03/14/2014 01:57 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Parenthood Season Five, Episode 17 Recap: "Limbo"


Last night's Parenthood hit all the right notes and squeezed out the maximum number of tears. The episode may have been called "Limbo," but this is the first time in weeks that there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for our beloved Joelia. Ready your tissues and let's revisit each emotionally-charged scene:

We open with Jasmine's mom, Renee, pushing for a baptism for baby Aida, but Jasmine and Crosby are way too stressed to even think about organizing such a milestone event, which they don't really even believe in, right now. When they toss out legit excuses like the selling of Casa Braverman and the fact that Aida's would-be godparents are now separated, Renee insists they host the baptism brunch at her place. Oh yeah, and they need to find a new godfather who's going to stick around.

In the dorms, Drew is kicked back nostalgically looking at semi-creepy -- albeit fully clothed -- photos of co-ed Natalie in bed on his phone. He seems to be so over Amy and struts down the hall to presumably win Natalie back. But when he knocks on her door who should answer but his douchey roommate, Roberto! Shirtless...because he just crawled out of Natalie's bed. BOOM.

Max, Sarah and Ray Romano are now one big super-chatty photo team, but not everyone likes the way Max is taking over the studio and the fancy new printer they have on loan. Namely "Fascist" Sarah, who yells at Max and chases him home to Kristina. There's no mention of Hot Carl or any postcards from Africa.

Post-discovery of his roommate and ex's affair, Drew's now drowning his sorrows in the existential words of Sartre's Nausea. "Dude, are you mad?" Roberto asks on arrival in the dorm. He apologizes for drinking Drew's Gatorade and eating his cashew butter. Although those are considerable offenses, the real issue is Natalie. Proving he is the ultimate douche, Roberto looks sincerely apologetic and says, "Sorry, I totally thought you were done with her!" as if Natalie were just another jar of cashew butter. Luckily for Drew, Roberto predictably prescribes to the "bros before hos" mentality, and feels Drew is way more important than some female object down the hall. He'll break it off with Natalie ASAP.

Crosby pays Joel a visit at his bachelor pad to break the news that the godfather offer has been rescinded. He also slips in a not-so-subtle plea that he wants Joel to fix things with Julia, to which all Joel can say is, "I don't need to be the godfather." Fail, Joel. FAIL.

At Casa Braverman, Zeek is teaching Sydney, Victor and Jabbar the art of car maintenance while Crosby and Julia look on. Julia's shocked to learn that Joel gave up his godfathership so easily and can't believe he couldn't care less. She wants to know every detail and tears up upon learning that Joel didn't even ask about her. I tear up upon watching her tear up because we have ALL been Julia.

Meanwhile, in Adam and Kristina's kitchen, Kristina is annoyed that Sarah kicked Max off the printer and lets Adam know that both she and Max are "really pissed." This seems a bit overreactive. They eagerly expect Sarah to call and apologize at any minute. Kristina hasn't been this annoying since season three.

Over at the big house, Camille and Crosby have a heart to heart and talk through their issues re: the selling of the house. She wants to throw Aida's brunch at Casa Braverman, but she settles for hosting a dinner the night before for the whole family because they could really use a celebration. And so could we.

Natalie visits Drew and Roberto's dorm. Roberto is busy doing pushups and doesn't notice she's there until an absurdly long time has passed. Roberto dumps Natalie, but she's too preoccupied with being mad at Drew for being mad at her to even care. She reminds Drew that he did just have another girl living with him for a month, so what did he honestly think was going to happen with her in the meantime?

Julia calls Joel about how she's feeling. She's crying. I'm crying. "This isn't lost for me," she says. "I don't understand why you're not willing to fight for me." He tries to shift the blame to Julia by saying the split wasn't his fault and that "it's over now." She tells him to let her know when he's ready to fight. We weep.

Kristina stealthily rings the studio to find out if Sarah is there because if so, she doesn't want Max coming by. So catty, K. Upon hearing this, Ray Romano takes Max and Kristina's side and argues their case to Sarah. Sarah counters that she doesn't want to baby Max and needs to keep her work life separate from her family life (but maybe not her love life!). They're both fuming.

Crosby pops by Adam's -- who's got a nice new haircut -- to ask him to be the substitute godfather. He's adorably over the moon, and it never crosses his mind that he is merely a second choice. Never change, Adam! Never change.

Drew heads to Amber's loft for some chocolate ice cream and venting. He's dismayed by women. She's still hung up on Ryan's departure to the military. They wonder what will ever make their tender hearts feel better. Perhaps time? Your BFF Amber has a better solution: pot and vodka, straight from the freezer to the table. They proceed to get stoned and muse over Sartre's wisdom about making their own meaning in life. They're basically having the best night ever, until Mom calls and they freak out that it's because grandpa's died. Really, it's just that they forgot about the baptism dinner happening now. They scramble to compose themselves and hop in a cab.

While getting ready for the dinner, Sydney and Victor are upset that Joel won't be at the baptism festivities. When will the break be over? They want to know. Julia doesn't have an answer and neither do we. This limbo has to end.

At the baptism dinner, everything comes to a head. Adam confronts Sarah about her treatment of Max. Jasmine's mom lets it slip that Casa Braverman is on the market. Sarah's furious because everyone knew about this but her. Adam finds out he's just a runner-up godfather. Kristina accuses Sarah's kids of being stoners. Crosby doesn't believe in baptism. The pastor is NOT impressed by any of this.

After dinner, Zeek slips out and goes by Joel's to ask him what we're all thinking: "What the hell are you doing?!" Joel's misty eyed. I'm misty eyed. Zeek tells Joel he really, really, really wants him to be at the baptism tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Drew spends the night at Amber's and since his only shirt smells strongly of beer, he needs a new one for the baptism. Amber looks for one to loan and comes across one of Ryan's, the sole item he left behind before reenlisting. This makes us all sad again. Drew adorably offers to come live with Amber as she continues to heal. They need each other so much. This sounds like an amazing idea, and I would also totally support a Drew & Amber spinoff series. Hint hint, NBC.

It's Sunday morning and everyone gathers at the church. Sarah apologizes to Adam and Kristina, and now it's time for the baptism to happen with a packed house and a gospel ballad soundtrack. Joel is seemingly a no-show, but wait! Who should walk in mid-ceremony and take a seat in the back as the music reaches its emotional arc? The prodigal husband! The family spots him and everyone's tearing up. Joel and Julia lock eyes and swap hints of smiles. I'm officially an emotional trainwreck. Bravo, Bravermans. THIS is the Parenthood we know and love.


The realtor finds a buyer for Casa Braverman. Queen Sydney blames Victor for Joel and Julia's separation. Ray Romano and Sarah are maybe, possibly, potentially getting back together.