Parenthood Recap: Carl, Crosby, Cancer And A Charter School

It’s only been a week since you last read a recap about Parenthood, but we know how horrible short-term memory loss can plague some stony people. So, a quick reminder of what is going on with the Braverman crew.

Crosby’s been very pissy because his parents are selling his childhood home, the same one he and his family are staying in for free while their house gets unmoldy. Max is getting kicked out of class repeatedly because his smartness is distracting to the other dummies in the class, so Adam and Kristina consider opening their own charter school for high-functioning special needs kids. Oh, and she’s also waiting to find out if the cancer is back.


Natalie nudged Drew to consider how weird it was that his high school girlfriend has holed up in his dorm room, and Amber was dealing with her engagement ending. Sydney and Victor aren’t adjusting well to their parents’ split, and neither are her parents, particularly mom. And Hank continues to be jealous about Sarah and Carl’s relationship heading towards hot and heavy.

So here we go, sibling by sibling.

Sarah (and Carl and Hank)

Sarah Cuddles

So Sarah (Laren Graham) sealed the deal with Carl (Josh Stamberg). We saw that coming!

After what seemed like a not-very-promising first date, Sarah got a little swept off her Chucks apparently and her panties fell off. But just as the morning spoon gets going, Carl announces he’s headed to Zimbabwe for a week for work, and he just can’t function without his new love. It would make him feel the sad-faced feels. So he invites her. Not weird at all.

Carl encourages Sarah to ditch her deadline for the surf catalog, the same job he got her. And so she says yes. “Deadlines are so 1970s anyway,” Carl quips.

Later that day, Hank (Ray Romano) and Sarah edit photos, and she drops the bomb that she’s leaving for a week. Hank doesn’t move deadlines. He’s not OK with it, and she doesn’t feel the need to explain herself.

Max (Max Burkholder) does the splaining for her. “Aunt Sarah is going to Africa next week with her boyfriend, so I want to work on the Surfsport catalog,” he tells Hank, to which Hank freaks and closes the shop early.

Hank Therapy

Naturally, Hank does the only logical thing he could do: He calls the superspensive Asperger’s therapist for another emergency meeting because his co-worker is going on a trip with her new boyfriend.

Hank admits that they dated a year ago. “It wasn’t serious, you know, I loved her, she loved me, I think,” he says. “Now it’s platonic.” The therapist wants him to try the honesty thing with her and see how it goes.

“You came to me because you wanted to change, didn’t you?” the therapist says, adding that even when it’s uncomfortable he needs to take the bull by the balls.

Hank shows up at Sarah’s apartment to discuss her trip. But what he’s upset about, he says, is that she’s flaking out on her opportunity because of a guy, a guy who got her a job and then urged her to blow it off.

Parenthood Recap: Carl, Crosby, Cancer And A Charter School

Hank got through. Sarah cancels on Carl, explaining her whole Year of Sarah schpeel, and how she has a tendency to get distracted. She even goes so far as to break things off because of the Year of Sarah. Guess it’s the Year of Alone Sarah, but hey, that’s not such a bad thing. We’re all about enjoying the solitude, too. (Really, we are. Unless you know a stunning do-gooder you want to set us up with who will whisk us off to Zimbabwe.)


Sarah shows up at Hank’s studio to admit that he was right, and they get down to work, and by work, we mean work. (Yawn.)

Crosby and Jasmine and Zeek and Camille

The annoying real estate agent is taking another tour of the property. “Oh hey Kar,” Crosby (Dax Shepard) says condescendingly to Karen (Alexandra Barreto), the lady whom he loathes because he believes she and his mother have turned Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) into a steamrolled bobble head with no soul. Dramatic much, grown man?

Crosby goes home for lunch, meaning he goes to his parents’ house for leftover lasagna. And to his dismay, she is painting his room lilac, the room that he has not lived in for 15 years.

“You positioned this so that it’s a choice between you and the house,” Crosby tells his mother, Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), which does not go over well. He even goes so far as to call her selfish. Duck and cover, dude.

The word “selfish” lands him smack dab in the middle of a talking-to as his mother holds back angry tears amidst a rundown of all she has done for her husband and four children over the years. “Now when I assert one thing I want, one thing, you and your dad and everyone else can’t take it,” she says. “If that’s selfish, excuse me.”  We don’t think she actually wants to be excused.

Crosby listens through a heating vent as his parents fight things out. He invites wifey Jasmine (Joy Bryant) to listen in, and she totally sees through his BS. “We cannot stay here,” he tells her as the shit hits the forced air and heating apparatuses.

Crosby and Jasmine

So Crosby and Jasmine announce over dinner that they’re flying the coop, subletting a condo. “We don’t want to be in anyone’s way,” Crosby says.

Selfish Camille says no. Settled. They’re not leaving. Who wants dessert?

Julia and Joel

Ed (David Denman) , the other man if you recall, shows up. It’s green week at the school, so they have to step up to the plate. But Julia (Erika Christensen) makes it clear she cannot be friends with Ed. “Got it,” he says. Rough.

The two bought hundreds worth of vegetable plants and are planning to trick everyone into thinking there has been a sudden growth spurt, even though they’ve often been walking past the weedy, decrepit mess that is the sustainable garden. We like to see the crappy garden as just a portrait of their relationships since meeting and taking on the project. Barren, dead. (English lit degree? Check!)

