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'Parenthood' Review: In Dreams Begin Responsibilities (5x04)

October 20th, 2013 1:03am EDT

Parenthood Let's dive right in to all of these different plot lines.

Kristina's mayoral campaign continues, but she's not doing so well on the donation front. She needs one big donation, and her campaign manager Heather gets her a meeting with a developer. The developer gives her $20,000, but Kristina feels dirty accepting it, because she knows that if she's elected she won't be supporting the developer's work. She decides not to accept the money. Meanwhile, Adam tries to get the money from Mr. Ray, a rapper who has recorded at the Luncheonette. Initially Adam gets swept up in the idea of opening up a new label with Crosby, but eventually he gets the money from Mr. Ray, who has a kid and supports Kristina's platform of education.

Things I don't like: it's still stupid that Kristina is running for mayor. And Adam excitedly deciding to open a label because Mr. Ray says it's a good idea? That was weird too. Crosby was the more practical one in the room during that conversation, and that's really saying something. I also don't like that Adam is apparently all on board with Kristina's campaign now, because I enjoyed seeing the tension created by his doubtful attitude. Things I do like: the scene with Max at the end, where he encourages his mom to stay in the race. He even hands over the $20 he earned from Hank after staying quiet for a whole hour. Adorable. I also liked Mr. Ray, and Adam's obvious fear of him. Crosby had very little to do this week, but I liked how annoyed he was about the rude lead singer of a band recording at the Luncheonette. It was funny to see him try and remain professional when he clearly hated this guy's guts.

Then there's Drew's story line, which is getting to be more interesting than I expected. His crush is apparently a Joni Mitchell fan, and Drew pretends to like her music to get in good with the girl. He even goes to his uncles Adam and Crosby for advice about how to avoid the "friend zone." Eventually, he comes clean, telling the girl that he has feelings for her, and only pretended to like Joni Mitchell. We're left unclear as to whether she returns the sentiment.

Things I don't like: I get annoyed with the use of the term "friend zone," because it seems to imply that when a guy is nice to a girl, it means he deserves a romantic relationship as a reward. Things I do like: Drew's awkward attempts to flirt, and the growing relationship between these two characters. I hope we see more of Drew's crush in the future.

Amber and Ryan want to have their wedding by a special lake they used to go to, but Sarah's not sure if she likes the location. When she hears that Ryan won't be inviting any family, she grows even more concerned. Amber and Sarah have a talk about it, and when Amber tries to discuss things with Ryan, he shuts her down. We learn that Ryan's step dad isn't a good guy, and because of that he and Ryan's mom won't be making it to the wedding. Ryan's father is dead, which is something else that Amber didn't know. Sarah tries to pitch Amber the idea of having the wedding at the Braverman's house, and the mother and daughter get into a heated exchange about Ryan. Sarah thinks that Amber should find out more about what she's getting into, because Ryan clearly has such a troubled past. Amber leaves, angry, and tells Ryan that she officially wants to marry him at the lake.

Things I don't like: I'm having trouble coming up with anything, honestly. This plot thread was really strong. Things I do like: Sarah's concerns. She has some really valid ones, honestly. I loved the acting between Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham here... their scenes together are always really powerful. I also love the growing tension between Ryan and Amber. There really are a lot of things about him that she doesn't know, and it does strike me (and I assume a lot of other people) as strange that they could be getting married with so many secrets still existing between them.

My favorite plot of the night, bar none, was the one with Victor and Zeek. Basically, Julia is having trouble disciplining Sydney and Victor for fighting, because the house is too clean to assign them any real chores. (Oh, Julia. I do love you.) So, she brings her squabbling kids over to Zeek's house, and he sets them to work cleaning parts for the engine of the car he's repairing. When Julia arrives, it's in time to see Victor struggling to read something out of the mechanic's manual. Sydney swoops in and reads it off easily. Zeek and Julia have a conversation about Victor's reading struggles, and Zeek decides to help out. He tells Victor he needs more help with the car, and that he'll need Victor's help reading as well. Victor protests that he's not very good at reading, but Zeek says they'll have to work together.

Things I don't like: Not much, really. I do hope we get to spend some more time on Sydney's character in the near future. I want to know more about how she's handling Victor's struggles in school. Generally, she does a good job of letting things lie, but she occasionally can't help herself from showing off. I think I was a lot like that as a kid, and I want to explore that part of the story a bit more. Things I do like: Julia and Zeek get some bonding moments. We don't see them interact all that much, but when we do, it's always lovely. Zeek and Victor's interactions were also amazing. Zeek managed to strike just the right balance when encouraging Victor to read. Hopefully this will be the push Victor needs.

Over all, a good episode. The Amber, Ryan and Sarah plot was fantastic, and I absolutely loved every moment with Zeek, Julia, and Victor. Drew's story line could end up being really interesting. I'm still not on board with Kristina running for mayor, but the idea does make for a lot of good character moments, so we'll see how it goes.

8/10

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