Boy, it’s sure been a busy week in TV land! Out of the shows I watch regularly, six of them have had their season finales this week and as such, this post is going to be so big that splitting it up into two parts is what’s on the cards this week. This is part one, which you already know from the title obviously, and I’ll post the second part tomorrow.
Next week’s post, however, is the last one of these that I’ll be doing until September, when the 2012-2013 TV season begins. I toyed with the idea of keeping it running throughout Summer, as there are some shows that are broadcast then, such as True Blood and Falling Skies, but there isn’t enough to make it worthwhile. I also played with possibly mentioning ANY TV I’ve watched during the week, whether it be recent or over a decade old, but that defeats the purpose of what these posts always entail. So, they’ll be going into hibernation until September after next week, although there is still the matter of this week and next to get through first!
Alas, moving on to the first of this week’s six finales.
ONCE UPON A TIME – A LAND WITHOUT MAGIC
Now that is how you do a season finale! Once Upon a Time concluded its first season with twists, turns and a complete change in direction in time for September’s second season commencement. Storybrooke may not have any magic to speak of but this show certainly produces some.
Things are looking incredibly grave for Henry. He’s taken a bite out of the turnover laced with Regina’s poisonous apple, intended for Emma’s consumption, and it’s left him teetering on the brink of death. Not only that, Emma finally realises that everything Henry told her concerning the fairy-tale heritage of the town’s inhabitants, as well as her own involvement in the events, has been true all along. If this wasn’t significant development in itself, she breaks the curse that’s been hanging over everybody for the entire season, waking everybody up to their real identities and saving her son in the process.
Meanwhile, in the fairy-tale land that was, Prince Charming is still being held captive by the Evil Queen, who last week forced Snow White to take a bite out of the apple that ultimately puts her into an ever-lasting sleep. The battle-lines are drawn and Charming finally gets to be with his girl, before making a pact with Snow to take back the land that has been stolen from them by Regina and his father, setting up one of the story arcs for season two, no doubt.
Ending the season, with the customary cliffhanger-to-end-all-cliffhangers, is Rumpelstiltskin, who uses the love potion created in the fairy-tale world to bring forth a cloud that engulfs the entire town, restoring magic to its denizens, including the Evil Queen herself. The curse is broken, but the game continues.
Basically, things have all but exploded in the land of Once Upon a Time. This show has had no issues with twisting the narrative at multiple points during its first season but even I was quite surprised to see how much they furthered the story in this finale. Breaking the curse in particular is an event one would be forgiven for expecting to only happen several seasons into the future, as well as Emma being woken to the truth about Storybrooke. That being said, leaving these events hanging in the air for several seasons would’ve gotten tiring pretty quickly, so perhaps getting them out of the way now was the best decision for the show’s shelf-life.
In fact, from the moment Emma discovered the truth at the beginning of the episode, I was expecting a ‘reset button’ to occur, whereby all the game-changing events of the hour would be conveniently erased by the end, restoring balance to the world whilst providing a peek at what could be. They’ve changed the game considerably, that’s for sure. The whole of this season has rested on the fact that Emma was unaware of what was really going on around her, meaning the curse remained firmly in place. Now that has been taken out of the equation, season two is sure to be taking an entirely different direction and I’m positive that it will be wonderful. The ‘moment’ between Mary-Margaret and David, upon realizing who they really were and the history they shared, was not done as well as I’d hoped but it was merely a blight on an otherwise highly respectable offering.
Once Upon a Time’s first season has been, on the whole, extremely positive. There have been some average episodes for sure but for a show that focuses on the concept of fairy-tale stories, stereotypically for children’s enjoyment only, it’s done a magnificent job of making them ‘adult’. As a result, its ratings have been consistently above-average and heading into season two with the absolute belief that the journey ahead will be of this high a quality is an experience I’m glad I’ll be able to have.
Special mention also has to go to both Lana Parilla and Robert Carlyle for their consistently fantastic performances in their roles. Both have portrayed their characters as more than simple evil beings, giving them depth and motive for their actions despite their exteriors exerting that single image. Casting these two in these roles was a decision nothing short of a master-stroke.
Fairy-tales are not just for children any more, not that they ever were.
BONES – THE PAST IN THE PRESENT
It’s only fitting that Bones, whose seventh season has had the potential to be divisive more than definitive, would have a finale that would be equally as able to divide its fans more than anything. As we leave Bones’ seventh year on the TV, it’s easy to wonder whether the show has much life left in it.
