Parenthood Season 6 Review “These Are The Times We Live In”

Parenthood Season 6 Episode 7 These Are The Times We Live In (1)
On last night’s episode of Parenthood, the show did what it does best – focused on relationships and family bonds in an understated, yet meaningful way. With the contractual arrangements for the actors this season, we’re seeing more episodes focused on a handful of characters. This has been for the most part enjoyable because it has allowed viewers to see character growth and development and gives us a snapshot of what the future will be like for the Braverman family after the series comes to a close.

With the arrival of her baby rapidly approaching, Amber undertook the very ambitious challenge of babysitting Nora and Max while Kristina and Adam traveled to raise funds for the school. Adam might want to find some donors for the Lunchbox while he’s at it. In addition to babysitting the kids, Amber planned a trip to Alcatraz for the group, which I knew was doomed because it was so important to Max. Although the plot was somewhat predictable, it created a few nice character beats for Hank, Sarah and Amber.

By pointing out that Hank made no effort to discover why Amber was crying, Sarah helped him see several of his missteps in dealing with Sandy and Ruby. Interestingly, Hank opening up to Sandy opened the door to him reconnecting with his ex-wife and his daughter. Hopefully, this will help Ruby be a little less awful. Time will tell if means something more for Sandy and Hank other than learning to be better friends to each other and parents to Ruby.

Hank was not the only person to get some much needed perspective from a conversation with Sarah in last night’s Parenthood. As a longtime fan of the show, I remember when Amber was a terrible teen and took out her angst on her mother. It’s nice to see the two come full circle as Amber prepares for motherhood. Although the circumstances of Amber’s pregnancy might be overwhelming and less than ideal, the developments in her relationships with Sarah and Drew suggest that she’ll find a way to navigate the challenges of motherhood.

Speaking of Drew, I continue to enjoy watching him transition from a moody, sometimes irresponsible teen to a well-rounded, thoughtful young man. For the life of me, I can’t remember his girlfriend’s name, but I liked that she called him out on his lack of patience with Zeek. All of the moments with Zeek and Drew were great to watch. Bonding moments with Craig T. Nelson and any of the actors on the show are always great and the writers do a good job at making the moments organic to the characters.

This season, I’ve particularly enjoyed watching Zeek bond with the Bravermans-by-marriage, like Kristina and Jasmine. Last night’s scene with Zeek and Joel might just be my favorite. Indeed, my eyes got a little dusty as Joel said goodbye to Zeek.

The Joel/Zeek moment was probably the only aspect of the Joel/Julia story arc that I liked in last night’s episode. As viewers, we clearly see that both Joel and Julia share the blame in the dissolution of their marriage. However, after watching Julia’s past actions: giving up her career without speaking to Joel first, becoming resentful of Joel when she became the primary keeper of the home – a role that Joel gladly accepted and rarely complained about, being so caught up in her own dissatisfaction with her choices that she never fully supported Joel in his effort to finally make his career a priority, and choosing to emotionally connect with (and kiss) Roy from The Office. After watching all of that, it was hard to watch Joel fall on his sword last night and take all the blame for the breakdown of the marriage. Indeed, it was one of several selfless actions by Joel that led up to his final plea to Julia, but it still didn’t really work for me as a viewer. I haven’t decided if I’d like to see the couple reconcile, but I’m definitely ready for a final resolution to this story.

I also find it odd that we haven’t really seen Julia talk out her concerns with her family. She had a brief moment with Camille and we’ve seen her kinda broach the subject with Adam and Sarah, but on a show that focuses SO heavily on the banter and conversations between this family, I find it a little odd that we haven’t seen one real pow wow between Julia and any member of the Braverman family or the extended family. I suppose this is reflective of how Julia deals with her problems, but I don’t know if I’ve been clear on who this character is for some time now. Despite my frustrations with the storyline, I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on how great Sam Jaeger is doing with the material given to him.

Random thought: I know that Julia’s new guy says and does all the right things, but I still get a sketchy vibe from him. Is my pro-Joel bias influencing my judgment of him? Perhaps. I found something off-putting about his thinly veiled attempt to get an invitation to spend the night.

Random thought 2: I’m surprised that the final season is spending SO much time on Hank and Ruby. I know they’re part of Sarah’s story, but there’s been quite a lot of them – all things considered.

Until next week!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you rooting for a Joel/Julia reunion? Sound off below!