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This is my favorite line from the TWoP recap for "Window Dressed to Kill": Don't you wish that when they brought this show back to life for three episodes another, horrible show would die in its place, allowing it to live forever?  May I suggest something like, I don't know, that ol' ABC staple of classiness, Wife Swap?

But alas, that did not happen, and so the show has come winding down, in a roundabout way, to the very end. 

Pushing Daisies, 2x13, "Kerplunk" (I feel curiously like this title got mixed up with Harper's Island...)

I'm pretty sure I actually write about at least half this episode in backwards order. Beware!

Getting Stuff Wrong: OK.  So the whole time I was watching this episode, I had the supposed spoiler "Chuck dies" rattling around in my head.  I had cried no fewer than six times over this idea, because didn't it seem like a horribly plausible way to wrap loose ends?  One poster on EW said that "if Ned truly loved her, he'd let her go," and while my knee-jerk reaction was "you're stupid," it also sort of made sense; she's been living on borrowed time, she doesn't age, so many complications...

Look, I had the spoiler in black and white, okay?  I had nothing to do but rationalize it.  I thought even in a best-case scenario, maybe that final closure-bringing scene Bryan Fuller tacked on would take place several decades in the future, and Chuck/Digby didn't want to be anywhere Ned wasn't, so it was sort of a last request thing.  That one didn't seem as bad, the more I thought about it.  I could maybe deal with that (and now I want fic of it).

Turns out that way back when, I didn't read far enough to see that the next words in that spoiler were "just kidding."  So after having spent an entire episode in edge-of-my-seat fear ("Stop fighting!  Oh my God, stop fighting!  Any other time you can fight, but NOT NOW with only fourteen minutes left for the rest of eternity!"), for a second there I really thought the camera pan was going to take us to that future date.  And then it swung back to Chuck saying "I'm alive" and moments later there were credits and I was like, "WTF just happened?" before the joy dawned on me. 

I had to watch the episode again just to process everything normally, as opposed to fearing her death lurking around every corner.

The Ending: *collapses in relief* Bryan Fuller, despite his ridiculous comic book plans for this series, is officially my hero for deciding to rework a closure-bringing ending instead of whatever fade-to-black cliffhanger was originally written.  Setting aside the visual thrill of newlywed-looking Ned/Chuck standing on the front step (hey, it's how you can twist the visual that's important, not the actual situation), I absolutely love the final voiceover.  The swooping over the landscape makes me delightfully dizzy, so I finally had to watch it with my eyes closed just to absorb all of what was being said.  As for the important section:

For the Piemaker and a dead girl named Chuck, their shared life event began with a touch, and became the promise of a new family brought about by the words, "I'm alive."  At that moment, in the town of Coeur de Coeurs, events ocurred that are not, were not, and should never be considered an ending.  For endings, as it is known, are where we begin.

This will never not bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.  It is the most heartwarming, with a tinge of bittersweet, perfect, profound cap to the fairy tale that anyone could have asked for.  Of course there are things left open, but none of them are important, and it almost feels like this is how it was always meant to end.  That's the most magical thing of all.

Still Confused By: I love that they closed on a positive and arguably definitive Randy/Olive note, but I still don't quite understand why she opened a restaurant in the shape of a cow?  Or what macaroni had to do with it all - like, on the second viewing, I realized Randy was carrying a bag of it into the Pie Hole, but why?  You go analyze that while I experience an extra thrill in the fact that Emerson got even more closure than previously expected, with Penny actually showing up to his door.  Awwww.

The Case: Overall, not really one of my favorites.  Aside from the hilarity of Nina Wendie Malick as one of the patriotic sisters, the fun visual of a giant shark, and the killer appropriately being the newly blond Hey, It's That Guy! who somehow permanently looks like a jerk, there was nothing particularly special about it.  I smiled; I laughed; I particularly enjoyed the roles that Emerson, Ned and Olive played as part of the Darlings' crew for investigative cover, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't stand out.  Except for the bit with Ned heroically catching the deadly microphone in a net before it could electrocute anybody.  :D

And maybe the bit with Chuck working herself into an outraged frenzied over the slandering of her family, culminating in "Now touch her, touch her before she talks back; touch her, touch her, touch her!!"  Hee!  Unusually angry little Dead Girl, isn't she?

