Poor Joel and Julia. They are faced with a situation that many parents dread. I see valid points from both sides, and clearly they are scared to death. Victor has been through so much in his little life already, which has undoubtedly contributed to his academic delay. This would be a difficult decision to make, with no clear right or wrong answer. And there are so many factors, not the least of which is that holding him back would put him in the same grade as Sydney. Not good, people. No bueno.
This where families can really benefit from bringing in third parties who are less emotionally invested. I would give the teacher's words a lot of weight, assuming that she has no agenda of her own other than getting Victor to succeed in school. Hire a tutor to work with him that won't fall off an emotional cliff each time he can't decipher a word. And Grandpa Zeek, I could kiss you right now! You happen to be a nosy, obstinate, inflexible know-it-all, but you deserve a grandparent award for crafting a strategy that not only encourages Victor's natural interest in cars, but requires him to read a challenging repair manual since Grandpa's "eyes don't work so well anymore." And all the while, Victor thinks he is helping Zeek! Brilliant. It is such a beautiful example of how extended family can be part of the solution, beyond just offering advice. I can only imagine how grateful I would feel if I were in Julia's shoes.
Now, as for Amber and Sarah's relationship, I think the current status would be "precarious". If Sarah doesn't find a better way to handle her own anxiety she might find herself uninvited to Amber and Ryan's new life together. Neither one of these women know how to give or receive constructive criticism. It's a hot mess, and now that emotions are running higher than ever, I do expect it to get worse before it gets better.
Lastly, I have mixed feelings about how Kristina handled Max's removal from the yearbook photographer position. On on hand, I loved that she validated his angry feelings, and offered to sit and "be mad together". But she missed a real opportunity there to help Max stretch and see the situation from another point of view. Asperger's can make exmpathy very difficult, but not impossible, and Max needs to know how to manage that. It is not "unfair" to give the responsibility of yearbook photographer to someone who will get shots that are usable in the yearbook! It is also not "unfair" to give others in his class an opportunity to take photographs. And it is certainly not "unfair" for the teachers and administration to count the cost to the rest of the students to repeatedly indulge Max's wishes. All kids, Max especially, need help lifting their eyes and seeing beyond themselves. They need direction and guidance so that they can learn to consider the wants and needs of others, and the effect their behavior has on a larger scale.
So, what did you think? Should Joel and Julia hold Victor back? Is Sarah warranted in her concerns about Ryan, and should she be voicing them in this way? Is Max being treated unfairly?