The Top Ten 'Parenthood' Episodes

Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
“May you stay forever young.” As Parenthood has come to a close, Emertainment Monthly has decided to round up the top ten episodes of this tear-inducing series. Parenthood may go down as one of the greatest family drama’s in television history and this is just a list of the top ten episodes to prepare fans to say goodbye to the Bravermans.

10. “Pilot”

Monica Potter, Erika Christensen, Lauren Graham and Bonnie Bedelia in the Parenthood pilot. Photo Credit: NBC.
Monica Potter, Erika Christensen, Lauren Graham and Bonnie Bedelia in the Parenthood pilot. Photo Credit: NBC.
The Bravermans have become a family everyone wants to be part of. They are flawed and human and that is the biggest draw to Parenthood. Everyone can see a piece of themselves and their families in the Bravermans. The pilot does an excellent job of setting up the Braverman clan and introduces viewers to this wonderful family. The highlight of this episode comes when the entire family follows Max (Max Burkholder) to his baseball game. There is no dialogue in the sequence but seeing the family in the stands cheering Max on is enough to make you cry. Another tear-jerker moment comes earlier when Adam (Peter Krause), Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Max are outside of Sydney’s (Savannah Paige Rae) school performances. A choked up Adam admits to Zeek, “there is something wrong with my son.” Even in the Pilot, Adam is the level-headed sibling and seeing him break down is emotional.

9. “One More Weekend Without You”

Monica Potter and Peter Krause in the Parenthood episode "One More Weekend With You." Photo Credit: Danny Feld/NBC.
Monica Potter and Peter Krause in the Parenthood episode “One More Weekend With You.” Photo Credit: Danny Feld/NBC.
This episode was one of the roughest for Kristina (Monica Potter) as the effects of her chemotherapy begin to show. When Max has his first sleepover, Kristina can barely take care of her son, which is emotional for any mother. In the most heartbreaking sequence, Max storms into Kristina’s room with Adam trailing close behind. He discovers Kristina lying on the cold, tile bathroom floor unable to move. Potter’s cancer story arc took an emotional toll on the family and the fans. This is one of many moments where her acting shines. Also in this episode, Amber (Mae Whitman) and Ryan (Matt Lauria) take steps in their relationship when Amber accompanies Ryan to a funeral of one of his military brothers. By the episodes end, Amber and Ryan drive to escape everyday life and end up at the beach. Their relationship has been a complicated one throughout Parenthood but, this sweet and tender moment will always be a standout.

8. “Taking the Leap”

Mae Whitman in the Parenthood episode "Taking The Leap." Photo Credit: NBC.
Mae Whitman in the Parenthood episode “Taking The Leap.” Photo Credit: NBC.
This episode involved Joel and Julia’s continued quest to have another child. The two characters have always been a partnership and their chemistry on screen is magnificent. In the last two minutes of the episode, a heartbroken Julia (Erika Christensen) reveals to Joel (Sam Jaeger) that she can’t have more children. Seeing the devastation on Joel’s face says it all as he comforts his wife. Throughout Parenthood Joel and Julia have been through a lot, they went from being the stable couple to the couple that was inches from signing divorce papers. This moment is something small in their long history but, it’s the most significant. Fans will definitely miss the tender Joel and Julia moments.

7. “Small Victories”

Dax Shepard in the Parenthood episode "Small Victories." Photo Credit: NBC.
Dax Shepard in the Parenthood episode “Small Victories.” Photo Credit: NBC.
Drew’s (Miles Heizer) relationship with Amy (Skyler Day) was one of the biggest story arcs in an already jammed packed season four. When Drew and Amy decide to take the next step in their relationship and have sex it takes an unexpected turn when Amy finds out she is pregnant. Drew decides to be the bigger man and wants to help Amy through the pregnancy. Unfortunately, in this episode Drew finds out that Amy got the abortion against Drew’s wishes. In an heartbreaking scene, Drew goes to Sarah (Lauren Graham) and completely breaks down. He has always been the level-headed character and rarely shows emotions however, this was one of the most heartbreaking moments the show has ever produced. As Sarah draws him closer they simply hug and the muffled cries from Drew are all that need to be exchanged. Heizer’s acting in this scene is nothing short of wonderful and he proves that no matter how put together you are, you always need your Mom.

