'Parenthood' Recap: A Bar Fight on Election Night
'Parenthood' Recap: A Bar Fight on Election Night
Eva Des Lauriers
Eva Des Lauriers
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
It's election day on Parenthood! Tensions are high, tears are plentiful and the worst is yet to come for many. Joel and Julia can't seem to make it work or get on the same page no matter how much they try (or don't, in Joel's case). Amber and Ryan hit an all new level of tension, with hit being the operative word. Max gets some sage advice from Hank after Max asks his first girl out and the romance cycle starts anew for the Braverman grandkids. Kristina learns her mayoral fate after Berkeley goes to the polls. As ever, I laughed and cried right along with the Braverman clan.

Casting the Votes

Kristina is spending the last few days before the election campaigning like crazy. She is out at soup kitchens, schools, and libraries shrinking the polling gap to be within two points. She and Heather feel like she could really win the election.

Jasmine and Crosby are helping by passing out buttons and pamphlets before the election as well. They discuss the importance of voting and how proud they both were to vote for Obama in '08. We later learn that Crosby is not in fact registered to vote when he takes Jabbar with him to vote for Kristina. For Jabbar's sake, he pretends like he can vote publicly by declaring that he is voting for Kristina Braverman. 

When Jabbar later asks Jasmine if she voted publicly or privately, Crosby is so busted and it is hilarious. After a discussion with Jasmine about the importance of voting, he is concerned that the election would be decided one vote and buys a vote off of one of his neighbors. It is hilarious and so Crosby. He brings the necessary levity to the show and I just adore him.

Kristina and Adam share a moment before voting. Adam admits that he didn't think she was ready for such a big commitment after fighting cancer last year. However, she proved him wrong and he tells her how proud he is of her. It's very sweet, and we are all crying. Especially when her friend from the chemo room shows up to support her and vote in her wheelchair. Amazing.

The Next Mayor of Berkeley Is...

At the results party (is that what they are called?) all the Bravermans wait backstage for the results. This is one of those events I feel like Haddie should be at and it feels incomplete without her there. Heather says it is a close race and that Kristina should drink some booze either way. In a very real and touching speech, Kristina announces her concession. I'm so bummed! I was really hoping she would win. It was more realistic that she lost, but still.

Afterwards she gets told by a little girl who Kristina help get into a better classroom that she changed her life, and we are all crying again and so it was still great. Kristina is all class and she feels that she lived her dream either way. I don't know what she'll do next, though!

Ryber on the Rocks

Amber gets asked by Ashes of Rome to sing a scratch background vocal so the background singers can learn it. She does so and does such a great job that they end up scratching the background singers and using her take on the album instead! I'm so happy that Amber is getting time to shine outside of the wedding stuff.

Ryan is not so keen on Amber's success, however. She arrives home late and he is passive aggressive and annoying. She finds anti-anxiety medication in his drawer which is clearly a new prescription, but he lies (I'm assuming) and says he doesn't take it anymore. He seems so tense and weird. She attempts to talk about these things with him but he shuts her out every time. The fact that they have such trouble communicating makes me think a healthy marriage is not in the stars just yet. 

The Smack Down

Amber goes to a bar with the guys from the band to celebrate them using her vocals and they all get carried away drinking. The fact that I'm already nervous for her even though she is doing nothing shady or wrong goes to show how dominating Ryan's attitude has been. He calls and comes to get her since she can't drive home. 

When he arrives, she is talking to one of the guys from the band and he is enraged by jealousy and beats the living crap out of him. It's truly terrifying. Next shot we are at the police station, Amber is a mess and Zeek has come to get her, Ryan is presumably in jail. She's crying, I'm crying. Lots of crying tonight. This is where they leave this storyline tonight so I will be anxious to see what happens with them next week. 

Max's First Rejection

Max meets Ruby, Hank's daughter at the photography studio. He determines because they like the same hockey team and they are the same age that he should ask her out. He tells this to Hank by saying "I have intentions of asking Ruby to be my girlfriend." Amazing.

Ruby turns him down and becomes, understandably, upset when Hank tries to mollify the situation by telling her to be nice to Max and maybe accept his offer since she lives in Minnesota. She storms out, as I would have at 14.

Hank turns to Sarah for advice now that he is worried his daughter thinks he's trying to sell into prostitution, who tells him rightly that he gave the worst possible advice and gives good advice of her own. Their chemistry is still great and they both just delight me.

In the end, Hank encourages Max to take his time with dating. He tells him that dating is about more than checking things on a list. Max gets it and even thanks Hank. Aw.

Family Crisis

Victor is struggling with the shift to the 4th grade. Tensions are pushing breaking point in this household. Julia is leaning on Ed as much as she feels is appropriate, but Joel is starting to suspect something is amiss when she gets a text from him and sees they text frequently. He doesn't say anything more, but he's very moody about it.

When Victor throws a tantrum reminiscent of when he first arrived in their house, Julia becomes upset and wants to talk to Joel. She calls him several times without any return calls, so shows up at his work to talk to him. He is in the middle of a sushi lunch over plans with Pete and Julia storms in yelling at all of them essentially. It's pretty wild and bizarre, but I also totally get where she is coming from. Joel shuts it down and tells her they will talk about it at home.

The two of them pull away at Kristina's results party to talk about what happened. Joel is mortified and furious about the way Julia spoke to him in front of his boss, saying he never would have done that with her and her boss at the law firm. Valid. Julia says she needed him and he has not been around to support her or the kids through the tension and crisis. Valid. Joel storms out. No resolution. Oof.

This is why Parenthood is such a great show. The writing is so smart and realistic. They don't rely on the cliched scenarios that are simple and easy. Real relationships have conflict and are complicated and complex. Though I do hate them a bit for dragging my favorite couples through the mud. I do not like where this is going at all. 

Next episode should be a doozie.

Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)