FINALLY! After being uncertain that Parenthood would be back for season 5, it feels incredible to be reunited with our favorite family again. I was so concerned for so long that the show was going to get canceled, that this felt like a new beginning for all of us. As though we were granted this gift of another season together. This feeling was mirrored perfectly in the season 5 premiere, It Has To Be Now, as many members of the Braverman clan seemed to be starting anew as well.
Firstly, there’s Crosby and Jasmine. Season 5 starts with these two expectant parents lazily moseying through a baby goods store talking nonchalantly about names and carseats when Jasmine begins feeling intense contractions. It is the real deal, and just like that, they become parents of the cleanest baby girl to ever be birthed, three weeks ahead of schedule. (A good lesson to all the parents-to-be out there – babies do things their way from the get-go.) This storyline highlighted one of the things that Parenthood often does so well – reality. (THANK YOU for not having her water break!) Jasmine and Crosby were not exploding with joy from the arrival of the best thing that’s ever happened to them. They were sleep-deprived and cranky and entirely overwhelmed. Crosby asking Adam if it took him a while to come around to loving his children was a particularly special moment. Becoming a parent happens at different times for different people. Poor Crosby was hoping Adam would be able to relate, but hopefully he understood that taking time to fall in love with his daughter doesn’t make him a bad father. Television often works against new parents in the way that it sets unrealistic expectations about how wonderful every moment is going to be. Kudos to Parenthood for giving it to us straight.
(I also liked this scene because of how it showed so clearly the bond between these brothers. Many people wouldn’t admit to what Crosby was feeling, but his comfort with Adam allowed him to be honest.)
I have been looking forward to several things since learning that the Bravermans would be returning. One of them was seeing what greatness we will get from Monica Potter this season. (You can read the rest of my thoughts on the upcoming season here) Kristina has been such an incredible character since the beginning, portrayed brilliantly every step of the way by Potter. After overcoming cancer in season 4, I knew there would be some big way in which she relaunched herself into her life. And it didn’t take long to find out what it would be – Kristina is running for Mayor! Against her former employer, Bob Little, no less. The conversation between Adam and Kristina in which Kristina listed all the things she’d ideally wait for before jumping into something like this was brilliant. There are always roadblocks and reasons not to do the things we want to do. But as Kristina’s friend reminded her from her chemo chair – don’t wait. This is not the dress rehearsal. So, despite Adam’s reservations, she’s gonna do it. And Jurnee Smolett-Bell is going to come work for her – and I can’t wait!
In other new beginnings – season 5 finds Sarah living in her own apartment, taking on the role of super for all the tenants in the building. One of these tenants is a 40-year-old man with an affinity to lock himself out of his apartment, requiring her assistance with keys in the middle of the night. He also seems to like to date much younger women. He’s a winner all around. Meanwhile, Hank is back in LA (unclear what the point of having him move to Minnesota was if he was going to be back home by the start of season 5, but I’m assuming that decision was made when it looked like that episode could be the series finale.) Without giving us much information, we learn that Hank and Sarah broke up after he moved away and his return to California has not brought them back together –yet. I’m excited to see how Ray Romano’s awkward Hank manages to make his case for being with Sarah. I also love his budding mentoring relationship with Max, it allows us to see a side of both of these characters that we haven’ seen yet.
The last of the Braverman children also seems to be entering a new chapter. Julia has her two children, things are starting to feel settled and she’s ready to go back to work. But, she is realizing that her abrupt exit from her previous firm is working against her as her former employer is making it very difficult for her to get hired anywhere else. On the upside, Joel landed a huge construction gig that will keep him employed for years.. This is great for two reasons. One, it takes the pressure off Julia to find a job. Two, it means we get to see more of Sonya Walger (LOST), which is fantastic – though I think it may contribute to some marital strife for Joel. But, we shall see.
And finally, RYBER! Amber spent most of the episode stressing over her relationship with Ryan. He was called out of reserves while we were all on summer break, and their relationship over the last months has consisted of Skype dates and phone calls during which Ryan is able to share minimal information. Amber feels like the separation is taking a toll on them and worries that Ryan is growing distant. All of these fears are squashed when they are reunited upon Ryan’s return and he wastes no time dropping to one knee to propose. Amber immediately replies yes. My initial reaction was to be so happy that they were reunited and happy and that Amber’s concern was for nothing. But, knowing the struggles Ryan had last year and how dark and twisty the road ahead of him may be, it does feel like maybe this isn’t the wisest move for right this minute. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the family reacts (obviously Sarah will see her daughter making similar bad choices to her own, but what will Zeek say?). For now, I will bask in the happiness of these two and wait to see when and how the trouble will come.
“Ok, well maybe you can give me a list of names you haven’t slept with….” – Jasmine to Crosby, trying to find a name for their baby that wouldn’t bring back memories for Crosby
“Like Hitler’s girlfriend?” – Crosby’s reaction to the suggestion of “Ava” for his daughter’s name.
“There’s no waiting. This is not the dress rehearsal. This is it.” – Gwen to Kristina, re: life, and her desire to get back into politics.
“Just give her a small treat, would ya?” – Amber to Drew regarding Sarah and the way that she leans on one of her children harder when she feels ignored by the other one.
“…what? A pain in the ass? He’s not. He’s not. You, I don’t know about. You’re on the fence.” – Hank to Adam in response to Adam’s concern that Max might be bothering Hank