Parenthood begins its final season by picking up almost exactly where season five left off. “Vegas” may take place months after “The Pontiac” but for the most part, everyone is in the same place. Amber is indeed pregnant, with Ryan still out of the picture, Kristina is launching her school, and Zeek and Camille are happy in their new home. The only surprise Katims and co. throw the audience is Julia’s new office fling, which may become something more. It’s a surprising move given where the last season ended, but a not unwelcome one.
Parenthood, Ep. 5.18-19, “The Offer” and “Fraud Alert” exemplify season’s consistent strengths and weaknesses
Parenthood, after starting out strongly, has fallen into a familiar pattern this season, with certain of its storylines absolutely succeeding and others consistently falling flat. The two most recent episodes exemplify this, giving viewers profoundly affecting moments with Max, Sydney and Victor, and Zeek and Camille while also returning to the same frustrating well with both Joel and Julia and Sarah and Hank. At this point, it seems unlikely that either of these two problem storylines are going anywhere before the finale, leaving viewers to hope that the expected turnarounds with both happen more subtly than currently expected.
Communication is once again the name of the game as Parenthood continues its strong fifth season. Whereas “Nipple Confusion” focused on the varying forms of communication, from direct confrontation to frank conversations to long-simmering musings, “Let’s Be Mad Together” instead approaches this topic by looking at dysfunctional partnerships, from Joel’s work to Max’s Yearbook woes. A show far more interested in the painful small-scale struggles of day-to-day life than almost any other series on television, Parenthood is no less powerful for embracing this seemingly low-stakes approach. Rather, by eschewing the heightened hysterics of shows like time-slot competitor Scandal (as entertaining as that series continues to be), Parenthood plumbs greater emotional depths, providing far more recognizable and resonant drama week in and week out.
Parenthood, Season 5, Episode 1: “It Has to be Now” Written by Jason Katims Directed by Lawrence Trilling Airs Thursdays at 10pm (EST) on NBC “It Has to be Now” picks up a few months down the line from last season’s emotional finale, “Because You’re My Sister” and, in typical premiere fashion, checks in on …