Parenthood Series Finale Review (Season 6 Episode 13)

As I sat down to watch the Parenthood series finale, I was fully prepared to cry a river of tears and go through several boxes of tissues. Much to my surprise, the series finale was heartfelt, but not the kick to the gut I was expecting and I actually think that was a good thing.

Leading up to the finale, the writers wrapped up most of the drama and outstanding issues. We headed into the finale knowing that Joel and Julia were unquestionably back on track, that Sarah was set on building a life with Hank and that baby Zeek entered the world without complication. With those issues wrapped up, that left the Bravermans (even Haddie) with plenty of time in the finale to spend time with each other and appreciate their final moments with Zeek.

Parenthood’s final season has been, in many ways, the Zeek Braverman farewell tour. We saw him watching tv with Jasmine, taking walks with Kristina, advising Julia to reconcile with Joel, spending quality time at the gun range with Drew, etc. – you get the picture. It was fitting that one of Zeek’s final conversations in the finale was with Sarah. It was another full circle moment this season in which viewers were reminded that she has come a long way since the series began with her in the role of the estranged daughter returning to her family. I had mixed feelings about Zeek asking Sarah if he was a good father. Shouldn’t Zeek have some sense that’s he’s done a pretty good job as a dad?

Those gripes aside, the Parenthood writers did a good job at handling Zeek’s death. It was simple, yet effective. When I’d read that the cast filmed on a baseball field, I suspected that it would be a family gathering/celebration of Zeek. The Braverman family baseball game was much more preferable than a somber funeral scene in which the siblings would have absolutely bickered over something wholly inappropriate. Of course, the writers gave us a peek at the “happily ever after” for the remaining characters:

– Along with Amber, Crosby kept The Luncheonette going. Jabar and Aida have a baby brother or sister on the way.

– Camille made it to Chez Marie.

– Ryan got his act together. Amber married a different actor from Friday Night Lights and they’re doing well at sharing custody of Zeek.

– Max graduated from the Chambers Academy, now run by Adam. Based on the pictures taken at Sarah’s wedding, Max could have a very bright future in photography.

– The Joel/Julia situation was interesting. Victor’s mother got pregnant again and Joel and Julia decided to adopt the baby so that Victor could have a blood relative in the family. I am far too busy to go into a full on rant here, but I’d be remiss if I completely glossed over this storyline development. The sentiment behind Joel and Julia’s decision to adopt Victor’s sister was very sweet and I know that it is not uncommon for adoptive parents to be given the opportunity to adopt siblings. However, on a show where there has not been a great deal of diversity, it is a wee bit frustrating to see this development with Victor’s mother.

Overall, I will always be a Parenthood fan, but it has not gone unnoticed that Jasmine was a shrill, unlikeable character who was largely relegated to the background after she and Crosby got married. We barely got any Victor over the last season and a half and much of his screentime was spent on the receiving end of Sydney’s crude behavior. The writers introduced a bisexual character – Haddie – who has probably had about 15 minutes of screentime over the final season. Not only is the character mostly absent from the show, they didn’t even bother to include her girlfriend at Sarah’s wedding where damn near everyone else had a date. I don’t pick my shows based on diversity, but I do believe diversity of all kinds (gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.) can add to the richness of a show. I appreciate that the Parenthood writers “dabbled” in diversity on occasion and in many ways, the show is leaps and bounds beyond other shows on television.

As far as series finales go, Parenthood was pretty good. It felt true to the show and it delivered the heartwarming moments viewers have come to love. Although I have not been a fan of some of the character choices by the show runners during the final season, i.e., the Hank show and contract deals with core cast members that resulted in some characters not appearing in several episodes at a time, there were some really great aspects of it that kept me coming back each week. In particular, the growth and development of Drew was hands down my favorite part of the final season. Drew is definitely my MVP of the season.

What did you think of the Parenthood series finale? Sound off below!