PARENTHOOD “Hard Times Come Again No More” (Season Finale) Review

Parenthood (NBC) "Hard Times Come Again No More"

PARENTHOOD “Hard Times Come Again No More” Season 2 Episode 22 – No emotional punches are pulled as PARENTHOOD closes out its second season in dramatic fashion with the aftermath of Amber’s accident, Adam’s simmering rage, and Sarah’s play driving much of the action in “Hard Times Come Again No More.”

Crying before the opening credits—that may be a new record for me, but that’s the kind of episode this is: sappy with big, dramatic arcs and lots of resolution—maybe too much resolution. I’m glad we learn immediately that Amber is (physically) okay, but I wish we had more time in the waiting room. So many possible mini-dramas just waiting to happen with all the Bravermans plus Alex and Jasmine in such an enclosed space. That feels like a missed opportunity, but with so much action to get through, there is no time for that.

Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman own me. Between Sarah’s infinite number of distressed expressions and Amber’s infinite number of tears, these two have me wrapped around their little pinkies. I love that Drew finally loses his patience with Amber. I always feel bad for Drew because Sarah and Amber have such a bond leaving him on the outside looking in. Even at the end of this episode, Sarah and Amber are tangled together on the couch in a solid mother-daughter unit while he is separate from them. Anyway, Amber and Sarah have terrific scenes all around. Even the overwrought apology scene at the play works for me and I can’t wait to see what Amber decides to do next.

I want to see Sarah’s play produced. Once again I have to marvel at the insane speed in which this play was written, revised, and now performed, but I love that the Bravermans look at Sarah with respect rather than pity and that they seem to enjoy watching the stage version of themselves.

“You do not have my permission to mess with my dreams.” Sobbing. In fact, I can tell you right now that Zeek’s speech will make me blubber no matter how many times I watch it. Amber needs tough love Sarah can’t give her because they are too close and because Sarah blames herself for Amber’s problems as much as Amber would like to blame Sarah. Zeek hits just the right balance of stern and loving. “You didn’t get into Berkeley. Well, boo-friggin-hoo. You’re a Braverman” Love all of this so much, especially the “How about a burger” at the end. That scene is as close to perfect as a show can get.

All of Adam’s building and festering stress comes to a boil in epic fashion. Cory firing him isn’t exactly shocking, especially given Adam’s inappropriate rant, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. That office storyline had outlived its usefulness and new financial pressures on top of Kristina’s pregnancy (“How did that happen?” Really? Ha!) should let Peter Krause delve into new levels of panic and rage. Just look at his tantrum when he thought Alex “knocked up” his daughter (yes, because Haddie would have had no part in that—maybe he really doesn’t know how it happens)—that’s some serious anger there.

Asperger’s doesn’t take a break for a family crisis, and wow is Max’s outburst in the waiting room uncomfortable. Very well done and I think the Adam-Max scene where Adam wants to look for the retainer is one of the best we’ve seen on the show. Max asking whether Adam is mad at him for having Asperger’s makes me hope we’ll see more of Adam and/or Kristina learning how to tell Max they are upset by something he did because it has to be okay for them to occasionally be disappointed in their son’s actions. I find it interesting that the very smart Max brings up his Asperger’s twice tonight, and both times it helps him gain forgiveness. I have to wonder if he knows what he’s doing. I love his apology to Sarah and her quick but earnest acceptance. It’s a touching moment and Monica Potter does a nice job in the background as Kristina’s face tightens with anxiety and then releases during the exchange.

I’m once again torn about Crosby/Jasmine. On the one hand, Crosby finally understands: it’s not about the magical grand gesture; it’s about owning his actions; apologizing for his mistake as honestly as he can while listening to what Jasmine feels and needs. That’s wonderful, but it doesn’t address the fact that both Crosby and Jasmine contributed to some serious problems in their relationship before Crosby cheated. Crosby wasn’t “fighting over dishes” that night—he was trying to discuss underlying issues of control and trust. Issues that have not only not vanished, by the way, but which have probably been exacerbated by the cheating. I hope they take their time and work to actually resolve things this time around.

