Oh, summer. The season of hot weather, ant invasions, and pool parties that I ignore in order to sleep longer. It’s also the season of Television Death. Oh, okay, fine, that’s not really true anymore — I’ve still got a few episodes of Game of Thrones left to watch, not to mention an upcoming season of Teen Wolf and new HBO show The Leftovers to try out — but a lot of my favorite shows have abandoned me, leaving me counting down the days till a cooler, ant-less fall.
Before I start sobbing into my strawberry daiquiri, though, let’s post-mortem the rest of the 2013-2014 season, shall we?
DISCLAIMER: Spoilers everywhere. If you are not caught up on the current seasons of these shows, don’t read this. Unless you really don’t care about being spoiled, I guess. Then, you know, read away.
Person of Interest
This was an awesome season finale. For three years, Person of Interest has done pretty big finales, each one more game changing than the last, and “Deus ex Machina” was fucking epic. The trial was spectacular. Camryn Manheim, in particular, is so fantastic here. I cannot say enough about how much I like her recurring guest role. (Also, how ecstatic I am that it hasn’t come to an end yet. I was sure Control was going to bite it in this episode, and I’ve never been so pleased to be wrong in my entire life.)
We also wrapped up Vigilance, brought Samaritan to life, and set the stage for Season Four in a big, big way.
PoI started out pretty slow for me, and I wouldn’t have initially kept going if I didn’t like Michael Emerson as much as I did. But I’m so glad I stuck around because it continues to get better each and every season. (I’m sure I said this during the wrap-up last year, but it continues to be true.) It is absolutely one of my favorite shows to watch right now, and one of the most under-appreciated science fiction shows on television.
FINALE GRADE: A+
SEASON GRADE: A
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I know Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t live up to a lot of people’s expectations initially, but it steadily improved over the second half of the season, and after the events of The Winter Soldier, it surged into some pretty awesome territory. Which isn’t an unreasonable trajectory for a first season show, and I have hope that they’ll manage to maintain this newfound awesomeness in the second season.
As far as “Beginning of the End” goes . . . I’d say it’s pretty damn good. Samuel L. Jackson is just the best. I know we won’t get him back for some time now (if ever), but I’ll just keep on hoping anyway — because, really, I could watch him and Clark Gregg play off each other all day. Other finale highlights: Garrett ripping out a human rib, Patton Oswalt’s return (as a Life Model Decoy?), the not-redemption of Grant Ward, and the heartbreaking scene between Jemma and Fitz at the bottom of the ocean. (And to think, I didn’t even like Fitz all that much at the beginning. You know, I predicted that Fitz would die a shocking death at the end of the season since the pilot, a prediction which obviously didn’t come true . . . but he did get seriously hurt. I’ll guess we’ll have to wait and see how extensive this near-certain brain injury really is.)
My deepest regret about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Ian Quinn lives. Damn it. I hate that guy.
FINALE GRADE: A-
SEASON GRADE: B+
I’ve enjoyed the hell out of Elementary this year — it’s a pretty straight up standard procedural, yes, but I love what they’ve done with Sherlock, allowing him to grow and yet stay true to character. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu continue to be phenomenal leads, and I love their relationship together onscreen.
That being said, I did have slightly mixed feelings about how this season wrapped up. I wasn’t in love with how they handled Mycroft and Joan’s relationship in the last couple of episodes, and I also felt that the finale weirdly ended on one cliffhanger more than was really necessary. (I’m not sure I needed it to be oh no, Sherlock’s going back to England AND oh no, Sherlock’s gonna relapse.) Still, “The Grand Experiment” was overall enjoyable, and there were a few nice character moments, particularly the last scene between Sherlock and Mycroft. That was lovely.
FINALE GRADE: B+
SEASON GRADE: A-
Oh, this show. I enjoy the hell out of it, and yet it drives me SO CRAZY. That’s a pretty fair assessment of how I felt about both this finale and the season itself.
Like, okay. “Unthinkable” is a fun enough episode. The Olicity fake out was TOTALLY MEAN but also kind of awesome. I’m interested in Diggle becoming a father. And I’m glad that Sara didn’t die (another prediction I got wrong — I’m falling down on the job this year), but I’m kind of baffled by her character exit. Like, we spent a whole episode showing — in the least subtle manner possible — how Sara is a hero, even if she occasionally kills bad guys . . . but then suddenly she’s leaving Starling City to become an assassin again with the ex-girlfriend who kidnapped her mother because, hey, that’s just what she wants to do now? (Quentin is the only one who seems perturbed by this, which kind of amuses me. Less into his cliffhanger, though — it felt kind of thrown in and a little cheap.)
