The time has come. Parenthood's final season is here and soon the show will end. But before we can truly embrace Season 6, it's important to look back at what happened on Parenthood Season 5. Legions of final season theories have swirled in the past few weeks, including Zeek's possible death, Julia and Joel's disintegrating marriage, and Amber possibly carrying Ryan's baby. But before we get delve into those possible outcomes or get too depressed about the Bravermans' last hurrah, we have to talk about Season 5, which was incredible. (Seriously, why is NBC taking Parenthood away from us, again? Ugh, moving on.) It was months ago when we left the Bravermans with a cliffhanger, so you'd be forgiven for forgetting how it all went down. I'm here to help prepare you for the final season (but, if you've got the time, rewatching that incredible season is worth a shot too).
It's important to start this recap with the leaders of this family, Zeek and Camille. Season 5 began like any other, except for one major change: Camille was growing restless. Camille never felt she got the respect she deserved, and even in Season 5, when she took a great getaway to Italy, we didn't get to see any of it.
The good thing is that Camille finally got a little bit of screen time when she told Zeek she needed more from life. She was living in the same big house, doing the same chores over and over again, and Camille needed more adventure. It naturally took Zeek a long time to understand (Zeek can't often see beyond his own nose, after all), but he finally did and we saw the sale of that beautiful Braverman house for the sake of their marriage.
On some level, the change even make Zeek a better father and grandfather; we could see that when he helped Victor feel like he was truly part of the family by helping him fix up Drew's car. Zeek finally learned to be patient and open to his family and, more importantly, to compromise for Camille rather than letting her be the one to sacrifice. And that's probably why we're all so worried about his fate in Season 6.
But beyond that major arc, here's what's going on with the rest of the Bravermans:
Julia & Joel
Oh, Julia and Joel, why can't you learn to be on the same side? In the last few seasons, Julia and Joel have had their ups and downs, like any other couple, but they've always been able to work out any big kinks. They made it through the adoption process to find Victor, but once he joined their family, Julia and Joel had trouble understanding how to help their new son get caught up. They argued over and over again about how to handle his transition and later, grew farther apart when Julia gets bored as a stay-at-home mom and meets fellow stay-at-home parent Ed.
Of course, it got worse from there. The two bored parents developed a bond that eventually led Ed to kiss Julia, and while Julia comes clean to Joel, it eventually breaks up their marriage. Joel moves out and refuses to even speak to Julia, making for a very frustrating series of episodes. Finally, in the Season 5 finale, Julia and Joel make some headway with Victor and start to look like there might be a chance for reconciliation. They have a long way to go, but I just can't imagine one of the Braverman couples truly breaking up for good.
Sarah & Hank
Throughout Season 5, Sarah grew more patient, nurturing, and mature to eventually reunite with Hank and help him deal with his late-stage diagnosis of Asperger's — a conclusion he reaches after befriending Max Braverman. Heading into Season 6, things look good for these two.
Amber & Ryan
And even with Sarah's difficult transition, she still had an easier go of it than Amber. The young Braverman started season being engaged to Ryan before quickly seeing that relationship fall apart. Ryan ended things and re-enlisted, leaving Amber alone and heartbroken. She spent much of the rest of the season trying to get over him until he showed up in the hospital with injuries from a car crash.
At that point, Amber lied and said they were still engaged so she could stay with him in the hospital, sending her into an interaction with Ryan's mother, who claimed to know nothing about Amber or their engagement. Ryan's mother decided to take Ryan home and he agreed, but not before he and Amber say goodbye with sex in the hospital bed (and probably why Amber was looking for a pregnancy test by the end of the season finale). Still, as much as I hate to see any Braverman in pain, I have to admit that Mae Whitman is such a good cryer.
And All The Rest
Crosby finally learned how to be a better husband and father to Jasmine, Jabbar, and Aida with the help of Adam (as always) and Zeek.
Adam helped Kristina through her mayoral campaign which sadly didn't work out. Fortunately, they band together to make a difference by opening a charter school for kids with Asperger's.
And in what is arguably the biggest moment in the eldest Braverman's household came courtesy of Haddie, who returned from college for a visit and brought along her secret girlfriend Lauren (Tavi Gevinson). Max caught Haddie and Lauren kissing, and being Max, he asked his parents if that's a normal thing girls do, opening up the entire family to Haddie's eventual coming out. And being the incredible mother that she is, Kristina went to Haddie not to ask a million question about her being in a lesbian relationship, but to offer her love and support, unconditionally.
Heading Into Season 6
Things are going to get even more tense in the Braverman household, as the Season 6 trailer spoiled that someone is definitely pregnant — most likely Amber, but I really hope it could be Sarah. A baby would be a great stepping stone for Sarah and Hank, and it would be nice to take the pressure off of Amber for once. After all, Amber is already a great older sister and since her relationship with her mother is stronger than ever, Amber would be a great person to help Sarah with the new baby.
But no matter what happens, the Parenthood world is about to end and it's best to just embrace the direction the writers take with our beloved Bravermans. Jason Katims have never steered us wrong before.
Images: Florian Schneider, Colleen Hayes (4)/NBC