The "Parenthood" train of excellence keeps on rolling, delivering yet another top-notch episode with "Trouble in Candyland." An Academy-Award winning singer-songwriter, a Mark/Sarah/Hank meltdown, and horrible neighbor versus the Bravermans showdown were the highlights of this installment.
Kicking things off with a bang, Marlana (played by "Californication" actress Pamela Adlon), is in full-on psycho mode again, continuing with verbal assaults and threats to shut down The Luncheonette.
Amber breaks into a recording session to tell Crosby about an emergency outside, and that's when Crosby discovers that the neighbor-from-hell called a towing company to haul away a vehicle that happens to belong to Oscar-winning singer-songwriter and "Once" star Glen Hansard. Crosby asks the tow truck driver if a "horse-faced vile creature" called him, which was a funny line, considering viewers have most certainly called Marlana far worse things since she started on the show!
When Adam -- the sensible, diplomatic Braverman brother -- calls for a meeting with the neighbor-beast, she refuses to stop her mission of destruction, forcing Adam and Crosby to a court battle to keep the recording studio alive.
In a final, triumphant victory, Crosby, the screwed-up sibling, actually comes through in a last-minute court appearance, pleading the Luncheonette's impressive history (Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead recorded there), along with a bunch of local residents who love having the Braverman clan and their little studio in the neighborhood. Bravo! Bravermans 1 -- crazy lady -- zero.
Sarah/Mark/Hank show-downThe Sarah/Mark/Hank drama moves forward with Mark calling Sarah "a lousy fiancé" because she chose to accompany her boss Hank on a "sham work" trip to Los Angeles instead of spending a romantic friend's wedding weekend with him. Hank took a photography job in L.A., determined to stop his ex-wife from moving to Minnesota, because he felt his daughter would be out of his life forever. The fact that Sarah knew this, but still chose Hank and "work" over her fiancé Mark, was an omen of what's to come.
In a "whoops" moment, a very tipsy, giggling, arm-in-arm Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Hank (Ray Romano) stumble down a hotel lobby, and there is good ol' Mark, sitting on the floor with his suitcase, who ditched the wedding to "surprise" his special lady. This scenario ended with an explosive blow-out; Mark told Sarah "When something is good in your life, you just run away from it. I really love you, but I can't do this anymore." R.I.P. Sarah and Mark…and hello, Hank.
Pill popping, weed smoking
In other Braverman news, Amber gets Ryan a contractor gig with Uncle Joel, but a couple smart-mouth coworkers and one smashed $800 glass window later, Ryan is no more. Well-intentioned or not, Ryan was simply not ready to handle this kind of responsibility, as evidenced by his non-response to Joel, who later stopped by to either offer comfort or another chance, as a gloomy Ryan pops a few pills.
One of the most amusing scenes involved Julia's surprise visit to a stoned-out-on-chemotherapy-marijuana Kristina, who attempted to give dazed and confused parenting advice. Julia wanted help on how to handle her adopted son, Victor, who is definitely giving Max stiff competition for a brat of the year award. Victor is pushing it lately, with major attitude and disrespect toward his new parents, and Julia is going to need more than just a few huge plastic "candy bribing" bins to handle this kid.
Beautiful music, extra tissues
It was certainly a treat to see Glen Hansard and his lovely music on "Parenthood," which was used to full effect in the final shots, with images of a celebrating Luncheonette family, a smiling Victor and Julia, and broken-hearted souls Sarah and Hank. It was beautiful and emotional.
As good as this show was, the final sneak preview of next week's episode (a cancer-stricken Kristina battling for her life with Adam begging his wife to not die), sounds like a two-boxes-of-tissues kind of night.