Parenthood – The Pontiac (S5, Ep22)

Regardless of how you felt about this season of our favorite Berkeley family, I’m sad to think it’s going to be a long time before I get to see them again. One of the strengths of this show is that somehow they’ve created a family that viewers not only want to be a part of, but believe they are a part of.  The clear Braverman bias works for the good of the show overall.

Last night’s finale was over stuffed with characters, but simplified in a way that we haven’tparenthood-season-5-finale-haddie-lesbian seen for a while. Plot lines this year have been in abundance, and seemingly more trivial, now that we’ve dealt with Kristina’s breast cancer. Nothing seems as serious, so even the most major of issues aren’t as heightened. However, even if they didn’t work, I appreciated the attempt to go ‘bigger’ with some of the ideas. Sure, I disliked the mayoral campaign from the first half of the season and am not sold on the Charter school, but we’ve always knows that the smaller ideas were more effective. Essentially, that’s what this finale was–well executed small moments within the bigger picture of life and drama.

Strong, ongoing plot lines took a backseat to both fun and intimate character moments–some of which end those stories. It had been a while since all the Bravermans were together without the weight of world on somebody’s Parenthood - Season 5shoulders. (Well, except Amber, because, well, the weight of the world is always on her shoulders.) Centered around the return of Haddie, plus the Zeek and Camille’s house good-bye, (the island giveth and island taketh away), the episode took its time with the small moments.  In conjunction with that, it also seems to speed through some big ones.

Before I even begin discussing Haddie’s return, I want to say that I will never, ever, ever get over the fact that Adam and Kristina aren’t at the airport picking her up. (They didn’t get on the plane with her either when she was sent away.) It’s the complete opposite of the way I would think they would be involved. Granted, they haven’t talked much about her this season, so maybe they hate her. You wouldn’t know it, but Cornell is bleeding them dry. (That was a joke… about the hate… I think.)

This being said, I loved seeing Haddie back.  Maybe it’s my own nostalgia, but her presence is definitely missed. (I’ll say it again here: the Ramos/Potter casting is the best thing this show has ever done.) Her sexuality story, while realistic, seemed to be shoehorned in.  I would have loved to see it explored a little more and maybe it will be, yet the separate moments between her parents were the highlights of the show. Adam ‘figuring it out’ was, by far the greatest moment. (Are we supposed to assume that Kristina and Adam talked about it after he saw what was happening?) Seeing that whole sect of the family back together again was exciting and a nice touch for the finale. I’d love to see Sarah Ramos back or at least incorporated a little bit more, even if only in conversation.

While Drew’s story may have stretched for one episode too long, the time spent with him was well worth the car/gf pay off. The first year of college can be a tricky thing, but the freedom of the first summer with and girl friend was felt. This was a really nice optimistic Braverman youth story line that we haven’t seen a lot of lately from this show. His sister on the other hand…

…is a bit of a mess again. Well, not mess, as much as a predictable mess. The element of Ryan’s mother and her ignorance towards Ryan’s relationship was nice point of contention, Parenthood - Season 5but nothing that happened (except for the amazingly vulnerable kiss sequence) was top of the line material. What that plot line did for me was highlight Hank and Sarah’s relationship and how Amber sees him and how that affect Sarah. And please, if you didn’t know that a pregnancy was going to somehow factor in (thankfully NOT Julia), you weren’t watching the same show I was, so boo on that potential plot development. (I guess we’ll see more of Ryan and his mother.) The daughter is set to re-make the same mistakes of the mother. The mother, who finally made some good, and inevitable, choices by taking the ‘tomato in the room’ and making it obsolete.

However, the slight, but still forward moving relationship that is Julia and Joel was nice to see. I never thought that this show was going to split them up for good, but I appreciate that it wasn’t set in solid stone that these two are automatically back together, as proven by Sydney’s outburst. It was a nice touch to not include Joel in the final dinner scene. They aren’t magically back together, even if they infer they’re on the right track.

Zeek and Camille have been my MVPs of this season and it culminated in a magical dance in the empty old house. They’ve been through a lot and will go through more, but a home is where the family is, so they’re big move only brought all the Braverman factions together again. As Adam now sits at the head of the table, a torch has been passed and weight has been lifted off of these two people’s shoulders. The old house may have contained the kids, but Zeek and Camille raised them. I’m very excited to see what comes next for those two crazy kids.

Wet Eye Moment: TIE – Zeek’s face while listening to Victor’s paper & Kristina’s conversation with Haddie. (Maybe even Zeek/Drew/Car–SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM!)

Moment I Didn’t Talk About About, But Want To Shout Out To: Crobsy and Adam acting like little kids again on the stairs is why I watch this show and how it relates to me on a specific level. It’s moments like those that remind me how real these characters have become in their world.

This extended 22 episode season milked a lot of these storylines for what they were worth (for better or worse). This finale tied most of these with a nice (or loose) bow and while it mostly worked, a part of me thought certain stories deserved a little more time in this hour. Then again, I wound’t want to have lost any of the beautiful moments. Let’s face it, I just want an imgresexcuse to see a little more Braverman. Additionally, this could be due to the fact that the promo for this week essentially ruined all of this week’s pay offs (Sarah/Hank, Haddie/GF, and Joel/Julia), so I was waiting for plot points to happen as opposed to being actively involved in how we got from the 1 yard line into the end zone. Sorry, Amber’s potentially predicable pregnancy test didn’t do it for me. (She also picked it up like a day after they had sex.)

This season wasn’t as tear inducing as it has been in the past, but it still delivers. It’s one of the best on TV, as it does the little moments so well. The show hasn’t officially been picked up for a sixth season just yet (I don’t see it getting cancelled), but if this his how we’re going out… I’ll take it.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan