‘Parenthood’ Recap (Season 3, Episode 1): “I Don’t Want To Do This Without You”
Parenthood’s third season got off to a strong, if busy start with tonight’s Jason Katims-penned episode. With the narrative skipping forward in time six months from the last time we saw the Bravermans, there was lots to catch up on involving our characters but also lots of new storylines to set in motion. This season was originally going to be the standard 22 episodes until recently when NBC changed the episode order to only 16, so they’re definitely going to try to cram in as much plot as possible this season. And so far, so good. Recap below…
It’s Sarah’s 40th birthday, and Zeek jokingly gives her a cane wrapped in festive paper. Times are a’changing, as Amber reveals to the family that she’s moving out and getting her own apartment. Sarah comes with Amber to see the place and balks as it’s a studio apartment with no kitchen in a scuzzy neighborhood. Amber, who still has yet to receive her high school diploma due to overdue library books, is in love with it. When Sarah is upset later, wondering why Amber even needs to move out so soon after her breakdown, Amber says she felt she disappointed everyone and feels suffocated at home so she has to get out of the Braverman house; she’s gone and taken the apartment.
Sarah goes to the high school to try to get Amber’s diploma, but the woman at the main office is awful to her about it. Luckily, Mark (guest star Jason Ritter, free from the clutches of The Event) is there to brighten Sarah’s day and take her out for coffee. He tells her that Amber is going to be fine on her own. Sarah in turn kisses him. He freaks out, then she freaks out and she leaves. Typical Sarah.
Adam is now unemployed – and unshaven – and Kristina is very pregnant and the only current source of income for the family. This depresses Adam and he takes to sitting around the house each day watching Charles in Charge reruns and making paper clip men while waiting for the phone to ring in regards to job interviews. He is interviewed for a position delivering soft drinks to stores, which would entail a much smaller salary in comparison to his previous jobs and would also bore Adam greatly. But he seems intent on taking it because it would provide for his family.
While out to breakfast at The Pancake House, Crosby plants the seed of an idea that they should go into the recording industry business together: famous recording studio The Luncheonette is up for lease, and Crosby would like him and Adam to take it. Adam doesn’t give the offer much thought however, because he’s distracted by their waitress, Sandy (Wilfred’s Fiona Gubelmann), who it is revealed has slept with Crosby. Adam is concerned because not only could this ruin The Pancake House for them, but because Crosby needs to tell Jasmine about this – the two of them aren’t back together, but are on good speaking terms. Sandy later visits Crosby while he’s playing football with Jabbar and introduces herself to Crosby’s son as “his special friend.” Jabbar tells Jasmine about this and later on, Jasmine, in addition to being upset that Crosby didn’t tell her about this first, reveals to Crosby that she’s started dating again.
Kristina tells Adam she’s been offered a promotion at her job, and she accepted; this would mean many more hours but only slightly more pay. Adam is upset she didn’t consult him and frustrated that he’s not the one providing for the family. A couple days later, after he’s had time to think about it, he tells her it’s okay and they’re gonna make it work. Crosby brings Adam to the studio, which has quite a bit of history (lots of famous musicians recorded their work there), and makes his last plea to Adam that he should go into business with him rather than take the soft drink job. Adam, much like Rebecca Black before him, is conflicted: Which job should I taaaake…?
Haddie is a senior now and has been invited to a party her friends are throwing. She is still dating Alex (guest star Michael B. Jordan), and Max is concerned for them because the party will have alcohol and Alex is a recovering alcoholic. Alex won’t be going to the party and he doesn’t even really want Haddie to go to it, but he lets her make up her mind: she’s going. She winds up making bad choices and gets sloshed. When Alex comes to pick her up, she doesn’t want to leave, and he’s upset at how drunk she is. The host of the party sees the altercation and tells Alex to back off, and the conflict grows, ending with Alex punching the guy, unable to control his temper. The cops come to break up the party and Alex is arrested. Not good. He’s bailed out by Julia of all people, who informs him that the boy’s parents are going to press charges but that he should be okay considering this is only his first offense. Alex tells Julia that this isn’t actually his first offense, something no Braverman has yet to find out until now. Uh-oh.
Speaking of poor Julia, she and Joel are stuck with the most minor and uninteresting storyline: Julia is baby crazy and wants to adopt, specifically the baby that the young girl who brings her coffee at work is pregnant with, as she’s planning on giving it away.
Sarah’s birthday party is the big event of the hour, as it brings together every character in the show. There’s ping-pong, BBQ and a dance sequence. Mid-party, Amber leaves to pick up the apartment key, and Sarah and her daughter exchange tearful goodbyes despite Sarah still not being totally in love with the idea of Amber leaving. After the party, Camille reminds Sarah that she wasn’t there for her own 40th birthday, because she was off with some motorcycle guy. Camille tells her daughter that Amber will be fine; she may make some of the same mistakes that Sarah made, but she’ll land on her feet. Sarah smiles and wishes her mother a (very) belated Happy 40th. Mark shows up outside the house with Amber’s diploma, which he stole from the office.
Odds & Ends
- When Max is in the car with Haddie and Alex, he mentions that he watched Friday Night Lights, which is an in-joke as Parenthood exec-producer Jason Katims oversaw that show as well, and Michael B. Jordan (Alex) was one of the stars of its last two seasons.
- Haddie’s party friends are all people we’ve never seen before. Random.
- Speaking of Haddie, she and Amber both have radically different, new hairstyles. Amber also has a really cute new yellow car.
- Amber loves the studio apartment because it has a skylight; Sarah hates it because it looks like it came from Shutter Island.
- Poor Drew is now the only kid at Casa Braverman. He needs a juicy storyline, stat.
- Genuinely touching moment of the evening: Max and all the other little Bravermans gathering around Kristina to feel her stomach for the baby’s kick.
Image Credit: NBC
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