Parenthood "I'll Be Right Here" Review: All the Cuts Are the Deepest

By Nick Campbell

Oct 24, 2012

Parenthood S04E06: "I'll Be Right Here"

"Do a good job tomorrow."

Before this season, I would say I probably hated on Adam and Kristina more than any other characters on Parenthood. I always say that the Bravermans can be the worst people in Berkeley, sort of an emotional vortex from which ordinary people can never escape without becoming sad sacks or alcoholics after being beaten down by clannishness, jackassery, and a supernatural ability to draw tears. But, of the family, Adam and Kristina tend to be the most self-righteous and the most grating.

Julia can be stubborn, but in a way that's because her heart is in the right place, not to mention she's often tempered by Joel being perfect always. Crosby and Sarah can both be strong but are also willing to be accepting, tolerant, and, most importantly, intuitive (as long as it doesn't really make them sacrifice much). Adam and Kristina hold themselves above the rabble of the other Braverman siblings and in-laws with a left-brain stubbornness and unparalleled sanctimony, not to mention a bit of a martyr complex with respect to Max.

But they sure have turned that around this season, haven't they? In this post-Breaking Bad world, a cancer storyline doesn't always have to equal sympathy but the combination of Monica Potter workin' it and the show itself providing opportunities to downplay their martyrdom means we have a new sympathy for these characters. So many times over the past few weeks have I felt a small quiver while watching Adam and Kristina deal with their situation. This week, it was Adam staring at his wife through the window as she went to surgery. It was a beautifully played scene, the look on Adam's face a perfect display of anxiety.

Later, the scene when Kristina learned her cancer was more aggressive, was also very touching, especially with the chaos that ensued between Kristina fighting her emotions, Adam asking questions, and Dr. Bedslow offering his cell phone number, a move he only makes for his most needful patients. Heartbreaking.

Kristina receiving new news about her cancer came during an episode rife with the beginnings of long story arcs that couldn't have come at a better time. With the presidential election coming November 6, and extended episodes of The Voice pushing Go On and The New Normal into the 10-o'clock hour next week, we're headed into nearly a month-long hiatus between this episode and the next one on November 13. Whether or not the timing was planned, we have a number of cliffhangers to think about in the interim.

The one we've been talking about the most is Kristina's cancer, of which this is clearly just the beginning of the suffering for her and the Braverman family. While it's hard to speculate how far into the process the show is going to take us, especially since Bedslow mentioned how curable the cancer is, I can see next the quarter of the season being dedicated to treatment and recovery with some meditation on chemo.

There's overlap there with Haddie returning because, with the cancer still present and more aggressive, and thus weakening Kristina's options and forcing her to at least delegate her activities if not take to the bed, Haddie's help around the house might be necessary. But Adam and Kristina chose to lie to their daughter instead, to get her to go back to school. So we have options here: Haddie gets furious for being lied to (eventually), or she stays on to help out. I, personally, missed Sarah Ramos but I have to trust the show's direction.

Julia left her job last week but this episode marked the first time we saw her at home after quitting. While we didn't see much, Adam and Julia discussed how difficult it was before switching subjects back to Adam. Set-up for trials ahead.

Max. Is President. Of his Student Council. What in the?

Amber and Ryan, by the definition they outlined, are taking it slow. I'm curious to know the obstacles in the relationship, and whether there really are any other than Amber herself.

Sarah and Drew are suffering the growing pains of being a new family unit, which this week seemed to all work out in the end but we know about her relationship with Hank so we know turmoil is afoot. Drew should pray he's in college by the time that rears its ugly head.

Speaking of prayer, Crosby seems to be the only one on the show without his own long-reaching storyline to take him through the next few episodes. He did get Otis injured, so we'll have to closely monitor any adorable-puppy arcs. Of all the siblings, Crosby's handling of the cancer issue has been my favorite. The desperate need to help out, the struggle to make it work, the apologies that aren't really apologies. His "Do good work tomorrow." was so sweet and genuine it almost made me want to find a person going into cancer surgery so I could tell them that, too.

This was a good episode, a sweet and sad one to leave us grieving for the next few weeks until we see how the Bravermans are going to handle everything. Even if not everything will be a surprise, it's all worth looking forward to. Anyone show that, within a season, can turn Know-It-Alls like Adam and Kristina into empathetic characters is a show I can get behind.



NOTES


– Well, I worried about how long it would take for Amber and Ryan to get down but, it turns out, the slowness of the relationship is the focus of the storyline. So either this is going to slowly erupt into a grand explosion or they're getting married. Also, even a gentlemanly soldier knows that a handshake at the door is as good as the friend zone, you awkward handsome devil.

– Anti-Lorelai Sighting: Lorelai in Gilmore Girls was always so concerned with not bringing Rory into a situation where her life would be upheaved and she'd be forced to adapt to a new environs and family. Sarah willed her way into Mark's house early to cover up her feelings for another man by making a brash commitment.

– Interesting thing about Max's speech: The kids responded to it. I believe that's what we might call an audience by proxy. His speech about Asperger's probably wouldn't play to a standing ovation in that auditorium of kids legally skipping class. But we, the actual audience watching the program, might feel that way. So these kids clap for us, instead. We seem to be really enjoying Max's speeches.

– Poor Otis. But that's the cutest little cone I've ever seen.

The interactions between siblings in the waiting room were some of my favorite scenes in this episode. There was so much characterization that they didn't have to have the same conversation or talk about the same topics. Third time around, Adam should've just taken the tea. And where were Zeek and Camille?

