Saturday, December 15, 2012


Episode 11: What to My Wandering Eyes
By: Carlos Uribe

Parenthood is a show about the Braverman family.

Spoilers Ahoy!

What to My Wondering Eyes acts as a Parenthood Christmas episode. It takes place over the happiest holiday of the year and is generally a very happy episode. It's also an episode that is filled with a lot of sadness because it's Christmas. Let's talk about the saddest part of the episode. Amber has fallen in love with Ryan but she has started to realize that she has to let him go. She likes him and wants to be with him but she's also seen her mom be with men that Sarah constantly tried to improve with little success. Amber realizes that she can't be trying to make Ryan stand on his own two feet because it's going to hurt her too much. That Ryan not only quit his job on the first day and that he refuses to talk to Joel about it makes Amber realize that he needs to want to do things. She can't be there pushing for him to land on his feet. It's sad and the break-up scene between the two showed just how much mature she has become since the pilot. It also helps to contrast the difference between Amber and her mother. The Amber-Ryan relationship may be over but surely the series isn't going to ditch the hints it's been making towards Ryan's drug abuse. Which actually makes Ryan a lot more like Seth. The two are addicts.

Speaking about Sarah, it looks like she's gotten over Mark breaking up with her remarkably fast. That's because she sleeps with Hank in this episode. It's understandable that the series needs to compress time in order to fit it's entire plot within a shortened season but it still feels like she really wasn't fazed by the break-up. There should have been at least an episode where she mopes before she gets with Hank. Not having that episode makes it feel like she didn't really value that relationship as much as she claimed. It cheapens her entire relationship arc with Mark. On the other hand, this is perfectly in-character with Sarah. She has a history of making rash decisions that come back to haunt her. The person she's now going to be sleeping with is Hank. He's not only her boss but he has a lot of issues. This means that he's damaged. Amber might be ending a relationship because she can't fix Ryan but Sarah is beginning to sleep with someone she was trying to help out just in the previous episode. I have doubts that Ray Romano is going to be sticking with the show after this season but I do like Hank and Sarah being together. Their chemistry is strong and Hank is a great character on his own right. I might feel like the series rushed them getting them together but it's within Sarah's character and I do want them to be happy together.

Kristina spends the episode in the hospital. Her white cell count is extremely low and she gets an infection. Once she gets to the hospital, she goes into septic shock. This is serious as while there's a chance of recovery, there is also a chance that she won't make it. This is where most of the tearjerker scenes come in. Adam has to deal with his wife being in the hospital for the day and he gets emotional support from his father. There is a very great scene with the two of them where Adam asks his father to stay just a little while longer. As Adam faces the possibility of losing his wife that day, it leads him to watch a video where Kristina leaves a farewell message to the kids. The video is particularly moving simply because it helps contextualize just how exactly her loss would impact the whole family. Adam does his best to hold it together but not even Parenthood is going to kill a character off on Christmas. Kristina is able to recover and everyone rushes to the hospital to give her gifts. Having this plot happen on Christmas allowed it to get sappy without the fear of getting cheesy or melodramatic. It's funny how adding Christmas gives writers more leeway on how far they can go with preying on a person's emotions.

Who was taking care of Max and Nora while Kristina was in the hospital? Haddie is too busy being stranded on an airport due to a blizzard because she goes to the only college that doesn't allow people off a few days before Christmas Eve. That leaves Crosby and Jasmine. The two are able to take care of those kids as well as Jabbar. As if the Braverman family wasn't big enough, the two decide that they're going to have another baby. Speaking about kids, Victor spills the beans that Santa isn't real to Jabbar and Syndey. Apparently nobody has told him that he should keep the magic of Christmas alive for people who still believe in it. Zeek handles the situation where he tells the kids that he saw Santa Clause when he was just a little boy. He tells the story so well that Victor starts to believe. It was a pretty great scene but I'm not sure that adding in a “suggestion” that Victor actually sees Santa Clause later in the episode was really necessary. It simply felt like the series went a bit too far there because it's usually grounded on reality.

What to My Wandering Eyes is a great Christmas episode with it's only a couple of flaws. One of those flaws being the whole Santa Clause thing at the end with Victor. There's nothing wrong with keeping the idea of magic alive within the kids but to suggest that Victor thinks he met the real Santa Clause was simpy hitting the treacle button a bit much. The other flaw is that Sarah got together with Hank a bit too quickly considering how significant her relationship with Mark was. Other than that, it was all handled pretty well.

Other Notes:

So apparently the next episode of Parenthood will air on January 1st. The review for that episode will be posted with the review for the episode airing January 15th.

This might act as a fall finale, but there's only like four episodes left in the season.

So did they just tell Haddie that Kristina is sick or does she know about the cancer now? Did they gloss over that Haddie would be angry about this or what?

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