EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community


Image Credit: Ben Cohen/NBC

'Parenthood' season 5 finale recap: The times they are a-changin'

Season 5 | Episode 22 | “The Pontiac” | Aired Apr 17, 2014

The season (series?) finale of Parenthood was all about the elephant in the room, or as Hank puts it, “the tomato in the room.” The wayward and forgotten Braverman child, Haddie, returns with a big tomato, or secret. Sarah finally makes a decision about her tomato, or relationship with Hank. Drew makes the decision to take a road trip (with help from Grandpa Zeek), which is motivated by his tomato, or need to express his true feelings to his true love. Amber says goodbye to Ryan, but neglects to tell him about her tomato, or a very juicy secret that I will not share until later in this post. And Joel and Julia have a touching moment that hints at the fact that their relationship is on the mend, despite Julia’s tomato, or secret tryst with Mr. Knight.

Whew. That’s a lot of tomatoes.

bravermanTomato #1: Haddie’s secret
Adam and Kristina’s daughter Haddie (whom you may not remember because she’s been MIA for the entire season) flies back to Berkeley for the summer and returns home by taxicab. BY TAXICAB. Seriously? There wasn’t an extra Braverman wandering around to go pick her up from the airport?

The reception from Adam and Kristina is, frankly, pretty low-key considering she’s been gone forever, or at least for the past year or so. I mean, I’ve gotten warmer welcomes from the receptionist at my vet when I take my cats in for their yearly exams. Haddie arrives home with Lauren (Tavi Gevinson), whom she introduces as her “super-awesome best friend.” The nature of their super-awesome friendship becomes clear very quickly, when Haddie admits to her SABFF that she just couldn’t tell her parents the truth. The truth? Lauren is immediately understanding and tells Haddie that her parents aren’t going to love her any less, but to “tell them when you’re ready. Do it for you, don’t do it for me.” Ahhhh! Lightbulb! Got it! By the way, I already like Lauren more than I’ve ever liked Haddie. They share a kiss that SABFFs don’t typically share, which Max sees. Uh-oh.

Later, Adam and Haddie are catching up in the kitchen. Adam: “It’d be nice to hear from you a little more often.” Like when your mother ran for mayor or when she was given a clean bill of health? Haddie tells Adam about her friendship with Lauren but doesn’t go there. She tells her dad that Lauren “gets me” and “introduces me to new stuff” (yeah, she really said that), but can’t seem to disclose the whole truth. Despite the billboard-size signs, Adam smiles and tells her he thinks it’s great that she’s made such a good friend so soon. Kristina, on the other hand, doesn’t have to decipher Haddie’s cryptic comments because Max comes right out and tells her he saw his sister and Lauren kissing. Like kissing kissing. After about three seconds of looking shocked and reimagining the future wedding-cake topper, she finds Haddie and tells her, “I would never be upset with you for following your heart. Ever.” Damn tomatoes. They always make me cry.

Tomato #2: Sarah and Hank’s relationship
For the past few weeks, it’s been clear that Hank is playing for keeps when it comes to Sarah. Look at his sessions with Dr. Pelikan, his increased attempts at communication with Sarah — with everybody — and the obvious importance he places on his and Sarah’s relationship. After several instances of Sarah witnessing his compassion with Amber at the hospital, it’s evident that the walls she’s put up to protect herself from Hank’s habitual distance are starting to crumble, and the “year of Sarah” is in grave jeopardy.

Hank doesn’t beat around the bush, and tells her they need to address “the big tomato in the room.” He lays it out there: Are they going to give it another shot? Sarah admits that the Asperger’s worries her. She tells him that she’s a communicator (no, really?), and she needs that in a relationship. While she appreciates that he’s working on bettering himself, she’s worried about risking their friendship.

A day (two?) later, Sarah obviously decides communication is overrated and marches into the photography studio and grabs Hank’s face and kisses him. The “year of Sarah” is officially over.

Tomato #3: Drew’s declaration
The school year is over at UC Berkeley, and Drew’s newly labeled girlfriend, Natalie, is going home to Portland. As she gets on her bus, she tells Drew she loves him. Drew is so dumbfounded, he can only stand there and stare (he could’ve at least said “thank you,” which is what I may or may not have said to my husband the first time he uttered those words to me).

Later, Zeek gives Drew his coveted Pontiac. Yes, that Pontiac. The one Victor helped him rebuild and the one that almost caused Camille to walk out.


Zeek tells Drew that from the very beginning, “I was doing this for you,” and to drive to Portland and tell the girl he loves her. Which he does. Which makes me, once again, swear off tomatoes.

Tomato #4: Amber’s secret
Seems Haddie isn’t the only Braverman granddaughter with a secret. But first, there’s an alcoholic mother to deal with. Ryan’s mother (Annabeth Gish, or Kat from Mystic Pizza for all you ’80s and early Julia Roberts movie buffs) arrives at the hospital to take Ryan back to Wyoming, a place he’s always told Amber he hated. Seems Ryan has been discharged from the Army for getting wasted and crashing his car (medically discharged, though, so that’s cool). Although his entire leg is in a cast and his face is still bloody, days after his admittance to the hospital (really? They couldn’t clean him up?), it’s time for him to go. His mama is a hard-ass and makes it clear why Ryan hasn’t been a real “family guy.” She’s immediately suspicious of Amber and spews hateful vibes with every exhale of her cigarette. Amber can’t believe Ryan would be willing to go back to all he hated. But he is. According to Ryan, he has no other options. In a heartbreaking scene, they say goodbye.

"Bye, buddy."  "Bye, buddy."

“Bye, buddy.”
“Bye, buddy.”

Oh, that’s right. Amber’s secret? She’s later seen shopping for A PREGNANCY TEST.

Oh, please let there be another season.

Tomato #5: Julia’s secret
While it’s no secret to us that Julia slept with Max’s teacher, I’m pretty sure that after the Norman Rockwell day the Graham family spends once Victor wins an essay contest, it’s a secret Julia is planning to take to the grave. Victor brings his parents to tears reading his account of helping Zeek fix the Pontiac (which he says helped him get through “a tough year” and brings this parent to tears, as well), and the happy foursome celebrates with a trip to the frozen yogurt store. When they return to the (former) family home, Sydney throws a typical Sydney-size tantrum because she doesn’t want her daddy to go. I’ll admit, it’s surprisingly heartbreaking, and might be the first time I’ve ever felt like hugging her instead of spanking her. Joel caves (as usual) and tucks her in with a bedtime story, regaling her with the events of her birth. The never-ending story puts the little darling (cough) to sleep, and leaves Joel and Julia looking lovingly into each other’s eyes and grasping hands.

The finale ends with a four-minute montage of events set to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” (Lovely song, but this is worrisome, as Dylan is also the force behind “Forever Young,” the opening song that, at least in my mind, will forevermore be associated with this show. Please tell me this isn’t a full-circle kind of thing.)

As Dylan sings his meaningful lyrics, we see Zeek and Camille walk through their empty house and the family unite for one of their big Braverman dinners — complete with the same fairy lights and giant table from the former Braverman family home that they all magically fit around — in Adam and Kristina’s backyard.

The times they definitely are a-changin’. Let’s just hope we’ll get to see the changes next season.


Let me hear what you thought of all the tomatoes that were thrown at us in the finale in the comments below!

Read more of Michelle’s posts at You’re My Favorite Today.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like