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"Parenthood" Recap: Episode 1

Photograph by NBC

Ed's Note: This is a recap people, so there will be spoilers!

It’s the beginning of the end for our weepy gang, and this episode seemed to be setting us up for what lies ahead. Starting with (potentially) the newest Braverman setting up camp in Amber’s belly. The episode opens with Amber listening to the fetus’ heartbeat and watching the ultrasound screen in muted shock. She hasn’t told a soul — not her mother, and definitely not baby daddy Ryan. The doctor catches some undecided vibes from Amber and cautions her about the time limits that they’re facing should she not want to continue the pregnancy. And then Amber asks to listen to the heartbeat some more.

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We leave that baby-in-the-making scene and cut to Julia looking like she’s tryin’ to make a baby. Zing! Pound me, bro! Yes, the straight-laced Braverman sibling is having major sexy time with — I assumed — her reunited hubby Joel. Wrong! It’s a co-worker at the law firm. Later, Lusty Lawyer (did he have a name?) bursts into Julia’s office to tell her that he’s way into her and wants to make a go of things. She says yes to him, but it’s tempered with something, probably the unfinished business with Joel. Though they’re separated, Joel wants back in — he even sneaked in a kiss during a vulnerable moment for Julia — but she isn’t down for it, no matter how good everyone in the family keeps saying Joel looks.

Sarah and Hank are back together for real. I mean, they’re having one of their comedy-bit back-and-forths about cappuccinos in his kitchen. If that doesn’t say togetherness … There’s one hiccup though: Hank hasn’t told his teen daughter, Ruby, or his ex, Sandy (Marie from “Breaking Bad”!) about his not-just-my-assistant girlfriend. But that truth comes out, thanks to a pair of Sarah’s purple panties left behind in a drawer. Sandy claims she doesn’t care about the girlfriend thing, “Just keep her stupid underwear out of my sight.” Sandy also tells Hank that she moved back from Minnesota so that they can split custody of Ruby, who’s been playing the over-it, cranky teenager to the hilt. Methinks some love triangle-y stuff will be bubbling up later.

Adam and Kristina are busy building their school. They’re behind schedule and are trying to get it all done in time to welcome the 39 kids enrolled at Chambers Academy. Did I say 39 kids? Make that 38, because Max refuses to attend.

Both Adam and Kristina take turns trying to appeal to Max. He’s not budging. And once more "Parenthood" scores, demonstrating some of the challenges and frustrations involved with raising special needs children. But Adam somehow finds a way in with Max, reminding him how hard his mother worked (eight months!) to make “this dream happen for you and other kids like you. Go to school today. Not for you, for your mother.” So Chambers Academy opens and Max is there. Kristina chokes back tears as she welcomes him in with a handshake.

Now this is where Chekov’s gun comes into play: Zeek’s health. Sarah whisks Papa Braverman off to Vegas for a surprise birthday trip. The father-daughter hang time is fun, despite Zeek’s shirt and hat choices. But then at the blackjack table, Zeek hits the floor and is rushed to the hospital. Zeek claims he got up too fast and is beyond belligerent with the young doctor who’s trying to admit him to run further tests. He refuses treatment and tells Doogie Howser to discharge him. Right. Now.

Adam and Crosby show up in Vegas to get to the bottom of Zeek’s medical problems, but he’s back in the casino trying to enjoy his birthday. After some typical Braverman cross-talking, Cros, Sarah and a reluctant Adam agree to have a seat for “just one hand.” Cut to them sending Julia a phone pic of all four of them smiling and winning in Vegas.

Relief, right? Not so fast. Back home, Camille insists on taking Zeek to his doctor, who is concerned and confused about what caused the collapse. Testing to come. Zeek’s not excited about any of it.

Amber heads over to her mom’s place. Sarah launches into the Vegas adventure and starts pouring two glasses of red wine. Amber takes the glass and blurts it out: I’m pregnant. Silence, shock, awkwardness, and fade to black.

Teardrop Counter: On a scale of 1 (dry eyes) to 10 (ugly cry), I’m giving this episode 2 teardrops.

What did you think of the episode? Did you tear up? And what’s going to happen to our mighty Braverman patriarch?

Join me every Friday for the recap of the farewell season of “Parenthood.”

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