Parenthood Post Mortem: Is Happily Ever After Ahead for 'Ryber'? Plus, More Season 5 Scoop

Parenthood - Season 5Are you still with us, Parenthood fans? Need a few more minutes to dry your eyes? Take all the time you need. We’ll just be over here with Season 5 premiere reactions — and scoop on what’s ahead — from stars Mae Whitman, Peter Krause and Sam Jaeger, as well as showrunner Jason Katims.

SOON-TO-BE WEDDED BLISS | Romantics at heart, rejoice: “Ryber” is engaged! Amber spends most of the premiere questioning her relationship with Army vet Ryan — who was deployed over the hiatus — but her doubts are put to rest when, in one epic, emotional moment, they are reunited. What’s more, he’s back with a ring and proposal! (She says yes, duh.)

Of the rather sudden engagement storyline, Katims jokes, “Mae told me to do it!” More seriously, the EP recalls, “When we brought Matt on and started the storyline last season, it was something we thought about as something that would be a few episodes… [But] I just found that the chemistry between them is so great. The work that Matt had done to prepare for the role, the idea of what was going on in [Ryan’s] past, felt so real that it’s something we wanted to continue to explore.” Whitman, for her part, couldn’t be more excited about Ryan and Amber’s marital plans. “Amber’s changed so much [over the seasons], and it’s such a gift to be on a TV show where the changes stick and people grow; you actually really feel like these people have learned things.” Noting that “last year was one of the first years we got to see Amber really happy,” the actress “loved the idea of her having a partner… The idea of Amber and Ryan being something that stuck and lasted and connected, it’s beautiful and great to watch.”

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OBSTACLES BEFORE THE ALTAR | As is often the case for the Braverman brood, the newly betrothed twosome won’t have an easy road ahead. “That’s exactly the story that we wanted to tell, the story where you have these two people who clearly love each other and are so right for each other, but that they’re very young,” Katims teases. “There are definitely things in Ryan’s past, and Amber’s past for that matter, that make it not be cut-and-dried that this is the right thing to do, and there are people in the family who start to question that and bring up those points… When you have people with very different opinions who are both right, who both have very good points, those always seem like the strongest stories for this kind of show.”

Look for Sarah, in particular, to take issue with the impending nuptials, shares the showrunner, who notes that he missed the Sarah/Amber dynamic last season. “This was a way to bring those two back together; if you’ve got to plan a wedding, there’s going to be scenes together — and they’re not all going to be happy scenes. And similarly, I thought there’d be opportunities for Ryan to have scenes that are not just with Amber.” However, adds the ever-optimistic Whitman, “Obviously there will be issues, but I think it’s nice anytime [Ryan and Amber] get to be around each other and spend time together and make up for lost time.”

HALTED HANK-Y PANKY | Katims reveals that “Sarah will eventually get involved in Hank’s storyline, and it will develop again over time,” but for now, the latter will continue to spend time with young Max. “We were charmed by the idea of Max and Hank together,” he shares. “It made sense to us and seemed believable to me.”

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FOR PETE’S SAKE | “On any other show, [Sonya Walger’s Pete and Joel] would be making out wildly in her second appearance,” Jaeger laughs. Instead, Pete’s already worrisome presence “is just something that feels natural and it feels lived in… We’ll see [Joel and Julia’s marriage] be tested, but not in an obvious way. It’s just a relationship that’s starting to fray a little bit.”

THE MAYOR’S MAN | Krause has an explanation for Adam’s hesitance about Kristina’s choice to run for mayor: “He wants to be supportive of his wife, but he also wants to be careful with her health. It’s a big decision and, from his point of view — probably from Kristina’s, too, if she’s honest with herself — slightly unrealistic. But he’s fueled by having had some contact with mortality.” Adds Katims, Kristina’s career change “affects Adam… his own life and what he’s doing. That comes up later in the season, with him at work.”

Thoughts on Parenthood’s more-joyful-than-usual premiere? Hit the comments!