'Parenthood' Brought Sarah & Hank Closer Together Through Amber, But Let's Talk Tavi!
I'm gonna be honest here right off the bat: The promo for next week's episode of Parenthood was way more interesting than this week's episode of Parenthood. Which is not to say that this week's episode of Parenthood was bad, or even boring. It wasn't — it was the heartstring-pulling Parenthood we all know and love. But I am so distracted by that promo. But we'll get to that later. First: Let's talk about Amber Braverman and her magic tears.
With the season finale coming up next week, for once this season it feels like the writers are actually going to allow for climaxes in the storylines that have been coming to a head all season. One of these — the story between Hank and Sarah, and Sarah's exploration of her feelings about about him — didn't seem to come to any kind of resolution in this episode (the promo says that will come next week), but ended in a kind of calm place. Parenthood often does miraculously well in these calm places: It's where the show strikes a balance between human reality (real, grounded emotion) and TV reality (planned narratives with emotionally fulfilling arcs).
Of course, Parenthood would have never gotten to this place if it hadn't been for Mae Whitman and her status as the best crier on television. As New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum noted in a tweet:
Amber has always felt things in a really big way — this goes all the way back to the first moment we saw her, screaming at her mother over whether she was allowed to move in with a boy, and things only got deeper and better and more interesting from there (save the past few episodes when the writers seemed unsure what to do with her in Ryan's absence). But she's paired well with Hank here — even if they don't get much to say to each other — because Hank feels things very strongly, too, but in such a markedly different way.
Their interaction, of course, was largely a means to an end, and a very Gilmore Girlsian means at that: They needed to show Sarah that Hank knows how to love her and her family how she wants to be loved. Her walking in to see Amber sleeping with her head on Hank's very reminiscent of a certain Season 5 finale when Luke Danes ranted about how he'd choose to protect Rory Gilmore, Lauren Graham once again staring back in awe and a sudden romantic realization. Then again, maybe it's just the borderline disturbing amount of Gilmore Girls I mainlined in my adolescent years.
Either way: A lot of emotions were had, and the ways in which they were had continue to fascinate me.
But let's be real, I'm still mainly here for the promo:
That. That would be Rookie's Tavi Gevinson. That would be the confirmation that this show didn't completely forget that Haddie exists: She was off at Cornell getting her mack on with a lady! Parenthood's finally (maybe) confronting its glaring heteronormativity!
Also Hank and Sarah are totally kissing and they're totally on-spectrum Luke and Lorelai.
But I'm gonna be talking Haddie/Tavi all this week.