Parenthood: ‘Lean In’ (Recap)

Is this the end for Zeek Braverman?

Zeek’s heart is in the right place. It’s just not agreeing with him.

His attempts to plan a surprise trip were thwarted by Drew, but the ultimate surprise came later, and unexpectedly.

At the close of our fall finale, the family patriarch lied in dire need of an ambulance as Camille dialed 9-1-1.


Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) is still recovering from open heart surgery. Even worse, he’s already assuming the worst, and that his time on Earth is limited. If he’s going to die, he wants to make sure he spends every last waking moment letting his wife (Bonnie Bedelia) know just how much she means to him. It’s why he took it upon himself to attempt to book a romantic French getaway, even if all didn’t go according to plan.

My Two Cents: Even if he can’t take Camille on the vacation she deserves, Zeek will always have the memory of seeing her in awe when he told her what he was planning. It was a near-perfect moment. Hopefully, he’ll at least get the chance to make amends with Drew. He last left his grandson having yelled at him for spoiling the surprise.

>>RELATED STORY:  ‘Parenthood’: Crosby Will Die — And Other Theories On How It Will End

>>RELATED STORY: Meet Ally Ioannides: Dylan on NBC’s ‘Parenthood’


Last night, an awkward run-in with Mark (Jason Ritter) was ushered by Ruby’s part as an understudy in her school play. Once they had a moment alone, he and Sarah (Lauren Graham) caught up on what they had been up to, and realized how great their lives were even without each other. Mark was married, and about to become a first-time father. Sarah was in a healthier relationship, and about to become a first-time grandmother.

My Two Cents: Ritter’s return seemed unnecessary on paper, but Mark and Sarah’s relationship was once a pivotal plot point in the show’s run, and his final appearance paid appropriate homage to that.


Fearing his divorce was imminent, Joel (Sam Jaeger) gave Julia (Erika Christensen) one last tearful apology. Julia knows that she had a hand in destroying their marriage, but she can’t get past the fact that he was the one who walked away. A heart-to-heart with Camille sure seemed to solidify her decision to finalize the divorce, but in the end, she couldn’t force Joel’s hand to sign the papers. Instead, he went in for a kiss, and she obliged.

My Two Cents: Joel and Julia’s lip-locking session doesn’t guarantee they’ll get back together, but it’s probably more likely now than it was before the kiss. The potential loss of her father might also prompt Julia to cherish all of the loved ones she still has, including her estranged husband.


Max (Max Burkholder) still hasn’t quite accepted the fact that Dylan (Ally Ioannides) doesn’t see him as a ‘5’. That, plus Kristina’s (Monica Potter) failure to separate her feelings towards her son from her role as headmaster, led to Max physically assaulting Dylan on parents’ night.

My Two Cents: This story line isn’t doing Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina any favors. Placing the blame on Dylan’s absentee parents was a low blow, and it would have totally been understandable had Mr. and Mrs. Jones decided to pull their daughter out of Chambers Academy altogether.

Max needs to be reprimanded for his actions. His parents haven’t done a good job of that.

PARENTHOOD returns January 8 on NBC.

Ryan Schwartz regularly writes about television at



Ryan Schwartz

Ryan Schwartz

Contributing Editor at
Ryan Schwartz is a New York-based television critic and founder of 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