Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 4, Episode 4 of NBC's "Parenthood," entitled "The Talk."
Even though this week's episode showed the Braverman kids experiencing an array of changes, it's really the adults who have real growth.
While all the lives of his children turn upside down, Zeek finds himself bored, trying to get others to listen to the airy sound coming from the sprinklers. Camille suggests that he volunteer at the Veteran's Center as he could be of use with their different activities. Upon arrival, Zeek's only task is to make coffee and arrange the cookies. While at the center, Zeek meets Ryan York (Matt Lauria), a soldier who arrived home from Afghanistan a few months ago. Not knowing what to do with himself, Ryan decided to stay in Berkeley for a fresh start. Zeek and Ryan form a friendship, sharing post-war feelings of uncertainty. Ryan may not be his son, but Zeek finds that he can be better used at the center by mentoring younger soldiers and forming bonds with other veterans. I'm glad to see Zeek find his calling even if he is the oldest of the bunch.
Hank's studio becomes father/daughter weekend, much to the disinterest of his daughter, Ruby. Hank prepares by doing his pop culture homework: reading "The Hunger Games." Failing pathetically to finish the trilogy on time, Sarah is warmed by Hank's attempt and agrees to help him. But can you trust her if she's "Team Gale"?
Ruby turns out to be like any other modern tween: texting; nothing Dad plans is fun; "Hunger Games" is a dead fad; wants to be at the cool pool party back home in L.A. Sarah agrees to watch Ruby as her dad goes to a photo shoot. Sarah has been through two tweens so it's only natural that she knows how to talk to another one. They slowly begin to bond and Sarah inadvertently tells her to tell all her friends back home that she's at "a photoshoot with Justin Bieber" in order to save her reputation. We all know how important reputations are at 11. With Sarah's help, Hank wins over his daughter with a little Bieber photo cropping. Is it just me or did Hank's face suddenly read, "If I was your boyfriend ..."?
Joel and Julia continue to build the bridge between foster child and Braverman-Graham by urging Victor to join an extracurricular activity. Victor reluctantly chooses baseball as opposed to the alternative: violin. Joel brings him to the field hoping that he will be a good pitcher like himself, but he forgets that sports are new to Victor, too. At his first time at bat, Victor strikes out, which causes him to throw a tantrum and scream at the coach. What's worse is that he screams at Joel: "You're not my real dad!" Ouch. Joel apologizes to Victor and tells him he's proud of him for trying something new. You would think Victor was still a little punk after he pretty much threw Joel's apology back in his face, but Victor asks him to play catch later that day. Julia had her breakthrough with her son and now Joel has too.
Another change swoops into Crosby's home when Jabbar accidentally hears bad words while listening in on one of his dad's recording sessions. Crosby tells Jasmine that Jabbar wanted to know what the "N word" is. Jasmine decides it's time to have the talk with her son about black history and where the word originated. Not an easy conversation. Not only will it be difficult for Jasmine and for Jabbar to hear, but Crosby must confront the fact that there are some bad things he cannot prevent his son from experiencing. Even after Jasmine's awesome speech, Crosby is still overwhelmed that Jabbar's innocence won't last forever.
Back in Dr. Bledsoe's office, Kristina pushes back the date of her surgery two weeks since she'll be busy managing Max's campaign as president. The doctor tells her it is her decision and schedules for a later appointment. Kristina continues with her hectic job as caretaker of the family, but has a moment of pride when she learns that Max obtained the needed 25 signatures in order to run. Then, she and Adam learn that students signed fake and insulting names and decide to pull him from the election. Kristina knows that Adam only wants him out because of her health condition and refuses to snub Max of a chance. Without discussing it with Adam first, Kristina tells Max he can run again and they begin on their campaign. In anger, Adam confesses he thinks that Kristina should move the surgery to the original date. She agrees to the call the doctor to switch the appointment back. With all the changes in his household, Adam watches his son and wife's determination to succeed on two completely different plateaus.
Even though the children evolved and broke barriers (in more ways than one), it was the parents that really opened their minds and eyes to reality. Next week's episode promises more Hank and Sarah sexual tension (even a kiss!) and the tear-jerking moment when Kristina breaks the news to the rest of the family. This show is the only one out there that can make you cry in a 30-second promo.
Parenthood airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.