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Parenthood is the kind of series that could've simply kept going. With an emphasis on the challenges and triumphs that come with being a part of a family, the story was never really set up for any kind of definitive ending. And yet, all great things must come to an end. Jason Katims' NBC drama closed out its sixth and final season tonight, offering closure and a somewhat-expected bit of sadness to the Braverman family's story. Spoilers ahead...
Parenthood has always managed to strike the right blend of joy and sorrow. Life and family offer a mixture of both, after all. The series has been building up to a particularly big loss, as Zeek has been struggling with his health all season. So it wasn't all that surprising that he passed away before the finale wrapped up. In fact, the series used the Braverman patriarch's passing as a way to close out the final chapter in the series, while also reminding us that the story will never really end.
Zeek died in his chair, quietly in his and Camille's living room. There were framed photographs on the table nearby, and I like to think that's what he was looking at when he went. Camille, as it happened, was in the next room, also looking at photos. In her case, it was a stack of beautiful pictures taken by Max at Sarah and Hank's wedding, which took place earlier in the episode, and turned out to be the last full family occasion for the Bravermans, before Zeek passed away.
Rather than closing out the series with a funeral, the finale ended with the Bravermans spreading Zeek's ashes on the baseball field and then playing a game in his memory. It was a joyful conclusion, and one that interspersed snippets of what was to come for this family. And that's where we come to the closure...
Joel and Julia adopted Victor's half-sister, and their flash-forward showed her, as well as another baby, and a puppy. Clearly their future is bright and full of kids for Joel and Julia. Admittedly, I haven't been thrilled with Joel since his I-just-want-to-be-left-alone separation from Julia, but he won me over tonight when he and Julia were discussing whether or not they should adopt child of Victor's birth mother, and Joel told Julia that because this baby is Victor's sister, she's "already ours." Tears.
Crosby was all set to pack it in on the Luncheonette, until Zeek encouraged him to return to the business even if Adam wasn't involved. Zeek's demonstration of confidence in his son's abilities seemed to be all Crosby needed to make the decision. Crosby invited Amber to be his right-hand woman, and she was thrilled to accept. The flash-forward sequence was set to a new version of "Forever Young," which was being recorded at the new studio. And it looks like Jasmine and Crosby expanded their family as well.
Speaking of more babies, we saw Amber with a man who appears to be her boyfriend or husband, and they have a little girl together. Also, Ryan appeared at the end, coming by with little Zeek, so he's evidently still a part of his son's life. And sidenote: Friday Night Lights fans might recognize Scott Porter from that scene. It's especially fitting that he was there when Matt Lauria made his brief return. (Clear eyes, full hearts!)
Adam became the new headmaster at Max's school, and in the flash-forward, he got to be the one to present his son with his diploma. Judging by the photos Max took at Sarah and Hank's wedding, it looks like that kid will have a bright future as a photographer. And he danced with a girl at the wedding, which is a step forward for him in the romance department.
Sarah and Hank are happily married.
Camille made it to Chez Marie. She's always been a bit adventurous, and it looks like she still has that spirit in her.
When a series ends the way it's supposed to, wrapping up all or most loose ends and delivering on whatever promises it made to its loyal viewers, it's hard to complain when it's over. A good story needs a good ending, and Parenthood got one. As sad as it was that Zeek died, it wasn't sudden, and I'm glad they took this approach, rather than leaving that open-ended. It gave the series the opportunity to show the Bravermans facing the loss as a family, the way they've faced so many other things throughout this series' run. Somehow, Parenthood managed to include this tragedy, while also closing out the series on a happy note, that promises good things to come for this family we've come to know and love over the past six seasons.
Farewell, Bravermans. Thanks for the memories!