TV Recap: Parenthood, “Speaking of Baggage” (5.7)



11/7/13, 10PM, NBC

After last week’s episode going full speed ahead, “Speaking of Baggage” continues on with the momentum of last week’s episode. The various season long plotlines had some big movements within them, the election plotline was once again shunted to the side and a relationship from last season got brought up in an unexpected way. And we also got to see both the entire extended family having dinner together at Zeek/Camille’s place and a quorum of the adult siblings talking about their parents in a single episode. Whatever problems that were going on in the previous episodes have either been worked out or mitigated to a lesser degree.

Starting off with Julia, who was the MVP of this episode, we finally get to see how the new dynamic of her at home with the kids and Joel constantly at work is finally getting to her. After stepping on toys on the stairs twice (and her actually yelling at the kids, although in the grand scheme of things, it was a pretty minor scolding) and a slightly awkward booty call at Joel’s workplace, the frustration and quiet desperation on her part is finally getting to her with Ed’s phone calls and messages being the only solace she gets. This episode I feel is the biggest improvement on the “Julia and Joel in trouble” plotline that’s been going on this season. While the previous episodes just assume that by introducing Peet and Ed into the mix that friction will automatically enter into Julia and Joel’s lives, this was the first time this season that you buy Julia’s wandering eyes and why her communications with Ed mean so much to her. And it looks like next week this budding friendship/potential infidelity will come to a head after finally becoming plausible.

Moving onto Adam, Crosby and Amber over at The Luncheonette, the recording sessions with Oliver and Ashes of Rome aren’t getting any easier. Stuck on a particular track, Amber suggests that since these guys sound better live, that they should put on an impromptu concert there and record that. They decide to do just that and the concert finally brings out the best in Oliver. While also there, Drew tries to take his acquaintance with Natalie from drunken hook-ups (both at the beginning and end of the episode) to an actual relationship which she shoots down and Ryan (after seeing Amber get a little too friendly with the bandmates before and after the concert and getting a tiny bit jealous) decides to re-propose to Amber with an engagement ring paid for by his combat pay. Which must be a lot since this is a ring that Adam Ferrara would describe as a ring designed to piss off other women. I mean, seriously this rock could’ve been a down payment for a car.

Sarah gets pulled back into Hank’s sphere briefly when Max discovers a picture of Sarah in one of Hank’s drawers at the photo studio. After he tells the entire family about this picture, as well as Hanks perspective on their relationship as well as what emotional baggage is, Sarah goes to confront him awkwardly about it and asks him to stop hanging out with Max. Ultimately Hank kind of apologizes to her and admits that he kind of needs Max around. Overall a relatively minor plotline for Sarah after the big fireworks between her and Amber over the last few weeks.
But finally we get to what is still so far the strongest plotline of this season so far, Zeek and Camille’s. With Camille making her final preparations for her month long trip to Italy, she finally announces her solo trip to the whole family at their latest extended family dinner. This is of course a huge deal for the siblings, as they reconvene later on to talk about what this means for Zeek. This goes on until Julia sticks up for Camille telling them that after a lifetime of putting everyone else before her, that she needs this and that Zeek and the rest of them should just deal with it. This leads to the best scene of the night as Adam goes to talk to Zeek about the trip and Zeek finally tells him about her wanting to sell the house and her “Act 3″ and him being perfectly fine with their life as it is. And while Adam would prefer that they don’t sell the house, he agrees with Julia in that Zeek should just suck it up and go on this trip with his wife and do what she wants to do. And after the incredulous reaction, Zeek tells Adam that the real reason he isn’t going is because he wasn’t invited. And the episode ends with Zeek seeing Camille off to the taxi on her way to the airport and him very quickly afterwards being very uncomfortable alone as Bob Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away” plays over the soundtrack.
While last week’s episode might’ve been more overtly entertaining, this is so far the best episode of the season so far with an overall consistent and more natural quality.

The Roundup

  • Best Lines of the Night: “Crosby, I’m afraid my songs suck and my fragile ego can’t handle that.” ; “And I’m upset because I have a demonic baby at home and I haven’t slept for 7 days.” ; “I need to get laid man, what’s going on with my life.” Amber and the drummer of Ashes of Rome doing a little Mystery Science Theatre 3000 commentary as Oliver and Crosby argue in the recording booth.
  • “That sounds like a metaphor. I don’t like metaphors.” Max after Hank explains to him what emotional baggage is.
  • @TeamParenthood Tweet of the Night: “It’s so Zeek to say “cultural affairs” with venom. Ha. #Parenthood”
  • Stray Observations: Upon seeing Sarah’s picture in a drawer, Max begins to profile Hank as a potential serial killer. If he’s trying to take Will Graham’s place on Hannibal, he’s fit right in with the show.
  • In Kristina’s one scene away from the election, she tells Amber about how Adam proposed to her on Feb. 15th after living together for a month while they were in grad school. Lovely story, but still waiting on the backstory of Kristina’s family.
  • We finally know Drew’s roommate’s name. It’s Chad. I was hoping for Todd, but Chad sounds appropriate for a lacrosse playing douche of a roommate.
[notification type=star]92/100 ~AMAZING. While last week’s episode might’ve been more overtly entertaining, this is so far the best episode of the season so far with an overall consistent and more natural quality. [/notification]

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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.