Glad you enjoyed an episode again, Mike!
I thought the last beat was good, but again, we're now seemingly inflicting wild drama on that couple just because they've been one we like, so all of the main action occurs to them, good and bad, and it's becoming a bit too much.
I think there's a couple factors at play here: Adam's family is the most traditional family of all of them: monoracial nuclear family with the father as primary breadwinner and the 2.5 children. There are facets of all of the other family units with this larger family that generate storylines naturally. Other than Max's autism, things are pretty clear sailing for them when there isn't some external force acting upon them. The other, perhaps bigger, reason is that Kristina getting diagnosed provides a way to keep Haddie in the mix in a way that she otherwise wouldn't be on the other side of the country. She's a guest start this season, so she's obviously not going to be in every (or probably even most) episodes, but Kristina going through this provides opportunities to bring Haddie back into the fold that wouldn't have otherwise existed.
The storyline about planning and Jasmine's reaction to it drove me nuts. Crosby is back into complete infantile mode, and it turns that story back to completely unrelatable
I was mixed on this. On one hand, I have to believe that this would be exactly what Crosby and Jasmine would be like as a married couple. They're both children who never completely grew up. I know plenty of couples with young children just like them. On the other hand, it didn't make for particularly enjoyable television, watching the inevitable play out. I spent their scenes wondering for the umpteenth time, "Why did these people get married again?"
I like the episode, and I especially like the Julia at the school part. I've been extremely critical of the stories they've given her over the years, but this one got to me. Even if it is only something a rich person could do, to me it was something a Mom would do
You've made a very good point. While I personally didn't find it relatable (because nobody in my family would have even dreamed of giving up a day's pay for something like that while I was growing up), it's definitely a huge parent moment. Julia committed in a way she hadn't with this kid up until now. And as you mentioned, she's delegated most of the childrearing with Sydney to Joel.
While I thought the way they handled the last scene was terrific (I echo Adam's thoughts (Lenhardt, not Braverman) on this), I felt the introduction of this story a bit much in an already full episode. It felt like piling-on, and tacked on.
I can definitely see how you'd read it this way. I liked it because it rang true to how a cancer diagnosis usually really is, if you don't have a family history. There's a lot of TV episodes out there where the character spends all episode dreading the call from the doctor, only to discover everything's fine. This sort of inverted that formula. Kristina's doctor's appointment was in the background through the whole episode, but it was never really anything anybody thought about except as a scheduling obstacle. But then suddenly this routine appointment has life-changing consequences. It was a slap in the face to the audience, but I thought that was a good thing, because in reality a cancer diagnosis is often a slap in the face. And, I like it best when this show is about what makes these family bonds strong instead what the fracture points are.