2014 Season Finales – April to May

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

irrelevant

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.

shield

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+

Elementary

joan

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-

Arrow

slade

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

Community

abed

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

myka pete

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-

Justified

raylan

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

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7 Responses to 2014 Season Finales – April to May

  1. Teacups says:

    Nick Fury’s casual back-and-forth with Coulson during the big climactic scene was the greatest thing. I loved how they were semi-ignoring Garrett as he monologued away.

    I was kind of annoyed at the whole “Oh, Simmons, I love you, so you should be the one to take the oxygen and survive,” thing, because it is always the girl on the receiving end of that sort of thing. But then they neatly sidestepped that when she used her oxygen to save the both of them. Was that the plan? That actually would’ve been a sensible plan, her being the stronger swimmer, but their scene arguing about it gave me the impression Fitz meant to do a heroic sacrifice.

    I basically adored the Arrow finale because of the way they cured Slade, Olicity fakeout or not. That’s my favourite scene from the show so far. I even wrote this long thingy about why it was awesome and put it on Facebook.
    https://www.facebook.com/anya.jenkins.9

    I have a fanwank about Sara being okay with returning to the League – that the deal wasn’t to go back to the League, only to leave Starling with Nyssa. Who did poison her sister, kidnap her mother, and blackmail her, but that does seem sort of par for the course with an assassin romance. It would undoubtedly be an immensely unhealthy relationship, but I still find Sara being happy about it much easier to buy than her cheerfully going back to the job she tried to kill herself to escape.

    I might be sort of okay with Thea going with Malcolm if she’s doing it just to have him mentor her into becoming tough and manipulative and stuff. But yeah, no to her actually embracing him as a parent in any way. At the moment, I can’t really buy her returning as a villain either, if that’s where they’re going with this. Maybe if there’s some Hannibal-style brainwashing or something? I don’t know.

    The thing that bothers me most about the finale is the foreshadowing of Laurel as Black Canary, because… No. After having spent the season with Sara being BC, I don’t think I could buy that from the character or the actress. She doesn’t have anything approaching the kind of emotional or physical background that her sister does. I’m glad Sara’s not dead, but the show making Laurel into Black Canary would only be setting itself up for a Replacement Scrappy – with a character who is already The Scrappy, no less.

    I have not watched Season 5 of Warehouse 13, but I am preemptively annoyed that they put Pete and Myka together. I really thought that for once we had a procedural with male and female partnered leads who didn’t have a romantic relationship. I mean, they were genuinely horrified when they thought they’d slept with one another! At a certain point, their relationship became really sibling-ish, so it feels weird to me that now they’re a couple.

    At least there’s Elementary, which I will check out eventually.

    • You know, I can think of a movie that does exactly what you want — where the boy takes the oxygen (because he’s a better swimmer) even though, you know, there’s a GIRL who’s going to drown — and it’s one of those movies I feel like everyone’s seen, but now I don’t want to say what it is, just in case you haven’t, in fact, seen it.

      I read your Facebook post and agree with basically everything you’ve said. It can’t quite make me overlook the things that drove me freaking nuts in the finale, but the way they successfully play with the gender roles definitely deserves some serious kudos. It was a really nice moment. As far as Sara goes . . . I don’t know. Maybe I could have bought her going back to being an assassin and/or dating Nyssa eventually, but both of those needed some serious buildup for me, which totally failed to happen. I could probably get past it, though, if they brought them back for a few episodes next season as awesome assassin girlfriends who treat each other well. Like, I don’t care if they use scary, assassin tactics towards each other, as long as they use them equally. (I’m weird about what kinds of unhealthy relationships are fine with me and what kinds SERIOUSLY AREN’T.)

      I honestly think even Mentor Malcolm is a bad idea, but I could at least see it. (I guess. Though I still feel there are far less frightening people you could find for that kind of thing.) But I’m also REALLY not into Villain Thea, and that’s exactly where I think they’re headed with this. Which sucks because it doesn’t make much sense and it’s very much a cliche, and also because I really thought I had escaped this basic storyline when Tommy died. Hopefully, I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong a lot lately, so it’s certainly possible. I know Thea needs something to do, and I’d be okay with them turning her into a villain if I thought she had proper motivation . . . but boohoo, my family isn’t secretive isn’t it.

      I’m hoping the foreshadow was just a nod to comic fans and not, like, a promise or something. Because I might have accepted it before, but if we MUST keep Laurel around, I have the most hope for her in a civilian-in-the-know position. I’m way more interested in seeing her as the DA than a vigilante. (Though I’d still be totally okay if she decided to quit the show tomorrow. I feel bad about that, but I’m just kind of done with Laurel.)

      • Teacups says:

        No movies are coming to mind, but I couldn’t resist the curiosity and tried Googling it. Was it The Abyss? I haven’t seen that movie, but I also don’t really care to, so it’s fine.

        I’m having a hard time picturing Thea as a proper villain at the moment, not without more stuff coming into play. Maybe it’s because all of her darker periods until this point have been of a very stroppy, teenagery, impulsive sort. That’s fine, but it does give me the feeling that she lacks… something… when it comes to villain material. Perhaps malice, or steeliness. I just can’t see her trying – really, consciously trying, with forethought and planning – to help kill her brother or burn down the city, or whatever Malcolm’s plans for the next year are. I guess he could get her to help by lying to her, though? Man, she wouldn’t be happy about that.

        Oh God, I hope you’re right. Laurel as the helpful lawyer/friend, I could live with. I don’t know about vigilante. For starters, it’s hard to accept someone as superhero material when they’ve been kidnapped or held hostage a million times, especially when they were already supposed to be able to look after themselves during that time. Though I really wish they would just write her off the show altogether. I don’t even feel bad about it; I think I gave up hoping they’d turn the character around sometime during the alcoholism storyline.

        • It is, in fact, The Abyss. I actually quite like that movie, but only the theatrical cut. I was severely unimpressed with the Director’s Cut. Capital ‘O’ opinions on that bullshit.

          Agreed. I wouldn’t necessarily mind seeing Thea as a villain, but one, I still don’t feel she has proper motivation at this point, and two, so far, she hasn’t given any particular impression of true malice or, I don’t know, scariness. At best, she’s spiteful. I want to be at least a little intimidated by my villains, and I am not intimidated by Thea at all. I am occasionally amused by her, but mostly annoyed with her. Especially now. If they could sufficiently build her into a cool villain, that would be fine, but at the moment I’m worried that she’s just going to come back as Whiny Evil with Ollie spending much of the season trying to redeem her the way he couldn’t really redeem Slade.

          Agreed — but unless Katie Cassidy wants off the show, I don’t really see them getting rid of her, even if 95% of fans don’t like her character.

      • Teacups says:

        Yes, that sounds like a definite possibility. There’s also the question of whether she’d be a fighty villain? Because most of the villains on Arrow have combat skills, and I can see the temptation to put her up against the Arrow in some way, without knowing who it is underneath the hood. But she’s so little and untrained. Unless they do a time skip, I just don’t think she’d have enough time to reach anything close to the level required to be a physical threat to most anyone. Not even with Malcolm training her. So if she is a fighty villain, I don’t think I could buy it.

        You are probably right about Katie Cassidy. Arrrrgh, sometimes I don’t know what TPTB are thinking in cases like these.

      • Teacups says:

        I found this comic about socks to bear an uncanny similarity to the heartbreaking FitzSimmons ocean scene – especially with the name, obviously. You’re the only other person I know who watches this show, so I have to show you.
        http://theoatmeal.com/comics/same_cloth

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