Thank god! The election is over, the results were good, and Parenthood is finally back on our TVs. I’ve missed it.
This was a strong episode, and like the others it mostly focused on Kristina battling cancer. Monica Potter has done a stellar job with this material, and I’m glad this episode allowed Bonnie Bedelia to share some of that spotlight.
One of the most interesting things to come out of the Kristina storyline could be her strengthened relationship with her mother-in-law. We already knew that Kristina isn’t very close with her family (remember that fantastic episode where the whole family drove to see Zeek’s mother?) but we still don’t know details. Her mother didn’t fly to Berkeley for Kristina’s first round of chemotherapy, and we don’t know why. I don’t mind not knowing, because it wasn’t important in this episode. What was important was Kristina’s reaction to that, and seeing Camille understand that and be supportive. But I’d like to know some more about Kristina’s family situation in the future.
Kristina is struggling with the effects of her treatment, like not being able to pick up her baby (due to stitches), drive, etc. She’s a care giver, and she doesn’t know how to let someone else take care of her. This was a pretty simple storyline, but one that rang very true for the character.
Kristina’s cancer has affected the whole family, from Adam’s short temper at work and at the bar Crosby took him to, to Drew using his feelings about his aunt’s illness to score with his ex-girlfriend. That was such a gross, typical teenage boy thing to do. Nice touch from the writers there.
I think the writers are really hitting their stride with Victor now. They’re dealing with new topics – Julia’s fear that Victor is being left out, her more specific fear that it may be due to his ethnicity, their concern about inviting over a friend from Victor’s old neighborhood, and trying to make Victor feel more at home. Victor has come a long way, but it would be unrealistic to expect him to be completely himself around the Bravermans after only six or so months. Julia trying to learn Spanish was very sweet, and Victor is old enough to understand why she’s doing it and to appreciate it.
Mae Whitman has always been one of the best actors on this show (and that’s saying a lot), and I love her chemistry with Matt Lauria. Amber is so in love, and we’re slowly seeing the ways in which Ryan has been hurt by war. I like that the writers aren’t making this over-the-top. He’s not Owen on Grey’s Anatomy, strangling his lover in her sleep. He’s a good guy with some real issues, and if Amber really loves him she will be in for some difficult times. It’s an interesting plot, and one that is perfect for Amber at this point in her life. She’s dealing with adult problems now, not teenage rebellion or poor decision-making.