Parenthood, Season 5, Episode 21, “I’m Still Here”
4/3/14, 10 PM, NBC
Heading towards the finish line of what was the uneven season 5 of Parenthood, tonight’s episode “I’m Still Here”, written by newcomers Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson, gave Zeke and Camille their first break for the season and gave everyone else the opportunity to pair off and resolve most of the season long plotlines as well as bring some much needed laughs and self-reflection. After last week’s episode whose title was literal, this was a nice ramp up to the season finale.
Let’s start off with what is without a doubt the best plotline of the episode. After meeting with more contractors who quote higher and higher prices, Crosby finally caves in and asks Joel to come and take a look at the moldy floors. Joel tells Crosby that he’s being screwed over and that the repairs he has to make are minor and that it’s a small two man job at the most. After Crosby fishes (“with a trawler.”) to get Joel to help him with it, Peet reminds Joel that he is a family man, which extends to a ne’er do well brother-in-law. Joel comes over and saves Crosby from doing further damage to his home. And during post-work beers, Joel catches up on what’s going on with the Braverman’s and admits that he feels like he’s in limbo. After Crosby tells him that the family misses him and shows video of baby Aida with her new toy, Joel actually comes over to Julia’s to fix a leaky dishwasher, which had already been fixed earlier. This leads to a conversation that while stilted and awkward, is also the first really civil conversation Julia and Joel has had in a while. While I don’t think they’ll be back together by the end of the season finale, it shows that they at least can get past the pain of their separation and still be in each other’s lives. Which is great for me because I absolutely loved the Odd Couple dynamic between Crosby and Joel in this episode. After a few weeks of hardcore emotion, it’s nice to see the show remember that it can be funny at times. And after a season of a dissolving marriage, it was nice to see Sam Jaeger flex his comedy muscles, even if only to play straight man to Crosby’s man-child. I know they’re probably going to get a season 6, but if next week is in fact the series finale, these two would be perfect for the second season of True Detective.
Moving over to Julia, as she continues to help Adam and Kristina with the charter school, she tells Sarah about her one night stand with Mr. Knight. And after letting us know that she can add an extra finger to the one hand she can count with the number of men she’s slept with, Julia feels awful about this and that it was out of character for her and that she just needed a release after the year she’s had. Sarah assures her she didn’t do anything wrong and later, Julia again arrives unannounced at Mr. Knight’s to tell him that this was a onetime thing.
Moving over to Adam and Kristina, as they’re trying to secure the perfect building for their charter school, Kristina gets a call from Gwen’s sister who informs her that Gwen is on her death bed and doesn’t have much long. Kristina visits Gwen, who can’t respond to her as Kristina tells her about her, the kids, the charter school and how much Gwen meant to her as she battled breast cancer last year. While Kristina is racked with survivor’s guilt over her beating cancer, she uses her grief for Gwen to make the final push to secure the building from the city and to lease it from them, thus having to deal with douche in charge Bob Little. And in a final act of friendship, Gwen leaves behind a box for Kristina containing a card, a hope tree sapling and a check for the school.
As for the rest of the episode, Drew rocks the ocean sounds and the classical music via headphones as he studies for finals. And after ranting at Natalie for what happened between them, she comes back at him later on for his culpability in the clusterfuck that was last year. And by episode’s end after the freshman shout-out at the football field, Drew and Natalie are now dating each other. Yay. And Hank steps up to the plate in this episode. First by actually being able to calm Max down from one of his freak outs in the opening scene and then driving Amber 8 hours to San Diego when she gets a call informing her that Ryan had an accident and is in the hospital. After a half season of therapy and self-improvement, to see Hank for once being selfless shows how much he’s grown this season.
- Best Line of the Night: “It’s their fault. They should not hire such attractive people.” Sarah passing the buck of her siblings infidelities with Max’s various instructors onto Adam and Kristina.
- Stray Observations:
- 2nd Best Line of the Night: “Watching you holding the saw like that offends me.” Joel upon seeing Crosby flail around with a saw that’s cutting an important structure board.
- 3rd Best Line(s) of the Night: “He’s a grown man.” ; “That’s debatable.” Julia to Joel, re: Crosby.
- My favorite detail of the episode was the annoyed looks from all the other students in the library who are cramming for finals as well. Even the extras are tired of Drew’s love life.
- Best shot of the evening was in Act 2 when we see Kristina playing with Nora in the center foreground of the frame as Julia and Adam are to the left and right of the frame in background. While this is usually done to signify two opposing views battling it out for influence over the centered character, in this case it signifies Kristina’s growing determination to get the charter school off the ground, red tape bureaucracy be damned.
- Next week is the season finale. And alongside Haddie’s return (along a revelation that I think is a brilliant move that doesn’t retcon what we’ve seen of the character), we see the payoff of the Hank and Sarah plotline of the season. And upon seeing the “Next week on” NBC promo, all the Hank haters had this to say. http://youtu.be/Ci1sugLZQIU