Finales are scary, at least for me. More so than any other single episode, they represent a show’s legacy, the way fans will remember their favorite show as the years go by. And more often than not, they disappoint. The last series finale that I felt accomplished all it should was Angel’s way back in 2004. “return 0” might have been better than that. Well, maybe not. But it’s close. Basically, every series finale should have Amy Acker in it. That seems to be the key (see also: Alias).
The episode had a few moments I might have changed. I don’t like the thought of Root’s body being dug up by Samaritan agents. It was just this horrific little detail that I didn’t want to know. I get that the data from her cochlear implant lead them to the rest of the team, but couldn’t they have done that in a less grotesque way? The scene with Senator Garrison felt oddly intrusive and the time jump that came before it was a bit jarring. I wish Bear had gotten to contribute to the fight somehow and I wish the Machine had mentioned Carter in its philosophizing about death. That’s it. That’s every single complaint I could come up with. Everything else in the forty-three minutes of the finale was just…perfect.
Reese finally got where he was going in the pilot. But instead of going out in a self-pitying drunken stupor, he gets to sacrifice himself in a hail of bullets followed by spectacular explosion to save the world and to save his best friend. His goodbyes to the team were incredibly understated. Watching the first time, there’s no foreshadowing, no expectation that anything would stop the team from coming together at a later point. Watching the second (and third) time, it occurs to you that this is all the goodbye Reese and Shaw and Reese and Fusco are ever going to get, after all that time together.
Finch and Reese, however… The show really is the story of their relationship and they got an appropriately emotional goodbye. Two, in fact. One as Finch believed he was saving Reese, one as Reese succeeded in saving Finch. I cried. A lot.
The police finally figured out who the man in the suit was, which was a bit of closure I didn’t even know I needed until it came. Finch and Grace’s reunion was a bit of closure I definitely knew I needed. Finch hanging up his superhero cape and returning to his lady love is the one bit of non-bittersweet happiness to come out of the finale and it was perfect. Counteracting the raw emotion of Reese’s goodbye and the satisfaction of Shaw picking up the mantle of the Machine, it was a much needed moment of genuine sweetness.
Fusco acknowledges what we learned last week. Without Finch and Reese’s intervention, he would’ve stayed a dirty cop and no matter how many times he’s been shot, stabbed, or blown up, he’s a better man for the team’s intervention and he ends the series the cop they helped make him.
Bits and Pieces
The speech the Machine’s been giving since the season premiere turns out to be instructions to a new machine. It’s a beautifully symmetrical concept.
I like to believe that a hypothetical sixth season would begin with Shaw putting together her own team to help the numbers and Finch somehow seeing it and getting drawn back in. The happy reunion is short lived, however, as it soon turns into a fearsome custody battle for Bear.
Finch: “When I hired you, I suspected you were going to be a great employee. What I couldn’t have anticipated was that you would become such a good friend.”
Machine: “There was something I think Root had wanted to say to you. You always thought there was something wrong with you because you don’t feel things the way other people do. But she always felt that was what made you beautiful. She wanted you to know that if you were a shape, you’d be a straight line, an arrow.”
Reese: “Sometimes one life is the right life. It’s enough. Goodbye, Harold.”
Machine: “Sure. Everyone dies alone. But if you meant something to someone. If you helped someone or loved someone, if even a single person remembers you, then maybe you never really die.”
four out of four finales
sunbunny, who cried like a baby for about an hour after seeing this episode
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