Well, of course Julia still wants a baby. Did anyone actually believe she didn’t? I’m very curious to see where this takes Julia and Joel next season because my guess is the adoption process won’t be smooth, and I would imagine Sydney would have some issues should she suddenly have to share her parents. Ms. Woo may be a heavy-handed way to reintroduce Julia’s baby lust, but she’s hilarious. “I think you’re the most wonderful person I’ve ever met in my life. I thought you were such a bitch.” That actually more or less mirrors my feelings toward Julia. Oh, and if it weren’t for Julia, Jasmine, and that pesky heterosexuality, I would totally ship Crosby and Joel. I’m just saying.

Just as a note, I will never again make fun of any show for dropping its theme song during a special episode because “Forever Young” feels like a bucket of cold water in the face right after the melancholic music during the hospital scene.

Parenthood is a gloriously messy show with its huge cast, big arcs and seemingly infinite mini-dramas. In that way, it’s just like family only with much better writers and actors. I’ve had a great time with the Bravermans this season as they ride their hopefully endless emotional roller coaster and I’m looking forward to doing it again this fall. I know the show yet to be renewed, but I have every faith it will be.

What did you think of the Parenthood season finale? Are you happy with where all the Bravermans end up? What do you want to see in season 3? Let me know in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @michstjame

  • Careena

    If Crosby and Jasmine will deal with their other issues next season. It was enough to hint that they are willing to meet and discuss their issues. Very nice scenes.

    • Michelle StJames

      They were very nice scenes, and I hope they are a hint that they will work on all of their issues and not just Jasmine’s (totally justified, of course–I couldn’t forgive, I don’t think) anger over Crosby’s cheating or Crosby’s need to grow up. Jasmine needs to do a bit of soul-searching, too re: her control issues.

      Not for nothing–the house looked great. I especially love Jabbar’s room and I wish I had these Braverman superpowers of getting projects done so very quickly. 🙂

      • Well I feel that not should be blame on Crosby she did actually throw the rind at his face … in this world that actually means break up !! and she has control issues, I not saying that Crosby is not a little immature but I’m saying that there are both part of the wrong.

        • Michelle StJames

          I absolutely agree that they both played a part in their problems. Absolutely. I hope that they can work it all out–dealing with her control issues and the fact that she did keep Jabbar from him for so long because that seemed to be festering. The cheating, though–even Crosby obviously considered cheating, so that one’s on him. However, his cheating doesn’t at all negate that they had serious unresolved issues before that. This is a very complicated relationship, which is one of the reasons I like it. 🙂

          • menagery2004

            How is it cheating when she broke up with him? Is it tacky that he jumped into bed at the first opportunity? Absolutely. But she dumped him. That’s not cheating. Immature, yes. Cheating, no. 

            • Michelle StJames

               Mostly I call it cheating because Crosby considers it cheating.  I know it could be a whole Friends-like “We were on a break” thing, but since Crosby treats it as cheating, I’ll go with that.

  • Hughena

    I love this show, my now married oldest daughter and I were obsessed with Gilomore Girls, we skype every Tues night and watch parenthood, we are not sure if were just crying for Sarah or Lorelia(GG), we love her so it felt real, that opening scene, he crying than Adam come and she falls apart, big brothers do that lol. The song at the begining, I am searching for it, it was perfect. I am not a big tv person, but I cannot tell you what it means to have found another show for my daughter and I to share. I love the Braverman’s, so many good scenes lastnight and love love love that they tied it all up, hate cliffhangers, When Parenthoon comes back season three I will be here every tues night skyping with my daughter , and we will pray that it never ends!!!! Thanks for letting me share. Hughena Gear Nova Scotia Canada!!

    • Michelle StJames

      Thanks for sharing! I love that you and your daughter watch together over skype. 🙂

      The song at the beginning is “I’m there too” by Michelle Featherstone. Isn’t it gorgeous? It really was a perfect song for that opening, too.

