Wow. Just wow. There are so many great shows on television today that I can’t possibly talk about them all, but I wanted to share my thoughts on some of the season finales and how they worked … and didn’t work. Warning: there are spoilers. Do not read if you don’t want spoilers. Got it? Or skip around … I identified each show in the heading, so skip those you don’t want spoiled.
I will be writing a far more detailed blog about this show because I consider it near-perfect storytelling and a must watch for anyone writing crime fiction or suspense today. But since we’re talking about finale’s today, I thought this finale was the single best end of any show this season. It pulled together all the strings and dealt with them, but not everything was wrapped up in a pretty bow. I loved seeing Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) on the screen together, and the climax certainly lived up to expectations. While Joe Carroll’s remains were identified through dental records and I don’t see how he could have gotten out of the burning boat shed (especially since he didn’t start the fire himself), because of his criminal aptitude, it’s certainly possible that he long-ago swapped out dental records for someone he had stashed to burn up and be “him.” What do you think?
But the most compelling part of this final episode was the last minute, where Molly — a follower who had a relationship with Ryan — showed up and did what Joe Carroll promised her she could do. Or so she tried … I can not wait until next year to see how they resolve this.
For a detailed summary of each episode, you can check out this list at Criminal Element. I don’t agree with everything the reviewer says (she didn’t like the earlier episodes, while I did), but it’s a good analysis. As the reviewer said about the end of the finale:
“And OH MY GOD. What an ending. WHAT AN ENDING. They think they’re safe and things are great and, oh hey, let’s kiss, and then BAM! Molly. Just… Wow. Well played, The Following, well played.”
I love GRIMM — the supernatural police procedural about a Portland, Oregon cop who can see things that other people can’t, namely the “Wesen” who are creatures of folklore, at least some of the time. While I was very upset that they split the season in half, I found the character development so much stronger this season than last. Juliet, Nick’s love interest, still annoys me, but by the end of the season she didn’t grate on me as much. As far as the finale goes, it was really a two-parter, and it ended on a huge cliff-hanger, just like THE FOLLOWING.
Which reminds me that cliff-hangers are the best way to get people to come back next season, but they also can be annoying because you KNOW that the main characters are going to survive, so when they are put out of commission, you know that there’s going to be some way that they’ll survive. We know that Ryan Hardy is going to survive the knifing, otherwise there is no show. We know that Nick is going to survive being put under a voodoo spell where he’s now, essentially, a walking dead … he is after all, THE Grimm. I liked this finale, but it was too predictable. I knew from the get-go that Nick was going to be infected by the puffer-fish voo-doo guy, so it wasn’t a surprise (unlike THE FOLLOWING where I screamed out loud and jumped out of my seat when the ending rolled around!)
However, I’m optimistic about season three because this show is so much fun and the characters are so very good.
I was, surprisingly, disappointed in the season finale of NCIS. Like the other two shows above, it ends on a cliffhanger, but this one is far more subtle. I felt like the whole episode was slow-paced, that it was just waiting and waiting and waiting … for the 30 second cliffhanger that takes place 4 months later. While the mystery element about the radioactive human head was interesting, and the arrogant, ladder-climbing special prosecutor who wants to nail Gibbs is a totally fun villain to hate, the overall feeling left me kind of blah. This disappointed me because after season 9’s flop, season 10 was so much better … and ending like this was sad. I’m hoping they pick things up in season 11 … because I still love this show.
I love all the episodes with Pelant because he is one of the best villains created in this television series. And Sweets totally nailed him, and I wish he had been more forceful with Booth about his profile of Pelant. I pegged that Sweets would be the target, and that Brennan would propose to Booth. I had a couple problems with the storyline. Pelant is brilliant, yet, and I loved the twist with the “witness” — I totally bought into that. But that Pelant could read lips from a satellite transmission? Please. Maybe, but that’s really stretching it. I’m willing to suspend disbelief in a lot of things, but this one didn’t do it for me. That said, this season was so much better than seasons 6 and 7 that I’m willing to invest in the next season. As far as the finale goes … this one doesn’t have as much of a cliffhanger, and I didn’t buy into the whole break-off of the engagement thing. It just felt … forced. It was sad, but forced. Hopefully, the writers will fix this EARLY in season 10, because if they screw it up like they screwed up their relationship in season 6, I might be done with the show.
Now, on the flip-side, CASTLE has done everything right with the relationship between Kate and Castle. Season 5 has been the BEST SEASON YET — both with the writing, storylines, and proving that you CAN have an on-screen romance and not kill the show. And they did the cliffhanger RIGHT. Kate and Castle had a very realistic fight. I totally understood BOTH sides, they both were right … and they both were wrong. It was perfect writing. And then the ending was both unexpected and absolutely the only thing that they could have done that fits the characters. Big SPOILER … Castle proposing to Kate when we know that they both know she’s going to take the job in DC, and then cutting off while she sits on the swing stunned, was the perfect kind of cliffhanger. We don’t have to wait for justice (they caught the show’s bad guy), we don’t have to wait to know what Rick’s decision is when he was confronted with his inner psychology and needing to accept Kate for who she was, but we have to wait for Kate. Because, ultimately, her decision no matter what it is will impact the show. I can’t wait!
I don’t know how popular this show is. I have mixed feelings about the show, but it’s always one of those shows that I watch first in the queue. I think about that a lot because sometimes the show gets too preachy and too divided in class issues … yet … there’s something so compelling about a human superhero. Meaning, someone who is stronger, faster, better because of physical and mental training and cool gadgets, not because he was bitten by a radioactive spider or born on another planet. I’m also a sucker for vigilante stories, always have been (which is why THE LONE RANGER is on my must-see list! Loved the trailer!) If you haven’t seen the series, it takes about 3-4 episodes to really get into it, but I love the direction the series has taken with Oliver Queen (The Arrow or The Hood) taking on sidekicks (Diggle and Felicity.)
Other than THE FOLLOWING, ARROW had the best season finale of all the shows I watch. There was a race-against-time element, which is one of my all-time favorite plot devices. But this one was even better — an entire 2 mile area was going to be destroyed by a very wealthy mad man who wanted to punish the crime-ridden “Glades” of Starling City because his wife died in the streets and no one stopped to help her. He blamed everyone because so many people walked by, blind to her pain and suffering. Totally compelling motivation for the psycho. That he is also Oliver’s best friend’s father made him even more intriguing.
So the race against time was to stop a device from creating an earthquake that would take down the entire community. People who had been at opposite sides — namely Oliver and the detective — work together to locate and disarm the device … and they succeed. Only to find out a minute later that there is another device. Because as Merlin the villain says, “One thing I’ve learned in business is the importance of redundancy.” So they saved half the Glades, but half was destroyed. Some people were saved … and one major character dies. It was heartbreaking but oh-so-good storytelling. This cliffhanger was my favorite kind–there was a resolution (the bad thing happened), but there was also disaster that must be addressed in the fall. I am definitely in for season two.
What about you? What was your favorite ending this year? What show are you most looking forward to next fall?