Parenthood Recap: Election Results, a Brutal Brawl, 5 Missed Calls and a Stunning Song

ParenthoodThis week’s Parenthood finds Ryan spiraling out of control, while Julia lashes out at “the other woman,” Kristina learns the results of the election and Hank sweetly schools Max on the language of love.

Here, we break down the seven key takeaways from the NBC weepfest’s latest installment:

Winning isn’t everything. Especially when you’re Kristina Braverman, who loses her bid for mayor after Bob Little bests her at the polls. But to the not-so-casual observer it appears that she actually comes out on top, when a special needs child — the daughter of the first constituent she bonded with, in fact — offers up her heartfelt thanks for Kristina making school more tolerable for her and thus changing her life. (Sob.)

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Crosby is to blame for those unfavorable election results. OK, not really, but it turns out the reformed Braverman bad boy has never registered or voted. At first Crosby attempts to hide this fact from Jasmine by offering up one of the season’s funniest moments: a story about how he sobbed with joy after voting for Obama. But after coming clean — and being told that if Kristina loses, it’s on him — Crosby “buys” a vote for his in-law from a neighbor. Too bad his $40 couldn’t sway the outcome.

Mae Whitman has the voice of an angel. To quote Step Brothers, it’s “like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.” Amber is finally given a chance to showcase her vocal chops when she’s asked to record a guide track for the Lucheonette’s new in-house band. But after they love the way her voice sounds paired with Tyson Ritter’s Oliver, they decide to include it, as is, on the album. The good news sends her celebrating with the guys, but most unfortunately leads to one of Parenthood‘s most gut-wrenching moments to date.

Amber should just answer the phone each time Ryan calls. It’d save them both so much strife. But we digress… The newly betrothed couple continues to grow apart this week when Amber’s aforementioned activities keep her from home more often than Ryan would like — not in a possessive way, but in a jealous, anxious, “We had plans, you bailed and I missed you” way. When she flakes again in favor of beers with the band, Ryan rushes out to give her a sober ride home. When he arrives, Matthew Atkinson’s Zach has his hand on Amber’s arm, Ryan makes a remark about the two cuddling, Oliver playfully nudges the veteran and he in turn loses it. After choking the rock star for a split-second, Ryan turns his aggression on Zach, brutally attacking the bandmate and punching him repeatedly.

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Zeek and Amber together = TVLine kryptonite. This grandpa/granddaughter duo has always been able to destroy us with every emotional scene, and tonight was no exception. With Ryan presumably behind bars (they’re at a police station), Zeek shows up to assist Amber and she breaks down, crumbling into his arms with sobs. The quiet scene brought back memories of Amber’s Season 2 car crash and Zeek’s tough-love approach to coping with it.

Joel and Julia are thisclose to reaching their breaking point. We’re not quite sure who’s the Big Bad in the destruction of what was once a beautiful marriage, but sadly it doesn’t matter. Fighting looks good on no one and these two have become the poster children for it. After Victor’s return to the fourth grade goes horribly, Julia reaches out to her husband for support. He, however, doesn’t return any of her five (!) phone calls, which leads her to storm into his office and lash out at Sonya Walger’s Pete. Joel sides with his boss in the moment and later confronts his wife about her actions. “I championed you for nine years and you can’t give me three months,” he argues. Julia, of course, says that she does support him, but needs it to be reciprocated now because the family is in crisis. The fight is left unresolved, but after catching a glimpse of her phone earlier, he’s no doubt worried about her budding relationship with Ed.

Hank and Max are Parenthood‘s new “it” couple. Max informs Hank of his intentions to make the latter’s recently resurfaced daughter his girlfriend (they’re both 14 and single and a boy and girl, duh!) — news the photog doesn’t quite know how to handle. At first he advises Ruby to just play along for Max’s sake, but Sarah later weighs in and her advice leads to a sweet interaction between Hank and his protege. Basically, he explains that “guys like us don’t need to rush” things with girls; it’ll happen when it happens — advice Max responds to with a simple but loaded, “Thanks.”

What were your favorite moments from Thursday’s Parenthood?