One of Parenthood‘s main strengths lies in its ability to take its storylines to the maximum point of tension, only to spend the final few episodes of the season letting the air out and watching the family react. Just when you begin to wonder when, if, or how one of the stories will be “solved”, there comes a late-season episode that doesn’t add any more layers and instead, begins to unpack all the complexities that have been accumulating since the beginning of the season.
“Remember Me, I’m the One Who Loves You” was the episode that began winding things down for season three after last week’s episode amped up the drama to nearly unsustainable levels. It relied on a lot more subtle moments and, at times, silent moments than a typically noisy episode of Parenthood, a move that let the end of multiple storylines breathe instead of being smothered by excessive dialogue or another story needing more time.
But let’s just get this out of the way. I’m very, very firmly against Crosby and Jasmine getting back together, so the final scene with her proposing, in the rain to blaring indie pop music, knocked a powerhouse of an episode back just a bit. My issue is that the reunion wasn’t earned in the slightest; yes, they’ve never lost feelings for one another and yes, Jasmine kind of woke up a few episodes ago, but they’ve not done anything to fix the problems that caused them to break up. He’s still immature and impulsive, she’s still controlling and hard-headed, and there’s nothing in the past 17 episodes that makes me think they’ll be together long-term. Had they actually done some soul searching or family therapy, I’d be a tiny bit more okay with their reunion, but it feels like they were torn apart only to be put back together again and everything feels like pointless wheel spinning. Instead of dealing with an underrepresented type of parenting situation (two parents, never married, trying to co-parent) that could bear some fantastic storytelling possibilities, Parenthood decided to take the easy way out and go for the cheap “fairytale” reunion over something more realistic and honest.
Interestingly enough, I really enjoyed Julia/Zoe for one of the first times in “Remember Me”, partially due to the plot going a different way than I expected. Even though it was sad that Zoe decided to keep the baby, I think they pulled that type of revelation off extremely well, opting for a quiet exchange of looks at the nursery over a long, drawn out argument. I felt bad for Julia for one of the first times this season and Erika Christensen’s performance really brought home the absolute devastation that Julia experienced after finding out that she didn’t get the baby. I couldn’t feel too bad, though, as this is Julia’s control freak nature coming back to bite her; Zoe wanted a closed adoption from the beginning, but Julia being who she is had to get too close, even when the outcome we got was always a possibility. The bond between the two women had always been my favorite aspect of this storyline (exhibit A: the moment Julia brought her a cherry icee and recounted Sydney’s birth), but Julia may have just lost both a baby and a potential friend.
While Julia and Crosby had their stories climax in “Remember Me”, Sarah’s only got a little tougher. After talking to Mark about potentially moving to New York to work on her writing career, she seemed to be on board with the idea, but Amber’s in need of her mom, arguably more than ever, now that she’s voluntarily off the campaign. Granted, they wouldn’t be going to New York for another year, but we’ve seen how Sarah tends to put people before herself and if Amber’s not 100%, I don’t think Sarah can confidently move off.
Their nearly wordless scene at the end of the episode is the type of stuff that I love to see from Parenthood; there was so much that could have been said, but the bond between Amber and Sarah is so strong that all the time they’ve been apart this season doesn’t matter at that moment.
The only storyline to really “open up” in “Remember Me” was the potential sale of The Luncheonette to larger studio West Coast Recordings. The studio had kind of taken a backseat in the narrative of Parenthood over the last several episodes, so having it back was a nice change of pace that punctuates one of the season-long stories. Even though it could have come off very TV, it felt like a natural progression for the boys, but the thought of Adam becoming a little morally gray was an interesting wrinkle that I didn’t expect. Adam’s always the first Braverman to proclaim right/wrong and to raise his voice if something is out of his comfort zone, so having him take meetings with WCR behind Crosby’s back showed how financially desperate he is at the moment. Morality and trying to do the right thing are everything to Adam, but his family is in a bind right now and he’ll do anything he can to protect them. Granted, he didn’t take the new elevated offer, but from the look in his eyes, he’ll be taking the hardline approach to get Crosby to finally accept.
Parenthood has had an up-and-down season, but “Remember Me” is truly a gem of an episode that provides good set-up for the finale. Instead of cranking up some of the already too-cranked-up stories, it was a decompressing episode that brought Parenthood down to earth a little more, with answers in hand. Though I’m not behind Crosby/Jasmine at all, the rest of “Remember Me” took the difficult road that made for more realistic, compelling storytelling, highlighting the rawness of losing a child and the several factors that come into play when making a life-changing decision. We may not know if New York is in Sarah’s future or if Adam will convince Crosby to sell, but for one of the first times all season, I’m excited to find out.
Thoughts, Quotes, & Observations:
-“I’m in the dairy section and my water just broke.”
-“I’m gonna die. It’s gonna kill me and I’m gonna die.”
-“Is that a baguette in your lap or are you just happy to see me?”
-I love how they used silence during the birth scene. Didn’t “Nora” have the same effect?
-The title is from the Johnny Cash song that Crosby, Jasmine, and Jabbar sang in their tent.
-Next week on Parenthood: Crosby and Jasmine get hitched, Julia and Joel recover from losing the baby, the fate of the Luncheonette is decided, and Sarah makes a choice on New York.