This week’s finale is about one thing and one thing only: Brennan. Super-hacker Christopher Pelant is back and he’s targeting Bones by placing evidence around a murder victim that ultimately leads back to her. The damning evidence continues to stack up against her until it threatens to take her away from her family for good, leading to her fleeing the city with their baby daughter and becoming a fugitive, at least until the gang clears her name and she can return home.
Before heading into this finale, I was all but prepared to chastise Brennan’s decision to flee the city without telling Booth – a decision I didn’t see fitting into her character at all, especially not with what we’ve seen over the numerous seasons before this one. As such, I finished it believing the circumstances to be grave enough to warrant this sudden break in character. Make no mistake, the Brennan of old would never have fled and made sure her enemy got what he wanted. She would have stayed and fought tooth and nail to clear her name, but when her life would be threatened if she did that, and when her daughter would be at risk should that happen, what other choice would there have been to flee? It was a change of character for sure but then we’ve been watching that happen all season as she gradually becomes accustomed to not only have a daughter but a family of her own, so it’s not breaking this season’s tradition.
Overall, the finale was decent-ish. There have been many episodes in season seven that I care not to remember exist but there have been a few that offer a small peek back at what Bones used to be. Every show that gets to be this old begins to show its age and Bones is certainly doing just that. Things used to be so good and fresh but now they’re so stale, like a piece of bread that used to smell wonderfully inviting but now sits there looking green and furry. I don’t envision Bones lasting for that much longer, although the ratings and fans are still there so I could be wrong, however. I just hope the failings of season seven do not influence the future too much.
PERSON OF INTEREST – FIREWALL
Ah Person of Interest, your continued insistence on providing utterly riveting, exciting television continues to impress, even into your first season finale. You started off as just another bland cop procedural with a quirky little twist to add to the mix, but you evolved into something much more than that: you became interesting. Missing your weekly offerings became as uninviting as receiving a nail in the foot and your finale upped the stakes and raised the tension even higher than I thought possible. You brought your A-game and it certainly showed.
This week’s season conclusion brought about nothing out of the ordinary at first glance. Another number was spat out by the machine, bringing our very own super-sleuths out of the shadows and into the light to rescue yet another damsel, or possibly convict them. Amy Acker, who’s surely had more guest appearances in this current TV season than humanly possible, plays that role of victim so well, dragging John into a situation even he couldn’t easily shoot his way out of, before ditching that sweet persona and unveiling herself as the true criminal mastermind calling the shots. Rescuing Finch from a gun-toting mad-woman before undertaking that same role herself and kidnapping him, we end the season with Reese asking the machine to help him rescue its creator, before getting a phone call, presumably from the same machine he’d been making demands of just moments before.
The beauty of Person of Interest is that it’s never quite clear whether the ‘damsel in distress’ is a victim or perpetrator, forcing you to question their actions and intentions at every point during an episode. Unlike other cop shows, where you spend the episode hunting for the killer whilst already knowing the victim, this show gives you that person from the start. Deducing whether they’re friend or foe is the question at hand. This finale is a prime example of just that. I believed Amy Acker’s character to be the victim. All signs pointed to that belief and right when I least suspected it, it was completely turned around. In hindsight, I probably should’ve seen it coming but the fact still remains. It’s this aspect that’s most appealing about this show, and it’s one of the things they do so well.
Person of Interest is just another police procedural at heart, but instead of actual police officers as the main protagonists, our actual ‘heroes’ are a technology expert who created the single most invasive and potentially deadly weapon on the planet, and an ex-military soldier who murders people with such efficiency and ease that it’s almost like his human nature. They are, of course, assisted by actual cops but even one of those used to play dirty at one point. Unlike other procedurals, our characters are not meant to be holier-than-thou creations who save lives out of duty. They’re flawed, destructive and save lives because they’re able to, not because it’s their duty, and it’s this aspect that makes the show as appealing as it is, at least for me.
Person of Interest started off rather dull, with characters who were little more than cardboard cut-outs. Over time, the quality of the narrative increased, more story arcs became involved and the characters gained more history and depth than what was previously portrayed. The number-of-the-week format started off as boring but now, with every target potentially a killer or a victim, there is enough of a variation in that format to distance the show from other police procedurals. It’s been a solid first season and September simply cannot arrive soon enough.
Oh, and someone please find Amy Acker some permanent employment.
So, as stated previously, the second part of this week’s post will be posted tomorrow. I could’ve put them together into just one but it would’ve been an incredible length. As such, two parts seemed like the most logical of answers.
As usual, your comments and opinions are extremely welcomed. It’s finale time, which means the potential for discussion regarding these shows is higher than usual, so embrace it people! I am interested in what others thought of the Once Upon a Time finale: too much or just perfect? You know what I think, but I always want to know what you think, too.