  • Aiy, I don’t even know if I can concise my thoughts into a comment yet, ha. I think last night’s episode might be the greatest hour of television I’ve ever watched- in terms of making me feel every emotion as if it were my own family.

    I mean, Lauren/Mae scenes have just stolen every episode. The scene in the lobby- with the sobbing and Sarah’s love so obvious when she sees her daughter crying. The “are you okay? are you hurt?” reaching for eachother. I think it’s good that Drew is so understated, bc when working with those two- there’s no place for him otherwise. He’s the calm presence.

    I just love Adam. I love every bit about him. The writers and Peter Krause have captured that character. The big brother/responsible husband/good father/strong center of the family character. He IS the one who needs to be there for his little sister when her baby is in the hospital. And the result of those roles, is that he carries a huge burden. And you can see it in his eyes, throughout the season.

    J/C- I’m glad they took time to talk at the house. I’m someone who thinks when you’re a family unit (not just dating), you need to take some real time and try harder to save that unit. And I think it’s possible.

    I hope Sept. brings a 3 month time jump. I think the storylines are resolved enough that I don’t really NEED to see the next moves. FNL always found ways to recap the unseen passage of time in their season openers, I think Phood would benefit from the same.

    • Michelle StJames

      In an interview, Jason Katims said he is definitely considering a time jump so we would pick up the action in the fall. He also said not to assume Jasmine and Crosby have reconciled yet, so that makes me happily think they will indeed be working on all their issues.

      I think there is so much story for Adam next season and I can’t wait. I love him, too. I love that he does take on the burdens but that he is also flawed. I have no interest in watching saints, so I love that he gets irritated and sometimes explodes after holding so much in. It feels real to me and I can only imagine what unemployment will do to/for him.

  • Maharper55

    I also love this show. Parenthood and Friday Night Lights are the best shows on tv right now. I was wondering about the tribute at the end of Parenthood. ” in memory of Bob Yannetti and Jimmy Diggs”. Any clues about what this is?

    • Michelle StJames

      Bob Yanetti was a first assistant director on a couple episodes of Parenthood (he worked on a TON of other shows, too, of course). He died on April 15. I’m not sure about Jimmy Diggs, though. The only person I’ve heard of with that name wrote episodes of Star Trek Voyager and Deep Space Nine and is (I think) alive, so I’m at a loss there.

      • This is HOW I found your site! I googled them together …

        I am a HUGE Parenthood fan. Reading your oppinions, Michell, are spot on! Thank you!!!!! I agree with your mixed feeling about Crosby’s and Jasmine’s relationship, as well. I LOVE Crosby … AND, as a woman, I hate to say it, but she was controlling and then punished him for him trying to resolve that which is what happened over the dishes … Well, she LEFT him. He cheated. I honestly believe that he received no understanding of his emotional reason’s that led up to that and it has upset me watching his pain as he cared … It wasn’t done because he didn’t … It happened out of pain, frustraion, confusion and fear that SHE caused. However, because they BOTH messed up, I truly hope it works out and they just learn to communicate and work together, as a team.

        Back to Jimmy Diggs … If you find out any more on him, I’d like to know. Its always sad to see a credit of passing.

        • Michelle StJames

          Thanks! I hope Crosby and Jasmine work out, too because I love both characters and think they, with Jabbar, will be a lovely family when they’re ready. I’m also glad to know I’m not the only one torn by how it’s going so far. 🙂

          I wish I could say I figured out who Jimmy Diggs was, but sadly, I still have no idea.

        • Lol, same for me. I just watched the episode and googled “Bob Yannetti and Jimmy Diggs”!
          So funny how it works. Maybe they made a mistake on Jimmy Diggs? Or it’s a weird joke?

          I love Sarah,  loved her in Gilmore Girl, she just rocks. I hope Adam lightens up a bit, he is such a wound-up guy, I do like his tough.

          All the characters in this show are likable in one way or another. Good writing, good show!