The Aunts: I think I could watch a whole series about the adventures of Childhood Lily & Vivian.  Both little girls were adorable.  And while I have often described what little use I have for aunt-centric stories, but they kept the case from being insufferably dull.  Although my favorite part was still the fight at the end, because Lily broke my heart with her "where am I supposed to go?", being thrown out after a lifetime of sacrificing her own happiness.  Geeze!  When did I become fond of Lily?  Probably right at that exact moment.

Ned/Chuck: 
a) How cute was his expression when he crouched down to join Chuck behind the counter, all "???"  ("No stares of disbelief,  I beg you.")  In fact, this whole scene is too adorable for words.  Possibly one of my all-time favorites.

b) Oh, Ned.  Sometimes you are really very thick.  How did it not even cross your mind that Chuck might be less than delighted with the idea of her aunts packing up and going somewhere she couldn't see them at all?  I mean I was upset on her behalf long before he got around to telling her.  Fortunately, I don't have very high requirements for loving N/C scenes at this point.  Just watching his face change in response to her anger is enough for me.  Poor man.

c) "When Chuck's happiness was threatened by their happiness, my happiness freaked out because I thought Chuck was gonna leave me and follow them to Europe."  And it drives him to do rash things like attempt to sabotage their performance, which would be a lot worse if Chuck hadn't been planning to do exactly the same thing.  Instead I just get to point out how cute it is that their brains work in identical ways.

d) OK, I admit, my happiness freaked out a tad during that final and very ominous conversation over coffee.  Did it not sound like there were a variety of endings to his statements, all of them bad?  "I tried very hard to be a good boyfriend"..."I've been lying to you"..."I'm finally putting your happiness before my own"...WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?  IF THIS IS A BREAKUP, I AM COMING THROUGH THAT SCREEN AND FEEDING YOU TO A NEW SHARK.

e) But I particularly love this: It's irrational fear in dangerous clothing, and it's whispering in my ear, saying "Chuck loves her mother and aunt so much that there's no way she would want to spend her life with you if she could still be with them."  Oh, Ned.  You and your eternally endearing insecurity.  And yes, I'm focusing especially hard on "spend her life with you" because there's something about seeing statements like that stated flat-out that bring a smile to my face. 

And the fact that Charlotte (sorry, my mind went wandering in the 1900's AU again) Chuck looks terribly sad and is slowly shaking her head in response to this is a nice touch.

In Retrospect: It's funny, but I don't think I've ever actually questioned the necessity of Chuck being hidden from her mother/aunt before.  Thinking about it now, it only seems logical that at some point, Lily and Vivian could have been trusted with the alive-again secret, but it never did until the option was laid out for me.  Huh.  Does this mean I have to admit that Ned has one tiny little flaw, for being selfish?  Nah, I don't think I'll be doing that.  But I'm glad they ended on that note, emphasizing the importance of family, as they do.

Random: 
-Aw @ Emerson giving Chuck a signed first edition of his pop-up book

-The fact that the word "furrier" popped back up in the series after that once-upon-a-time furrier/farrier confusion fills me with a special kind of glee

-The fishwich appears to be nothing more than an actual dead fish stuck in a hamburger bun.  Gross.

-Ned's oversized sunglasses and Bond-like moves FTW!

-Dirty dancing FTL; the water dancer boy squicked me a lot

-I've decided I really don't like Chuck's straight hair, as it's too plain for her lovely features, so I'm really glad that it's back to buoyant curls for that final scene. 

-I'm also still trying to figure out why, if this episode was originally designed to air around January, Chuck was dressed in very lovely and striking but very Halloween-like patterns.  Then I get distracted by how absolutely gorgeous she looks in a form-fitting floor-length dress/nightgown.

-I'm still satisfied with the ending!  Yay!  This makes the show's end hurt much less.
Voice: You're still holding out naive hope for a movie, aren't you.
RS: Totally and completely.

*pats show and gently puts it in her treasure-storage chest*  Au revoir.

Edit: Ooh!  I found an animated PD mood theme.  I'm a bit confused about how I implement such a thing - it looks like hard work - and I'm really fond of my crazy mood smileys as they are, so I don't know if I want to expend the effort.  But it would be a nice way to keep this thing o' beauty in my thoughts for a while longer...  *ponders*
 


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