Rewinding ‘Parenthood’: “Team Braverman”

Next week’s episode of NBC’s Parenthood will be their first ever season finale, so this week’s show focused on continuing some storylines while building up to the possible cliffhangers that are to come.

So far, the only cliffhanger I seen deals with Crosby, Jasmine, and Jabbar. Now living together in a semi-serious relationship, Jasmine and Crosby share a bed. After she pulled a muscle in her back because of the new sleeping arrangements, Jasmine was nursed back to health by Crosby. Through serving her tea that contained seahorses and giving her a foot massage, he learned that she is going to audition for a job in far-away New York. Taking a page from Flashdance, the former stripper seemed to ace her rhythmic dancing routine, which made Crosby wonder about their future.

A running theme throughout the show tonight was “being charitable”, as Julia volunteered to be on the “angel committee”. Her mission was to bring homemade soup to an injured single mother at Sydney’s school. She used this opportunity to ask Camille for her chicken soup recipe, but was mostly just there to figure out if her parents were getting back together. Camille, not wanting to discuss it, told her there was nothing that her or her siblings could do to fix things. Julia was so pressed for time that she tried to pass off fast-food soup as her own to Lucy, who is actually more annoying that Racquel. Lucy demanded non-processed foods because she was an “emotional wreck” after breast augmentation surgery and made Julia touch her implants. Not surprisingly, she found a receipt floating around in her soup and bad-mouthed Julia to the other school moms. Surprisingly, Joel advised his wife to make amends because the other moms were giving him “icy stares”, and she agreed! Eventually, Julia’s common sense came to her as she delivered real homemade soup to Lucy. Calling her “ludicrous” for her selfishness, Julia exploded into a fit of rage that happened to mention that her parents were breaking up. But this made the two women bond a little, as Lucy revealed that most of the reason why she had plastic surgery was because her husband left her for a younger woman. Julia did have a happy moment at the end of the episode, though, when she shared some of her leftover soup with Camille.

After seeing the newest product offered by his father’s company, shoes that contained SD-card pedometers, Max noted that they would be good for the upcoming Autism Speaks Walk. Adam then got the whole family and others involved in a walking contest, with the family that logged in the most miles winning a trophy. It was Max’s encouragement to do it “for those kids with Autism”, that made Adam and Kristina realize that Max didn’t know about his own diagnosis. Kristina questioned Dr. Pelikan about it, but he only said that they would know when to tell him. This, and Dr. Pelikan’s admission that Max would face many “social challenges”, made Kristina very upset, but she had other things on her mind as well.

After Haddie and her friends got into a fight with Amber at school (involving the least convincing shoving match that I’ve seen in a long time), their parents were called in. In the school hallway, Haddie told them all what happened, but in a way that put Amber in a very bad light. While Adam seemed very shocked about the whole thing, Sarah only seemed mildly surprised. Haddie’s friends continued to bully Amber, even going as far to spray paint the word “whore” on her locker. While Drew offered to paint over it (he is so helpful!), Sarah and Kristina blamed each other’s daughters for the situation. Adam, glad that Haddie was in no danger of becoming pregnant, got the two of them to patch things up. When the bullying continued, Haddie stuck up for her cousin, shouting, “You’re just so mean!” to her friends. However, her mood soon changed as she saw Amber kissing Steve. Haddie retreated to her room in order to blast music so no one would hear her crying.

Being that this was the day of the Autism walk, Max told his parents about his sister. Though he and his mom tried to convince her otherwise, Haddie said she wasn’t going because she knew Amber would be there. Adam changed her mind by saying that she needs to learn not to allow her pain to dictate her actions.

Amber dealt with things differently, however. Until Steve buttered her up, Amber kept crying, saying things like “It seems like it’s worst thing I’ve ever done” and “Sorry I messed everything up”. When the day of the walk came, she refused to go, but no one talked her out of it. Camille advised Sarah against it, probably because she also wanted an excuse not to go.

Despite their absences, “team Braverman” won the trophy, even beating out the wacky Lessing family, who claimed that their dad doesn’t sleep. As Adam helped Max display his trophy, he asked his dad why they raised money for Autism, of all causes. Adam didn’t tell him why.

In a nice touch, the episode ended with a message from members of the cast urging you to help the real Autism Speaks foundation.