It might not have been as shocking as this week's The Good Wife, but by Parenthood standards, this episode was downright Hitchcockian. With more twists than Adam's dance moves, "Fraud Alert" played with our emotions like no other. Let's relive its biggest roller-coaster moments:
SHOCKER #1: Mr. Cyr Is Nothing But A Tease
It all starts with a bang as Amber runs into Mr. Cyr aka her former teacher/her mom's ex-boyfriend on the streets of Berkeley. And just like any good acquaintance whom you haven't seen in a while, Mr. Cyr manages to bring up that one life event you've been trying so hard to forget. "So you're getting married!" he jubilantly declares. Oh Mark, if only it were so. He's also quick to inquire about Sarah. Hmm.
Amber stops by Sarah's apartment to dish on the encounter, and before Sarah can let her know that Ray "Hank" Romano is inside -- on a strictly friend-zone visit -- Amber rattles off the details of her ex's return. Hank is dismayed. Amber excuses herself.
Later, with some liquid courage in hand, Mr. Cyr cold calls Sarah and asks if they can meet in person. Sarah gets misty-eyed at the mere thought of seeing her former lover again. She agrees and it all seems very cute. The tension is building!
Mr. Cyr and Sarah meet in a romantic bar where he has pre-ordered her favorite Italian wine. I wasn't a huge fan of Mr. Cyr the first time around, but in a post-Hank world he seems like a dream. But just as we're about to fully jump on the Sarah-Cyr rekindled love bandwagon, he drops the bomb: HE'S ENGAGED. Now he'll finally get the baby he's always dreamed of. He claims he wanted to tell Sarah before she heard from someone else, but this was such a deceptive move. The coy call, the romantic drinks are just terrible. Sarah and the rest of us are quietly crushed. Hank, on the other hand, is absolutely delighted.
SHOCKER #2: Joel And Julia Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together
...At least not anytime soon. After Joel spends $468.36 on a "work" dinner with his conveniently attractive boss, Pete (who is indeed a woman), the credit card company calls Julia, since the account is in her name to verify the charges. She rightfully suspects the worst and, after a pep talk from Sarah, visits Joel's to confront him about the dinner.
Soon, their conversation spirals into all the reasons why they separated. He accuses her of disrespecting him. She accuses him of giving up. This is the first time they're actually talking, and crying through things together and it's all so, so real. Well done, writers. When Joel cries, the world weeps. It all seems like such progress, and he even admits he's miserable sleeping alone in his crummy apartment. But then he has to throw out zingers like "Our relationship wasn't working for me," and concludes that they're not going to become Joelia again any time soon: "We're not working on our relationship right now. We're not trying to get back together right now."
Question: Is Julia ever going to bring up the fact that Joel had a kinda-kiss with Sydney's friend's mom back in season one? Obviously, there are deeper issues at play but there seems to be a serious double standard going on here.
And now for one last kicker: The episode's final shot is of Julia on a date WITH ED. Is there no other man in town she can rebound with? Ed is such a putz. Where's Michael B. Jordan?
SHOCKER #3: Kristina Becomes A "Cool Mom"
In a very un Kristina-like occurrence, K is feeling frisky. She slinks into bed wearing Adam's favorite robe and toting a tube of "lotion for the ocean." Gross, guys. But just as things are starting to heat up, Max barges in! Unaware of the moment he's just completely killed, Max declares that he's never going back to his school after last week's bullying nightmare.
Their romantic endeavors may have been deterred, but their campaign for Max's proper education carries on. Adam and Kristina meet with school officials -- including the enchanting Mr. Knight to deal with the incident that's led to Max's exile. The school says they can't take action because the perp hasn't stepped forward (but we know it's you, Trevor!), so they believe it's best to just let Max finish out the remaining school weeks at home. "This is asinine!" Kristina declares. Agreed.
While he plays hooky, Max is hanging out with his dad and a sympathetic Amber at The Luncheonette. This is a bonus shocker. It's been way too many episodes since we've seen the The Luncheonette. Relieved to know it's still kickin' and keeping so many Bravermans employed. Although business IS slow enough that Adam can ditch the studio mid-day and take Max surfing at the beach to cheer him up. Whatever, he's the best dad ever.
But what will Kristina say when she finds out about their shenanigans! After a minor freakout, she's shockingly cool about it all. The episode concludes with Joshua Radin's all-too-perfect "Underwater" playing while Adam and Max hit the waves again. And who's right there taking action shots this time? Newly "cool mom" Kristina.
SHOCKER #4: Zeek Really Does Want To Sell The House
Munching on chili dogs and riding high in the pickup, Crosby and Zeek embark on an ill-gotten father-son road trip to get a grill for Zeek's hot rod. They're a regular Thelma & Louise. Uncharacteristically, Zeek confesses to Crosby his fears of selling the house. "It feels like I'm cashing in my chips," he says. "It feels like the end." Crosby will have none of this sad talk. Not only does Crosby end up procuring the grill, he buys himself a motorcycle and restores Zeek's zest for life in the process. This all delights Zeek, and when they return home he definitively tells Camille that they should take the buyer's offer and sell the house right now. So long, Casa Braverman! Maybe.
Drew is a terrible babysitter.
Hot-and-cold Sarah is ready to give Hank a second chance. (What happened to the "Year of Sarah"? And did Hot Carl ever return from Africa?) Julia's ready for that rebound hookup with... MAX'S TEACHER. It seems Mr. Knight is, in fact, enchanting.
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