Look, I love "Parenthood." I really do. But so far this season has been ... meh. Sure, the Bravermans have their issues, but they're the same issues that they had three episodes ago! Where's the plot development? The character growth? C'mon "Parenthood," I know you have it in you.
Let's start with Crosby, whose baby is still crying, leaving Crosby increasingly annoyed. We get it, Crosby! It's annoying for us too! At the very end of the episode we're offered a glimmer of hope that this shrieking plotline may come to a close when Crosby shares a brief moment with Aida and she finally manages to shut up. Things are looking up.
Over at Adam's house, Kristina's campaign is a chaotic mess. Adam is still struggling to accept Kristina's decision to run for mayor and be the supportive husband that sassy campaign manager Heather wants him to be. Kristina is constantly asking him to throw down cash for the campaign and after spending $250 on kale smoothies for her staff, he's had enough. This leads to a classic Braverman fight, with Kristina and Adam yelling over each other without actually coming to any conclusion. But at the end of the night, Kristina delivers a speech to Adam about how she feels like running for mayor has allowed her to finally feel like she's truly beat cancer. Obviously, Adam can't argue with that, so he bravely accepts his fate as the moneyman of the campaign and becomes the supportive Adam we all know and love once more.
Now, on to Sarah. She's still insecure. She wants to be a photographer, but nobody will take her seriously as an artist, especially because her portfolio is overflowing with photos of crazy cat ladies (posing with their cats, obviously). When Kristina needs a photographer for her campaign, Sarah jumps at the chance to do a true photoshoot, even agreeing to do it for free. Kristina has her doubts about Sarah, but agrees to give it a try. Sarah excitedly preps for the day, but the photoshoot is ... a mess. Heather wants Kristina to come off as "maternal and powerful," which I'm pretty sure is a look entirely impossible to achieve in a headshot. Maybe if they had let Kristina sit in a throne while holding her baby things would have worked out better. Sarah returns to Hank's studio with her confidence shaken. She shows him the photos, asking him if they're any good. He picks out one of the photos, telling her that it's a truly great photo and giving her the self-esteem boost she was looking for. At which point I have to say, come on Sarah. You have two grown children! Please stop running around seeking validation for every single thing you do. You can do it! I believe in you!
Meanwhile, Drew is dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a college freshman. His fratty lacrosse roommate, whose vocabulary mainly consists of the word "bro," is constantly sexiling him and Drew has no choice but to sleep at Amber's. Ryan, being the burly military man that he is, refuses to accept this and insists that they confront lacrosse roomie. He bursts into Drew's room, kicking a girl out of his bed and laying down the law. Now Drew is free to live the true freshman life, even bringing a girl of his own back to his room. OK so maybe it's just to play scrabble, but it's definitely a start.
The plotline with the most potential, or at least the most growth, has to be Julia and Joel. So far the season has been hinting at definite relationship turmoil for the Grahams, and this week only furthered those suspicions. Julia and Joel meet with Victor's fifth grade teacher who suggests that Victor may not quite be ready for the fifth grade. She tells them that, while they can try tutoring, he may need to be held back in the fourth grade. Julia immediately jumps into action, working with Victor on his reading and schoolwork. Joel, on the other hand, doesn't take it so seriously. He doesn't think Victor is really in danger of being held back and doesn't want to constantly harass him with reading quizzes. When Julia suggests that the best option may be to hold Victor back right away, before he gets too settled into the fifth grade, Joel cannot accept it and it erupts into a full-blown fight. The couple does not kiss and make up and they certainly don't come to any sort of agreement. It looks like the road won't exactly be a smooth one for Julia and Joel this season.
OK, so maybe I'm being a bit harsh on the Braverman clan. The episode may have been slightly redundant but it takes time to settle into a new season. I have total faith that next week will bring the classic "Parenthood" we've been waiting for.