Saturday, May 16, 2009

Season Finales

I said that I would talk a bit about some of the recent season finales of my favorite shows, so here it is. I am also happy to report that both Dollhouse and Castle have been picked up for another season. I think that leaves Chuck as the only show I watch that is still on the bubble. A final decision is expected this week.

As you might guess, there are SPOILERS ahead...

I think Heroes is more on track than it was at the beginning of the season, but it hasn't yet fully recovered its former greatness. The finale left us with an unexpected ending of Nathan dying and Sylar essentially becoming Nathan. And I don't mean he took on Nathan's identity for his own nefarious purposes, but he was forced by Matt Parkman, at the behest of Angela Petrelli, to believe he is Nathan, and his powers to acquire memories (sort of at least) and shapeshift completed the transformation (this came up in my discussion of metaphysics). Pretty cool. And likely very problematic. A lot of Heroes have been weeded out at this point, though I'm still waiting to see more of Micah again as well as the third incarnation of Ali Larter. I'm still not overly hopeful about the future of this show, but I'll still be tuning in when it comes back next season.

I love Chuck. I love his secret agent handlers Sarah and Casey. I love his family--sister Ellie and now brother-in-law "Captain Awesome"--and I like his friend Morgan. But I was getting really, really sick of Chuck's co-workers back at the Buy More. Lester and Jeff were embarrassing, totally sketchy, and not funny. And I just didn't really care about Big Mike or what's-his-name played by Tony Hale. That is why I am very hopeful that the fact that Chuck and Morgan both quit their jobs at Buy More means that we won't have to see any more of those nuisances. Assuming, of course, that Chuck even gets renewed. But I hope it gets renewed. The real game-changer in the season finale was that Chuck has a new Intersect computer in his head which in addition to giving him "flashes" of secret government information also gives him crazy expert martial arts moves. I kind of saw it coming ("They made changes to the Intersect... What does this new computer do?"), but it was still cool when it happened. The only thing I was disappointed about with the season finale was that they killed off pretty pretty pretty Bryce Larkin. Sad. I'm hoping for a Season Three, but if it ends here, I'll at least be fairly satisfied with the ending.

The season's penultimate episode was great (hooray for Alan Tudyk's comedy), and the finale was also good, though it kind of fizzled at the end. With Alpha slinking off while Echo tries to retrieve Caroline's memories, we were robbed of a final showdown, though we did get the "You saved her" moment that, while predictable, was quite satisfying. I loved the revelation that Dr. Saunders had once been the active "Whiskey", but was taken out of active duty when Alpha scarred her face. I wonder if Victor will get a new job around the house. I was sad to see November go, since I thought it quite refreshing to have a capable, sexy young woman on TV who was not a size 2. Paul Ballard's relationship to the Dollhouse has now changed--he's not trying to bring them down?--and I'm very interested to see what direction the next season takes.

It's Leonard Nimoy!!! Yes, the legendary actor made a cameo appearance in Fringe at the very end of the season finale, and appearance which probably didn't hurt the show's ratings or Star Trek's box office. But the finale was great. We got a final visit from a recurring villain, delved deeper into this concept of alternate realities (metaphysics at work again), and learned an exciting revelation about Peter. They had peppered the episode with clues, so I guessed it before it was revealed, but it was still immensely satisfying, and chilling, when we saw the name written on the gravestone. I'm looking forward to the direction they plan to take this next season.

The people behind Lost definitely know how to do a season finale. On one front, we finally got to meet Jacob, who before this had been a completely ambiguous entity--Is he invisible? Is he a ghost? Does he even exist? He is still mysterious, but we've seen him, learned that he lives under the big statue, has been there a long time, visited our survivors in their pre-Island lives, seems kind of nice, and likes to weave. We also know that he has a nemesis, a man who wears a black shirt, does not share his optimistic outlook on the progress of humans, and who has been trying to kill him for a long time. We learned that the resurrected John Locke is not really John Locke, but probably a disguise of this black shirt guy (I totally called what would be in the box at the beginning of the episode), and it seems that he has finally found his "loophole" and killed Jacob at the end of the episode. What's more mysterious than this murder is that Jacob did not try to avoid being killed but even seemed to encouraged Ben to stab him.

On the other front 30 years before, Jack convinced his fellow time travelers to back him up and help him carry out Faraday's plan to throw the hydrogen bomb core down the shaft at what was to be the Swan station in the hopes that, without the Swan station, their plane never would have crashed, and thus all the terrible things that have happened since the start of the show would never have occurred. Wow. We spent the entire season being convinced that the past couldn't be changed--what happened happened--and then they pull this on us. What made this finale even more cruel to us viewers was that when the bomb went down the shaft, and they all waited the long seconds for certain death, the bomb didn't even go off!!! All hell broke loose with the super electromagnet sucking things in toward it, some people died... And then, at the very end of the episode, we saw Juliet, who had fallen to the bottom of the shaft, use her last bit of strength to make the bomb explode. The screen went to white and the word "LOST" popped up over it. The end, until next January or so. We have no idea what will happen in the beginning of the next season. Really, really no idea at all. If the hydrogen bomb did what Faraday predicted and prevented the magnetic anomaly that crashed the plane, would any of what we have seen in the five seasons of this show have even happened? But if those things didn't happen, then how did Jack et al. throw the bomb down the shaft to prevent the magnetic anomaly in the first place? The paradox of time travel--metaphysics at work again. The show would be kind of sad if it didn't work and they actually did just write Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Hurley, Jin, Juliet, and Miles out of the show. And yet for everything that has happened to not matter anymore would seem a bit cheap. I cannot wait to find out where they're taking this show. Next year can't come soon enough.


Sebastian said...

Woah, TWO paragraphs for Lost. I guess I really have to catch up with that eventually... maybe this winter. The Wire took up last winter (and boy, that was some heavy, but awesome, viewing).

Fringe was hilariously out-there. I hope it wasn't just a cameo by Nimoy... ... But yeah, it was great. But a) bad guy was killed (is Massive Dynamic really going to be THE overarching storyline for as long as it runs? -- I am hugely bitter about faceless corporations dictating the plot direction...) and b) I still don't like Dunham enough. Grrr.

Eleni said...

Lost was a two-part finale. So two paragraphs.

I sadly have to agree with you on Dunham. I don't dislike her, and I root for her to succeed, but she's still pretty bland. In comparison, I loved Sydney Bristow from the start. She was an instantly likable, relatable character. I cared about her friends and her personal life, how her work affected her personal life, how her personal life affected her work... I won't try to analyze here what exactly it was about Alias that worked better in that sense than Fringe. But I wanted to be Sydney's friend, and I have no particular interest in being Olivia's friend. They need to work on that.