TV Recap: Parenthood, “All Aboard Who’s Coming Aboard” (5.2)



10/2/13, 10PM, NBC

If last week’s premiere of Parenthood was table setting, then Thursday’s episode (“All Aboard Who’s Coming Aboard”) were the appetizers.  We haven’t gotten into the main course that will be the dramatic tensions and fireworks that the season promises, but we’ve whetted our appetite with some tantalizing developments that herald a bountiful feast.  So now that I’ve gotten my food analogy out of the way, let’s dig in.

Right there in the cold open, we get the Braverman’s welcoming Ryan home from his service overseas.  And while there was some brief talk of holding off on their announcement, Amber blurts out their impending nuptials pretty much as soon as they walk through the door.  And while everyone else lights up like its Christmas, Sarah’s face drops like a rock.  This is troubling news for her.  While any parent would be concerned for their child’s well being after an impromptu marriage proposal, Sarah can’t help but feel a foreboding sense of déjà vu.  And while Adam points out that Ryan is not Seth, one senses a tiny bit of doubt in Sarah’s mind as she and Amber bond over bridal magazines and appletini’s.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Adam is feeling nothing but doubt as Kristina hires Heather (Jurnee Smollett-Bell, bringing the grand total of Friday Night Lights alumni that have guested on the show to 7) to be her campaign manager.  And seeing as how the election is in 2 months, there is no wasting time with Kristina.  Heather then sits down with Adam to vet him over every personal detail and indiscretion he might’ve had over the years.  And while we get a reminder of a minor season 3 story of a hot assistant at The Luncheonette kissing Adam and him backing away and telling Kristina right afterwards, as well as a revelation of Adam streaking in disguise during his high school years, the real turn is Heather sensing that Adam is not on board with Kristina running for mayor and how his un-supportiveness could kill the campaign just as its starting.  This leads to an argument between Adam and Kristina in the kitchen where Adam’s fear of a relapse for her cancer triggered by the stress of a mayoral election.  “You almost died!”; “You know what, you are 100% right.  I almost died.  But I didn’t.  That’s exactly why I’m doing this.”  Going forward, it’ll be fascinating to see Adam trying to be the supportive husband while trying to keep his micromanaging tendencies and fear of cancer relapse at bay as the campaign kicks into high gear.

Switching over to Crosby, baby Aida is still screaming her head off and now Jabbar is starting to feel the effects of a new baby sibling in the household.  In one of the better bits of editing I’ve seen in the series so far, Crosby actually raising his voice and scolding a noisy Jabbar is cross cut with the surreal cartoon violence, designs and sounds of Adventure Time.  And an attempt to have a nice family meal at Jabbar’s favorite restaurant ends with them being asked to leave due to Aida’s crying and Crosby yelling at the manager and some of the restaurant patrons over their complaints.  This is my favorite Crosby moment so far this season, since it’s here where not only do you see a different side to Crosby, but you get a peek at Zeek 30 odd years ago and the waitress spilling soup in his lap incident referenced back in “If This Boat Is A Rockin'”.  All children end up becoming their parents whether they like it or not.  And in this moment, we can see the beginnings of Crosby’s slow transformation into Zeek.


And speaking of, after dealing with a home security installer so that their insurance company doesn’t cancel their coverage,  Zeek and Camille realize that the beautiful home that they’ve built together is starting to fall apart.  And that now that their children and their families aren’t coming over as much as they used to and that waiting for the mail to arrive is their daily highlight, Camille wants to sell the house and land, move into a condo in the city and start the Act 3 of their lives.  And while he seems non-committal about the idea, one can see the hard truth that’s eventually going to hit Zeek and the hard decision he’s going to have to make.

And finally, we get to Julia as she spends this episode doing school volunteer duty with Ed, a fellow stay-at-home parent played by David Denham aka. Roy from The Office.  But unlike Roy,  Ed is a former salesman turned in the moment father with boundless energy and he and Julia bond quickly over their status as job defining individuals who now feel useless as the stay-at-home parents.  While I was dreading the addition of Pete last week as the potential home wrecker, I now think that Ed will be the wrinkle in Julia and Joel’s marriage, which makes sense in a way.  Julia would respond more to Ed’s positivity and similar thwarted ambition than Joel would with working alongside another woman.  I hope that this is where this season goes with them, which would be far better than what we got back in season 1.

All in all, this is a big step up from the premiere episode that shows us more where the season is heading.  Again, the title perfectly states the attitude of the episode and there is no slowing down this train.

The Roundup

  • Best line of the night:  “I thought babies were supposed to be fun.” ; “Yeah, they’re not.” Jabbar to Crosby as Crosby desperately tried to get 5 minutes of sleep on the couch.
  • @TeamParenthood Tweet of the Night: “Oh awkwardness and no chemistry. #Parenthood #stickwithMax”  In case if it’s not clear, she is firmly in the anti-Hank camp.
  • Stray Observations: WTF are kale chips?  That does not sound appetizing in the least.
  • Zeek keeps a double barrel shotgun under the bed for security.  Please tell me it’s not loaded.  Otherwise if one of the younger grandkids gets in there, the show is going to go dark really quick.
  • Max and Hank deal with the news of Ryan’s return and Amber’s engagement with complete apathy.  “The Braverman’s like to hug.”  If Henchman 24’s just going to be Max’s mentor, that’s fine by me.

[notification type=”star”]85/100 ~ GREAT. All in all, this is a big step up from the premiere episode that shows us more where the season is headin[/notification]


About Author

Film geek, podcaster and newly minted IATSE member from Regina, Saskatchewan. I met Don McKellar once, and he told me that Quentin Tarantino is exactly like me.