In the first episode of the new year, it seems that communication will continue to be a running theme on Parenthood. How long until everyone one gets on the same page?
I certainly hope we can all learn from Parenthood Season 5 Episode 11 how important communication is to maintaining healthy relationships.
What is said has less of an impact than what is left unsaid, and some characters are learning that the hard way.
Hank's exploration of self thanks to his friendship with Max was enlightening. His personality has always seemed a bit abrupt and the character has shown a lot of difficulties communicating on an emotional level. His bond with Max was an exception to that, and when Max had an Asperger's outburst, Hank was given a book by Adam to help him deal with it should it arise again.
Hank's research of Asperger's lead him to believe he might suffer from the syndrome himself. Instead of being concerned, it came as sort of a relief to him. He realized his inability to connect with his wife and daughter might be because he didn't fully understand his own limitations, and by understanding those he could find ways to improve the way he interacts with others. His friendship with Max could have a greater impact on his life than he ever imagined.
It was nice to see Drew and Amy reconnect after everything they went through after she had her abortion. She apologized for letting him go, essentially, which was something Drew really needed. As suspected, her arrival threw Natalie for a loop and she began to reconsider her "friends only" approach. Watching her slide between Drews legs on the picnic blanket as if marking her territory was a pathetic attempt on her part to claim something that had already been freely offered.
Once again I found myself disappointed in Sarah. When you look at her past relationships, she has hardly been the most discerning dater. Carl has been kind to her. He's funny and has a nice circle of friends. There have been no cues that she should have picked up on to make her think he was anything other than eligible and worthy. Yet for some reason she had him in her no column. My only guess was that he chose to live in the apartment building in which she was the super.
Then she discovered he's not only a highly accredited doctor, but one who runs a charitable foundation that builds hospitals all over the world for the underprivileged and all of a sudden Sarah considers her plus one situation a date. Am I the only one who found that rather insulting toward Carl?
He's apparently one of those people who doesn't let money define him, and Sarah was judging him because of it. All of these years and I still don't have an adequate handle of just who she is supposed to be. If she had just talked to him instead of prejudging him, she might have learned a lot about him much sooner.
Zeek's bachelor lifestyle has run its course. While I like that he found a friend his age, and I really hope he sticks around, I'm more concerned about the lack of discussion between he and Camille. As he struggled to write an email to her about coming home, I wanted to reach through the screen and do it for him.
Zeek!! Just tell her you love her and miss her! Or get on a plane and extend that trip TWO weeks, one for her to paint and another for your Millie to show you everything she fell in love with on her trip. Fall in love with your wife all over again. Relationships are so difficult, but I have to hope that after that many years of marriage they would have learned something.
Finally we have Julia's situation with Ed. She came clean with Adam, and in telling him what happened, the viewers were clued into where she's coming from. She doesn't have feelings for Ed, but missed Joel. That makes sense. Adam's advice to her was perfect, and it really helped that he told her about his own experience with a kiss from someone else.
While I wish Julia had told Joel the truth about the kiss, it didn't seem like the right time to tell him. She did read him right that telling him after a physical confrontation with Ed would probably not end well. She was put into a no win situation. Will Joel taking a bit of time to himself help him come to terms with his own feelings with what's been happening in their marriage? We can only hope they get on the same page.
All in all, it was a pretty good start to the new year. It was nice not to see Amber. The brotherly bond in action as Adam and Crosby protected Julia was beautiful to see and Hank's renewed friendship with Max was adorable, especially since he sees so much of himself in his young friend.
Perhaps this means things are looking up for the Braverman clan and Parenthood will be the show we look forward to seeing again every week.
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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.