"What to My Wondering Eyes" was everything you would expect from a Parenthood Christmas episode. Starting with tears. Always with the tears.
It was Christmas Eve and things might never be the same again for the Braverman family...
Kristina & Adam: I don't know if anyone thought it was a dramatic device for Kristina to get sick on Christmas Eve, but I know from experience that the instances of ill patients going to the hospital during the holidays increases. When my father had cancer, my sister and mother spent at least one holiday a year in the emergency room with him due to various illnesses that would crop up. I don't know if it's the stress in addition to the treatment that drags the body down, but it really does happen.
Watching it happen to our plucky Kristina and Adam is never fun, and we saw some fantastic scenes between Peter Krause and Craig T. Nelson as Adam and Zeek were at such a loss as to what to do in their situation. Between them they were bordering on too much and not enough, until they had that moment when Adam asked if Zeek could stay a little while longer.
Was there a dry eye in your house? Why haven't these men been nominated for Emmys for these roles? Where are the Emmy nominations for Parenthood all around?
Take Adam finding Kristina's computer and playing the message she left for Haddie, Max and Nora, letting them know it would all be okay no matter what because they had such a wonderful daddy to take care of them; people really do this. Parents need to leave these messages for their children. I wish each and every one of you all the strength in the world if you should find yourself in a similar situation. I can't imagine.
Crosby & Jasmine: Is it often that people haven't already chopped down their own trees on Christmas Eve? I was shocked that Jabar wasn't already worried, on Christmas Eve, that they didn't have a tree. Oh my gosh. The way Nora was crying and upset and screaming for her mommy, without pants (as everyone pointed out) as Crosby tried to hold everything together was heart wrenching, but it was so adorable how she reacted when Zeek arrived. She almost immediately calmed down, reached for him and once in his arms, her tears stopped flowing. It made me wonder what type of relationship they had off screen, the change was so sincere.
As Crosby and Jasmine took on Jabar, Max and Nora for Christmas shopping and Santa photos, and i thought to myself - they should win parents of the year. They must have been thinking the same thing of themselves, because out of all the chaos came the burning desire to have another child. Both of them, equally. Parenthood does fertility, pregnancy and new baby stories so well, and with Crosby's new found adult nature still padded with all the isms of being a child himself, we should be blessed with some wonderful television should that come to pass.
Amber & Ryan: I know this isn't going to be a very popular opinion, but I think Ryan was right in his reaction to to Amber's request. It was sweet of Amber to ask Joel to give Ryan a job, but it wasn't something he asked for. Amber has fallen in love so quickly that she wants everything to be perfect, and that's not what love is. There are bumps along the way, sometimes big ones. Ryan needed to find a job on his own to have the sense of accomplishment.
You didn't need to be a psychic to know Ryan wasn't going to be forced to apologize to Joel. He felt like a fool, and it was something he needed to do on his own terms. So instead, it was yet another moment for him to turn things to crud. Thankfully, Amber finally got her head on straight and saw the similarities between herself and Sarah and told Ryan she was in love with him, but needed a break. What I didn't like about that scene was saying she was giving so much of herself to him.
That's what she's been doing wrong. She needs to let a go a little, and allow things to happen naturally. Not expect that it will turn out like it did with her father, because by pushing, she's almost making it into the same drama. From the look on Ryan's face, I think he'll get his act together and present a new man to the woman he loves before the season is over.
Sarah and Hank: We didn't get much of a good-bye to Jason Ritter as Mark, did we? I wonder if we'll see him awkwardly interact with Drew at school a time or two before all is said and done. For now, Sarah has moved home with Zeek and Camille.
It made perfect sense that Sarah would be bitchy elf during the photo shoot, and really no sense at all that Hank would take a job as a Santa shooting photographer. But, he did and for that they got drunk, talked too much and had sex. It was bound to happen, and in doing so, I made peace with Hank. It's not fair to blame Hank for falling for Sarah when it was Sarah who was committed. It will take me a while to forgive her for leading Mark on, but it's not life I've never done something stupid and I can understand the fear of being a woman alone in your 40s.
The photo Hank gave to Sara was beautiful. Who doesn't want a man to give them a gift like that, titled "Looking Pretty at a Wedding?" It would make you get over the other not so lovely things such as this Parenthood quote:
Hank: I'm happy to meet ya. I'm not happy, because, well, I'm never gonna be happy and I've accepted that. But, I'm almost happy. | permalink
He made up for it in other ways, as well, but the photograph was worth more than any words could have said.
Other things of note:
- Victor's exclamation that there was no Santa being proven false not only by Zeek's touching story but by the disappearing Santa in the hospital was a nice touch. It was good to see him happy and fitting in with the other kids. Telling the other kids there was no Santa just made him part of the family. There's always at least one, and everyone has learned to ignore Max.
- Is it just me or is Max losing some of what he learned a while back when he was being taught by the gal Crosby had a one night stand with? He seems more cold-hearted now than he did as a kid. Is that normal behavior for someone with Asperger Syndrome?
- I'd like to thank Zeek for giving us a number to the Braverman clan. He said there were 14 sneaking in, which means with Haddie and Kristina there are a total of 16. Right?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.