The thing that continues to drive me absolutely bonkers, though — Thea Fucking Queen. Apparently, I’m the only person who has a problem with this, but . . . look, Thea’s had kind of a raw deal this season. I get it. It sucks that she lost her business (although that was kind of her own fault), and that her mother, brother, and boyfriend have all been lying to her. I feel for her, I do. What I don’t understand is how going off with her psychotic father — who murdered hundreds of people, INCLUDING his son and her half-brother, not to mention the man who raised her — is a valid life choice. I don’t care how betrayed you’re feeling that nobody tells you the truth. This is not how you start over. I shouldn’t even have to say this, right? Right?
FINALE GRADE: B
SEASON GRADE: B
First: Hulu might be reviving Community for a sixth season! I’m not going to get too excited about this possibility until it becomes more than just a maybe, but still. It would be pretty awesome. (Except that I don’t actually have a Hulu+ account and am unlikely to get one when I already have Netflix Instant and Amazon Prime. A girl has to put a cap on her TV obsession at some point.)
Now, I do think this season was a little shaky. A definite improvement over Season Four, mind you, but hardly the gold standard of Seasons Two and Three. This is pretty much how I felt about the finale, too — the whole plot about finding the first Dean was totally okay, but nothing I’d write home about, either. I was incredibly relieved that Jeff and Britta didn’t get together, though. (And yes, I did enjoy my Jeff-Annie shipper moment.) The best part of the finale was definitely the end reel. Depends on What Fails — still makes me laugh. Oh, and also the whole Earth has been destroyed by an asteroid thing. It’s canon.
Unless Hulu saves it, of course. Then I want, nay, I demand an Armageddon parody for the Season Six opener.
FINALE GRADE: B
SEASON GRADE: B
Warehouse 13 decided to give us a series finale focused almost solely on character moments instead of save-the-world Big Plot Stuff. (Not unlike Psych did a few months ago with their series send-off.) Warehouse 13 isn’t quite as successful here because this episode, like all of fifth season, feels a little rushed — which is kind of what happens when you only get six episodes to wrap up all your subplots and loose ends.
I’m not sure how I feel about certain things in this episode. Pete and Myka getting together, for instance — I kind of wish they hadn’t, although the two actors do have a certain kind of chemistry, and it’s not like the worst thing ever. (It’s not, for instance, like Sherlock and Joan getting together in Elementary. If the producers ever go back on that promise and make them a couple, I will be DONE.) The whole dance sequence is fun but seems to go on when they’re already pressed for time, and the story with Artie’s son . . . well, I’m of two minds about it. It’s kind of hilarious that Artie has this son he’s never brought up before, mostly because (for once) nothing tragic happened to him — he just lives in San Diego, and they go to Comic Con together sometimes. But ultimately, I just don’t buy it.
Still, there were a lot of awesome character moments that did work for me. I completely bought Pete’s reaction to the Warehouse moving, and I really liked Steve’s memory in all its endless wonder and Inner Space glory. (Also, he made Mrs. Frederick laugh!) Artie yelling at the Warehouse and getting an apple in return totally choked me up. And Claudia makes a totally hot and awesome Caretaker. The episode did produce a lot of Feels in me, so it was successful on some level . . . I just wish the whole season had been given a little room to breathe.
FINALE GRADE: B
SEASON GRADE: B-
Oh, Justified. I have praised the everloving shit out of you on this blog. I have bemoaned the lack of critical attention you’ve received, while secretly feeling at least a little superior in the knowledge that I knew how freaking amazing you were, even if no one else did. If you were to suddenly become the most popular show next year, I could legitimately say, “Well, I liked Justified before it was cool.”
But holy hell, was Season Five a disappointment.
It started out well. And there were some awesome moments here and there — Boyd’s exploding cigarettes, or Dewey vs Messer — but somewhere between Ava’s boring-ass prison storyline, the Crowes’ underwhelming villainy, Amy Smart’s whole character, Tim and Rachel’s near-complete absence, and Raylan’s inability to man up and be a parent to his own child, I just . . . I didn’t enjoy myself at all. I started forcing myself to watch episodes instead of actually wanting to watch them, and it depressed the hell out of me.
And as far as the finale goes . . . shit. On one hand, at least the Crowe family is gone and Ava is finally out of prison. But I’m not wild about her betraying Boyd to get out of prison. I get why she did it, and it might have worked for me if I’d really bought into the dissolution of their relationship over the course of the season . . . but I hated how the show handled that. Boyd and Ava deserved better. And considering how much I disliked Raylan this season (and godamnit, I like Raylan), I find myself going into sixth season hoping for Boyd to be victorious . . . and knowing just how unlikely that is to be.
I can only hope that Justified manages to get back on track for its last season. I’d hate for the show to go out like this.
Also, RIP Jimmy. You lasted so long, buddy. I will totally miss you.
FINALE GRADE: C
SEASON GRADE: C