Reviewed by Tom Ciuba
“I’ll Be Right Here…” was a bit dull, despite the amount of emotion that should have come with an episode where Kristina goes in for a lumpectomy.
Kristina’s surgery was, indeed, the focal point of the episode with every other major plot point seeming to branch off of it. With Haddie back home for a visit, she offered a helping hand in any way she could, but also insisted on taking a semester’s break, which stressed out Adam and Kristina more than they already were. Election Day at Max’s school also snuck up on the Bravermans, and Kristina had a tough time with not being able to be there to hear his speech and see through the voting process. Crosby struggled to lend Kristina a helping hand in a meaningful way, and a thoughtful gestures of offering to take Otis to the dog park ended with a visit to the vet’s office. Meanwhile, Sarah moved in with Mark, which was difficult for Drew, who didn’t want to leave Camille and Zeek’s. Also, romance began to bud between Amber and Ryan. At the end of the episode, Kristina finds out that her breast cancer has been completely removed, but that the disease has spread to her lymph nodes.
On the plus side, I was really excited to have Sara Ramos back for an episode. It was awesome to see how much Haddie has really grown up, too, since leaving for college. There really was such a change in her, and it’d be awesome to have some adventures with the wise, adult Haddie rather than the whiny, teenage one. It was also refreshing to, for once, see two 20-something-year-olds (Amber and Ryan) take it slow when it comes to romance and dating. Also, the Parenthood showed off its ability to be just as funny as it is serious. Adam’s face while Crosby tried to massage his stress away and each sibling’s kind offer of “some tea” in the hospital waiting room, for example, were genuinely laugh-inducing. It was good to break up the heaviness of this season so far with a little good-natured humor.
However, I was surprised that Max won the school election. Don’t get me wrong! I was rooting for him all the way! But, Parenthood’s greatest strength is that it always seems to be grounded in reality, and I’m just not so sure that a freshman who one day is considered an outcast and a “freak” would be voted class president the next. Maybe I’m just too cynical, but with bullying so prevalent and so “out there” these days, I don’t see how that would happen. I’m glad that the writers are opting to give Max a chance at having a normal adolescence because I’m tired to feeling bad for him (I literally winced and turned my head away from the screen when he stepped up to the podium to deliver his speech), but perhaps they should have more slowly chronicled his journey to social acceptance.
In addition, I was dying to know how Joel and Julia are getting by with both of them out of work. Don’t have one of your major characters make such a 180 in one episode and barely address it in the next!
And finally, my biggest gripe with the entire episode is that Adam and Kristina blatantly lied to Haddie and told her Kristina was cancer-free. That was just messed up and kind of rotten! I understand that they want her to go back to Cornell to continue her success, but to keep her in the dark, especially because she’s so far away, seemed so deceptive and, frankly, out of character for Adam, who just last week promised to treat her as an adult and keep her in the know. I know that, story-wise, this will probably provide some real good drama later on in the season, but I was not a fan of that move.
So, what’d you guys think? Am I PMSing today…or was last night’s episode a setback from what’s so far been a great season?