couple that works through their issues and end up happier for it. Especially since it’s clear that they both love each other very much.
    I’ve never really been a big fan of Hank & Sarah together (I’ve actually preferred Hank’s interactions with Max more than anything). I feel like it’s been Sarah that’s doing the majority of the work in that situation. I kind of hope that it ends up being Sarah and Mark in the end though I realize that’s a bit of a long shot. It seemed pretty clear that Hank’s ex was making a play for him though with the yogurt thing and shutting Sarah out.
    I LOVE Zeke. He’s such a good patriarch for that family. I loved how Drew finally got what his grandfather was trying to do (after a surprising dressing down from his girlfriend) and then sought to make amends. I loved Zeke’s impassioned speech to Joel on going after Julia. I really love Zeke in just about every interaction.
    Parenthood is easily my favorite show. How it hasn’t racked up the Emmy’s is beyond me. Every actor on there is phenomenal and perfectly selected to their part. Even when they drive you crazy, it’s crazy in a good way because you’re invested in them. Kudos to NBC for keeping this around as long as they have, even though it’s never done as well in the ratings as it should have.

  5. Adam says:

    Chris seems like a real ‘slimy and sleazy’ type. I don’t know what it is…. Thought that from the start of the season and still do now.

  6. Tess Mulholland says:

    Not happy with the Julia and Joel story line. Unfortunately in real life – it doesn’t happen like that. If only……. – I like Julia’s boyfriend.

    • jinx2014 says:

      I agree. Julia tried forever to get Joel back, now that she has a boyfriend , NOW he wants her back. She has moved on and he needs to deal with it. That is real life, not them getting back together. The anger is still there, just hidden. Joel needs to move on. After the cruel things he said to her, now he wants her back. I don’t think so.

    • kate'shomesick says:

      It DOES happen though. My german teacher was married for a couple of years- at least double digits-…and had 3 kids with her husband…then they split up (lots of fighting)…both moved on…but found after a while that they belonged together…so they got back together and re-married. And they’ve been VERY happy ever since (that has got to be like 30 years now)….

  7. Sara says:

    Even though the previews kind of gave it away I was still crying the moment Julia opened the door and Joel was there. I’ve forgiven them both for their mistakes last year and want them to work it out…if they don’t it will be an injustice to their marriage.

    I am sorry but why do we have a story for Hanks family drama but we’re not focusing on Crosby and Jasmine…Ruby and her dramas should not be apart of the farewell season of parenthood.

    • Tom says:

      They cut the budget for the show so each actor can only appear in a certain number of episodes. That’s why they trade off week to week. Hence why Adam and Sarah haven’t had a scene practically all season.

  8. Becky says:

    I really hope they don’t break up Sarah and Hank. I feel like it would be a lot of time and character development thrown out the window.

  9. The scene of Max and Hank walking together was great. A perfect example of why this show is so amazing.

  10. I really like Joel but it would be nice if Joel and Julia never get back together because in reality so many couples divorce and with the exception of Sarah nobody on the show is a divorce. I think it would be interesting if Julia ended up with someone other than her current boyfriend and if Joel ended up with that older woman he worked with or one of the moms at their kids school.

    • Abby says:

      And the only reason Sarah is divorced is because her husband was an addict. Its too perfect, AND it went down pre-series. I hope Joel and Julia live happily ever after, separately.

  11. Tony says:

    Promos are spoiler filled. But that didn’t stop this episode from being my favorite of the season so far. Shed a few tears during that Joel/Zeak scene

    • Tony says:

      I love how there are about 10 different variations on how to spell Zeek’s name, lol.

      By the way, my wife is convinced (and I apologize if this has been already discussed or spoiled elsewhere) that Zeek is going to die, that he knows he’s gonna die and that he’s making his rounds with the family as part of his farewell. I too have wondered if Zeek and maybe even Camille where given a grim prognosis and they just aren’t telling the family.

  12. Tran says:

    When I saw the ending of that episode (GASPS)

  13. Debra says:

    Absolutely LOVED the Zeke/Joel conversation! Was boo-hooing when he told him to go fight for her!! I’ve been bummed all season they haven’t worked it out, but last night gave me some hope! I kept thinking all season they wanted to, but neither one was willing to take the first step. Thanks to Zeke he gave him that pep talk to go thru with his feelings!

  14. Bonnie Winslow says:

    I loved the road trips! When Zeek asked Drew if he thought the car came without strings attached, I laughed out loud. Their dynamic together is perfect.

  15. Abby says:

    So am I the only one on Team Divorce Already?

    • Sally says:

      Yes you are Abby. i want Joel and Julia back together again.

