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  • Parenthood S05E22 promo image

    Parenthood, Ep. 5.22, “The Pontiac” a heart-warming finish to an uneven season

    Parenthood has had an uneven season. After starting the year out promisingly, odd and unexamined character choices started to take over the show, leaving the audience to connect the dots to understand the extreme reactions (or lack of reactions) demonstrated by several characters. Joel, swamped at work (except when he isn’t), reacts poorly to Julia’s indiscretion and leaves. Hank’s back, but he’s not with Sarah, and no one knows why. Kristina runs for mayor, because remission? , and Adam, inspired by her, convinces Crosby to start their own label. Several of these storylines overstayed their welcome, stretched too thinly over the 22-episode season, but fortunately the finale draws more heavily from the narratively energetic start of the season than the slog that was much of its second half. More

  • Parenthood S05E21 promo image

    Parenthood, Ep. 5.21, “I’m Still Here” offers long-overdue character exploration

    After months of stalling, last week’s “Cold Feet” jumpstarted all of the series’ stagnating season-long arcs, finally giving the show a bit of momentum. Thankfully that continues this week, with each of the threads not only progressed, but examined in a way they haven’t been for much of the season. Yes it’s easy to infer that Kristina’s impulsiveness this year stems from her cancer scare and exposure to the harsh impartiality and unpredictability of death, and we’ve seen a handful of scenes on this topic over the course of the season. But while there’s plenty to be said for letting the audience read between the lines, at a certain point a character deciding to run for mayor and then open up a new school becomes a difficult pill to swallow (for this reviewer, that point was almost immediately). Showing us Kristina’s anger and frustration over Gwen’s fate gives us the emotional background we needed for these choices and, thanks to Monica Potter’s fantastic performance throughout the episode, builds up substantial reservoirs of empathy for a character whose Mama Bear instincts toward the people and projects she cares about can quickly become aggravating. More

  • Parenthood S05E15 promo image

    Parenthood, Ep. 5.15, “Just Like at Home”: Beautiful ep lets siblings shine

    Parenthood has struggled this season with a handful of storylines, most notably the Julia and Joel friction and eventual trial separation. While this arc has felt contrived and frustratingly unexplored, from Joel’s perspective at the very least, the fallout from his decision two episodes ago has been fantastic, both in concept and execution. This week, Sydney and Victor head to Joel’s new apartment for their first weekend away from home, leaving Julia alone with her thoughts (and Orange is the New Black), and watching each set of characters react to this, and the way writers Ian Deichtman and Kristin Rusk Robinson spin out this separation rite-of-passage into a celebration of sibling love, is absolutely beautiful. More

  • Parenthood S05E10 promo pic

    Parenthood, Ep. 5.10, “All That’s Left is the Hugging” a tidy, satisfying midseason finale

    Katims’ choice not to end the year with the plot-heavy “Election Night” makes sense; “All That’s Left is the Hugging” is far more introspective and cathartic, seemingly tying up several of the year’s early arcs tidily while setting up the continuing storylines for what’s undoubtedly going to be a tough second half of the season. More

  • Parenthood S05E07 promo pic

    Parenthood, Ep. 5.07, “Speaking of Baggage” gives much-needed weight to problematic arc

    This season of Parenthood has been an incredibly consistent one, with interesting arcs for most of its characters and great moments for everyone. With so much going on, however, a few arcs have floundered, coming perilously close to cliché due to under-examination and familiar character beats. “Speaking of Baggage” focuses on two of these, giving them overdue attention and emphasizing their lingering, underlying causes: Julia’s struggles at home and Amber and Ryan’s engagement.

  • Parenthood, S05E06, "The M Word" promo pic, Jasmine

    Parenthood, Ep. 5.06, “The M Word” deftly balances recurring arcs

    With so much going on this season on Parenthood, several of the arcs the writers have introduced have been allowed to simmer on the back burner for a few weeks while we focused on the continuing saga of Amber’s wedding, Max’s photographic exploits, and Victor’s reading comprehension. This week, these elements return in a big way, with Kristina in full debate-prep mode and the whole family canvasing for her, Ed popping up to tease problems at home with Julia and Joel, and Crosby struggling to hold on to a shred of his pre-baby life. These threads are balanced with the continuing Amber/Sarah conflict and Camille’s dissatisfaction at her apparent Act III.

  • Parenthood promo pic, S05E04, "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities"

    Parenthood, Ep. 5.04, “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities” quietly moves the season forward

    Parenthood, Season 5, Episode 4: “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities” Written by Gina Fattore Directed by Patrick Norris Airs Thursdays at 10pm (EST) on NBC This week, on Parenthood: Victor channels his inner mechanic, Sarah and Amber almost avoid fighting, and Drew dodges the Friend Zone Parenthood has been characteristically strong this season, with a string […] More