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Rewinding 'Parenthood': Rubber Band Ball

We learned a lot about the characters, even though nothing really happened.

This week’s episode was named after the ball of rubber bands that Sydney became obsessed with. Noticing the similarities between Sydney’s knowledge of numbers and Max’s fixation on insects and lizards, Julia and Joel began to worry that their daughter also had Asperger’s Disease. Julia told Kristina about their concerns and got an appointment with Dr. Pelikan. As Kristina and Adam worried that they were bad people for feeling relieved that someone else in their family had the same condition, Dr. Pelikan informed Sydney’s parents that she was actually gifted. Julia’s relief was short-lived, however, because she felt guilty about telling Kristina, who was already bringing her books about Max’s condition. This upset Joel, who just wanted his wife to announce the good news. Julia eventually did so, but I think this was a sign that they have problems other than Racquel.

As hyped by last week’s preview, Sarah caught her daughter taking a shower with her seemingly much older boyfriend, Damien. While I thought about how ridiculous and random that all was, Damien climbed out of a window and Amber put on a robe so her mother could lecture her. All of this wackiness eventually led to Amber’s poignant point that Sarah keeps alluding that she is the mistake that she doesn’t want her daughter to make. Meanwhile, we saw the serious protective side of Zeke, who caught up with Damien and offered him money to leave for good. However, the main thing we learned from all of this is that Damien is one dumb dude. Later on, Sarah caught him showering with a garden hose in their backyard. Instead of calling the police, she calmly advised him to leave Amber, noting, “She doesn’t know a serious relationship from a sandwich.” But in the end, it was Amber herself who broke up with Damien, after hearing his depressing view of the future and realizing that he can’t properly pronounce the word “marauder”.

Crosby and Jasmine went shopping for supplies for Jabbar’s birthday party, but it quickly turned into an argument when Jasmine refused to invite Crosby’s family. To add insult to injury, she bossed him around as he helped decorate her home. Crosby finally said what we have all been thinking when he said that Jasmine “robbed me of five years of my son’s life”. Describing him as a “flaky guy”, she said she called him four times, but never left a message. Though she sheepishly admitted that her family thinks he abandoned her, just as her father abandoned her family, she quickly changed the subject by letting Crosby invite the rest of the Braverman clan. When the day came though, Jasmine’s family mostly shunned Crosby and the others, with the sole exception of Renee, Jasmine’s mother. Just as Renee and Camille were bonding over their college years, Jasmine’s brother Sekou called Crosby out as a deadbeat dad. Before he could explain himself, Zeke embarrassed the family by saying that they were being treated so poorly because they were white. At last, Jasmine stood up and admitted that she had lied to her family and didn’t tell Crosby about Jabbar because she thought it would be easier that way. Breaking the silence of this awkward moment was Jabbar, who just wanted to blow the candles out on his birthday cake. After the party, Crosby told Jasmine he was “falling in love… with Jabbar” before they watched the video of their son’s birth together. They are definitely going to end up as a couple.

The final revelation of this episode came when Adam and Zeke took a road trip to see some property that Zeke wanted his son’s company to buy. Even though Zeke talked on about everything from his early love life to the zodiac killer, he doesn’t seem to remember which one of his kids did what on a specific family road trip. However, the main point was to get Adam interested in a potential factory that has seen its construction stalled because of the bad economy. When Adam refused, Zeke reluctantly admitted that he put a second mortgage out on his house in order to pay for it. Though Adam told Zeke that he would try to get his company interested in it, he made his father promise to tell his wife about their financial situation. Back at home, however, Zeke didn’t tell Camille, but he apologized for not being more involved with her and the kids when they were growing.

Camille got far more screen time than usual, because in this same episode she consoled Sarah about her parenting. Stating that “daughters hate their mothers” (which doesn’t apply to me), she admitted that Sarah is the child that she most identifies with.

Next week, Sarah sees Jim at an unexpected place, Adam continues to worry about Haddie and Steve, and Crosby and Jasmine go out on a date. I told you so!

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