Parenthood Season 5 Review “Fraud Alert”

Parenthood Season 5 Episode 19 Fraud Alert (6)

What does happiness cost?

For Crosby, it came at the price of a vintage motorcycle bought with the sole agenda of getting a fender to put a smile on his father’s face as Zeek faced selling his family’s home. For Drew and Amber, it was offering an afternoon of joy to Sydney and Victor via a trip the roller skating rink they visited when they were kids. For Adam, a day at the beach was all it took to bring his son a few moments of peace after Max’s school gave up on him. Finally for Sarah and Julia, happiness is still a long way off, but they were both given a sense of closure that will allow them to move forward.

“Fraud Alert” was a quiet episode of Parenthood, one full of motion– the scenery of winding roads during Crosby and Zeek’s trip combined with the gorgeous beach shots as Adam taught Max to surf gave the series an even stronger sense of realism than usual. This was the Bravermans’ week to face hard truths while accepting that even if their lives are not exactly the way they want them to be, they can still be joyful.

Julia isn’t quite ready for joy, but she finally forced Joel to talk to her. Apparently, the reason he has been acting like a jerk this season is because he feels Julia doesn’t respect him. As a viewer, his reaction made me wonder if he knew his wife at all. She was never going to be satisfied not working, it took away her sense of identity. She thrived on work, so of course she came apart when it was “her turn” to stay home. After Joel dropped $425 on a business dinner with Pete using Julia’s credit card, she began to suspect he was dating. Their confrontation wasn’t pretty, but in the end, Joel finally stopped dragging his feet and told Julia he didn’t want to work on their marriage– at least not now. In the end, she went to dinner with Ed, accepting that Joel is unwilling to fight for their marriage, so she has to start moving on.

My favorite story of the night was Crosby and Zeek’s road trip. The idea of losing the Braverman home has been impossible for me as a viewer to accept, so even though Camille’s point of view is completely valid, my heart is broken for Zeek. With just 72 hours to make a decision about selling the house, Zeek and Crosby hit the road to go and pick up the final piece to Zeek’s car. Along the way they took a detour for a bit of ATV fun, but when they ended up at their destination, the auto parts guy was clearly a scam artist. However, his awfulness drove Zeek to tell Crosby why he wants to hold on to the house so badly: because letting it go feels like admitting he is nearing the end of his life. Crosby did the only thing a good son could do; he went back to the salvage yard and spent a lot of money on a vintage motorcycle so the guy would let his father have the final piece of the car at the agreed upon price.

Adam had a similar experience trying to engage Max as the public school system decided it would be better to keep Max at home than to find and punish the child who urinated in his canteen. Max’s struggles have been heartbreaking this season. He has found so much passion for photography, but he is utterly alone and constantly bullied. Adam wanted nothing more than to see Max smile so he took his son surfing for the first time, and it seems Max caught the surfing bug. In a rare moment of vulnerability, he asked his mother to come along for their next trip to the beach, and we got to see Adam’s clan having a nice time even if they cannot find a satisfactory resolution for Max’s situation.

Meanwhile, in a rare excellent use of Drew, the writers had our favorite awkward teen babysit Victor and Sydney. It went about as well as you would expect, especially since the kids are miserable right now. Amber saved the day by reminding the kids that she and Drew have been where they are now and they survived it by leaning on each other. Her words got through to the kids enough so that they agreed to try out the roller rink, and she and Drew got more than a few smiles out of them.

Finally, there was Sarah. Sarah and Mark. Yes, the lovely Mr. Cyr returned, but only to say a proper goodbye. He is engaged to a fellow teacher, having finally found happiness that will last. Saying goodbye to the pairing for good is disappointing and a relief at the same time. At least now, Sarah and Hank can stop dancing around the inevitable. She chose him, after all, now maybe those crazy kids finally have a real shot.

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