– Just as Sarah wore Hank down, Hank is starting to see some chinks in Sarah's "I'm engaged" armor. He's about ready to switch into homewrecker mode.

  • Comments (15)
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  • bluemystique Oct 26, 2012

    Yeah, see I still see Adam and Kristina as the sactimonious, self-righteous, judgmental, and bordering on insufferable. Now they just have a storyline that given my passion for Breast Cancer awareness and my being a decent human being, I can't actively voice how much they annoy me (well mostly Kristina) without coming across as a total jackass. But their journey through this has been remarkable...the acting has been fantastic. I'm stuck between being appreciative of them covering the topic, and annoyed that it will last longer than I ever would have wanted it too which means that they'll be obligated to still focus so much of the screentime on Kristina and Adam at the expense of the other characters who seem to be fading away in the background with little to nothing to do. Mainly Zeek and Camille...especially Camille who hasn't had much of anything to say or do all season.

    - I love Amber and Ryan. It's sad that the girl is so accustomed to guys just willing to fall into bed with her that the thought of meeting someone who is a gentleman confused her. I look forward to seeing how they progress.

    -Oh Sara. She's the Braverman of the week I had the most trouble with. It already sucks that half the time she doesn't pay Drew much attention anyways, but then to abruptly force him to move when he clearly doesn't want to and doesn't need to because his grandparents would have let him continue to stay there...all so she can make herself feel better about her crumbling relationship with poor Mark is absurd. It was truly absurd.Sara is the one who always has good intentions and she likes to be the cool mom but the fact of the matter is she's so hare brained and just as clueless as her kids. That can be endearing and troubling. In this case it was troubling. It's easy to forget who the parent is when it comes to Sara.

  • wingsabre Oct 25, 2012

    Max's class is quite small for electing a student council president.

    As for the reactions from those kids, I believe that in the real world we could have seen the same reaction. It is not unexpected for kids to be mean, especially in junor high/middle school, but at the same time they're young adults. They're old enough to understand when someone goes deep and tells the truth. I believe that those kids teased him before because they did not understand his condition or did not know. He was just the weird kid, however by informing those kids, they understand.

  • algetrig91 Oct 25, 2012

    I. Love. This. Show.

  • violetpretty Oct 28, 2012

    My thoughts exactly.

  • vmarslover Oct 25, 2012

    -is it just me or somthing is up with Adam's hair? the way it parts or something...

    - cutest cone on Otis ever

    - i also used to hate Haddie but started to feel for her towards the end of last season, where you could see how the weight of being a Braverman was taking a tool on her so please give her some screen time! and shame on Adam and Kristina for lying to her. first, lying has never been their policy ( if I recall), plus her wanting to stay to help actually makes sense so...

  • ch0c0nutz Oct 25, 2012

    i believe zeek and camille stayed home taking care of the baby? not sure...



    and i agree about the cone on otis lol

  • torontogirl98 Oct 25, 2012

    I missed Haddie too, I used to hate her but having her gone and then come back just made the story with Kristina so much better. I really hope she stays.

  • LarissaPeixot Oct 25, 2012

    I cried with Max's speech. That was honest and because of that, beautiful. My weakness is actually my strength.

  • Diflas Oct 25, 2012

    I don't really get the point about lying to Haddie from a story point mode. Why did she go there in the first place if she wasn't gonna do anything to the story and just go back?



    I agree, Max wouldn't never have won in a real school, but i think it was the right move. If he hadn't we would have gotten a big angry scene, and it wouldn't have fit in with all the cancer sorrow. So for now he had to win.

  • Foyboy Oct 25, 2012

    Haddie coming home shows how much she cares about her family. She's willing to sacrifice some part of her future to take of her mom and the rest of the family during the cancer. The story also allows Kristina and Adam to showcase their undying commitment to Haddie's future by lying to her so that she goes off and pursues her dream instead of wasting time taking care of the dishes and driving Max to school.

    I'm glad she came home and was quite moved by Kristina and Adam sending her back to Cornell.

  • SokkaAppa Oct 25, 2012

    I have to disagree with the empathy of those kids to what Max was preaching. At that age I think they understand because of the speech that Max isn't different because he is weird but because of a condition. Kids aren't just mean to be mean but it is mostly because of ignorance. It was a touching moment that can actually happen.



    Very good review again.

  • bendylegsnick Oct 25, 2012

    I can't believe Kristina and Adam lied to Haddie! Lying is never the way. Haddie is just going to feel hurt that she wasn't told the truth in the first place! Ridiculous!

    Also ridiculous was Max winning the election. His speech was nice and all, but let's get this straight: kids are scum. They really are just horrible 'people'. He would not have been elected in any school anywhere. It's mean, but it's true...

  • virgo091085 Oct 25, 2012

    the one thing I liked about the student council election was how Max finally listened and understood how someone was trying to help him when He took Haddie's advice to describe how he is tenacious

  • docspector Oct 25, 2012

    I suppose it depends on how many of the kids wanted the vending machines back. That's the nature of a single-issue candidacy.

  • DrSpongejr Oct 25, 2012

    I agree, but his speech really was good, and I'm glad the kids finally did see his side (even if I know that wouldn't happen in real life.) Also, good cancer storyline, and I agree that they should have told her about the chemotherapy. The praying bit at the end was also good. Good episode, overall. This, Go On, Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23, and Underemployed make Tuesday nights (if not the) best night on TV.