And so we've come to the end of our sexually explicit, emotionally intense road. And what a journey it's been. We've seen hand jobs and breakdowns. We've seen lackluster sex in many positions. We've seen uncomfortable dinner parties involving Sticky Fingaz form Onyx and old people getting really, really sweaty. And tonight we saw it all wind down inconclusively.
But that's probably the only way the season could have ended. Creator Cynthia Mort committed early on the portraying relationships as complex, protean entities so it would be wrong for her to provide a tidy conclusion for the stories she's been telling, even if one of the threads would seem to get a neat bow tied on the end of it.
Hugo's sudden reappearance and equally sudden resumption of the pole position in the race of Jamie's heart is almost too-neat but nothing else about their reconciliation was. At dinner Hugo resumed the asshole-y habits seen earlier in the season and I really liked the scene where he walks Jamie home. She looks genuinely happy but anyone's who's watched this far just knows it's not going to work. And she knows it too, even if the last scene finds her on the verge of marriage and smiling about it. The series crawls with characters locked into patterns of behavior Mort doesn't seem to have a lot of faith in people's ability to change.
Or at least not too quickly. Dave and Katy have spent the season realizing that not having sex was just one sign that they'd drifted apart and it scared them. It makes sense, then, that sex would be their way back together. So we get a very passionate, awkward, peculiar sex scene in which Dave guides his wife into pleasuring herself. A few episodes back she complained about being in a house of masturbators. Their ranks just grew by one. But the scene was definitely a kind of lovemaking anyway and after all we've seen them through–and this episode brought them to the brink of losing each other for good–kind of moving to watch.
Which leaves Dr. May whose rather perfunctory personal plot finally paid off a little bit in a brittle session with Jamie in which, motivated by some recent bad news, she calls her patient on her bullshit. Otherwise I was again left wondering why we needed to see her private life at all all. And then there's Carolyn and Palek and the heartbreaking baby that wasn't. They're left together again but I got the sense that they'll stop making each other miserable only as long as the question of whether or not to have a child stays sidelined.
So we've got a tidy conclusion that looks like it will lead to a heartbreaking marriage, a couple maybe taking the first steps to falling back in love, another couple destined not to be happy, and one therapist who finds that she can still be hurt even within the protective confines of a strong, happy, sexually active marriage. We also have an experiment in slow-moving drama and boundary-pushing (by cable standards) sex that, despite some ups and downs, ultimately worked. And, oh yeah, there's also a lingering sense of misery. There's a bracing absence of escapism to the series, but I found myself leaving each episode drained of hope for human relationships. I say this as a happily married man who may want to have kids one of these years, but when Katy's kid announced that she was never going to get married or have children I found myself thinking, "Good for you, sweetie!" In the world presented here, there's doesn't appear to be much advantage to it.
- Was there a sadder scene in the series than Jeremy London, in a beer-induced haze while his zombie-like kids stared at a television, talking about how kids "make you a better person"?
- Dave vs. Palek! Palek vs. Dave! Fight! Fight!
- Dr. May's dedication extended to " the men and women who have the courage to be happy." She's not referring to anyone actually on the show, is she?
- Next season: More Palek and Carolyn, etc.? Or will there a whole new bunch of occasionally horny, frequently unhappy characters? Tune in next fall!