Episode 7: Together
By: Carlos Uribe
Parenthood is a show about the Braverman family.
Silly me, thinking I can get through a Parenthood episode without almost bursting into tears. I almost got so close too. That is until Camille went to Kristina and gave her the cancer sweater. That's a sweater that a character wears in Chemo in case it gets cold. This isn't just a regular sweater but a passed down one from patient to patient. Kristina is the seventh person this sweater has been given to. Why did this make me want to cry? Simple: Kristina has two internal conflicts. The first is that everybody wants to be there for her. This may not seem like a big deal but it makes her feel helpess. She has always liked being able to be there for other people that she's just not used for other people to be there for her. The second issue is more internal and it's about Kristina's mother. The show hasn't really revealed anything about Kristina's mom but this cancer story is a perfect way for the episode to not only mention her but introduce Kristina's mother issues. All Kristina wants is for her mother to want to be there for her. This is too much to ask for as Kristina's mom would rather stay at home then come and support her daughter fight cancer. Camille going to Kristina and giving her the cancer sweater is a way to state that while Camille might not be her mother, she loves her just the same. It's a deeply personal scene that this entire arc built up to.
Adam is trying his best to keep his family together. This has made him really wound up. He's trying his best to ensure that his wife eats healthy and doesn't stress herself out. That's why he gets Camille to come and help them when he's at work. The thing about trying trying to take care of everything is that it really takes a toll on someone. He acts frustrated at work. When Crosby realizes that Adam needs to relax, Crosby convinces Adam to go to a bar and have a cocktail or two. Adam only agrees to go when Crosby offers to pay. Considering how Crosby doesn't pay for anything, this action helps to provide an exmaple of many of just how stressed out Adam is. Drinking allows Adam to lay out what's happening in his life to Crosby but it also has some random bar customer bumping into him continually. This might not seem like a big deal but it is. Adam is trying to ensure his wife is fine through her treatment that complete strangers are frustrating him for minor reasons. He's trying to control his feelings but it looks like it's heading towards an emotional explosion. When that explosion does happen, it'll lead to some great drama. The series is just building to that point.
Victor is having problems making friends. The whole reason for Victor joining baseball was so that he would be able to make some new friendships. He really wants some as well and he feels rejected when he doesn't get invited to spend time with his fellow players. Joel and Julia decide that they'll try to solve the problem by asking Victor if he wants to invite some friends over. The only person that Victor names is his best friend from his old life. After making sure that they are allowed to do this, Joel and Julia invite this kid. They go to pick him up in Victor's old neighborhood and it's not a pretty one. It's a complete opposite of the neighborhood that Victor currently lives in. It's no wonder that he is having such a difficult time adjusting when he's been thrust into a completely new world. Seeing his old friend is enough to make him come alive. Julia is happy for him but she's disappointed that she still has to make a lot of progress with Victor. It does motivate her to learn spanish in an attempt to connect with him. This entire plot deals with the theme of having to connect with an adopted son and it's working pretty well. The shot where we see Victor's old world is a perfect way to understand where he's coming from.
It isn't so easy for Amber to see where her new boyfriend is coming from. Ryan has been in two tours of Afghanistan and it has emotionally scarred him. He has to deal with having to adjust back to normal society. This adjustment can take time and it can hurt the people closest to him. He's a good kid but he might not be stable enough for a relationship. Making matters more difficult is that Amber might not be emotionally ready to deal with Ryan's internal conflict. The two really like each other but the show has cleverly set up the conflict between the two of them that's going to threaten to tear them apart. This drama of Ryan trying to adjust back to normal society is good enough that it's troubling that there's signs that Ryan might have gotten addicted to his medicine. This isn't necessarily a bad plot for the show to tackle but it does add yet another complication to a show currently filled with cancer, adoptions, and general personal drama. If the show can find a way to put it in there without falling apart then there's no problem. The only concern is that if the show doesn't then the show falls apart from having thrown too many plates in the air.
Those aren't the only plots this episode! Drew gets his very own! He spends the episode trying to find a way to win back his old girlfriend. It's made awkward when he shows up at her house and he meets his current boyfriend. The boyfriend that she had met at camp and broken up with him for. The ex-girlfriend does want to be friends with Drew. Drew uses that want along with any sympathy that she has for Kristina's cancer's effect on Drew that he manipulates her into making out with him and presumably sleeping with him. He didn't plan for it to go that way but once he figured out that he could use Kristina's cancer to get closer to her, he went for it. It's nice to give Drew something to do even if it's just him refusing to get over his old relationship.
Together is an episode that was all about how characters are... together. Camille is acting as a substiture for Kristina's mother while Adam leans on Crosby. Amber and Ryan sleep together but there's hints that the honeymoon phase of their relationship is about to implode. Drew uses his aunt's cancer to sleep with his ex-girlfriend. The episode is a pretty great one but it absolutely nailed it's ending with Camille and Kristina.