This week’s Parenthood continues its courageous effort to depict life with an unfiltered realism. Obviously Kristina’s cancer has taken up the majority of the season and does so again in this episode. Again, the show also does a praiseworthy job highlighting the emotions—from a spousal spat to a child feeling left out, a teen getting caught having sex and a soldier’s struggle with returning from war. It seems like a lot to take on in one hour of television, but unlike a lot of shows that haven’t found a way to balance multiple plotlines with such weight, this show has had time to learn to do so.
“One More Weekend With You” takes place during a hectic and eventful weekend. Kristina’s chemotherapy is taking its toll on her. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, she and Adam also have to juggle Max and his wheelchair-bound friend all weekend as they fight and argue. Once again, Monica Potter’s effort is undeniably great. It’s no secret that show creator Jason Katims’ wife had cancer, and he puts a lot of his personal experience into this storyline. The two put so much effort into creating a realistic performance each and every week, and it is really producing the best and most important episodes of the show’s run.
Amber’s relationship with Ryan continues to blossom even during a traumatic funeral they attend for a soldier who was in his unit. It turns out the soldier committed suicide after his deployment, and the episode begins to touch upon post-traumatic stress disorder as it has since this story arc began, but it hasn’t been fully developed just yet. I applaud the efforts the writers and actors are making, but I feel there is more to tell about this story and hopefully we’ll see it come full-circle.
The weight of those storylines did not take away from Julia and Joel’s daughter Sydney feeling left out now that her newly adopted big brother is getting all of her parents’ attention. Nor did Crosby and Jasmine’s spat about a party they volunteered to throw for parents at their son’s school. The two were serious, but light-hearted enough to be splashed through the episode to create the prefect balance.
Mark walking in on Drew and his girlfriend having sex was probably supposed to be a serious topic, but I couldn’t help feel bad for the kid. The plot did help progress Sarah and Mark’s relationship and like the two other smaller plotlines, did a great job of balancing the episode. It was nice seeing Ray Romano’s character again, but he felt wasted being in a single scene with so little dialogue. I’d like to see him stick around for a while; I think the reoccurring character really adds something to the show when he’s on screen.
This was perhaps the best episode of the season. It wasn’t the most grippingly dramatic episode, but it did a great job being well-rounded in every aspect. A lot happened, but it wasn’t overwhelming like the show can be from time to time. The fourth season of Parenthood is shaping up to be its best yet.