It is the season finale of Parenthood
and it is jam-packed with resolutions and cliffhangers alike. Haddie returns with big news, Crosby and Adam help clean out their childhood home, Amber and Ryan have one more night together resulting in an unexpected surprise, and the ongoing saga of Sarah and Hank finally comes to a conclusion.
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Haddie In Love
Haddie returns for the first time since the beginning of season 4 with her "super best friend" from Columbia. It is clear from the start that Lauren is much more than her best friend and while Haddie wants to tell her family about their relationship, she is hesitant. Lauren does not pressure her to tell her parents, which is awesome, but Max walks in and catches them kissing which does the telling for them.
Haddie tries to tell Adam about Lauren being her girlfriend, but doesn't quite get it out that they are actually dating and not best friends. While shopping for a graduation suit that "looks like Hank's," (aww) Max tells Kristina that he saw Haddie and Lauren kissing, giving Kristina some time to prep for a big talk.
Kristina and Haddie get a mother-daughter moment to talk about Lauren, and Kristina is so supportive and wonderful. It is a very sweet "coming out" talk and I love their relationship. Adam learns through observation that Haddie and Lauren are dating and is sweetly and silently accepting of it.
This was all so wonderful, but I do wish there was more between the family about the past several things that have happened that Haddie has missed, e.g. Kristina's cancer, running for mayor, Joel and Julia, etc. I suppose it is not as pressing, but it has been so long since we have seen Haddie that it would have felt more authentic. This is really nit-picking, though, because this was really well done by the Parenthood writers overall.
Joelia Keeps Us Guessing
After Victor's essay win, Joel and Julia take the kids out for frozen yogurt and a familiar night of fun. Sydney throws a fit when Joel tries to leave to his house, and he and Julia agree he can stay the night. It could be argued that this is boundary crossing, but it is so wonderful to see them at their home together that I don't care.
Joel and Julia put Sydney to bed with the story of her birth: a story we have never heard. It is so sweet and so quintessentially Joel and Julia that it continues to tug at all of our heartstrings. I hope that they will get back together. Their love is based on the real good stuff, and I have been clear from the start that I want these kids to make it work.
The Famous Mrs. York
Ryan is in the hospital with injuries and Amber is there to support him through his recovery. When his mother shows up unannounced, she doesn't know who Amber is and it makes everything very uncomfortable with her needing to make everything a power struggle.
We learn that Hank has stayed in San Diego to support both Amber and Sarah through this time, but with a grateful hug, Amber sends them both home. When Ryan's mom informs Amber that Ryan has been discharged from the Army, she finally confronts Ryan about what happened and how he sustained all of his injuries.
Ryan admits that he got in a car accident while driving drunk. Even though Amber is so concerned about him, he tells her it's not a problem for her to fix. It is very mature but so bittersweet. Amber leaves and it all feels like beautiful closure. Until...
It wasn't totally clear that they slept together until Amber is shown wandering the aisles, purchasing a pregnancy test. What?! Talk about a cliffhanger!
The Tomato In The Room
On the drive home, Hank confronts Sarah with the "tomato" aka "elephant" in the room to ask her what she thinks about them getting back together. She turns him down with a lot of valid reasons, like she needs open, honest communication in a relationship and eye contact.
Despite what she says, Sarah goes in to kiss Hank and there it is, what they have been building to all season, these kids are back together and happy. I finally accept that maybe this is cute and could be really good. I admit it!
Victor wins an essay contest at his school, of which everyone is super proud. Winning requires him to read it aloud to the whole school and his family. Victor's essay is about how Zeek teaching him to build the Pontiac got him through a really terrible year in his life. The subtext is lost on no one, and I am a crying mess.
Speaking of the Pontiac, Zeek ends up gifting it to Drew because he was "always building it for him." The tears refuse to cease. Drew is so grateful, as he is able to drive the car to see Natalie in Portland and tell her he loves her, too.
End of An Era
Crosby and Adam help Zeek move out of the family house and end up reminiscing more than anything. With their staircase luging and brotherly fighting, it is like we are seeing the 12-year-old versions of themselves.
They have one last family dinner at the Braverman family house and it really shows how much everything has changed, especially compared to the opening credits sequence of all of them at the table when they were so much younger (especially the kids). Haddie is present with her new girlfriend, Jasmine is present with Aida and Jabbar, and Joel is decidedly absent.
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(Image courtesy of NBC)