So I have this thing when Lauren Graham cries I cry. It doesn’t happen with too many people — namely Connie Britton, John Noble, and British actress Nicola Walker – but Graham has been getting to me for over a decade now, first as Lorelai Gilmore and now as Sarah Braverman. She didn’t even really cry this episode, but I knew that she was lying in her hotel room crying after Mark broke up with her. So, yeah, the tears were flowing.

Last week I predicted that Mark would be the one to leave and not Hank and tonight that prediction came through. Sarah has constantly chosen other things and people over her fiancé, so Mark made the decision for her as he leaves for good. I’m sure Sarah and Hank’s drunken walk to their respective hotel rooms would have ended with them saying goodnight in the hallway, but who really knows. Mark has every right to do what he did, and you could see the pain on Jason Ritter’s face as he ultimately realized what needed to be done. What’s the point in being with someone who will never choose you? Sarah thought she was doing the right thing as she completely dismissed Mark’s needs. I’ve been married long enough to know that sometimes you have to make choices and those choices might end up hurting your partner. But faced with the decision to help a friend and a fiancé, well, the choice should be clear and Sarah finally sees that.

Every time people get close she pushes them away. We’ve seen it happen many times in the four seasons of “Parenthood.” I’m not sure Sarah even realizes she does it, but she’s been hurt in the past and maybe if she pulls away it saves the other person from looking like the bad guy. I’m glad Mark left her, to be honest, because hopefully It will open her eyes to what she lost because of her actions. As she and Hank were leaving the hotel and asking each other how it went, they both, with defeat in their voices, said, “not good.” Hank’s daughter is moving away from him and Sarah’s fiancé is moving on. I do think Ray Romano will stick around a little bit longer, but I think if he leaves it will be because he decides to move to Minnesota to be closer to his daughter. But not before Hank and Sarah get together, because obviously.

The running theme of the night seems to be pushing people away when they get too close. Sarah with Mark, Ryan with Joel and Amber and Victor with Julia. First, Amber gets Ryan a job on Joel’s construction crew. He doesn’t know what he’s doing and messes everything up, ruining sheetrock and breaking $800 windows. He leaves once the guys start teasing him. His reintroduction to civilian life has been less than ideal, and the pills he was taking at the end can only lead to more problems than his PTSD. I like Ryan and Amber together but Amber’s sly “I love you” to Ryan just seemed too soon. They’ve only been together a few weeks, I’m guessing? Also, have we ever seen a scene between Mae Whitman and Sam Jaeger? Her calling him “Uncle Joel” numerous times was funny and it lead to him giving Ryan a job. Mae Whitman has really been the standout performer this season.

Victor calling himself stupid was something kids say, but Victor truly believes it because no one has told him otherwise. Julia bribing him with candy if he got a math question right was not the best parenting move, but it did allow Julia to grow closer to her new son. Victor now has this family who actually loves him and believes in him and who want him to succeed. There’s still challenges to come, but Julia finally got to him and the two seem to really start forging a parent/child bond that can be difficult when adopting a young child instead of a baby.

Much like last week the cancer-heavy storyline has been set aside to move other plot points forward. Annoying neighbor with the French name Marleise decides to take her case against The Luncheonette to the city council, but not before Adam and Crosby try to talk some sense into her. There’s no real drama in Adam and Crosby losing the studio, mostly because the sublime Glen Hansard makes an appearance this week. But also because so much of last season revolved about that storyline and the writers are still getting compelling stories from it. Backed with the support of other neighbors and business owners in the area, The Luncheonette is here to stay, but not without more complaining from Marleise. Too bad the great Pamela Adlon was given such a lame storyline, unfortunately.

And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the great Glen Hansard. Hansard is one of my favorite artists of all time. I mean, The Frames, The Swell Season . . . I watch “Once” whenever I get sad and need a pick me up. He has an Oscar! He’s got a lisp! He plays a raggedy guitar that has a huge hole in it! When it was announced that Hansard would be making an appearance I may have shed a tear or two, much like Crosby did while listening to him record a song in the studio. The song that closed out the episode, “High Hope,” was released on iTunes with a portion of the proceeds going towards the Susan B. Komen foundation for cancer research. It’s also available on his wonderful debut album as a solo artist, Rhythm and Repose. So get buying, people!

Penned by Jesse Zwick, this is the first episode of TV he has ever written. What a fine debut. “Parenthood” is getting some of its lowest viewers ever (with last week’s episode watched by 4.49 million people) yet we are watching some of the best episodes “Parenthood” has ever produced. It feels like this secret club only a few of us know about and I am honored to get to experience it week in and week out. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am.

Parenthood Reviews | Photo Credit: NBC

Written by Jordan Hickman. You can read more from her at www.reallylatereviews.com and go while you’re at it, go ahead and follow her on twitter @jordan_hickman

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