In the beginning of the show, I thought the Parenthood season finale was going to completely take place in the waiting room. Yeah, it may not have been the most exciting finale and we wouldn’t have been able to see Sarah dealing with her play or Adam with his job, but I was actually disappointed when the action cut away from the hospital. I was enjoying the close, tense setting of the hospital waiting room, where all the Bravermans were on top of each other, dealing with various ongoing emotional issues while each of them worried about Amber. Some episodes (like my absolute favorite Friends episode, “The One Where No One is Ready” takes places completely in Rachel and Monica’s apartment). This could have also solved one problem this series seems to have: there is just too much going on.
Parenthood is a show whose strengths and weaknesses are often the same things. There are the tearful, big emotional moments that can pack an incredible punch, but they can also feel like the show reaching too far, too fast, or hitting the same beats over and over again. The chaos of Parenthood can be really interesting but also really frustrating at the same time. I thought both the good and the bad were very apparent in the season finale of Parenthood.
As for the good parts, I loved when Zeek took Amber to the junkyard and ordered her not to take away his dreams. I thought this was an impressive scene, so well written and the acting was simply perfection. Zeek’s character seems to blend into the background a lot, but then scenes like this, when he is telling Amber about his days in Vietnam and how his visions of family helped carry him through, reminds you of why you love him.
I also love the Adam and Max scenes. Parenthood the series has moved far away from the film it is based on, but I was amused to hear about Max’s missing retainer, it brought me right back to one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. They flipped it around, in Parenthood the movie, the idea was that Steve Martin was more than willing to go buy a new retainer, and had to hunt for the thing because his panicked son insisted on it; here, Max has no problem getting a new one, and it’s Adam who’s being stubborn, channeling all his frustration over both his work situation and the ongoing stress of having a child with Asperger’s, into finding this one piece of plastic. The scene where Adam tried to get Max to see that what he said at the hospital was wrong was an effective and heartbreaking scene. While I do think Adam put on too happy a face when being fired, given his panic earlier this season when he tried to find another job, I’m glad to see the back of Cory and I can believe that Adam was just trying not to freak out Kristina. The show likes to put the pressure on Adam, and I imagine in a (hopeful) Season 3 where Adam has to deal with the financial and physical stressors of adding a baby to the mix will only give Peter Krause more opportunities to flip out.
Probably different from popular opinion I am a little disappointed that Crosby and Jasmine seem on the verge of reconciling. I like Jasmine but I wouldn’t mind it if her character was written off. Or even better, I think I’d have be happy to see Crosby and Jasmine having to co-exist as Jabbar’s parents, but never again as a couple. I would love to watch as they struggle to do the best thing for Jabbar by splitting up, instead of seeing his parents in an unhappy union. And given the way she’s been written all season, I don’t believe that she’d actually give Crosby a second chance, not even after he stopped trying to win her back, setting up the classic “If you love something, set it free” situation. It just felt so rushed, even for a storyline that’s been playing out for months.
I also didn’t love how Julia’s baby related flip-flopping was handled, even considering how often Joel and Julia have been relegated to the background this season. I recognize that there are a lot of steps that have to be crossed in a story like this – Julia decides she wants another baby, gets Joel to agree, trouble conceiving, then acceptance that they can’t conceive, then deciding to adopt, but tying in the final stages were just handled poorly.
I really enjoyed the finale and I loved the season as a whole. I am really hoping Parenthood will be renewed for a Season 3, we should be finding out soon!