      • Lisa1jean

        I am completely at a loss about jimmy diggs too! And it is annoying wish someone could enlighten those in the dark, I am wondering if in the finnal hour they lost one of thier talented writters as Yanetti had only recently passed on. Next season will be interesting to say the least, I have a feeling the dynamics may be changing in the relationships and how they are precieved, as in life; it is inevitable.

      • Seastars22

        Jimmy Diggs was a set painter on the show that died unexpectedly. He was a lovely man.

        • Michelle StJames

          Thank you so much for that. I do like to know who is being honored. Such sad losses.

        • BuckeyeGal

          That is very sad that the cast and crew have lost 2 of their team. Bob’s obit states that he very suddenly passed away as well. Of course I’m not trying to creat rumors, but it does make me wonder if there was an on-set accident.

  • Angela

    I absolutely love this show, and the season finale was wonderfully mess and totally perfect.

    • Michelle StJames

      I know! I so love the messiness–it’s cluttered and raw and wonderful.

  • sarii

    I AGREE WITH YOU REVIEW. i really dont like when they always blame max behavior on his aspergers, they need to punish him like a normal child instead of forgiving everything he does. i hope the writes give drew an actually story line next season. he has been on for 2 season and they give him nothing to do.
    i also wish we had gotten more hospital scences with sarah and her family but they just had to ruin it with max tantrum. what a shame! those scence would have been so emotional. anyway it wwas a good final. i still dont know why they had to knock kristina up!!

    • Wgrapp

      I love Parenthood because I have a son with Aspergers, and it’s like watching our lives in review (he’s 12 now). It isn’t right to punish him for things that he does when he doesn’t understand why he does it or why it’s wrong, and it’s just as difficult to distinguish between something that is due to him being an Aspie or him just being a brat. But a scene like that would have totally happened in real life with an Aspie, tantrums are a way of life until you learn to how to avoid them (ie, if he promised him pancakes, he should have had somebody go to IHOP and get them because otherwise you are just asking for a meltdown). And the lack of empathy was perfect, spot on. My son eventually began expressing empathy, but it wasn’t until about age 10 that it happened — before that he just didn’t “get” that what he said or did affected others. Anytime I tell someone my kid is an Aspie, I tell them to watch Parenthood, it depicts it perfectly! I’m just waiting for them to add the “medicate/not medicate” to the storyline. 🙂

      • Lisa

        You are so right Wgrapp. Our society needs more education about Autism spectrum disorders so that WE may have empathy as well. Love Parenthood because it depicts
        real life and real issues with all it’s messiness and ups and downs.

    • I actually have to agree with you sarii! I really have a hard time watching those Max scenes, they are my least favorite. I just wish Adam and Kristina would sometimes deal with Max and his tantrums instead of indulging him with everything he wants just to avoid them.

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels that way 🙂

      • jwdbgd

        I don’t know anything about aspergers. I also find it hard to watch Max’s ‘tantrums’ and yet my heart goes out to Adam and Kristina. They do need better skill sets for dealing appropriately with Max’s disease, for it is a disease. My understanding is that when an asperger family’s day begins, it is continually altered by the child’s behavior, needs, and wants. It is a higher functioning level than autism but is somewhat similar. We had friends who son would continually run out of the house in the middle of the night. They took the means to control his behavior but somehow he unlocked the door and ran and ran and ran for literally miles across 4 lanes of traffic at 5a.m. in the morning.

        Then I reflect back to my girlfriend’s children. They ran all over the parents. They sassed the parents continually at 7 and 8 y/o. We were literally flabbergasted. It was hard to understand how two highly intelligent parents would allow their children to rule the roost. Lo and behold when the oldest, a daughter, became old enough for jr high, the dad decided he would change course. He put her in a private Catholic school and told her that from now on he’d rule the roost. But it was too little too late. In high school the daughter regained her control. She got pregnant.

