By Lucy Sweeney
It was nice to have the whole gang together for the road trip last episode, but with only six episodes left of the season, Just Smile did a fine job of refocusing us on the season’s overarching storylines – namely The Luncheonette, Zoe’s baby, and Sarah’s complicated love life.
Crosby and Adam scored their first official interview for an article about The Luncheonette – watching Adam completely out of his element never gets old, and he couldn’t have been more uncomfortable than he was sitting in the make-up chair discussing his T-zone. I had an uneasy feeling that Adam would somehow mess up the interview for Crosby, and although he didn’t mean to take over, he certainly did. Naturally Crosby was pissed that his uncool big brother stole the thunder, the tension was building throughout the whole episode. Even after Crosby’s childish exit from the poker game, I still couldn’t decide whose team I was on. On the one hand, no it wasn’t Adam’s fault that the journalist had liked his story better. But I could still see where Crosby was coming from, being the little brother forever in Adam’s shadow. Parenthood has this amazing talent for portraying every argument that way – you can’t pick sides because it’s never black or white. The characters are too complex to be branded as plain right or wrong.
Kudos to Dax Sheppard in this episode – I feel like he’s flown under the radar a bit this season, what with the likes of Lauren Graham’s infinite number of intense facial expressions. He did a solid job of subtly revealing Crosby’s stifled jealousy, and the chemistry between him and guest star Courtney Ford (Lily, the frustrated Cellist) during their scenes. I don’t want to jump to cheesy conclusions, but I definitely picked up on some hint of a romance between these two.
Meanwhile Amber started work on the Bobbie Little campaign with Kristina. I’ve really enjoyed watching her character grow into an independent woman, and I think Mae Whitman’s at her best when Amber’s flailing. She managed to keep her cool among the snobby Harvard graduates though, and like the true Braverman she is, she opted for honesty over kissing ass. It’ll pay off.
There was a definite feeling in this episode that things are starting to ramp up for the end of the season, particularly in regards to the Julia/Joel/Zoe storyline. It seems as though operation baby is officially go, now that the loser ex boyfriend is out of the way. It was obvious Julia was dying to comfort brave-faced Zoe in their final scene – there’s a definite maternal bond developing between those two.
Sarah was absolutely adorable in this episode, from the gynecologist’s office right until the inevitable drunken baby talk. Mark’s verdict was definitely drawn out until the last minute, so I was beyond relieved that he was “an excited kind of freaked out”.
Side note: More scenes where Sarah, Julia and Kristina share a few bottles of wine, if you please.