Parenthood, Season 6, Episode 6, “Too Big to Fail”
October 30, 2014, 10:00 PM, NBC
This week’s episode of Parenthood (“Too Big to Fail”, written by the duo of Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson and directed my one of my favorite directors on the show Jessica Yu), opens by doing what’s becoming a common practice in a lot of shows nowadays. A time jump. I knew this would happen since there’s been word that they were going to do this for a while. But rather than do a time jumping montage (Masters of Sex), push in (Battlestar Galactica, Parks and Recreation), a dolly left or right, a transitional fade (True Detective) or a combination of those (Fargo), we simply get a “3 Months Later” title card and a cut to the six month pregnancy pad Mae Whitman is now cradling in practically every shot she’s in as Amber and Drew are in a baby store doing what Crosby and Jasmine were doing in the opening scene of season 4, only this time they’re accosted by a zealous saleswoman who must work on commission there. When then see Max and Dylan hanging out in Max’s room as Kristina and Adam make their sixth pass past the door to check in on them, Ruby asking Hank at the studio if she can stay with him with Sarah giving Hank various charade like hand gestures to help him out and then Amber interrupting Adam and Crosby cold calling their business contacts in a desperate attempt to drum up business to demand the raise that she deserves.
After the opening credits, we get to the rest of the episode, which while dramatic, didn’t exactly hit the heights of what’s been going on this season. While some episodes could survive without some cast members pulling the MIA short straws (like last week’s Sarah and Hank) this week the absence of Zeke and Camille and Julia and Joel were sorely noticed since they have the best plotlines of the season so far. Not surprisingly, the NBC promo’s claims of “Parenthood at its best” were highly exaggerated. Going from least to most effective of tonight’s plotlines, we have Hank and Sarah trying to bond with Ruby with a game night that goes disastrously, Ruby sneaking out to a party and Amber being there for support when Ruby comes back to throw up in the toilet. For me, the only real notable thing about this plotline was during the Celebrity game how Sarah and Amber immediately have a rapport and how much of a change this was from the snotty brat Amber was at the beginning of the series. Over with Drew, we see him deciding to take a major in economics in his 2nd year at Berkeley. We had some nice back and forth between him and Natalie, Adam and Crosby who alternate between “follow your dreams” and “be practical, make money” with the deciding factor being that since Drew is the 1st person in his family to go to college, he has to pay off his student loans by himself since Sarah can’t float him as well as an feeling of obligation to take care of Amber now that she’s about to become a single mother.
Going over to Adam and Kristina’s household, we see that within the three month time jump, Dylan has become much more comfortable with Max and even more comfy with his family. Between playing with Nora (whose getting more and more lines) and staying over for dinner and watching To Kill A Mockingbird with Kristina, Dylan’s excuse of “parents are busy/out of town” is starting to wear thin and becomes concerned that Dylan is hanging out with Max just to hang out with them and avoid her own family. When she brings this up with her, Dylan tells Kristina that she does like Max, but that sometimes he’s cool and sometimes he’s boring and when he’s boring that’s when she likes to talk to them. And by the end, when Kristina asks her if she wants to stay over for dinner, Dylan asks Max if he’s sick of her yet, which he clearly isn’t.
And finally, we get to The Luncheonette (which has only had three recording sessions in as many months) and how it’s affecting Adam, Crosby and now Amber. After making her case for a raise and stating her desire to stay with the company and be an equal artistic partner, Adam and Crosby are now freaking out over her. “She’s having a baby and she’s our niece.”;”Yeah, I know. That’s why I didn’t fire her three months ago.” This is of course the exact moment Amber walks in on them, which puts her in a sour mood towards them for the rest of the episode. After coming back to apologize and hearing her frustrations on how it’s too later for her to find another job since no one’s going to hire someone about to go on maternity leave, Crosby tries to make things better by saying that Adam is their secret weapon who has a back-up plan for his back-up plans. But after venting his frustrations to Kristina (which doesn’t quite hit with the same force as Peter Krause’s other controlled rage scenes across Parenthood and Six Feet Under), Adam goes to Amber and tells her that while he doesn’t actually have a back-up plan, he’ll never stop working toward giving her that raise.
As for Crosby, his reaction to all this leads to my favorite scene of the episode. While fans on Twitter were speculating on whether or not Crosby was going to cheat on Jasmine again, I knew that the show wasn’t going to go that route and instead have his screw-up be tied into the Luncheonette. After Jabbar says that he wants to go to Harry Potter World for his birthday and that they promised to go last year, Jasmine spends 4 hours on Expedia to try to pull this off for two grand. This leads to Crosby finally opening up to Jasmine and that not only can they not afford that, but that The Luncheonette might be going out of business and that he’s been more or less hiding from her. But more importantly, he’s just afraid that he’ll lose the house and the home that he and Jasmine have built together. I love this moment since it shows how adept an actor Dax Shepard has become. As he’s finally pouring his heart out, he runs he hands through his hair and avoids eye contact with Jasmine as if to say “I am terrified and I may have failed us.” And rather Jasmine give into Crosby’s request to yell at him, she tells him that while she loves the house and the business he created, him not talking to her and riding off in the middle of the night scares her way more than losing her house and business. “You’re my guy. For the rest of my life. You’re all we need.” And after breaking the news to Jabbar that Harry Potter World is not happening now, Jabbar to his credit takes the news well, offering to wash Zeke’s truck or do a garage sale and pay his own ticket. And while Jasmine and Crosby rebuke the offer, they decide rather than go to Hogwarts, they bring Hogwarts to Jabbar with a surprise Harry Potter themed birthday party, complete with wands and a Sorting Hat. “Almost as good as the real thing.” ; “Almost.”
- During the game of Celebrity, one of the names mentioned is Steve Martin. Since the show takes place in the “real” world, I wonder if any of the Braverman’s have come across the Parenthood movie and was like, “Huh. Opie made a film about a family that’s strikingly similar to ours. Weird.”
- Jabbar is of course placed in Gryffindor. Personally I was hoping for Ravenclaw. That house never gets enough credit.
- Not sure if the Origami stroller that folds up like a Transformer is a bit of product placement, but Holy shit! When did strollers get so high tech?
- Looking ahead to what’s been announced or posted about the show, the next three episodes are entitled “These Are The Times We Live In”, “Aaron Brownstein Must Be Stopped” and “Lean In”. Tonight’s episode was oddly one of the few episodes that didn’t have a line from the episode be its title. And Erika Christensen posted on her Instagram an picture of Amber and Drew sitting in what’s obviously a hospital waiting room. With the shows 100th episode being the 1st episode of 2015, I’m really hoping for the episode to be called “Long Live The King”.
- The “Next Week on Parenthood” bumper shows us that while this week had no Zeke and Camille and Joel and Julia, next week’s episode looks to put them in the forefront. And with Zeke telling Joel to go get her, I’ll be half expecting some cover of “Hey Jude” to be playing as Joel rushes to Julia to save their marriage.
Too Big To Fail" is an OK episode. Doesn't hit the heights of the season so far and is just perfectly fine despite the 3 month time jump.