6. “What to My Wondering Eyes”

Miles Heizer, Mae Whitman, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, Joy Bryant, Erika Christensen, Sam Jaeger and Bonnie Bedelia in the Parenthood episode "What To My Wondering Eyes." Photo Credit: Neil Jacobs/NBC.
Miles Heizer, Mae Whitman, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, Joy Bryant, Erika Christensen, Sam Jaeger and Bonnie Bedelia in the Parenthood episode “What To My Wondering Eyes.” Photo Credit: Neil Jacobs/NBC.
Okay, this episode was definitely worth three boxes of tissues. As Kristina’s cancer takes a turn for the worst, fans began to waver as to whether or not she would make it out the other side. Potter’s acting in season four earned her a much-deserved Golden Globe nomination and one can speculate this scene is the reason why. As she lies unconscious in bed, Adam opens her computer and sees a video on her desktop. Kristina made a video talking to Adam, Haddie (Sarah Ramos), Max and Nora (Ella and Mia Allen) and giving them motherly advice for after she is gone. Kristina encapsulated all of the things she wanted to tell them in one sweet video and there were not enough Kleenex in the world to help fans get through it. She closes the video by saying, “I may not always be with you the way that I want to be, but I will never leave your side,” and that line reduced everyone to a blubbering mess. Potter is flawless and her work as Kristina will always be treasured.

5. “How Did We Get Here?”

Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson in the Parenthood episode "How Did We Get Here." Photo Credit: NBC.
Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson in the Parenthood episode “How Did We Get Here.” Photo Credit: NBC.
Parenthood fans knew that this finale season was going to be a the toughest yet but, they could not prepare for the amazing work the show had in store. In one of the final episodes, fans watched as all the children received phone calls about Zeek being rushed to the hospital. In classic Parenthood fashion, there was no dialogue, only music as the six original Braverman’s scrambled to get to their ailing father.  This episode has several major moments. For starters, Adam and Crosby (Dax Shepard) begin to think about whether the Luncheonette is worth keeping open after it’s robbed. Seeing the Luncheonette go from a dream, to a reality, to a dying entity was emotional for viewers and this moment was icing on the cake. Also this episode showed all the women in the Braverman clan throwing Amber a baby shower in the hospital cafeteria. All the children have gone through both physical and emotional transformations on the show however, Amber’s seems to be the greatest. Seeing her so close to parenthood herself and receiving advice from her aunts, her grandmother and especially her mother was a very poignant moment. Also growing up a lot during the series was Sarah. This episode Sarah’s relationship with Hank came full circle when he proposed to her. Every actor on this show left it all on the table during this incredibly dramatic, tear-inducing episode.

4. “The Offer”

Monica Potter, Max Burkholder and Peter Krause in the Parenthood episode "The Offer." Photo Credit: NBC.
Monica Potter, Max Burkholder and Peter Krause in the Parenthood episode “The Offer.” Photo Credit: NBC.
Kristina, Adam and Max’s journey with Max’s diagnosis of Aspergers has been one of the longest storylines on the show. Starting in the pilot with the diagnosis, Max and the entire Braverman clan have come a long way. In this episode, the tears were flowing in the ending sequence when Kristina and Adam must drive up to Max’s school camping trip to pick him up after an altercation with a classmate. In an emotional scene, fans learn that the child Max fought will peed in his canteen. On the car ride home, Max asks the emotional question “Why do all the other kids hate me?” Seeing Kristina and Adam begin to cry in the front seat of the car as Max describes his life at school and not understanding why all the children hate him is emotional to say the least. Finally, fans hear the click of the seatbelt and Kristina climbs into the back of the car to hug her heartbroken son. Adam, Kristina and Max have had some of the most dramatic and tear-inducing sequences together over the years and this one may be the hardest and beautifully well acted. Burkholder effortlessly portrays Max’s struggle with Aspergers and if this is how he acts as a child, fans cannot wait to see his career continue to grow.