Julia Garden

“These weren’t here yesterday,” one snotty-ass kid says, because he’s not an idiot. They pretty much all aren’t idiots at that charter school.

Julia’s daughter Sydney (Savannah Paige Ray) starts making demands in front of the class and Ed. “I don’t want to stay at daddy’s stupid apartment,” she says, loudly, in the middle of the garden tour. Things get ugly for the audience, so Julia gives in.

Sydney 1

Joel (Sam Jaeger) is there to pick up the kids, and Julia explains the whole Sydney not wanting to go thing. “No, no, no,” he says. “The therapist said that was exactly what we should not do.” When he finds out Julia said yes, he’s miffed.


So then Ed shows up at her door. “Seriously?” she rants, disgusted that he would come to her house at night like that, pointing out that this whole divorce is happening because of Ed, and that it is his fault. “I wish I had never met you.” Wonder where Sydney gets it no more.

Ed kindly points out that infidelity is a symptom of a bigger problem, and if she wants her marriage back she’s going to have to dig a little deeper. It’s an inconvenient truth.

The next day at the school’s garden tour and tasting, Sydney is pissed again. Ed steps in to diffuse the situation and gets Sydney to cool it, which is cute and nice of him. That night Julia shows up at Ed’s door to apologize and grovel.

“Don’t beat yourself up for it,” Ed says. “Marriage is hard.” She gives Ed some leftover chicken marsala, and he invites her in to share it.

“It’s just dinner, right?” she says shrugging her shoulders, assuring herself she’s able to do whatever she wants now.

“Just dinner,” Ed says. It always is.

Drew and Amber

Amber (Mae Whitman) shows up for a surprise visit at Drew’s (Miles Heizer) dorm room, rustling him out of bed with chocolate. Within minutes she calls him out on his eating-cheesy-puffed-treats-in-bed-in-his-sad-pajamas bullshit. She is not having it. She gets the roommate, Berto (Nick Krause), to give the 411 on parties and plans a night out in the coming week because that’s how she do.

“Dude, your sister’s kind of hot,” Berto says, as expected. They should have just called this show ‘Everyone Loves Amber.’

Drew hits up Natalie (Lyndon Smith) about going to the frat party with him, and that basically totally throws her for a loop. “You disappear for three weeks, re-emerge like nothing happened, and now you want to know if I want to go to a frat party with you, which I think is exactly what you said you never wanted to do with me,” Natalie scolds. So in other words, sure, I’ll meet you there.

Natalie No

Amber drags Drew to the frat party and makes him pinky swear that they will each make out with someone at the party to get their lives back on track. She is so wise and emotionally mature. She explains to Berto that she needs to hook up with someone, and so he lays one on her. She freaks and runs away screaming “ewwww” like a crazy person.

Berto lets Natalie in on Drew’s plan to hook up with someone, so she wants to leave. “I heard you’re a man on a mission,” she says before turning her back on him. Mission Not Accomplished.

Adam and Kristina

Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) wait at the doctor’s office for her one-year-later exam since beating the big C word. They talk about how not nervous they are, which is total malarkey.


The school calls, and Kristina takes it. She wanted to talk to Principal Radford because Max’s English teacher Mr. Knight (Zachary Knighton) took away his chair in class. “I feel like you are giving up on my kid,” she tells the person on the other end of the phone who is not the principal.

Adam:Kris Hall

Later, they head through the hallowed halls toward Mr. Knight. “Just so you know honey, I’m going to be mean,” Kristina tells Adam. “Really, really mean.

Mr. Knight 1

Turns out, sitting in chairs is just antiquated. He’s an outside-the-box kind of teacher working on his Ph.D. at Berkeley. He’s also pretty hot, naturally. “That’s a brilliant kid you’ve got there,” he tells them, disarming Kristina of her weapons. “I wish there were more schools that catered to kids like Max.”

Well, Mr. Knight, it’s funny you mention that. They’re thinking about opening their own charter school! He doesn’t jump right on board, explaining the perils of trying to start something like that and the unlikelihood that it would succeed, especially once Max graduates.

The results of the exam don’t come in two days, which Adam points out is the definition of “a couple of days.” They need to redirect their anger somewhere. Kristina goes on about how wonderful Mr. Knight is and Adam makes some jokes about her getting tongue tied around him. Yes, she likes him, and starts backpedaling about opening the school.

“You’re afraid of something,” Adam says. “You had a great idea.”

Kristina's Results

Kristina finally gets the call, the all-clear one. No tumors. No shadows. Nada. “I’m perfect,” she says, half-smiling. “You’re stuck with me.” Tears. Hugs. And they are not going to sit around waiting for something bad to happen. Not them. They’re starting a school.

So they show up at Mr. Knight’s front door, admittedly inappropriate. But they go for it because they’re Adam and Kristina. “We need an educator who is going to come in and drive that train with us,” Kristina tells him like a mayoral candidate. He’s interested and invites them in for coffee. Could he possibly be there knight in shining spectacles?

Tune in to NBC next Thursday, March 13, at 10 p.m. for “Limbo,” in which family values collide and tempers flare. 

TV Show: Parenthood

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