Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Deep Thoughts with DanielleTBD: 'Chuck', 'Hawaii Five-0', 'The Good Wife' Season Finales...

I don't mean to steal style or format from my friend Di aka The Surf Report but this week of upfronts has been so crazy I haven't had time to sit down with my thoughts, let alone put them on paper-- err, on the internet, individually. It has been a busy week for season finales, though, and naturally I have my thoughts on a few of them that I just couldn't hold in. So instead of doing one post per show and allowing you to pick and choose what you want to read, I am just going to condense my thoughts (ha! As if that is possible!) and post them all here. You can just scroll past any show that doesn't interest you, deal?

Chuck's writers and producers were left in limbo (as usual) when they were planning their fourth season finale. They didn't know if they would be back for a season five; they probably didn't even know who would be making the decision at the point in time they had to break the story. So they channeled that energy and had their art imitate their life. There was a regime change at the CIA and all of a sudden Richard Burgi began calling the shots, standing in Chuck (Zachary Levi)'s way of saving the woman he loves, the woman he was all set up to marry, and if I'm being completely honest, the woman I thought he had already married. See, in flashbacks we're allowed an insight into Chuck and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski)'s life from a week before their wedding when they were both so nervous they decided they needed a dry run. Yes, they were just in their own apartment, in their pajamas, using twisty-ties as rings, but I was certain when the camera pulled out after their "fake" "I dos" we would see a very real officiant. That didn't happen, but what did was jsut as good. Chuck writers and producers gave us a tale that would do the character proud, the show, proud, the fans themselves proud, just in case it was its one last hoorah. And I really felt like it would have made a perfect series finale. It closed the chapter of one book with Chuck quitting (and yes, with the intersect being stripped from his head). All he really wanted when he started this crazy journey was a regular life: to find his purpose and a girl who would love him. And he did that in spades. He doesn't need a computer in his brain to do great things. The episode took the best parts of the show and the ones that are just simply most gratuitously fun and wove them into a story that brought the whole cast of characters together in a way we really don't get to see enough. Team Bartowski got to save the day; the good guy got the girl; and in the end, they left us with a little taste of what their lives would look like with all of the changes. Hell, they even gave us a montage of the relationship to which we have grown so attached, and they quoted one of their most famous lines to end the episode. By the time the episode aired, Chuck had been renewed with a clear cut order so the writers and producers could wrap up the series the way they want, but honestly, it felt like they already had, and I was satisfied with that ending, despite its ominous "Cliffhanger" title.

Hawaii Five-0 - I think it's a testament to the more quality writing that exists on television these days, this show included, when you look at a season finale and go "Huh, how the hell are they going to top that?" And I don't necessarily mean how they're going to make an episode that is as action-packed or twisty-turvy, but how they're going to get their characters out of the mess they find themselves in. Because this season finale kind of wrote some of them into corners. Corners that literally had me saying "No! Really?" to the TV. Sure, Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim) got reinstated to the "real" police so he can bail out his buddies...eventually, but those are some serious charges Steve (Alex O'Loughlin) and Kono (Grace Park) face, especially because she actually did what she is being accused of. The show announced they are promoting Masi Oka to a series regular, so it is to be assumed they get back to work with 5-0 relatively quickly, even if Danno (Scott Caan)'s attention might not really be present, but honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing Steve prove his innocence while inside jail. We all know how good O'Louglin looks in scrubs. And I bet he still has some of the fitted Three Rivers ones.

The Good Wife aired its second season finale on Tuesday, just a day before the network announced a third season renewal. The writers didn't seem worried (nor did critics, I must point out) and instead chose to just focus on the story, as they always do. In a return to their origins, they ended on a really strong case-- about a man convicted of murdering a judge had recently presided over a civil suit the man filed against a dentist who botched his son's oral surgery. But that is neither here nor there because what most of the fans cared about was the Alicia (Julianna Margulies)/Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) and whether or not it was reparable, as well as the "will they or won't they hook up" play out for Alicia and Will (Josh Charles). And the season finale delivered on both accounts, with Alicia taking a baby step toward Kalinda, albeit it simply a professional one, and a night of drinks with Will that led to getting a last minute hotel room. Of course, this is what we are going to comment most on: the final, soon-to-be-internet famous few minutes in which Alicia and Will booked the only available room (at a whopping $7800!) and then struggled with the decision as the elevator door opened and closed in front of them. Now, you could say that the fact that the hotel was all booked up but for this one ridiculously expensive suite, as well as the fact that both had the "deer in the headlights" look when the elevator dropped them on their floor, were signs that they shouldn't do it. The theme of the show has been "adultery is bad" and more importantly "adulterers always get caught." It started that way with Peter (Chris Noth) and a hooker and rounded out with Peter and Kalinda. Alicia is still technically married and therefore undoubtedly feeling the irony. But what I, instead, chose to focus on was the tongue-in-cheek nature of the final few seconds. Will struggled to get his key card in the door, another sign that maybe this wasn't meant to be, and Alicia simply smiled the way a mother might smile at her frustrated son, took the card from him, turned it over, and inserted it properly to get the green light signal. While most fans are just happy they're finally going to do it already (or are they? minds can change in instants!), I couldn't help but pick up what I assumed was a subtle sexual metaphor woven in by these clever, clever writers. They may finally do it, but it doesn't mean it will be good. And that might not bode well for their relationship-- professional or otherwise-- next year.

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