You better have had a box of tissues ready if you watched the fourth season finale of Parenthood. The family drama was filled with touching moments that wrapped up the season quite nicely. Every character has gone through so much this season, and it was beautiful to see (mostly) everyone end on a high note.
Adam and Kristina’s family have dealt with so much over the years: Max getting diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Adam losing his job, Haddie going off to college and an unexpected pregnancy. Yet none stacked up to the season-long arc of Kristina discovering she has cancer. Her journey was heartbreaking to watch—perhaps even more so considering that it was inspired by the show creator Jason Katims’ personal life. Her transformation from an overbearing character to such a vulnerable one was a bright spot in this tragic plot. Monica Potter continued her triumphant portrayal of Kristina in this episode right up until the final moments when she found out she is officially cancer-free. The notion of the cancer returning still looms, but for now Adam and Kristina can find happiness, and their season ends with the couple jetting off to Hawaii for a vacation in paradise.
Julia and Joel finally officially adopt Victor. Last season we learned the two cannot have children of their own and almost adopted a newborn before getting the opportunity cruelly taken away. Victor was a blessing, but his adoption was not without a few growing pains for the couple and the show. At times I felt it was too much. The plot didn’t fit, but the actors carried the brunt of the emotional load that the story presented. Luckily, in the end it all smoothed itself out and produced a somewhat over-the-top sentimental scene during the official adoption hearing in a judges’ chamber. You’ll have to forgive the show for wanting the entire family to be in one place at the same time at least once in the season finale.
Crosby and Jasmine went through very little this season up until the very end when Jasmine’s mother moved in. Crosby has grown into a very stable character who often supports the other siblings. Part of me is still amazed that Dax Shepard, that goofy kid running around with Ashton Kutcher on Punk’d, has some serious acting chops. This finale offered a predictably happy ending for the young couple: they were going to have a new baby. It was a nice way to make this season memorable for the two. Last season had been their year of ups and downs, but this season they really remained under the radar. The announcement of a new baby should rejuvenate them next season.
While those three siblings enjoyed a happy season finale, Sarah’s future was left more open-ended. Her kids’ storylines wrapped up nicely: Amber is back with Ryan after she realizes he is changing and that both of them had never loved another person the way they do each other. Drew gets accepted into Berkeley, and while his on-again-off-again girlfriend is going to go to school in Boston, everything looks like it will work out for the kid.
Sarah’s love triangle was finally resolved, sort of. Mark marches up to her and says he is going to fight to get her back, only to get shot down. She wants to make things work with Hank, she tells him. It really broke my heart that she’d choose Hank over Mark. Jason Ritter’s character is one of my favorites on the show, and I really enjoyed seeing more of him this season. Seeing Mark heartbroken is not enjoyable. Sarah being hurt isn’t something I like seeing either, and while I was upset with her, I was more upset with Hank a few scenes later. Ray Romano’s character reveals he’s going to Minnesota to be closer to his daughter. Everything seemingly couldn’t be worse for Sarah until Hank asks her to come with him.
It’s really the only storyline left up in the air as the fourth season comes to an end and will surely have to be resolved when the show returns for a fifth season.
Maybe you’ve noticed I’ve ignored the fact that NBC hasn’t renewed Parenthood for a fifth season. That’s because I refuse to believe the network would allow such an amazing, well-crafted show to go off of the air while they pick up a pilot entitled Girlfriend in a Coma. This was such a great season finale, and it would perfectly lead into a fifth and final act. And if it does end up being the series finale, then it was a damn good way for the show to go out.
Parenthood quietly was one of the best network dramas of the past few years, and NBC should recognize that the show still has a lot to offer.