'Parenthood' Recap: All Kinds of Heartbreak
'Parenthood' Recap: All Kinds of Heartbreak
Eva Des Lauriers
Eva Des Lauriers
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Heartbreak, heartbreak and more heartbreak. That is the theme of tonight's Parenthood. Joel and Julia's marriage is pushed to the breaking point, Amber and Ryan call it quits for good, and Max loses a friend. With all of the drama, we also get some much needed levity with Crosby, Jasmine and Ashes of Rome frontman, Oliver.

Max Loses A Friend

After a strange encounter with Max's only friend, Micah, Adam is concerned that something happened between them. Max admits that he unknowingly insulted Micah about how wheelchair basketball isn't the same as real basketball and Adam encourages him to apologize and invite him to a basketball game.

In a really rough scene, Max does apologize, but Micah succumbs to peer pressure of his fellow basketball friends and refuses. Max realizes that they think he is weird and tells his parents as much. Adam and Kristina feel helpless and upset that Max has lost his only friend. Now that he is in high school they can't arrange play dates and talk to the parents like they used to do for him. Ultimately, they go to the game just the three of them and their enthusiasm and foam fingers are really just too wonderful for Max to be down.

A New Job

Carl's friend offers Sarah a huge photography job. Hank is up for the same job and gets upset that Sarah is interviewing for it as well because he believes she is unqualified. His questioning of it plants doubt in Sarah's mind about her own abilities. Throughout the endeavor, Carl is super supportive. I like him a lot because he is a positive force in her life. Though I like Hank a lot, Carl is pretty much the opposite and it's a breath of fresh air.

Sarah decides she is in over her head with the job and offers to share it with Hank, who accepts. I understand this on the one hand, but I do wish she would believe in herself more. Though, needing his equipment and studio space makes sense. 

Creative Differences 

Oliver, lead singer of Ashes of Rome who we haven't seen much of recently, shows up at Crosby's house needing a place to crash after a fall out with the band. Jasmine is, of course, opposed but Crosby lets him stay there anyway. Adam and Crosby attempt to get him to come back to record at the studio, but Oliver resists. 

After several days of her kids being exposed to snacks, horror movies and cigarettes, Jasmine talks to Oliver about what is going with him. She convinces him to go back to the studio to finish the album by reminding him he will regret it if he doesn't put his creative work out there. It is a sweet moment and Oliver thanks her by serenading her with a song he wrote about her. Hilarious and awkward and sweet. Parenthood in a nutshell. 

"What's Left To Say?"

After not seeing any glimpse of these two last week, we finally get some answers about Ryan and Amber. Ryan wants to talk it out with Amber before he deploys and she is unwilling. I'm not sure what he was expecting since he was the one who broke off their engagement. She is clearly heartbroken about him leaving and too angry to talk to him. Things are far too strained for them to be together anymore, but it still heartbreaking for all of us.

Zeek stops by to see Ryan and wishes him well on his deployment. I have enjoyed the camaraderie of their relationship and seeing Zeek's softer side. When Zeek shows up at Amber's to talk to her about his visit with Ryan, he tells her she will regret it if she doesn't say goodbye to him. She gets upset and tells him to mind his own business. She must be upset about it if she is willing to talk to Zeek like that. 

Side note: Why hasn't she talked about this with Sarah yet? It feels weird that there isn't a bigger deal being made in the family at large about her broken engagement. 

His advice obviously resonates though, because Amber goes to see Ryan the night he leaves. It is very upsetting and emotional and I just feel so bad for these two kids. I hope Ryan stays safe. Either way, this will open up several new storyline possibilities for Amber. 

Heartbreak Fatigue

Gossip is spreading around the school that Julia and Ed had an affair. Ready to put a stop to everything and address her issues with Joel, Julia confesses to her kiss with Ed. I'm fatigued by their strife. Joel is extremely upset and really doesn't give Julia much leeway here. She definitely did wrong, but if we can recall season one when Joel admits to that mom kissing him and Julia forgave him no problem. Sure, it was not as in depth of a friendship as Julia and Ed have had this season, but his reaction seems disproportionate to the crime and more indicative to all of their marital problems overall this season.

Joel screws up at work and Pete is unsympathetic to his problems. It is nice to see her holding a work boundary and not introducing a whole new layer of relationship between them. Julia approaches Joel again to discuss seeing a marriage counselor and he says that she is the one who is broken, not their marriage and refuses to try. Uh, what? This is my fundamental problem with their issues this season; Joel has changed as a character. 

He refuses to engage with Julia, their issues are clearly fueled by the both of them and even with work and kid stress, he wouldn't be unwilling to work on things. There has never been any doubt that he loves Julia more than anything and to have him be so hostile and blaming seems incongruent. Either way, I'm heartbroken for these two and really, really hope they work it out. 

Next week we will hopefully get some resolution about Joel and Julia, and should definitely prove interesting when we see Amber have a breakdown after her break up.

Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)

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