'Parenthood' shocker: Can Monica Potter please win a million awards now?

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monica-potter-parenthood-season-4.jpg "Parenthood" fans, you can't say we didn't warn you that the final few minutes of this week's episode would be tear-inducing... because warn you we did. If you haven't yet seen it, please back away from this article immediately until you've watched the new episode, because we really, really don't want to ruin it for you.

The episode delivered what we've come to expect from the show. Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) argued over his immaturity -- nothing new there. We loved watching Hank (Ray Romano) struggle to connect with Drew (Miles Heizer) after his break-up, and as Julia (Erika Christensen) grew increasingly desperate for Victor (Xolo Mariduena) to love and trust her, we started to feel those familiar tears well up.

At first, it seemed like Adam's ( Peter Krause) and Kristina's ( Monica Potter) storyline would provide some humor in a fairly drama-laden episode. We laughed at their scheduled sex sessions -- or "Funkytown," as they called it. We've grown to find Max's (Max Burkholder) temper-tantrums endearing, and as he insisted that the family get a dog to replace Haddie, we had to laugh.

And then it all came crashing down. The scheduled sex discussion had been a cleverly constructed way of casually mentioning that Kristina had a doctor's appointment coming up. As Adam and Max went to pick up their new puppy, she got devastating news in a montage that didn't contain any dialogue -- and didn't need to.

Potter's work in those final moments of the episode was beyond Emmy-worthy. We suggest that they create an entirely new category for her level of brilliance on this show. While we're glad that Jason Ritter was nominated this year (he lost his category to Justified's Jeremy Davies), the rest of the "Parenthood" cast went unrecognized, which is just ridiculous at this point. If this episode doesn't wise up those Emmy voters for the 2013 nominations, we might have to boycott. (We won't. But it's nice to say it.)

While Potter was undoubtedly the standout of the episode, Krause shouldn't go unmentioned, either. As Kristina struggled to smile through her bad news, walking toward her husband, Adam's realization that something was very wrong was immediate and written all over his face. (We went back to check, because the first time we watched it, his face was already blurred with tears.)

This season, fans can expect Kristina's cancer journey to be an extremely powerful one. She'll undergo invasive treatment, and Adam's relationships with his siblings will be tested as his preoccupation with Kristina's illness grows. We'll see Haddie return from Ithaca in some of the more trying times, and all the while, both Adam and Kristina will do their best to stay as focused on Max's well-being as they can, particularly as he begins to thrive in school.

It's going to be a doozy, to say the least. Weigh in with your thoughts on tonight's episode of "Parenthood" below!
Photo/Video credit: NBC