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'Parenthood' Recap: Episode 3

It’s time to say good-bye to Zeek. (More like "good luck.") His surgery is the next day, and the four Braverman kids (plus Amber) come over to hug their patriarch and tell him they love him, with their eyes watering. And Zeek, usually burly and blunt, is wistful, speaking his gratitude for having such a loving family: four kids, nine grandchildren and, of course, a great-grand on the way. Oops! Mama-to-be Amber didn’t get the chance to tell everyone her news. Everyone’s too wrapped up in nerves about the surgery to have a proper Braverman hoot-n-holler about the baby bump.

Later, Zeek and Amber have a moment alone outside where she teases him about his blabbermouth. Then— you know it—here come Amber’s Golden Tears™. She tries to reassure her grandpa that he’ll make it through this surgery because, “We all get our strength from you.” Like Zeek, I teared up, too. AGT will getcha!

Despite the “96 percent success rate” chant, the Bravermans are scared about the surgery, especially Zeek. He shows his anxiousness by being ornery about everything, balking when he’s told he needs to remove his wedding ring and put it in a bag with all his other things as part of the pre-op procedure. “This is my last night with my wife, so I’m going to keep my ring,” he says, shooting his classic Death Stare at the poor hospital worker.

Even though the whole episode seem to building the dread—like when Zeek, just before being wheeled into the OR, finally admits to Camille that he’s scared and gives her his wedding band—I never think, for even moment, that he’s not going to make it. Of course he will. I mean, we’re only three episodes in, and this isn’t “Game of Thrones.” There’s drama to be mined with a weakened, broken Zeek trying to adjust to his newly mended heart. Hold those tissue boxes close for the months to come, friends.

But they did make me sit up with that Crosby motorcycle scene. It was a bit heavy-handed: Cros rips out of the hospital on his bike to go deal with bratty musician client Oliver, the winding open road and him driving fast and furious. I had a flash of: They can’t. They wouldn’t. And in the end, they didn’t. He only wiped out, and was able to walk away from the crash with a limp.

Zeek’s doctor comes to the waiting room—not the “bad news room” that Adam so tersely told Crosby about—to tell Camille and her four kids that all went well, and they could go see Zeek, recovering in the ICU. It was there that Camille sweetly took her husband’s hand and slipped his wedding band back on his finger. In sickness and in health. The kids look on through the window, a mix of relief and sadness washing over each of them.

As for the other Bravermans:

· Drew drives Amber all the way to Wyoming so that she can tell her ex, Ryan, that she’s pregnant, and that she plans to go it alone. Ryan is ecstatic, but frankly not ready for anything. He’s a mess: still hooked on pills and living with his mom, he desperately needs to work on himself. All truths which only dawn on Amber after Drew (thank goodness!) breaks it down to the bedrock for her: “He’s like Dad. You think you can fix him, but you can’t.”

· Julia’s realizing she really likes Lusty Lawyer (do we still not know dude’s name??). Turns out, they went to Stanford law school together, and he had a crush on her back even then, and maybe they dated too? Joel’s still trying to ease back into her life, so she finally tells him that she’s seeing someone. He’s shocked into literal and awkward silence on the phone.

· Sarah catches Hank’s Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Daughter Ruby shoplifting a lipstick from the pharmacy. Hank doesn’t want to believe it, but her mother Sandy confirms that Ruby is way out of control and in distress. “She needs a father!” Sandy yells, before laying down the new law: “When Ruby’s with you, she’s with you. I don’t even want Sarah around.” So, basically, it’s Ruby or Sarah—choose. Yikes.

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Teardrop Counter: On a scale of 1 (dry eyes) to 10 (ugly cry), I’m giving this episode 3 teardrops. It’s tough seeing all the Braverman kids so weepy.

What did you think of the episode? Did you think Zeek might not make it? Were you nervous that they might just kill off Crosby by way of motorcycle crash?

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

Images via NBC

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