7.7

Parenthood Review: "The Talk" (Episode 4.04)

TV Reviews Parenthood
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<i>Parenthood</i> Review: "The Talk" (Episode 4.04)

It’s that point in the season when the time of getting reacquainted with characters is over with and different arcs can work on their own. Each member of the Braverman family is going their own way and dealing with pertinent issues to their immediate family.

“The Talk” was pimptacular for sure. (Parenthood’s word, not mine.) We knew the topic of Jabbar’s race had to come up eventually and now that he’s eight and heard as rappers use words like pimptacular and the N-word, he wants to know why the rapper can say those words, but not him. Race is often glossed over in today’s television shows. Either people think it’s not a big deal or networks shy away from discussing it. The show doesn’t just discuss the use of racial slurs within the context of their family, but as a society. Prejudice in the world still exists and if shows ever do talk about it, it’s on a grand scheme. However, this show revels in facing the subtle ugliness we all cringe at when we see it on television.

This episode advances Kristina’s breast cancer arc. She’s decided to have surgery, but she delays the date so she can help Max with his bid for presidency. Politics are her thing and so is her family. Here she puts her son’s needs in front of her own, continuing her trend of putting family first. It’s a struggle that is hard to comprehend, yet the show manages to articulate it well enough. Kristina’s decisions aren’t being made on the same terms as they were before; now constant fear looms over her and she doesn’t have time to mull over details. She needs to act on a whim at all times, and it’s great to see the uptight character loosening up a bit. It’s just sad that it took such a dramatic turn of events for her to do so.

Meanwhile, Ray Romano’s arc continues to pull Sarah away from her children to focus on Hank’s life. This episode features his distant 11-year-old daughter. The season hasn’t given her proper time on screen. Sure, she’s been partnered with Hank, which puts two great actors together, but even in my previous reviews I noted that the scenes work because of the actors. Now we get to see Sarah on her own and giving advice. Part of what made her such a successful character was her ability to relate to her kids. Now they’re grown and the show needs a way to bring her back into the game. It was sweet, but predictable, to see Sarah relate to Hank’s daughter. It definitely made Hank a more relatable character as well.

Zeek also gets a nice arc when he volunteers at a veterans’ center and befriends a young soldier just back from Afghanistan. Friday Night Lights alum Matt Lauria guests as the soldier and his reoccurring role is going to tackle yet another important topic the show hasn’t yet covered. One thing’s for sure: NBC likes to keep actors in the family.

I felt the only story that was a throwaway was Julia and Joel persistently pushing newly adopted pre-teen Victor into playing some form of sport. It was beyond predictable, but it did pay off in the end. Joel has been in the background for three seasons, and it was great to see him get a meaningful monologue.

Last week was the season’s best episode yet, and this is a close second. Season four is off and running. The Braverman family continues to be the most loving family on television and never truly disappoints.