Truth and the its consequences were central Parenthood Season 5 Episode 10, whether within relationships or after a mayoral race.
Everyone seems to be struggling on this show. Even when things seem to be going pretty well for people, they're still unhappy.
There was a time when there were so many different things happening on Parenthood that it was an emotional rollercoaster. Laughter was quickly followed by tears and back again.
This season is filled with more sadness than necessary, and the characters that aren't down are the ones who don't necessarily express their glee-filled moments in ways that emotionally lift up the other stories.
As admirable as it is to tackle a topic like someone coming back from Afghanistan and struggling to find their way, not only in the world to which they returned, but with the woman they love, I've been a bit disappointed that there wasn't more focus on Ryan getting treatment for what he's been going through.
Visits to the doctor occurred, as he had pills for anxiety, and he made trips to the veterans' center, because that's how he met Zeek and then Amber. His issues were extremely deep, which was apparent after his friend's funeral last season. Instead of trying to shower him with love, a look at what options are available to someone after they return from the military and are having a really difficult time acclimating might have served the story better in the long run.
Listening to Amber defend an incredibly violent Ryan as a really great guy who would never hurt her and then Ryan telling Zeek maybe he just doesn't fit into the real world, I realized there was a missed opportunity to fully understand what someone in his position was feeling.
Now that Ryan is heading back into the military, it would seem that story is over for the time being. I hope some thought goes into his story before he returns so that his position can be explored beyond the stereotypes.
The marriage of Joel and Julia has descended into a stereotypical floundering union at this point, as well. There is so little communication going on between them that it's almost difficult to care whether they find their way back to each other.
Julia finally realized that her friendship with Ed probably sent the wrong message to Joel, and somehow she still leaned into a kiss with him, just moments after telling him he need to stop contacting her. It didn't seem to make sense to her any more than it did to me.
Drew, doing his best Mark Cyr impression, tried to set some boundaries for booty calls with Natalie. That's another one that I just don't get. Drew obviously really likes Natalie, and she couldn't care less about him. His attempt at rules pushed her into friends-only territory, but Amy's knock at his door at the end will probably make him the most attractive kid in the dorm.
Sarah had great advice for her daughter, telling Amber she's strong and yet still able to fall completely in love, but the love that she has is not what she wishes for her. It was nice to see her being objective first and a mom second. It's too bad that conversation didn't come earlier, when it might have helped Amber see what was coming from Ryan.
What I didn't understand was Sarah's comments to Carl as she tried to push him away. Why does she keep saying he's not age appropriate? How old does she think he is, exactly? He seems like a perfect match for her, and he can actually carry on a conversation without stuttering and rambling which is something she needs, because her family has a way of doing that and it's good to branch out.
Carl likes wine, good music, is willing to save Sarah from her angry tenants and has a lot of friends that he can introduce her to. Instead she'll probably end up with Hank again. It's funny that you never realize how incompatible a couple really is until you see the individuals matched with others. Sarah needs someone who can take control of situations, and she hasn't had that in a very long time.
The one couple who seem perfectly matched at all times are Adam and Kristina. As she came to terms with her loss, Adam was there to keep her spirits up. You had to love the scene at the playground when the mother said she'd give her a vote if she'd fix the slide. Golly, will you? I'm surprised she even knew who was running. Unfortunately, that's why the people we want in office don't get elected.
Adam's plan to get Kristina her smear campaign after the fact by egging Bob Little's billboard was a nice, lighthearted way to take out her aggression and even better that he set it up for her. Kristina tried to pretend the loss was running off her back, but her husband knew better. Finally -- one couple was on the same page.
I'm not sure what I'm hoping to see in the second half of the season, but I know that I don't want to grimace at the thought of watching Parenthood. I used to get excited to see what was coming, but things have gotten so dire with all of the characters that watching with a pillow in front of my face doesn't seem that far fetched.
The problem with characters being so real is that it feels as if what's happening to them is happening to me. When everything is painful and full of unhappiness and it's happening to people you love, it becomes difficult to watch.
Agree or disagree? Are you guys still with me out there? Tell me how you're feeling about this season of Parenthood in the comments.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.