Of all the reasons to join a family, love is the best one!
This season, the Braverman family’s various journeys have been quite compelling. There are a lot of declarations of love coming from this finale. There are new family members welcomed and parental and romantic loves flourish. And most important of all, final decisions made. Yes, it all happens in "Because You're My Sister". Does it make for an exquisite season finale? Not really, but it does move storylines forward and gets our characters standing new stepping stones ready for whatever the next season holds. Parenthood has had quite an exceptional fourth season, but it is unfortunate to admit that this finale doesn’t really live up to the meaty plotlines and character developments we got from the previous episodes. It does its job as a season finale, but is not as affective as it thinks it is, or probably should be.
Kristina Braverman has been the bravest Braverman this entire season. We’ve seen her tackle a year of struggling survival, as the breast cancer storyline dug deep into the strongest characteristics of this housemom and wife. Now at the final stages and overcoming her fight with the disease, Kristina can possibly embark on a new life. The thing is, she is too scared of moving on after witnessing the horrid reality that cancer can catch up to one’s happiness and cut them down from their cloud. It’s understandable seeing as how Kristina is one who has to maintain control over everything, even those things that are impossible to hinder. Then there is Adam. He has been quite the supportive husband this entire season, overseeing his wife’s battle with breast cancer and picking her up when she is down. In Adam’s want to forget the torture he and Kristina have gone through in this journey, he impulsively books a vacation to Hawaii. Kristina’s controlling disposition only upsets them both. However, it is amazing how this couple can fix their impasses with such ease. Things are rough all over, but Adam and Kristina know how to compromise. After getting a clean bill of health, Kristina and Adam do take their much deserved vacation. There’s not much else to it than that…
Ryan and Amber aren’t much of a complex couple. I am getting a bit annoyed by Amber’s almost constant crying whenever Ryan is around, but the two lovers are quite an adorable match, although slightly unbalanced. Ryan is beginning to get his life together and mold himself back into society. He’s back working for Joel and taking therapy. It’s great that he has put in the effort and time to fight for Amber, who is worthy of it. We’re reminded of why Amber and Ryan’s huge argument resulted in their messy breakup. Amber having been in a horrible car accident herself once, she had taken Ryan’ reckless behavior of drinking and driving very seriously. She’s scared for him and she’s scared of being without him. Their declarations of love are almost unbearably cheesy; however, necessary to wrap up their story and move them into the next stages of their relationship come next season.
Drew gets into Berkley College. Yay! His goodbye to the girl who has twisted his whole world around more than twice is a heartwarming moment. Drew has always been a sweet, sensitive guy and it’s great to see him taking a new step in his life and saying goodbye to Amy, his first love. That’s a big step for a young man off to college. All of this while his mother finally deals her big romantic decision. It is mostly full of more loving declarations that serve as filler until Sarah finally makes her decision. And of course, Sarah makes a somewhat troubling one. Surprisingly, when Sarah chooses Hank over Mark, it seems as though Sarah’s new romance with Hank began to falter. Maybe the entire draw on their relationship is the fact that this was a love triangle, before it started to deter Sarah from making wise, adult choices.
I’m a fan and Sarah and Hank; however, this doesn’t mean I’m not partial to Mark, who is a very admirable man, who I hope finds his way. Sarah on the other hand makes a choice, and it comes back to bite her. Hank is moving on--moving to Minnesota for his daughter, which I could have seen coming a mile away. This is actually a good thing. Sarah needs time alone and with her family to mature and get her life together. She’s still attempting to get it all together and she’s failing, so this is the appropriate time for her to take advantage of her alone time. No men, just her and her loving family. After all, you can’t be all there for someone else if you’re not all there for yourself.
Crosby and Jasmine continue to deal with the fallout of the parental critiquing incident that left Jasmine scared to stand up to her mom and leaving Crosby looking like the big bad son in law. Jasmine’s mother decides to move in with Jasmine’s brother and Jasmine continues to be bothered by Crosby’s actions. It’s understandable that Jasmine feels indebted to her mother, after sacrificing everything to raise her children, but she’s being a bit frustrating. Jasmine has never been the most likable character, in fact, I’d go so far as to say that she is one of the most frustrating ones next to Max. It’s amazing what the news of a new child on the way can do to bring peace to a situation. Yes, Jasmine’s wish to have another baby has come to fruition. We’ll soon see how this new addition to the family challenges Crosby and Jasmine and their in-laws.
Julia and Joel have made a commitment. They are officiating their adoption of Victor, even though Julia isn’t entirely sure she or even her daughter, Sydney loves the idea. Victor has become rather acclimated to his new family, although there have been quite a few bumps in the road. This is the best storyline to play out this episode. It is important for brother and sister to share a special bond as they move forward. Sydney’s dislike of the entire situation leaves Julia especially concerned. However, Victor shows absolute maturity and worry in this installment. After breaking a vase, he worries that Julia and Joel will go back on their promise to adopt him, which is incredibly sad. The young guy is scared he’ll be dumped and left alone again. Victor even makes the effort to bond with his new sister, Sydney who he had previously had some issues with. It all ends with the entire Braverman clan coming together to finalize the adoption at the courthouse in what is one of my favorite scenes of the season, involving every quirky, loving aspect of this eclectic American family. The new additions to the family are very much welcome to this beautiful, exceptional family and its enough to put a smile on your face!
The season finale of Parenthood may not have been one of the best episodes of the season or even of the series, but it does well to tap off the left over storylines that our characters have journeyed through. The Braverman family is a loving, fun family that I hope we will continue to enjoy in a fifth season! For now, this finale is an adequate, momentary sendoff that may be full of melodramatic cheesiness and new beginnings, but does its season finale jobs. “Because You’re My Sister” gets 3 out of 5 stars!
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013