3. “Pontiac”

Ray Romano, Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham in the Parenthood episode "The Pontiac." Photo Credit: NBC.
Ray Romano, Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham in the Parenthood episode “The Pontiac.” Photo Credit: NBC.
The Braverman home acts as another character on Parenthood. The family home is one of the sets that houses most of the major family gatherings and a ton of milestones for the Braverman clan so, it was an emotional rollercoaster when Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) and Zeek decide to sell the family home. In this episode fans witness as all the children began to say goodbye. As Adam and Crosby slide down the stairs one last time and Zeek and Camille share an emotional final dance in the boxed up home, it was like saying goodbye to a character. This episode also saw Amber going to the hospital to see a badly beaten Ryan after he is injured in the line of duty. As Amber jumps into Ryan’s hospital bed and snuggles in close, fans could not help but cry. Whitman is one of the standout actress on Parenthood and her work as Amber is one of the best things this bright young actress has accomplished.

2. “Hard Times Come Again No More”

Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham in the Parenthood episode "Hard Times Come Again No More." Photo Credit: Danny Feld/NBC.
Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham in the Parenthood episode “Hard Times Come Again No More.” Photo Credit: Danny Feld/NBC.
Okay, this episode was definitely a ten boxes of tissues kind of episode. In season two, fans saw Amber go through some of the toughest moments in her life and begin to spiral out of control after her rejection from Berkeley University. When her partying with a new friend group gets her into a major car accident, it leads to one of the most heartbreaking moments Parenthood has ever experienced. After leaving the hospital, Zeek takes Amber to the junkyard to see her wrecked car. Amber and Zeek’s relationship is one of the strongest on Parenthood and this scene proves it. Knowing that Nelson ad libbed most of this scene the words mean that much more to Parenthood fans. Zeek tells a crying Amber, “Amber, I was two years in Vietnam. Do you know what I thought about? What I dreamt about? Was coming home, was having a family, having grandkids. I dreamt you, Amber… You do not have my permission to mess with my dreams,” Zeek’s words resonate with every viewer and this episode highlights Nelson and Whitman’s incredible acting chemistry.

1. “We Made It Through the Night”

Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham in the Parenthood episode "We Made It Through The Night."
Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham in the Parenthood episode “We Made It Through The Night.”
The penultimate episode of Parenthood will go down as one of the greatest this show has to offer. In this episode, fans began to say goodbye to their beloved characters. This episode left a pit in the stomach’s of every viewer as they see Zeek deal with his illness and whether or not to get his surgery. There were several tearful moments and the two majors ones involved Sarah. One of them was Sarah crawling into bed with Zeek and telling him that she is going to marry Hank. This scene would make anyone with a close relationship to their father weep as fans watched Zeek relieved that his little girl will be taken care of. The water-works began as Zeek uttered, “Oh baby, I can hardly wait to walk you down the aisle, you know?” Lauren Graham’s acting is on point as she shows the realization in Sarah’s eyes that Zeek may not make it to her wedding day. The other moment of course comes minutes before Amber goes into labor. Whitman and Graham may have the strongest relationship on the show and in real life so it was emotional to see them on Amber’s bed, playing the guitar and singing. It was a simple moment but, it showed how much their relationship has grown over the past six seasons. This episode showed some of the major changes they have gone through. It will definitely be remembered as one of the best.
The emotional finale of Parenthood aired on NBC at 10/11c on January 29, 2015. 

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One Comment

  1. It’s sad to know that there are few dramas left on t.v. With the dramatic family dynamics that Parenthood had . everything seems to be so instantly conjured to the point of total unbelievability.Network executives need to listen to the public when we say we want more of these kinds of shows.There is room on the television landscape for them and if stupid reality shows like The Kardashians can survive, then so should Parenthood. This show should still be on and no one can make me believe it was there choice to end it.NBC has terrible ratings,as do the other networks. This is the problem with out of touch suits ,and in my opinion, their death.

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