        I so agreed with Sandie! It made me really stop and think about all the yound ones especially in the past few episodes. I look at Max and then I look at Lauren(?- had the car accident) and Hadie having sex at 16 y/o(which is very realistic today). Max’s outburst are tame in comparison to teenage girls. I was glad that Lauren’s G’pa stepped in as her father should really have. AND I love the way that G’pa did it. He did point the finger at her and accuse. He turned it to his feelings and said he’d kick butt if she ever meddled with his dreams again. Awesome!

        I hope the shoe business falls flat on its bottom. Adam’s boss is very typical of many business owners who their own self appointed god who can play with families lives. Years ago my husband called me at home (as I was a stay -at -home mommy) to ask if we could survive if he quit. I said, Yes.” An hour later I heard the key in the door and there was my husband. He’d quit. The boss was similar to Adams. Not only did we survive but after the dust settled we were blessed by the change.

        • Michelle StJames

          Ha to wanting the shoe business to fail. That would be a nice callback in a future episode–the family snatching up the last of the shoes on clearance because the company went out of business.

          As far as Haddie and Amber go–It’s terrific that Zeek stepped in the way he did with Amber and I love how he did it, too. I also felt for Sarah because along with feeling lost as to how to step in, it’s almost like she feels she doesn’t have the right to step in anymore because of mistakes she has made/thinks she has made re: Amber in the past. Heartbreaking. I love how the Haddie sex story is being handled because it’s not just realistic now that a teenage girl is having sex–teenagers have been having sex forever and I really do like that she is being shown as responsible and well-adjusted and that Kristina is being so level-headed about it. And Adam is being Adam about it. 🙂

      • Lisa

        They don’t indulge him. Rewatch the episode. Max has a serious brain condition. I find your remark very uncompassionate. As someone who has known a child with Asperger’s as well as another child with severe Autism, I can honestly say you are very ignorant of this disease and what families have to deal with. My eighteen year old son shows more compassion, patience and maturity in dealing with these children than you obviously do. Right now, I am feeling so proud of him.

      • Lisa

        Indulging a disease – that really makes no sense. My goodness, I’m sorry Sandie, but I’m still fumming over your lack of compassion and common sense! Seeing this disease first hand over eighteen years I guess has made me very protective of those who suffer from it. Yes, it is not pretty – but what disease/condition is!

        • Hi Lisa,

          I am really sorry that you feel that way about my comment, but my response is about a storyline in a TV show and how I feel about it. Thinking that I am “uncompassionate” because of it is the same thing as saying I am “uncompassionate” because I wasn’t sad when a character in a movie/TV show died.

          I can’t relate to the Max storyline and I wish they would take another direction with it that’s all. However, I do not claim to be an expert regarding anything about Asperger and I am sorry to hear that you had to see it first hand.

          • Steph

            lack of understanding doesn’t = lack of compassion.  I think just Sandie doesn’t know what Aspergers/Autism is & therefore doesn’t identify.  There is a difference between indulging a child in a damaging way and handling a child who suffers from any ASD. That being said – I have seen children who I thought were spoilt and indulged and was horrified at how the parents behaved, BUT once I had children of my own, I truly understood that when the umbilical cord is involved it is SO DIFFERENT to what anyone can ever explain or understand!  I hope I don’t indulge my children to a damaging point, I hope I am teaching them to be functional, intelligent, compassionate members of society with the self esteem to pursue their every dream; reality is I bet I fall short (especially when I am tired or unwell).  I was on a plane with a childless loved one recently – a poor toddler was screaming with pain in his ears and she said to me “I wish that child would shut up” and I responded “I bet his poor distressed parents wish he would too – not because of the noise, but because their baby must be suffering” she looked at me with wide eyes and said “thanks – I never thought about it like that before”.  Shouldn’t our job be not to judge those with different opinions/experiences, but instead to help them see the situation with different eyes?

