'Parenthood's' Erika Christensen on "Satisfying" Reunion, Finale Flash Forward

"The whole family was together on an earlier day and that scene, where the family was together for the last time, everyone was bawling," the actress tells THR.
Byron Cohen

NBC's Parenthood delivered on one of its most drawn out stories last week when Joel (Sam Jaeger) and Julia (Erika Christensen) finally reconciled after their nearly two-season separation.

The scene, which took place at an ice skating rink, featured an unscripted kiss that helped cement the couple's future together.

"It was so satisfying. It wasn't scripted that they kiss in the ice skating rink. They were supposed to take hands in front of the kids and the kiss just seemed like the right thing to do," Christensen tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It ended up playing so beautifully. It was so earned. Sam just kissed me. If there was any logic involved, it was knowing that there was going to be a reaction shot on the kids. Their reaction to that was so much nicer than it would have potentially be if they were just holding hands. It's so much more definitive."

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While happier times seem to be ahead for Joel and Julia, showrunner Jason Katims warned that their journey is far from over in the NBC drama's remaining two episodes. Christensen warned that Joel and Julia's frank conversation at the coffee shop — in which she admitted to being difficult to live with and that she has no intention of leaving her job, where she works with former love interest Chris — was just a hint of some of what the reunited couple have to overcome.

"There are things that we have differing viewpoints on that we need to resolve," she said. "That's the kind of stuff that you'll see explored further. There's a lot that happens in the finale."

Speaking of the Jan. 29 series finale, fittingly titled "May God Bless and Keep You Always" in a nod to Parenthood's theme song, Christensen warned that the family drama ends with a time jump.

"At the end of the finale, there's a flash-forward essentially," she said. "You press the fast-forward button on the Bravermans and see a few years of that blooming of the family. It gives me chills. It's about three years. It's awesome."

Production on the series wrapped around Christmas, and like many of her cast and crew mates, Christensen was overwhelmed with emotion with saying farewell to the Bravermans for good.

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"The final scene that I shot was a conversation with Joel. For so long, it just didn't hit me emotionally during the season. The last scene was ridiculous," she said. "There was so much crying. The whole family was together on an earlier day and that scene, where the family was together for the last time, everyone was bawling. It was out of control, to the point where everyone was cracking up because it was so ridiculous." 

"We all really appreciate that we got to have this experience and know each other and do this job together because it's so unique in the way we got to shoot it," she added. "It's so personal for everyone. Everybody really got to contribute to it and hear their own voice in it. I'm still holding on now, it's going to be even harder after the finale when it's off the air; then it's gone.  We're all going to get together to watch the finale. I'll probably turn to Twitter for the mutual support of everybody sharing in that."

As for what's next, the actress would love to return to the small screen and take on another series.

"I tend to be a fan of darker shows and love The Americans, Ray Donovan, True Detective, House of Cards and Peaky Blinders," she said. Casting directors, take note.

Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for more Parenthood coverage.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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