We enjoyed a microscopic glimpse into the life of Adam and Kristina and their children this week on "I'll Be Right Here."
Parenthood gave us just enough of the contiguous family members to support the story of Kristina's cancer and demonstrate how the paths of their lives affect one another. I'll break the review down by the relationships and how they were examined. Because there was so much ground covered, I don't want to miss anything...
Sarah continued with her ill-advised decision to move in with Mark at the expense of Drew's senior year and her own future. It's so obvious she is going to regret this that we didn't even need Hank to weigh in and ask if she was doing it because he kissed her (she was) or for Adam to question whether she has feelings for Hank (she does). She did need to have a reason to distract Adam during Kristina's surgery, and her complicated life did the trick.
Zeek's nifty veteran friend, Ryan, who I thought would make a perfect match for Amber apparently thought he would, as well. As it turned out, we were both right. As we've witnessed over the last two years, Amber hasn't made the best bets with her male friends, and to have a gentleman caller who actually fit that title with handshakes, thoughts of her as she worried about her aunt Kristina, flowers and kisses on the cheek, really confused her.
Before I continue, I have to give a shout out to Mae Whitman and her styling choices this year. I'm assuming her hair color was her own doing, but even if it wasn't, she looks absolutely lovely. It's so flattering that I cannot stop looking at her. Her coloring now matches her character as it is an amber hue. That had to be said.
In seasons past, Amber might not have asked Ryan what was up with his behavior, but she has learned a lot. And with Kristina facing a life-threatening health issue, she put her fear aside and really talked to Ryan. I'm so glad they didn't make his character a troubled veteran past the point when he stopped frequenting the vet center. I hope this relationship does move slowly and that it has legs.
Crosby and Kristina reached a special place when he helped her with the birth of Nora; his affection for her has only grown. Once he found out about her cancer, he wanted desperately to do something to help her and Adam make their lives easier while they focused on the bigger challenges that lie ahead. His attempt at massaging Adam was epic, and it was pure Crosby to ask for an adult task instead of walking their dog Otis, only to end up taking him home with stitches and a cone around his head.
The love they all share now is solid, and what could have spelled disaster before the birth of Nora was now accepted as situational, which it was. Those things really do happen, and Crosby just gets more than his fair share. After all the head-butting he and Jasmine did earlier this season with her mom, teaching Jabbar about spirituality in their own way, I was touched when he asked his son if he would give him some pointers on how to talk to God. Even typing this has opened my tear ducts once again. They got more action than they expected, as usual.
Kristina was doing everything she could to maintain the status quo. First on her list was to ensure Max had support for his election speech for class president. When she realized he hadn't written anything, she went into uber-mommy/campaign manager mode and immediately regretted moving up her surgery under the guise of wanting to be there for him. She tried, but failed, at hiding her fear at what was ahead.
Haddie's decision to move forward with dropping out of school scared Kristina far more than Haddie realized. While she was trying to be helpful, even suggesting that Kristina might not be fine after surgery was a very frightening proposition, so she covered it with concern over Max's election.
I wouldn't have known if Haddie or Amber should have been with Max during his big election speech, but Haddie knew exactly what to say to spur Max on. Pointing out his strengths, all due to the single-mindedness he carried with him from Aspergers, gave him the perfect speech and not only got him a standing ovation from a good number of students but won him the election!
As Adam told Kristina when she awoke from surgery, "It's every mother's dream. Your son is the president." Needless to say, Max delivering that speech was something to behold. He had many great Parenthood quotes, including this one:
Max: Some people say that having Aspergers is a bad thing, but I'm glad I have it, because I think it's my greatest strength. | permalink
If you didn't have a chance to read the interview we did with Max Burkholder this week, take a look, because he had some fun insight into playing Max, and he got to do a lot of the things he loves during this episode.
As is the case in life, things don't usually come up roses. The doctor teased Kristina and Adam with great news about her surgery. It went perfectly and she was "cancer free." That last sentence seems to be a bit questionable because they found it had spread to her lymph nodes. Since they didn't biopsy all of her nodes, they can't really say for sure if she's cancer free, can they?
The cancer she had was also more aggressive than they anticipated and means she will require more treatment. Burkholder hinted at scenes with her where Kristina had the after effects of chemotherapy during his interview, so it wasn't too much of a surprise, but still a disappointment.
What was surprising was Adam and Kristina deciding not to share the news with Haddie, and hoping to get her back to school within the week. Do they have any idea what they are in for with Max, a toddler and Kristina going through aggressive cancer treatment?
This will definitely be a trying time for them and another moment for the Braverman clan to step up to the challenge of helping out when they need one another. With this story, Sarah, Mark and Hank, the new relationship between Amber and Ryan and Julia learning to be a stay at home mom, Parenthood will have a lot to keep us glued to our seats.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.