NBC’s ‘Parenthood’ season 4 finale review: Sarah makes her (surprising) choice

ParenthoodThere is almost an unwritten rule of being a big-ticket celebrity guest star on a hit show: you are cast before a season starts, you stick around for a year, and then the writers find a clever way to get you out of the show during the finale. “Justified” and “Dexter” are two shows that do this perfectly. “Parenthood,” meanwhile, took advantage of an opportunity to throw the rulebook through a window for the season 4 finale (and hopefully not series finale) Tuesday night.

While we do not know if Ray Romano will be back on the show moving forward, Sarah’s decision to choose Hank over Mark was a stunning one to the show faithful. Is it the wrong choice? We’re not quite sure on that, but it is certainly the riskier choice given the amount of time she has known him, and how much of their relationship was a slow build. What makes this complicated, and what makes it possible that Romano will be gone next year, is that Hank also decided to move to Minnesota to be near his daughter; and while she has an offer to join him, she hasn’t quite decided yet if she will.

This episode was actually overall a very happy hour of TV by “Parenthood” standards, as most of the Braveman clan received some sort of happy news rather than a gut-punch to the stomach. Kristina learned that her cancer treatment was successful, Ryan and Amber found their way back together, and even Victor found himself a permanent home despite tossing a bat a few weeks ago. Oh, and did we mention that Jasmine is pregnant? Not only did we feel tempted to ugly cry.

What makes this finale so effective is that it closed the door on a plethora of plots, and then left just enough open to make you want more. “Parenthood” no doubt deserves another season: it’s NBC’s best drama by far, and it has been criminally-underrated and performs decently despite a general lack of promotion. Plus, it draws better numbers than “Deception” and “Law & Order: SVU” is past its prime. If nothing else, give it 13 episodes and allow it to be filler somewhere. Please … just to warm this writer’s heart and don’t make us beg.

What did you think about the “Parenthood” finale? We want to hear your thoughts below, and you can read what NBC’s programming head had to say about the show’s renewal chances here.

Photo: NBC

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