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"Parenthood" Recap: Episode 2

Photograph by NBC

I think Zeek is thinking what we’re thinking: His days are numbered. After he collapsed in Vegas last week, Zeek has been insisting that he’s fine. Stubbornly rejecting his cardiologist’s strong push for surgery to deal with his mitral valve regurgitation — thanks, Google! — he promptly shuts Camille down when she tries to talk to him about it and also has the nerve to offer to drive him home.

RELATED: "Parenthood" Recap: Episode 1

He also works a Jedi Mind Trick on Crosby when he tries to talk his father into having the heart surgery. “I haven’t felt better,” Zeek says, and poor Crosby more than halfway believes him. Cros even tells his son Jabbar, while they’re in the studio reworking the "Happy Birthday, Grandpa (Cuteness Remix)" song recorded by all the junior grandkids, that the 72-year-old Zeek, “was a bull; he’ll make it to 80.”

More like Zeek might make it to 18 episodes of this season. Or as I’ve been thinking since executive producer Jason Katims hinted about “losing a member of the family” in this final season: this is a total diversionary tactic. While we’re holding our breath about Zeek’s ticker, Camille will be the departed. Just my little theory.

At Zeek’s birthday party — complete with a heart healthy, yummy-free pie made by Julia — things really boil over. Adam and Crosby get into a loud fight about Zeek and the surgery. Julia tries to break things up, but gets swept up into the Braverman cross-talk. And then Zeek walks in (of course) just as Adam yells above everyone: “He’s not going to do it because he’s afraid!”

It’s tense and awkward and eggshell-y. Zeek isn’t happy about this b-day party at all. So, naturally, it’s time for tears!

Adam gets his dad alone and, with voice-cracking and eyes welling, goes to the crux of the matter: “If you died, what am I going to do?” But Zeek stays stuck on Nope, and tells his eldest that he’s going out on his own terms. No surgery.

However, in all his stubbornness, there was one thing that Zeek didn’t see coming, something that would make him have a change of heart about trying to save his heart: Amber’s Golden Tears. Listen, there is very little any of us can do to guard against Mae Whitman (Amber)’s crying. Just masterful, that one. Amber tells her grandpa that she’s pregnant.

“Are you disappointed in me?”

Zeek was no match for this. He told Amber that he was so proud and happy about the baby. This porch step, heart-melt moment was followed by Zeek hearing his special birthday song the grands recorded for him and Jabar saying: “We’re going to do this again when you’re 80!”

It was a wrap. Later, Zeek told Camille that a) they were going to have a great-grandchild, and b) he was going to have the surgery.

As for the other Bravermans:

  • Julia laid Joel’s shit bare, telling him that he destroyed her and their little family when he left them. And that their daughter Sydney, who has always been the absolute whining worst, was acting out because of it.
  • Adam and Kristina are in the weeds with their school Chambers Academy. Their food provider quit after too many dietary demands were made, and lunch came courtesy of Whole Foods. Can’t even imagine the bill on that one. Five-figures, maybe?
  • Sarah got over her initial shock and fear about Amber going the bumpy single-parent route, and shows up later with Amber’s baby album and a new attitude. “I forgot to tell you about all the good stuff.” Nice save, Grandma Sarah.

Teardrop Counter: On a scale of 1 (dry eyes) to 10 (ugly cry), I’m giving this episode 4 teardrops. Damn them Golden Tears, Mae Whitman!

What did you think of the episode? When did you tear up? And does my Camille theory hold water?

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

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