Parenthood 2.14 “A House Divided” Review

Parenthood returned from a one week hiatus with a largely Haddie-centric episode that was a definite creative rebound over its last original episode. At the conclusion of said episode, we saw that the young Braverman was changing her residence in rebellion against her parents, a move that I found a little stale after a pretty intriguing series of episodes that built up the relationship. Much to my delight, ‘A House Divided’was anything but stale.

One of the most notable things about this episode, the 14th installment of the season, is that it highlights several characters’worst attributes as well as their best without resorting to the cacophonous conversation style that the show can sometimes slip into. For example, Sarah again shows an unbecoming selfish side when she asks Adam and Cory for a raise not long after they had to fire a quarter of the work force. I don’t think Sarah’s an awful person, as you know she has the best intentions, but it’s a side that pops up now and then. The fact that Cory kind of released her back into the unemployment wild was a wonderful thing for Sarah in the long run; she’s the freest of free spirits, so locking her up in the corporate world was never going to pan out anyway. It’s better to send her back to the bar and follow her search for happiness and that illusive ‘dream’career rather than try to fit that square peg into the round business circle.

Adam, though, was by far the highlight of the episode for me. He had moments where he was his typical overly passive self, but he had some serious cajones here. Not only did he actually stand up to Kristina regarding Alex, but he didn’t cave to Sarah’s pressure for a raise and he managed to calm yet another Max tantrum in order to save what’s left of Zeek’s sanity on the Braverman Male Bonding Camping Trip. I was strangely proud of him for being as in control and mature as he was, considering the anger issues that were touched on several episodes back, and I was relieved to finally see him let loose. After unknowingly ingesting marijuana through one of Cory’s lollipops, Adam was hilariously giggly and paranoid, bringing some much needed levity to Julia’s way way way way overly structured engagement party for Jasmine. The best moments in the series are when everyone’s together and just having a good time, so combine David Bowie, crab cakes, and Adam’s Princess Leia impression and there’s no way to not enjoy the show.

In the end, Haddie came home but she never stayed, which was a gutsy choice by the writers. Given how much of a family show this is, it would have been easy for her to realize the error of her ways and tearfully apologize for all the wrong she had done, bags in hand and soft indie pop song crescendoing in the background. Instead, we got to see the headstrong, sometimes stubborn Haddie pop up and it made much more impact than had she come home with her tail between her legs. One of the ways that Parenthood has improved this season is that they don’t let storylines die as quickly, so expect Haddie’s continued residence with her grandparents to play a major part in the rest of the season (or at least the next few episodes). There are already cracks showing with Amber questioning her decision to move out in the first place and judging by the promo for next week, Alex doesn’t seem that happy with her decision, either, so while the Braverman dam may be strong, there’s a flood a-comin’ and it’ll get ugly fast.

Grade: B+
Episode MVP: Adam
Favorite Bits: The last scene with Adam/Kristina where we find out the source of her dislike for Alex/Haddie’s relationship, ‘that color makes you whatever pop’, ‘I know what an edible complex is’, insecure Julia, the awful party games at Jasmine’s party
Least Favorite Bits: Zeek’s unchecked sexism, another Max tantrum
Next Week: Drew gets bullied, Seth makes his return, Haddie tells Alex about her living situation.

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