overall, not a heck of a lot better than the previous season. i started out this series with reservations, so i wasn’t really disappointed by the first couple seasons, but these last two were underwhelming. i also knew that in the end we see everyone die. oddly, knowing that bit of spoiling information didn’t take anything away from the series, or from the ending. as bad as parts of this series were i’ll say that it was worth it because of the 6.5 minutes that cap it all off.
honestly i didn’t think i cared much about any of the characters, and despised some of them. by the end of the series i had some degree of affection towards david and keith, but could do without pretty much everyone else. the strength, though, in seeing all these characters die in that final sequence isn’t just in the characters and having spent 50+ hours with them over the last five seasons. it’s also the weight of life and death itself. ahead of time i thought about knowing how it ends. i suspected that i might have feelings about the ending despite not liking so many of these people, but i didn’t know to what degree that would be true. as annoying as these people have been in these last five seasons, seeing them pass away in basically average ways (other than keith, i’ll get to that later) – old age, heart attacks, etc. – was still quite moving. death is a sad thing even for people as troubled as nate or claire or ruth. david, who did a lot of unsavory things in his life, was a well-meaning guy with a deep love for keith and it was beyond sad to see him pass while envisioning keith playing football with the guys. seeing keith get killed, as an old man still trying to make ends meet as a security guard, was particularly poignant because at the end of the series he was pretty much the only primary character i could say i liked.
as shitty a series as this was at times, and it really was a slog to get through from time to time, i have to say it was worth it because of those final 6.5 minutes that will probably always stick with me. they do about as good a job as i can think of when it comes to portraying life’s arc. not just the sadness of death or the triumph of life (there are better films that address those). the show looks at life and death in its totality. this arc isn’t exclusive to good people or likable people; it’s life. there are ups and downs and chapters and regrets and losses and breakdowns and triumphs and, in the end, probably a great emptiness. as much as it portrays that emptiness, though, the show also demonstrates how we live on in others and that’s about the only afterlife i’ll probably ever believe in. the legacy we leave behind in the form of our children or our apprentices or our artwork or friends. it’s as good as anything i can remember at showing how close life and death can be. at showing how the two interact and inform each other.
i wish there wasn’t so much sex-centric stuff. i wish the last two seasons were more solid. i wish nate was played by a better actor and wasn’t written as such a back slider. overall, though, it’s a decent series with a homerun ending that makes it all worth it. that ending made me bawl like a little kid, it was kind of pathetic actually. there’s some wisdom in the series, too, if you look for it. at one point nate is dreaming about lisa and saying that he feels like he had a once in a lifetime chance and he fucked it up. lisa tells him that she’s not a chance, she’s a person. often, i think we do that – project upon people in our lives our hopes and dreams. to him, she was a chance to get things right in the traditional sense. he was looking at it the wrong way of course and it was destined for failure.
another one spoken to nate: “If you think life’s a vending machine where you put in virtue and take out happiness, then you’re going to be disappointed.” that one in particular struck me. because i’ve always wanted life to be like that and have increasingly tried to play the game “the right way.” it gets frustrating if that isn’t rewarded. that’s the conservative side of me i think – the side that looks for justice and fairness instead of allowing shortcuts and freeloading to be rewarded. but life isn’t always like that. so much of life is about learning to accept things, even characters as flawed as claire living to 102 while keith dies at 60.
the season as a whole: C. the final 6.5 minutes: A+.Watched on TV