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To say Parenthood‘s Joel (Sam Jaeger) and Julia’s (Erika Christensen) marriage and subsequent separation has been rocky would be an understatement. But after a season and a half, the couple that has divided fans and shattered hearts may be showing signs of hope.
Following the most civil divorce proceedings, Joel — acting on advice from his father-in-law/Jedi master Zeek Braverman (Craig T. Nelson) — finally decided to fight for his wife when both were merely a signature away from making their split legal.
A determined Joel showed up at the door of their former home together and vowed to fight for Julia. The move came after Julia spent the bulk of season five fighting for her husband to no avail and, this season, moved on romantically with a co-worker and former flame who is incredibly likable — and seemingly fits right in with the Bravermans.
So is Joel’s move too little, too late, or is there hope for the former couple?
“Being completely honest, yeah, I think they do have an opportunity to reconcile,” Christensen told The Hollywood Reporter during a recent set visit. “I think they have to earn each other’s trust back. Obviously you have to acknowledge what they’ve been through, but you have to take a fresh look and start over if they’re going to do that. But I think it’s possible. I mean, I have hope for them because I have hope for everyone. You never want people to break up and divorce to happen, so yes, absolutely.”
Jaeger agrees there’s hope for Joel and Julia, but notes that any possible reconciliation won’t be easy.
“When a couple goes through something like this, they are never the same; but they have to collectively choose to be better or worse,” he says. “What I’ve always loved and admired about Joel and Julia is that they have tried to do the best they can. They’ve tried to be the best parents they can, the best couple that they can, and I think it’s in their nature, and hopefully we’ll continue to see two people trying to do everything they can for their relationship.”
The duo praised showrunner Jason Katims and the writing staff for making both characters individually worth rooting for.
“The great thing about Jason’s writing is he doesn’t rush things; he lets it really play out and lets each character have their strengths and faults,” Christensen says. “I know the audience has gone back and forth on who they feel the most allegiance to. They’re really trying to figure out what’s best and taking it step by step.”
With only six episodes left in Parenthood‘s sixth and final season, both Christensen and Jaeger hope that Julia and Joel’s story ends on a happy note.
“I hope she finds happiness — and I hope it’s with Joel,” Christensen says. “And I hope that she finds a way to make her job something that transcends just the personal satisfaction of doing something that you’re good at and feeling the stability of that. But doing something more meaningful that she can really get behind.”
Says Jaeger: “I hope it ends happily. I hope it’s not convenient, but I hope it’s honest. Whatever the case may be, I know we’re going to try and do our best and give it a fitting end.”
Parenthood‘s final season continues Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.
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