Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Big C: "Taking The Plunge"

Illustration for article titled The Big C: "Taking The Plunge"

Wow. I feel so differently about the finale of The Big C than I did the the majority of the season that I’m confused. Where was this show the last several weeks? I thought the writing and the acting (which is never the problem of this show) were so much stronger than the majority of what we’d seen, and I won’t lie: My eyes were wet at the end, even though I had scoffed that the ending would be quasi-predictable. Maybe it was, but it was still effective.

The episode opened with Marlene’s funeral where we finally met her daughters, who inform Cathy that Marlene left Cathy her house. Cathy’s concerned that Adam doesn’t seem more upset, and then Sean shows up, having an anxiety attack about death. I felt like this was one of the few times in the show where Sean’s actual mental illness seemed to manifest itself and he wasn’t just a caricature of paranoid hippie asshole. Rebecca chases him down, and his b.o. is so strong that he makes her vomit: Naturally, she’s pregnant. I thought this was one of several really great scenes in this episode, where Rebecca, spent, just lets Sean know that he’ll have a child in the world but doesn’t expect anything from him.

Laura Linney and Oliver Platt had some great scenes together this episode, too. I thought the two of them crying together over Where the Red Fern Grows was inexplicably funny, and I got all soft and mushy inside after Cathy tells Paul she wants to try Interleukin, a treatment that could help her but also could cause horrible side effects that would render her unattractive, and he tells her he’d never see her that way.

Cathy kicks Marlene’s bitch daughters out of the house and hands the keys over to Sean, so he’ll have a place of his own, potentially in which to raise a family. The scene with Cathy and Sean in the kitchen was another good one to me because it felt like Cathy was finally playing Sean. The whole season, she was his wide-eyed dorky sister who always fell for his shit, so it was nice to see her act like she actually had known him for 40 years. Sean heads over to Rebecca’s to offer to help fuck up their kid together. This is another great scene for Cynthia Nixon. I loved the looks she gave Sean, before she informed him that he smelled good.

Cathy and Paul finally tell Adam that she’s sick, and he appears to take it in stride. As Cathy starts the Interleukin, Adam’s at home stealing money from his mom’s purse, where he finds the keys to the storage unit. Inside is not only the sports car she bought him but piles and piles of presents, one for each of his future birthdays and milestones. Adam finally broke down (and so did I), seeing how much his mom will miss seeing him grow up and not just nagging him about naggy mom crap.

Cathy has a little dream while the cytokines seep into her: She’s diving into her in-ground pool, and Marlene’s dancing to polka music on her lawn. I think that if I didn’t know this show was renewed for a second season, I’d be half-wondering if Cathy’s dream meant she had died on the table. 

I’m not sure that the finale alone is enough to make up for how halfhearted I felt about the majority of the season (where I saw wasted potential) but I do know that the show left on a very strong note, and if the second season could maintain that, then we’d be talking.


Stray observations:

  • “I had a recurring dream about his deathface trying to kiss me.”
  • Both Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney looked especially beautiful in this episode, I thought. Marlene, too.
  • And Sean has a nice body.
  • So with Rebecca’s pregnancy, I’m assuming Cynthia Nixon is back for another season. That’s one more reason for me to keep watching.