With “The Wrath of the Lamb”, Hannibal wraps up its run, at least for now. While all involved have been qualifying the episode as merely the series finale on NBC, the show has yet to be picked up anywhere else and several key figures have moved on to new projects. Creator Bryan Fuller has mentioned the possibility of the team reuniting for a film at some point down the line, but for the foreseeable future, this is the series finale of Hannibal, and given its bloody, spectacular climax, that feels appropriate.
Some works will last–without the help of critics–as long as the civilization which bred them lasts, as Shakespeare’s plays have done. At times, Matthew Weiner has channeled Shakespeare in Mad Men, portraying the multifaceted nature of what it means to be human.
The venerable genre series’ final episode pays tribute to its literary inspiration in surprisingly bittersweet fashion.
After six seasons, Parenthood walked off the field with its head held high, its finale a joyous celebration of the series’ core principles. Much of the final season has felt like a series of foregone conclusions, character beats and plot points easily foreseeable by fans who know the Bravermans well enough to have a strong sense of how they’ll react to their current struggles. That doesn’t mean the journey hasn’t been a satisfying one, however. When Joel and Julia get news of Victor’s sister, everyone watching knows they’ll adopt her, because they’re Joel and Julia and this is Parenthood. Yet their conversation on the dance floor is no less sweet and stirring for this fact. The series has always been one about the messiness, challenges, and rewards that come with family. By the finale, everyone watching is just as much a part of the Braverman clan as the characters themselves, aware of the show’s foibles and maybe a little tired of hearing the same stories repeated at every family function, but holding it in a special place in their heart nonetheless.
Some of the strongest and most wrenching material in Sons of Anarchy’s history came in the early seasons when Jax was actively, and believably, attempting to reroute the aims of the club towards a direction to match his father’s vision. From Jax sitting on the roof of the club reading the elder Teller’s parting manuscript to his frequent visits to the cemetery to gain strength at the foot of his father and brother’s tombstones, the importance of the club’s overarching goals not only supplied some of the best story arcs but the best Charlie Hunnam performances as well. The pre-credits sequence of this week’s episode, the end of a show that has long overstayed its welcome, mirrors those potent early scenes in interesting ways, allowing Jax to once again revisit his earlier choices as the audience follows along. The burning of his father’s papers isn’t overwrought enough to pull the audience out of the moment, and his gentle placement of his rings on Opie and Tara’s graves is true to character and a genuinely tear-worthy moment. In advance of an assumed mayhem vote by the club, Jax’s goodbyes to the symbols of the ones he loved is an important piece of his final journey and the show nails it.
After such a solid final season, True Blood’s finale is almost a disappointment. Too many storylines feel forced or rushed, and the ending, though happy, rings a little false. Of course, the show didn’t exit without releasing a few more shocking surprises–including a pivotal moment that involves the death of a major character since series’s beginning.
Despite its near universal critical acclaim and passionate and vocal cult following, Enlisted will wrap up its first and only season this Sunday evening (7pm ET on FOX), barring a last minute reprieve from another interested network. In what has been a dire season for network comedies—only five freshman series out of at least 20 …
So much for our heroes getting stranded miles away from the scene of a genocide then. Despite our belief that Miles and the gang were far away from the room where Truman is about to pour mustard gas onto unwitting Willoughby residents and the Texas president, the crew uses its cunning (and a steam train, presumably) to make it back and derail Truman’s plan. This gives us one of the best one-two punches of the finale: Miles throwing down the very last spit of swordplay we’ll get from this series, and one more classic, resigned Milesism: “Run, you idiots,” he implores to the masses gathered to hear from the Texas and U.S. presidents, while firing a rifle in the air.
It’s easy to search for meaning in a Community episode: given the show’s uber-meta construction, it invites critical dissemination of itself in a very unique way. This includes episodes like “Basic Sandwich”, a story so bare-bones and un-Community, it almost feels as if Dan Harmon and company are teasing us, presenting us what appears to be a lot of loud, anti-climatic nothing, then simply dropping the microphone and walking off-stage. Yes, “Basic Sandwich” technically completes the season’s journey of Saving Greendale – but as “Basic Story” went out of its way to point out, the Save Greendale Committee had already saved Greendale. We knew Greendale wouldn’t become Subwaydale – and having that knowledge from the beginning casts both parts of the finale in a very different light.
HIMYM ends with one of the most confounding series finales in recent memory.
Treme finished its four season run this week with “… To Miss New Orleans”, an appropriately reflective and celebratory hour. Unlike last year’s potential series finale, “Tipitina”, this episode focuses on each character’s journey not to a specific place, but forward in their life. Surprisingly, and happily, this episode leaves each character in a good place. Not everyone winds up in New Orleans, but they’ve all made positive motion in their lives and are surrounded by people who understand and support them. Davis has a responsible job he’s good at, but still finds time to still write a new Godzilla vs. MLK single. Antoine may still be fooling around on Mardi Gras, but he’s involved in his sons lives for the first time in the entire series. Terry and Annie leave town, but Terry gets to be with his children and Annie continues to blossom as an artist. Everyone gets a win in some way or another this week and this fond, perhaps overly sunny farewell is more than most viewers will have hoped for.
Eastbound and Down Season 4, Episode 8 “Chapter 29” Written by John Carcieri, Jody Hill & Danny McBride Directed by Jody Hill Aired 11/17/2013 on HBO There’s nothing easy about endings – Kenny knows it, the writers of every comedy or drama in the history of television knows it, and as an audience, we know it. …
In the television world there is a very important concept that every show must consider if it wants to be taken seriously: verisimilitude. Simply put, verisimilitude is the appearance of being real. The audience very well knows that the characters that appear on the screen night after night are make believe and the stories are made up, but it’s essential that the creators of that television show make the audience believe.
Fringe, Ep. 5.12-13, “Liberty”/”An Enemy of Fate”: Heavy-handed finale delivers with character, if not plot
Fringe, Season 5, Episode 12: “Liberty” Written by Alison Schapker Directed by P. J. Pesce Fringe, Season 5, Episode 13: “An Enemy of Fate” Written by J. H. Wyman Directed by J. H. Wyman Aired Fridays at 9pm (ET) on FOX This week, on Fringe: Olivia goes for a final jaunt Over There, Michael goes …