  • Srh018

    I love the show! I heard that NBC is considering to cancel the show? Is it correct? Also I think Haddie and Alex have a lot of potential. I don’t want to say that I am OK with 16 years old having sex, but this is part of life of our high school life and at least Alex is a very nice guy,

    • Michelle StJames

      There’s always uncertainty about shows being picked up, but NBC has certainly not said they’re cancelling the show and in fact the executive producer said they’ve been supportive. Even better, the ratings for the finale were a little higher than they had been, which is great news. I’m 97% sure Parenthood will be back.

  • So Michelle, did you end up needing a whole box of tissues or were a couple enough? 🙂

    • Michelle StJames

      I used four–I’m a weeper. 🙂

      • Squandette

        I’m with you on the Jas/Cros storyline. I loved that he went to her. But I really wanted her to say “It wasn’t all you. It was us.” I hope that she has that mea culpa next season because if she doens’t, they will be back in the same boat. And I love love love them.

        I also wish Adam had quit. I just didn’t get that storyline.

        And the whole time Adam was hugging Kristina at the end all I could think of was “his hands were just in the garbage! Yuck!” Lol!!

        • Michelle StJames

          Not just in the garbage, but all over the stick she had peed on! 🙂

  • jwdbgd

    Robert P. Yannetti, 57, of Los Angeles, California, died very suddenly on Friday, April 15, 2011. Bob was a cherished husband and father survived by his wife of thirty years, Leslie Winston Yannetti and his two daughters Allison Yannetti (16) and Joanna Yannetti (13). Bob was First Assistant Director in the Director’s Guild of America since 1982. He began directing episodic television in 2002. Bob’s career spanned thirty years and included work on such films as Scarface, Witches of Eastwick , The River, and many, many more. Television series include LA Law, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Boston Legal, and most recently, Parenthood. He was beloved by cast and crew alike.

  • I’m mostly thinking that if they do not renew this show then T.V has already lost it all, because this show has it all, it make you think, then pause, then laugh and cry it’s just perfect !!

  • Misterking71

    Yes! Yes! …and YES!!!
    As a heterosexual dude, I absolutely HATE crying at the television, but the fact that this show can actually do that has me glued to it!

    Adam will eventually lose it and hit someone or something because Max IS probably playing the “I’m sick” card. Hattie WILL get pregnant (or there will be a scare) and Alex will more than likely ‘slip’ in his recovery. Coupled with a newborn? Oh yeah, Adam’s gonna lose it!

    Crosby will be putting his masculinity and everything else that makes him a man on eBay and trading for all that makes him Jasmine’s personal puppet. He clipped his man card when he sold the boat.

    Julia will adopt, Sydney will be jealous, and Joel will do what he always does and roll over while trying to play the mediator. Julia will probably find some new faults in Joel and he’s gonna be pissed, too!

    All that being said…Sarah, Amber, and Drew will probably be ‘Family of the Year’!!

    I predict a darker, angrier, and more shocking season 3 for every story EXCEPT the Sarah story.

    • Michelle StJames

      I hope only half of what you predict comes to pass. 🙂 I absolutely agree next season will be darker, though, and that Adam will really lose it at some point.

  • Stymie

    I find myself hating these characters one by one by the middle of each episode. The drama can be so stifling some weeks and I just want to slap these people. But then redemption comes to each offender by episode’s end and I find myself anticipating a break in my own action to fire up the DVR and get sucked in again for another week. This show is shamelessly manipulative, but like Granny said in the namesake film, “I like the roller coaster.”

    • Michelle StJames

      It is probably the most emotionally manipulative show on TV, really, and it works on me every time. 🙂

  • JMB

    My friends and I absolutely love the show. So many things touch home. I really want to see it picked up for another season. I would like to see it run for many years — the writing and the actors are fabulous. JMB

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  • wmayer

    I finally found time to watch the last 2 shows and all I can say is WOW! With my life being as crazy as it is, I find such relief in watching Parenthood. I would be so very sad if the show was ever cancelled. 
    The show is what keeps my sanity intact. The Braverman’s are a great family with real-life problems. Thank you for giving me hope with my own family.

  • Koalablue

    I want to see Joel and Julia have a baby… they so deserve it..!!