    • Television says:

      Joel was a jerk to Julia, she tried, he left, she moved on, NOW he wants her back, because someone else wants her.

      • Abby says:

        Agreed. He left her for literally no good reason, and so now every step they take back together feels conveniently forced. I think the show should take responsibility for breaking them up in the first place and stick to it, because couples get divorced, and what I’ve always loved about Parenthood is how realistic its always felt, for better or worse. Like the kids, being the most horrifically irritating collection of rug rats on TV…realism! Meanwhile, every other couple with marital trouble has overcome it, and Joel and Julia were ALWAYS the least well-matched. An amicable divorce would be so much more interesting, in my opinion.

      • pecola says:

        I’m really perplexed by people who put the fault at Joel’s feet for any of this…it’s like, “what show were you watching?”

        Julia never appreciated Joel when he gave up his career to be the perfect stay home dad. Julia quit her job without so much as talking to her husband about it. Julia was indignant when she had to become the stay at home parent. Julia went to Joel’s work and yelled at him in front of his boss. Julia had an emotional affair and shared a kiss with another dad.

        Then Joel finally walked away and didn’t capitulate when Julia offered her weak apologies…and for that, Joel gets the blame.

        Really, it’s just mystifying.

        • Abby says:

          I agree with this, too. Except for the fact that Joel was having an emotional affair with Pete at the same time that Julia was with Ed. I always felt like if there was any reason he packed it in so easily then, it was because he had his own guilt about Pete, and he was projecting disappointment in himself for his sexy thoughts and hand-holding or whatever onto Julia, who immediately regretted her own emotional affair, whereas Joel didn’t. Either way, I always felt that Joel and Julia were not well-matched so a divorce feels like a realistic end to their love story.

        • T says:

          Thank you! This is what I have been thinking all along – people have given Julia a free pass for her AFFAIR with another man! She was emotionally attached to Ed’ they were getting physical, and Julia had checked out of her relationship to the point that she visited Joel’s work and pitched a hissy fit because he had to work over. I’m guessing she forgot all of the times she had to work late on a case. It just exasperates me that everyone wants to place all the blame at Joel’s feet when Julia cheated!

  16. Katie says:

    Ugh, tears.. but what else is new…
    To weigh in on the whole “Joel/Julia” issue… I agree that them not getting back together might make for a “realistic” storyline, but honestly, I think they’ve done a good job of depicting that pain and drama anyway, so I don’t think we would be cheated out of all authenticity if they were to get back together (which I desperately hope for…)
    Also, I REALLY couldn’t handle them splitting up if, in fact, there is to be a death before season’s end… I’m still hoping we just have a close call, but I’m nervous every week. ESPECIALLY with Zeek having all these “passing on the wisdom” moments… aaaaggghhhhh….

  17. cynthia ford says:

    I loved the episode. I am hoping for Julia and Joel I need them to get back together and I think they will. They must.

  18. Mel says:

    It was nice Nora having an actual role in this weeks episode. Usually she is just present.

  19. Molly lind says:

    what song is playing during the credits in November 6th episode of parenthood? “I’m not giving up?”

  20. AlamoGuy says:

    I’m annoyed that people think it’s more “realistic” for Joel and Julie to get divorced. Isn’t it nice for once that divorce ISN’T the outcome? I think it’s good for people to see that, whether either side was to blame, that they aren’t giving up. Zeek was right when he told Joel to fight for her. Joel saying, “it’s what she wants, Zeek….” as if he’s conceding. I disagree that he wants Julia back because he sees her with someone else. I don’t think that has as much to do with it as Joel finally realizing he F’d up when they were at mediation. He is a part of the Braverman family and whether or not Joel or Julia tried to reconcile more than the other at various points, doesn’t mean they can’t reunite. Oh, Joel, sorry you had your chance, Julia was fighting for you, then gave up, then you fought for her (not in Zeek’s eyes) and now it’s too late? Come on! It’s more realistic that they didn’t feel the same things at the same time and that they just needed to work through this. Anyway… LOVE this show! :D

  21. Paul says:

    Zeek’s character played by the same guy who played Coach Fox is reminding me a lot of the coach he played this season – more than any other season. It is why I started to watch “Parenthood.” Little mannerisms and his big shouting voice you mentioned at the end to off screen Camille, even how he looks and dresses in this last season seems like an homage to his character from Coach. Maybe it’s just me. I wish this show could have a longer run, but six seasons is pretty darn good.

  22. Sam says:

    Can they stop wasting time on Hank and his family? Does anyone even care? Sarah should get a better storyline.

  23. Persephone says:

    I am really going to miss Parenthood. I is the one show that makes me feel for the characters.