This episode picks up exactly where the last one left offâ€”with Amber telling her mother that sheâ€™s pregnant.
Sarah doesnâ€™t quite have the reaction one might hope for with news like this, though. I felt so sorry for Amber. Sarah asks who the father is and wants to know how far along she is. Then says, â€œSo, youâ€™re keeping it?â€ as though thatâ€™s about the worst idea ever. She tries to muster a supportive smile, but itâ€™s obvious she thinks Amber is making a mistake.
After the strained relationship that these two have had, I really wish Sarah would have reacted differently. Amber may not be in the perfect place in her life, but I could see her making a great mother.
And then thereâ€™s Joel and Julia. Theyâ€™re still separated, and itâ€™s having an especially bad effect on their daughter Sidney. After learning that Sidney has been bullying other kids at school, Joel tries again to reconcile, but Julia isnâ€™t having it.
Julia: â€œThis is not like her. At all. You know, and moving out and giving up on me, was not like you. At all.â€
Joel: â€œCome on. Come on â€” stay and talk with me. Please.â€
Julia: â€œAre you kidding me? I begged you for a year just to talk to me and tell me what the hell was going on. And you refused to do that. And that broke me. And Iâ€™m almost okay. So you canâ€™t come over and talk to me about my dad. You canâ€™t kiss me. Okay? You canâ€™t pretend like you didnâ€™t destroy me. Because you did. You destroyed us. All of us.â€
Sheâ€™s right, of course. But Joel is finally coming around, and I think he feels truly sorry. The look in his eyes as Julia walked away just then said it all. My heart completely broke for him.
But the most important part of this episode had to do with Zeek. In last weekâ€™s premiere, he collapsed on his birthday trip to Vegas, and left the hospital without finding out exactly what was wrong. In this episode, he learns that he needs to have open-heart surgery. Zeek is stubborn, arguing with the doctor and telling him the fall was no big deal. But the doctor makes a good pointâ€”and a scary one at that. He tells Zeek that if he collapses again, he might not be so lucky when it happens. What if heâ€™s behind the wheel of a car?
Still, Zeek refuses. And he doesnâ€™t want to talk about it. Instead, he just wants to celebrate his 72nd birthday. But the birthday party he gets isnâ€™t exactly what he was hoping for. His children get him gifts that further remind him of his age and his health, including a step counter from Julia. And the food? Itâ€™s mostly â€œlentils and tofu.â€ Understandably, theyâ€™re worried about their dad, let the guy have a real birthday cake for crying out loud.
Adam finally gets his father alone and tries to convince him to have the surgery, certain that it would be the best option. Zeek argues, saying that he could die on the table. And if the surgery doesnâ€™t go well, it would mean, as his doctor put it, â€œdiminished quality of life.â€
Adam: If you donâ€™t have the surgery, you could die. You could die, Dad. And what do I do then?
Zeek: If I die, you just take my ashes, and you scatter them over center field at Marine Park. AndÂ you play a game of baseball over me. Because Iâ€™m going out on my terms.
Zeek and Amber have a really special moment at the birthday party. Amber is crying on the steps outside when Zeek comes out to â€œget away from the fruit tart.â€ She gives him the news, and asks if heâ€™s disappointed in her. He wraps his arms around her and smiles, saying itâ€™s â€œincredibleâ€ and â€œwonderful.â€ And he says, â€œIâ€™m gonna be a great-granddad!â€ This is one of the first real smiles we get from Amber this episodeâ€”she even laughs a little.
After the party, Sarah visits Amber. Hopefully, sheâ€™ll have more encouraging words than she did earlier. And she does. She brings Amberâ€™s baby book and shows her old pictures. Then she says, â€œI realized, I forgot to tell you about all the good stuff.â€ And in this moment we realize that Sarah is going to be supporting Amber through her pregnancy. In fact, I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if this brought them closer together.
And more good news, I wonder if Julia might be coming around to Joel after all. She calls him that night to talk about Sidneyâ€™s issues. They are both concerned about their child, and they sit on the phone in silence for a moment. It seemed to me that this might be the first step toward reconciliation. Gosh, I hope so.
The episode ends with Zeek and Camille at the kitchen table before bedtime. Zeek tells Camille that he learned a secret tonightâ€”that Amber is pregnant. They both truly do seem to think this is happy news, and they talk about how strange it is that they will be great-grandparents.
Then Zeek says, â€œIâ€™m gonna have the surgery, Millie.â€
Honestly, this makes me really nervous. I canâ€™t decide if this is the right choice or not. But it was obviously Amberâ€™s pregnancy that has changed Zeekâ€™s mind.
I really have to wonder whatâ€™s going to happen with Zeek this season. So far, the show has typically offered happy endings. Earlier in the series, Amber got in a car wreck that looked pretty serious, but she wasnâ€™t hurt as badly as she looked. And remember Kristinaâ€™s cancer? She made a full recovery, and now sheâ€™s stronger than ever.
So my question is, will Zeek get a happy ending, too? Or are we going to be dealing with a new kind of loss this season?
Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.
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