To give you some perspective, this makes Life Unexpected's finale look like a merry old cake walk. I don't - I can't even -- remember when NBC canceled this series, and before CBS picked it up, it was going to end on the cliffhanger of Allison in a coma after the removal of a brain tumor, possibly never to wake up, and I assumed that was the worst possible tragedy on which the series could end? HAHAHA. FALSE. What quaint times. I know none of you watch this show, and many of you have never even seen it. But I may need some help picking up the shattered pieces of my soul, so could you come back here and walk me through my grief if I clumsily recap along the way?
Oh good, you're here. Let's begin with the foreign concept of cursing that it was not canceled sooner (specifically with last year's beautiful, one-and-only non-catastrophic season finale), because no amount of season 7 joy was worth this.
7x13, "Me Without You" Allison: I don't even know if there is a me without you.
So, the first thing they do is kill off Joe. For those of you who don't know Joe, he and Allison are one of the few completely normal, middle-aged married couples (complete with three daughters aged roughly 7, 13 and 18) on TV still utterly and completely in love. Much has been made of the realistic depiction of this TV family, and much as also been made (by me) of how ridiculously loving and domestic they are every week. "Soulmate" has gotten thrown around in the dialogue.Allow me to present a selection of screencaps, in varying sizes and qualities, I have posted over the years:
(this last section of small pics was what happened when I randomly collected everything from one episode. A good one, but still. It's that dense.)
Anyway, back to that part where he has a first-grade daughter: Not 5 minutes into the episode, Joe is flying back from a business trip and calls Allison at 4 in the morning to let her know they've hit a rough patch and they're landing earlier than expected. "Rough patch" turns into "crazy plane-shaking turbulence" as he's talking to her, which in turn escalates quickly from "We're fine" to last shouts of "I love you!" and Allison screaming into the phone as the line goes dead.
Then we flash forward to 7 years later, addressing the anniversary of his death.
I mean, not what, because the pre-credits sequence is always a dream. Sometimes it turns into a full-episode dream, like when Allison died in last year's finale, and then a few minutes from the end we rewind so that she can wake up with the knowledge to prevent whatever terrible crime/criminal would have set this unbearable chain of events in motion.
What follows is a whole episode of 2018 Allison suddenly having dreams that, amidst a high profile court case (having since finished law school and gotten hired as a A.D.A.), Joe is alive somewhere in Mexico -- he just washed up on a beach with amnesia and doesn't know who he is. Oh good, you think. She's having this dream so that she'll know to either warn Joe off the plane, or be able to find him ASAP instead of assuming he's dead for 7 years. All is fine and dandy, complete with epic reunion, until it's not.
Because < 10 minutes from the end, she finally wakes up in 2011 time to find Joe in the doorway, sadly telling her that he tried to send her a dream showing her she could still have a full and complete life without him. The problem is it didn't turn out quite like he intended, as she altered the course of her dream with her Epic Denial. Her response is along the lines of, "I do not understand this crazy nonsense, silly husband. I haven't seen you in a week, get over here and let me hug you."
Sorry, not possible. Because he's dead. For real dead. His plane went down just like we saw, and this is his goodbye. I, meanwhile, am all, "WHAT IS THIS FUCKERY. IT'S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE. STOP JERKING ME AROUND AND DO THE MAGIC TIME-REVERSAL THING ALREADY. WE STILL HAVE SOME TIME ON THE CLOCK SO I KNOW THIS TO BE A LIE. RIGHT?"
41 years later
(Me: WHAT?! WHY DO YOU KEEP GOING FORWARD? WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY!")</strong>
Allison, an old woman now, complete with great-grandchildren, finally passes away. And then we're supposed to thrill and be overjoyed that as soon as she realizes she's dead, there's Joe in the corner, waiting for her as promised. Spinning camera work, swelling music and about a hundred hours of true love's kiss proceed to pull some punk-ass season-4-Ghost-Whisperer BS about the power of love transcending death.
APPARENTLY THIS IS SUPPOSED TO DISTRACT ME FROM THE FACT THAT JOE DIED IN 2011, LEAVING BEHIND THREE DAUGHTERS (ONE OF THEM VERY SMALL AND ADORABLE), AND MAKING HER A WIDOW FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS.
NO. DON'T THINK SO. RAGE.
What seems like a really good solution right now is dousing myself in oil, lighting myself on fire and running off the edge of Minas Tirith, because this trauma has snapped some crucial threads in my brain.
It feels like a cosmic joke, that the way this show, ever my sweet and unassuming little family/psychic/crime drama hybrid, is bowing out after 7 years is to leave a bleak, horrible wake by killing off half the anchoring partnership. Because whatever they're aiming to promote about Allison having a fulfilling life and the beauty of them being meant for each other and in love forever, this does not change the part where she actually experienced that horrible tragedy and is facing life without her other half of 20+ years, and the girls just lost their beloved, amazing dad. Or that I just went through two OTPS ending, within days of each other, with the female half sobbing her heart out and begging her significant other not to leave.
(Voice: But I thought all you wanted was for people to be able to say goodbye?)
RS: ACCEPTABLE GOODBYES INVOLVE HUGS.)
[Edit: This is the end of the coherent section. Now it's a bunch of paragraphs where I keep thinking I'm done writing, but new thoughts keep popping up.]
Ugh. I spent all week happily picking out the one Taylor Swift lyric I didn't need to use for LUX in order to title my review post for this ep, assuming that it would be something gently bittersweet with which to close the long-running drama. It's 2 AM, feel like I just lost a friend, for example. Or maybe, It's killing me to see you go after all this time. I love picking out the lyric titles for series-finale posts; it's my one consolation amidst the sadness.
But nope! Instead, only the quiet, terrifyingly-close-to-boiling-over rage of Dr. Cox will do. Speaking of which, this seems like very clear proof that people are bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling. There might be one more feelings-explosions post if I can force myself to watch it again, but I don't think I'm bothering with an actual plotty-type review. DESPAIR BOAT.
Think I'm going to hang out in these favorite reviews from season 5 (featuring several screencaps above) and try not to think about the fact that no matter where I go in this series, a ticking time bomb to the end of happiness hangs over it.
The Talented Mrs. Boddicker
The Devil Inside
P.S. It would work best if I just struck this episode from the record and made the previous episode the series finale in my head, right? Why can't I make myself believe that? Nope, I'm stuck on the Old Episode Irony of the theme song they used for the season 5 finale referenced in my opening statements: Who doesn't long for someone to hold
Who knows how to love you without being told
Somebody tell me why I'm on my own
If there's a soulmate for everyone?
Ugh. Tomorrow was going to be the day where I finally returned to normalcy, and instead the whole anger/hollowness/crying cycle is starting all over again.