Parenthood “May God Bless and Keep You Always” Review (6×13)

29 Jan


In a TV landscape filled with “dark and edgy” dramas, Parenthood has spent the last six years as a light shining bright in the darkness. Yes, it was willing to explore sadness and heartbreak and conflict, but there was one element that anchored the show throughout its ups and downs: that focus on love and family, that focus on what exactly makes us human and how we interact with others. It was a show not without its flaws, but it consistently found beauty in the simplest moments, and it wrapped everything up wonderfully in its series finale: “May God Bless and Keep You Always”.

This was very much a final season about aging and moving on and changing, and the finale makes sure to hit those ideas one last time before the Bravermans walk off into the sunset. Zeek Braverman himself embodies those ideas, and his constant brushes with death throughout the season led to his family members having to confront where they were in life, where they wanted to go next. In the finale, we begin to see him come to terms with the inevitable shift in the family, with the inevitable end of life, and Craig T. Nelson is at his best in several lovely moments with his family members: Zeek asking Sarah if he’s been a good father, Hank asking Zeek for his blessing, Zeek and Camille looking on fondly at all their kids, Zeek asking Amber to come live with him and Camille–in a callback to Sarah’s story in the pilot–and of course, Zeek finally taking his last breaths. His death scene is quiet and poignant, and Bonnie Bedelia delivers quite possibly her best performance in that scene; we see her reacting to the death more so than the death itself, and it’s a heartbreakingly beautiful moment to close off Zeek’s story.

Elsewhere, we see relationships going strong again, families growing larger, and people following their dreams. One could categorize it as saccharine, but I tend to view it as simply optimistic. I love seeing the show remember Haddie just in time for the finale. I love seeing Drew giving that speech and Max dancing with that girl and Crosby and Amber taking over the Luncheonette and Adam imparting those culinary skills and Joel and Julia being happy and Hank and Sarah getting married. I love seeing all the Bravermans in one place again, taking family photos as Max is able to find his passion (photos have been essential throughout the series). I love seeing where each and every Braverman is at in the future, whether it be in Paris or at Chambers or with Jason Street or with four kids and a puppy.

And finally, I love seeing the Bravermans back on that baseball field, first spreading Zeek’s ashes and then having a great time with America’s national pasttime. It’s the kind of moment that this show always does extremely well, one in which all we see–and all we need to see–is a group of people who care deeply about other. We laughed and loved and cried with these people for six seasons and 103 episodes, and although it’s all over now, we can always return to that baseball diamond, pick up a bat, and hit the ball as hard as we can. As the ball flies over the fence, we return to home plate, and we’re met with the embrace of a family that will always remain by our sides, that will always remain under our feet, that will always remain in our hearts. That’s Parenthood.






-Six seasons is just the right amount for most shows.

– “In a TV landscape filled with “dark and edgy” dramas, Parenthood has spent the last six years as a light shining bright in the darkness.” I’d also put something like Chuck (which ended a few years ago) under this description.

-There’s a scene with John Corbett’s Seth that was cut from the finale, but it’ll show up on DVD.

-I’ve frequently hated the way the show has portrayed Max–and that’s led to annoyances surrounding Kristina as well–but seeing him graduate is a very nice moment.

-Yikes on that mustache, Drew.

-Some of the songs used throughout the episode: “Always You” by Ingrid Michaelson, “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne, and “Forever Young” by Sam Beam and Rhiannon Giddens. A full list can be found here:

-Hi, Jason Street! Amber just needs Matt Saracen and Tim Riggins to show up now.

-Favorite episodes? Seasons? Characters? Share below.

-Next week in this timeslot, NBC introduces its new failure of a show in Allegiance. It’s pretty much just a cheap ripoff of The Americans.

Photo credit: NBC, Parenthood


5 Responses to “Parenthood “May God Bless and Keep You Always” Review (6×13)”

  1. Matthew Thompson January 30, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    Man I loved the ending. The last couple of seasons have been a little bumpier than I’d have liked at times, but it all really came together in the end. The whole finale was great, but I particularly loved the final sequence with the baseball game interspersed with flashforwards.

    As for favorites, I’ll probably have to dig through an episode list and season recaps to make sure I have it right. I remember liking Season 4 the best. I’m not sure on character, but seeing Crosby grow up and evolve over the first few seasons I thought was especially rewarding. I didn’t expect much out of Dax Shepard coming in and it turns out he is a really good actor. I also loved Ray Romano’s character in the later seasons as far as guest stars (or whatever he turned out to be) went.

    I will really miss this show and Bravermans. No one can hit my emotions quite like Katims. FNL and this really got to me emotionally in a way few shows have. Hopefully he will do another similar drama again soon.

    • polarbears16 February 1, 2015 at 12:54 am #

      Yeah, I agree with you about the last few seasons being bumpy. I’m glad the show got to go out strong, though; it deserved it.

      I barely remember what season I liked the best, to be honest. I remember binging the first few seasons, so it all kind of blurred together for me. No real standouts, but consistently great.

      Agreed on Crosby and Hank. I like Amber as well, and Sarah/Zeek/Camille were especially great in this final season. I also enjoyed the show’s relationship with Haddie.

  2. Justin February 2, 2015 at 7:19 am #

    The finale wasn’t bad. I just think if it had ended after the wedding dance, it would have been better off. Zeek’s death scene was an emotional moment but the finale could have been benefited from a less is more approach.

    • polarbears16 February 2, 2015 at 9:05 am #

      Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from there. It did seem like they felt they had to put everything in at the end, when they really didn’t.

      • Justin February 2, 2015 at 9:54 am #

        Also, I thought the whole plotline of Victor’s newborn sister just came out of left field. It felt unnecessary.

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