‘Parenthood’: Bravermans Can’t Stay Forever Young (Recap)

In "Vegas," Zeek's surprise birthday getaway was interrupted by an unwelcome wake-up call

Parenthood - Vegas - Recap

As its farewell season begins, both life and death are on the horizon for the entire Braverman family.

In “Vegas,” Zeek’s surprise birthday getaway was interrupted by an unwelcome wake-up call. Meanwhile, new and familiar bonds were forged in the wake of establishing family dilemmas.


The already cautious Max (Max Burkholder) was hesitant about becoming Chambers Academy’s 39th student following last year’s canteen incident, but he has always made an effort to put his mother wishes ahead of his own. One of the show’s most unforgettable scenes came in season four’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” when Max let a cancer-stricken Kristina (Monica Potter) teach him how to slow dance.

My Two Cents: In last night’s episode, Max abided by his mother’s wishes and attended the first day of school. It was a fitting way to conclude the charter academy story line should season six find itself too busy to follow up in subsequent episodes.


Hank’s (Ray Romano) family woes contrasted nicely with the ongoing Graham clan struggles. Both Hank and Joel (Sam Jaeger) want to be there for their loved ones. While the former wants to be there for his troubled teenaged daughter and her mother (Betsy Brandt), the latter is struggling to vocalize his desire to put his family back together. Neither has a particularly easy road ahead of them.

My Two Cents: It shouldn’t take Ruby too long to warm up to her mother and father, but it’ll probably take some time for Julia (Erika Christensen) to warm back up to Joel. Having already moved on with a fellow law associate, Julia cast Joel and his advances aside last night when he attempted to console her in a moment where she was overcome with by nerves.


Amber (Mae Whitman) is pregnant with Ryan’s baby, and despite her anxiety, she’s keeping it. After hearing her child’s heartbeat in last night’s cold open, her decision was made for her. Haddie (Sarah Ramos) seemed overjoyed for her once troubled cousin as the two reminisced about their days feuding over Haddie’s first boyfriend, Steve, from season one.

My Two Cents: The Braverman-Graham-Holt family has a wide range of characters, but none have matured as much as Amber has over these five years. The once rebellious, chain-smoking teen has blossomed into a respectful young woman, and watching as she enters motherhood, with or without Ryan, will be a fitting way to conclude the character’s journey.


Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) might be young at heart, but his heart is no longer young. Collapsing in a Las Vegas casino was a wake-up call for the Braverman patriarch, a call which induced anger upon his short stay at the emergency room. He was lucky enough to have avoided a heart attack, but that doesn’t take away from the possibility that Zeek is terminally ill.

My Two Cents: Showrunner Jason Katims has aspired to tell a story involving the loss of a loved one. “Parenthood” has always been true to life, and there’s no truer story than coping with a life-threatening diagnosis. The show already handled one life-threatening illness masterfully amidst Kristina’s cancer scare, and there’s no doubt it could masterfully handle another if it chooses to embark down that path. In order to differentiate between Zeek and Kristina’s struggles, though, any diagnosis would have to be definitive, and therefore terminal, whether the audience likes it or not.

Ryan Schwartz regularly writes about television at RyanTalksTV.com

Ryan Schwartz

Ryan Schwartz

Contributing Editor at TheTVPage.com
Ryan Schwartz is a New York-based television critic and founder of RyanTalksTV.com. He is a fourth year journalism student at Hunter College.In 2011, Ryan quickly became one of Posterous’ biggest success stories, becoming a featured writer for the micro-blogging website at the age of 18. The following year, he joined the writing staff of Voice of TV where he contributed features on Louis C.K., Matthew Perry, Jim Rash and Jeff Eastin. He's currently a contributor for The TV Addict.
Ryan Schwartz