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Parenthood “Vegas” Review (6×01)

25 Sep

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Final seasons simultaneously bring closure and look toward the future, and that’s exactly what we see throughout “Vegas”, the final premiere of this wonderful little show. The episode is largely framed around Zeek, who collapses while he’s in Vegas for his birthday, and we’re reminded of the mortality that is inherent in life, of the fact that the idea of parenthood is ever evolving through the generations. Simply put, people die. Parents die. We saw Kristina battle cancer in season four–with a near perfect performance by Monica Potter–but here, we’re seeing someone come close to the end by natural means.

Ultimately, it’s fear of the unknown that exacerbates the situation. As Zeek and Camille have grown older, their mortality has undoubtedly been in the backs of their kids’ minds, but what was once in the backs of their minds is now very much at the forefront. Throughout the episode, the characters consistently ask about the collapse, whether it’s a heart attack or something else, and at the end, the doctor states that he doesn’t like when he doesn’t know. He doesn’t like the unknown, and the sad truth is that at the end of your life, the unknown takes on a whole different meaning than the unknown of youth. Zeek’s grown as a person, especially recently with regards to his wife, and he’s still a very energetic guy who tends to a garden and goes to casinos; as a result, though, his health problems hit him like a brick wall.

Of course, Zeek being Zeek, he chooses not to worry about those problems, at least not as much as his kids do. He’s the kind of guy who’ll keep attempting to enjoy life even as it tries to put him down, and the people who’ve been around him long enough know that very fact. There’s a very nice scene in “Vegas” that perfectly encapsulates this mindset, this understanding: Adam, Sarah, and Crosby simply sitting down at that table to play blackjack with Zeek. Sometimes, it does no good to dwell on the problems, and if you realize that, you can constantly have the unknown of youth.

Elsewhere in the show, we have Julia attempting to move on from Joel with a Mr. Jeffries, Amber revealing that she’s pregnant, Adam and Kristina starting the Chambers Academy, and Hank entering a new custody agreement with his ex-wife. Here, the ‘new beginnings’ aspect of the final season starts to develop, and we see people moving from various kinetic lives to slower, more settled ones (Julia’s a bit of an exception here). This is simply what happens in life; at some point, we’re drawn to stability, and we hope to find it when we embark on a new venture.

At the same time, there are always moments in which the past catches up to the present. Joel and Julia kiss again, for example, and Haddie and Amber reminisce about the past, about the fact that they’re adults now. Our relationships and situations are perpetually developing, and we may oftentimes get pulled back into the past as we’re trying to move on. However, that doesn’t restrict us or put us down; it simply reminds us that we’re all human.

And so it goes with the Bravermans in their farewell season.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

– “Just listen for swearing.” Not much Crosby in the premiere, but what we get is great.

-Props for the random showgirl hopping by Zeek’s bed.

-Will Joel and Julia get back together? I suspect they will, but it won’t be pretty.

-Haddie’s still here! Based on last season, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she just disappeared, then was never mentioned again.

-Because Adam and Kristina can apparently do anything–remember the campaign storyline?–they have now started Chambers Academy, which has a pretty good turnout.

-There is no Drew storyline in this premiere. I completely forgot where we left off with him at the end of last season, to be honest with you. Is he still the guy with the girlfriend troubles? That seems to be his perpetual role in this show, anyway.

-I don’t know if this will get regular coverage, but considering it’s only a 13 episode season, I’ll probably be able to tackle most episodes. I will, with 99.9% certainty, be back for the final few episodes of the series.

Photo credit: Parenthood, NBC

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5 Responses to “Parenthood “Vegas” Review (6×01)”

  1. Christie Baker Evans September 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    drew was in this episode. He was painting the school.

  2. Matthew Thompson September 27, 2014 at 3:47 am #

    Really good premiere. The Joel/Julia storyline last season drove me a little crazy at times, but the fact that they have now separated for a little while in the offseason or whatever actually gives it a better spot to jump back in on. Very good to see Haddie too. And I’m glad Hank looks like he will get plenty of time in this final season with his new storyline. He’s become one of my favorite characters. Great review!

  3. Isabel Felix (@isabelfelixdin) September 27, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    I love Parenthood. I hope you’d do a regular review of every episodes of its farewell season. I’ve read all your past reviews on PH, albeit too few and selective, and I would say they’re one of the more sensible ones I’ve read on the show. Please keep on…

    I too predict that Joel and Julia will be back together obviously. But I’m excited to see how the difficult process of reconciliation will unfold and how this will redefine their relationship and themselves as individuals. It’s nice to see that their kids are slowly getting the sibling rhythm Julia has been dreaming of and it looks like they’re slowly adjusting to their new set-up and it warms my heart that the past struggles with Victor are over. I love seeing Julia with Victor and Sydney playing Clue… What a cute and wonderful family. If only Joel had waited a bit longer and didn’t just give up on Julia. That Clue board game play with all of them seated on the floor in their chic living room would have been a perfect picture of an idyllic family: a beautiful and handsome couple with their two equally beautiful and handsome kids.

    The premiere episode looks a little gloomy and it feels a bit more mature and serious than usual, except for the Vegas scene where Adam surrendered to his two “least qualified siblings” and decided to party on and forget about the “rescue mission” altogether. That’s a funny scene, a Braverman thing.

    The scene with Amber and Haddie on the football field was touching and nostalgic. It reminisces the past, reminds us of the closeness they share, and conveys what the future holds for these cousins who have grown up into adulthood as the seasons passed. “We’re real grown-up adults now, dude,” says Amber. Indeed.

    The kids are growing up, the adults are growing old. And to not see them being fully so as this farewell season unfolds for only 12 more weeks, will truly be heartbreaking. It’s because the Bravermans are part of us and it will be simply so hard to let them go.

    • polarbears16 September 28, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Wonderful comment. You hit the nail on the head with all your points, and I agree on every one. It’s a very reflective episode, but it still finds moments to have fun and let the Bravermans be the Bravermans. I look forward to seeing how it all wraps up. Knowing how Katims wrapped up Friday Night Lights, this should be good.

      As for regular coverage, I’m happy to let you know that I will be doing it for Parenthood. Seeing as I’ve dropped TVD, don’t have much to say about Scandal, and don’t have Community or Parks and Rec to watch, I should have time for every episode here. I hope you stop by throughout the season! Thanks for the comment and the compliment about the reviews; if you haven’t already, you might want to check out the AV Club’s reviews as well. Todd Vanderwerff did a fantastic job last season, and Carrie Raisler’s also great.

      • Isabel Felix (@isabelfelixdin) October 5, 2014 at 9:18 am #

        You’re welcome. Glad you’re doing it regularly. Todd is no longer with AV Club, I’m afraid. Been looking for his reviews too but I guess he’s in Vox now?

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