maSo Parenthood went ahead and concluded its season and its adoption storyline. Going into this episode I, along with many viewers, were worried that this storyline would wrap up with a nice little bow on top. And, let’s be honest, it did. But, is that a bad thing? Let’s take a look at that. First let’s be honest and acknowledge the thing every Parenthood fan doesn’t want to talk about. Parenthood hasn’t been renewed yet, and while a lot of people are guessing that it will get at least one more season, there’s no guarantee that we are ever going to see these characters again. Jason Katims is familiar with shows being on the bubble all the way back to his Roswell days. I can honestly say that I would never want to be a TV writer dealing with a bubble show. You have to kind of create this balance between tying up what you can so that people will be satisfied if it’s the end and leaving enough open for the next season, if there is one. Being a person who has had a lot of her favorite shows cancelled before their prime, I can attest to the fact that it really sucks when a show is cancelled with many storylines left unresolved. If you love TV as much as I do, you know your favorite TV characters better than you know some of your friends. So imagine that your friend was in the middle of some crisis and then you never heard about them again. For me, that is the equivalent of a show ending without the writers crafting a proper final episode. Now of course, some things can be left open because again, if you love TV as much as I do, you end up imagining characters’ lives going an after a show ends anyway.
With all that being said, I think the writers did a really good job with Victor’s adoption in the season finale. Because after three seasons of Julia and Joel going through disappointment after disappointment, if this is the last season of the show, we need to be left with the idea that things are going to work out for them. And Victor. Sorry, I have to put him in there because this kid has really gotten a bad rap this season. When you spend x number of seasons with characters, and it comes time to say goodbye, you want to know they are going to be okay, reality be damned. So, I was okay with the bow the writers put on top of that storyline. I think I was even kind of wishing for it despite how much I wanted things presented in a realistic way. Because I’m a sucker for a happy ending. And because Julia is my favorite Parenthood character. And because Julia and Joel are one of my favorite current TV couples. So there it is, I liked it.
Now let’s go back to the whole Victor thing for a minute. Because I really do think he’s gotten a bad rap on this show, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve worked with kids like him and know the kind of issues they are dealing with. I’m saying that because Victor and Julia did have some good moments this season. It hasn’t been the gloom and doom that people have been making it out to be. Victor didn’t make a spectacular 180 personality change in the season finale. If anything, the writers were very careful to get across the message early on that deep down, he’s a good kid.
Two scenes in the finale stand out to me with respect to this storyline. The first is when Victor breaks the vase, or whatever it is, and he and Julia have a mini heart to heart. You can argue that it was forced and that Victor breaking the vase was simply setup for them having this conversation, and that might be true. But it allowed the two characters to give each other what they needed, mutual approval. By Victor asking Julia if she’s going to change her mind about the adoption, he acknowledged that there is at least some part of him that wants to be there, which connects back to her asking him in the previous episode if the adoption sounds good to him. And by Julia saying, “I want you to stick around”, she’s letting him know that he is wanted and she’s not going to give up on him, which was Victor’s biggest fear as portrayed so wonderfully by Xolo Mariduena. Seriously, what he did with his eyes and lips and face in general in that scene to show his fear and worry. That kid can act. I loved the simplicity of the scene. I loved that there wasn’t this big emotional hug between them. Anyway, I loved it. And, come on, we knew all along Victor wanted to be a
Graham Braverman. Who doesn’t want to be a Braverman?? Seriously, if they would adopt me, I would totally go with that.
The other scene that stood out to me was when the judge finalized the adoption and mainly the moment when he tells them it is final. Erika Christensen again does an excellent job conveying something without words in that moment. There’s definitely fear in her eyes, the notion that ‘oh my god, this is it, no turning back’. And that’s the piece right there that Jason Katims leaves us with for next season, we hope. Julia isn’t completely sure that this is going to work. She’s still pretty scared. And, I hope that
if when the show returns next season, they explore this aspect. Because I think this is a story worth investing in and I think it’s a story that isn’t explored enough in television and movies.
Before I close up, just want to note the really nice work Sam Jaeger did this season portraying Joel. Unfortunately, there was so much to cover already with this storyline that I didn’t get into his scenes very much. Being that Joel in general has been a background character, it was really nice to see him front and center in this storyline balancing out Julia’s fears and worries with optimism and faith. I hope the writers continues to put him front and center next season. He most certainly has earned it.
Well there it is folks. I know it took a while for me to finally churn this out. Any thoughts on this storyline?