Can we all just reach out and hug Kristina and Adam?

Kristina is finally feeling the effects of her recent chemo treatments, and is, quite literally, in hell. She can’t even make it up the stairs before she throws up on the banister. And, of course, during all of this Max has his first sleepover with his disabled friend Micah. Poor Adam only wants to care for his hurting wife, but instead is stuck with helping out Max and Micah. Micah is the most patient soul on the planet it seems, by putting up with Max’s latest antics and tantrums. I know Max has Asperger’s, but he’s a total brat. He really needs some discipline. Surely even he can show some empathy toward his mother instead of just saying, “eww, gross, why is she laying on the bathroom floor?!” He needs another teacher that Crosby won’t sleep with.

Adam can’t stand seeing his wife in any more pain, so he enlists the services of Crosby by asking for his weed. When the weed does help Kristina, she is finally able to sleep. Adam’s sigh of relief as he watches Kristina fall asleep was truly a thing of beauty. Adam Krause conveyed more emotion in that deep exhale than anything he has done all season.

I like Amber, I really do, but I hate that she falls into bed with any guy who gives her any attention. When the relationship fizzles out she does the same thing again. She never seems to learn from her mistakes. The problem isn’t with her sexuality, (of which I have no problem with) but rather more about her attitude about her mistakes. She has problems, but the writers never address them. Instead, they have her falling in bed with her latest dalliance – be it her boss or her cousin’s boyfriend – which results in her being uniquely qualified to give advice and wisdom to others because of her past mistakes. But she has her own issues to sort through, which the writers seem to ignore. With that being said, I love how she is helping Ryan deal with his PTSD and the apparent suicide of his friend with whom he served with in Afghanistan. Mae Whitman and Matt Lauria have fantastic chemistry, and I’ve never wanted Amber with anyone quite like I want her and Ryan together.

Matt Lauria gives such a depth to this character, much more than when he played Luke Cafferty. Lauria literally looks like he has the world on his shoulders and, much like Ray Romano’s Hank, has fit in nicely amongst the rest of the cast. His performance is phenomenal and sticks out in a cast full of phenomenal actors. He is also bringing out the best out of Whitman, who has already proven to be a more than capable actress. His quiet intensity and personal struggle bring a new light to our brothers and sisters who have and are currently serving to protect our country. Parenthood is not making a political statement with Lauria’s charater; instead they are showing us the reality and brevity of the situation thousands of miles away.

When Joel and Julia adopted Victor at the end of last season, I knew it was only a matter of time before Sydney would grow to resent him. Joel and Julia have been so worried about making sure Victor feels welcome and a part of their family that they have ignored their daughter. Sydney’s tearful speech at her parents finally made them see the error of their ways. Her “In case you forgot, I was here first” outburst was a little selfish, but her life has been turned upside down. Sydney was an only child for so long that Joel and Julia need to learn how to parent two kids, and Sydney needs to be a little more accepting of her new brother’s plight. But I don’t think dropping off Victor at his grandparents’ house in order to spend time with Sydney is the right way to handle the situation. That just allows her to continue getting her way. Instead, maybe find an activity the two siblings can do together to create a bond and become more familiar with each other.

Meanwhile, Marks walks in on Drew and Amy having sex, so he takes it upon himself to have “the talk.” That was probably the most awkward thing I have ever seen. Even though Mark is a high school teacher, he is in unfamiliar territory by trying to be a parent. Sarah is so used to parenting alone, that she forgets that Mark might actually be a good role model for her son. I’ve been a little bored of Sarah and Mark this season, but next week’s episode seems to shake things up a bit between the two. Also, I miss Ray Romano –that is definitely something I never thought I would say – and can’t wait until next week. Sarah and Hank’s scenes have been electric and exciting, which is probably a surprise to us all.

Finally, Crosby and Jasmine fight, which is nothing new. These two really need something else to do. Let him watch the football game, Jasmine. The run to the store didn’t need to be done at that moment. Even her eyeroll when the party guests kept complimenting Crosby’s awesomeness made me mad. The two make up in the end, naturally, but I hope the writers give them something else to do.

I’m not a crier. I’m really not, but this show makes me cry rivers. And this episode really put me over the top. Kristina, Sydney, Ryan and Amber…it was perfect, actually. Last week’s episode was all about small intimate moments which led up to this week’s big emotional moments. The show does both so very well. I often complain about the music in this show, but tonight’s episode had just the right amount. The song choices were subtle and moving, and not in a manipulative way. Normally it sounds like a little bit of dialogue scored with a Nick Cave album, but tonight was the first time in a long time I actually enjoyed the music.

This season, full of dark emotionally resonant moments, has still managed to find the light moments as well. We are possibly watching the greatest string of episodes “Parenthood” has ever produced. And that makes me thankful during this, the week of Thanksgiving.

Written by Jordan Hickman. You can read more from her at www.reallylatereviews.com and follow her on twitter at @Jordan_hickman. Photo Credit: NBC



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