After a long five-week hiatus, I was had begun to fear that the first episode back -- "Just Like Home" -- wasn't worth the wait. I blame it on yet another chapter in the god awful saga that is the Hank/Sarah/Karl sorta love triangle for feeling that way. Though the rest of the episode was pretty good, it was all worthwhile to make it to those wonderful last ten minutes. The Joel and Julia split has been the best story line in all of this shaky Season 5, and now it's starting to have a ripple effect on the entire Braverman family. And while Julia is adjusting to a new phase of her life, with the support of her siblings, one thing still remains constant: Sydney is awful. Here are the best and worst Braverman pairings of last night's new episode "Just like At Home":
Best: Julia and Her Loneliness
For the first time in her life, Julia had to pack her kids' bags and send them off for a weekend with their father, from who she is separated. Julia desperately tried to play it off that she was okay with everything when her siblings called in to check on her, but it was obvious she wasn't. (I know for sure that I handle heartbreak differently than Julia because while she faked enthusiasm about Target trips and binge-watching Orange is the New Black and having an entire quiet house to herself, that sounded like heaven to me.) In fact, the first night alone was so hard on Julia she wound up sleeping in Sydney's bed. Sarah assured her she would get used to it, but the sadness was too much for Julia and she spent the next evening listening to Adele and microwaving entire potatoes. The rest of the Braverman siblings used their Bravey senses and knew something was up and one-by-one they started showing up unplanned with food and wine to keep her company. It took Adam literally a sip of wine to feel the "fever" and start his sweet, sweet dance moves. On any other show, a group of grown siblings dancing around their living room would be unwatchable, but that's the power of the Bravermans. The moment was not only damn funny and relatable (Crosby and Sarah staked their claim as the family's black sheep), but I could honestly watch an entire hour of a Braverman dance party. But the scene that followed was even sweeter. In the middle of the night Victor calls home because he needs to hear his mom's voice. As she soothes her son on the other line, Julia walks throughout her once-again full house and checks on her various siblings as they sleep. Julia is a mom, first and foremost, and in that moment she got to be herself again. With a comforted smile on her face, Julia curls up on the couch near her brother Adam and for the first time all weekend, is able to sleep.
Best: Zeek and Crosby
I like whenever Zeek and Crosby get to spar on this show because they're both so different and so quick-witted, but I liked even more why they were butting heads in last night's episode. When Crosby discovered that his parents were selling their home, he understandably got upset as to why they were not only getting rid of the place where he and his siblings grew up, but why they were keeping it a secret. This is exactly how someone would react in this sort of situation. But Zeek, as always, played his cards close to the chest and said nothing about why he was moving out of the home he loved so much as well. That was until he finally couldn't take Crosby's assumptions anymore and explained that he missed Camille like crazy when she was gone and that "I love her more than I love this house and if selling the house makes her happy, that's what I'm going to do." You could tell he meant every word of that, and Crosby realized it, too. It was an important moment for Zeek and for father and son. Damn those Bravermans and their ability to make you cry all the good and sad cries.
Best: Adam and Kristina
If anyone deserves a spa weekend in a mountain resort, it's Adam and Kristina. The two spent their time relaxing in hot tubs and mud baths and taking selfies on hikes and just generally enjoying each other's company. Kristina thanked her husband for all he did for her when she had cancer (which, according to next week's promo is going to rear its ugly head again so maybe this spa weekend was something for all of us) and it was all very sweet and cute, even if Adam was wearing his old man swim trunks for a good portion of it.
Worst: Drew and Amy
Now, hear me out on this one because unlike most of the story lines in last night's episode, Drew and Amy's was the only that moved along and resolved something. And while I appreciate it for that, it was too much of a pouty slog to get through. Drew was obviously annoyed and concerned that Amy was still hanging around at his school with no intention of going back to her own, but Drew is too sweet to do anything about it. While I'm not sure why he's still listening to anything Natalie says (who bitched that Amy was around all the time and she never gets to see him anymore), it was the support and advice from Amber that pushed Drew to finally confront Amy. Drew kindly suggested to Amy that she finally stop hiding from her past and present. He told her that she should talk to someone, particularly her parents, about her struggles with her abortion and how she's not coping with school. Drew assured her that he'd always love her and be there for her, but that she had to take care of herself first. Even with his creepy non-mustache, there's no way you can't trust Drew and Amy takes his heartfelt advice and does just that. I can't say I'm too sad to see Amy go, but I just fear this will bring Natalie back into the picture and that's so much worse. But honestly, the worst part of this whole thing was when Drew later hung out with Amber and she twirled his hair. I know this family is close and all but please never let that happen again.
Worst: Joel and the Kids
This is all Sydney's fault. (Then again, when isn't it?) The story line about life at Joel's new bachelor pad (complete with video games and an overwhelming desire to win his children over with pizza and promises of mini-golf trips) would have been fine if Sydney hadn't spent it rolling her eyes and being the overall monster that she always is. I'm sure that's how plenty of kids react to a big life change like this one, but Sydney was an insufferable brat long before any of this went down, so it's hard for me to have compassion. (Victor, on the other hand, I actually felt for.) Come on, Sydney, don't act like you're above getting a rainbow loom as a present. Joel is trying his best, dammit.
Sarah and Her Hat (and Hank and Karl)
Oh god, that hat she wore on her non-date date with Karl. Maybe Karl was treating it like a date instead of a business dinner until he saw that hat. Could you really blame him? Okay, sorry, I'm still distracted by the stupid, stupid hat when I'm ignoring the real problem here: yet another week of the Hank and Sarah saga. The former lovers are still working together and it's still not going well considering Hank is editing photos without Sarah's permission. (And because he's jealous of Sarah's quasi-blossoming relationship with Karl.) Hank talks the whole thing over with Dr. Pelican, and Hank eventually apologizes to Sarah for his attitude at work and reveals to her his struggles with finding out he may have Asperger's. "i haven't been that good with you and I can do better." Aww, well that's nice and all, but please, seriously end this story line soon. Either pair Sarah off with Hank or Karl for good, because I'm so bored and uninvested I'll be fine with either way it goes, as long as it goes.
Watch the full episode here:
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