Fabulous FinalesBy Michael Karol Posted: May 1, 2009
In prime time, a series finale is often much less than ballyhooed. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise when LOST, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and 24 pulled rabbits out of their respective hats and gave viewers two-hour, pull-out-all-the-stops cliff-hangers. The result: fan-boy joy.
LOST finally dealt with its mythology, going back to the first season, by introducing the actual Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) — on a beach, watching what we presume to be the Black Rock arrive (the Losties found it beached in the jungle in season one). Flashbacks showed how Jacob affected most of the major characters at various points in their lives. We met a new character (whom some fans are calling Esau, and played by Titus Welliver) on the beach with Jacob. "Esau" clearly had no love for Jacob. In fact, it was almost certainly he who, at the finale's end, was impersonating Locke (Terry O'Quinn, apparently still dead) in order to manipulate Ben (Michael Emerson) into killing Jacob. The final half hour was an adrenaline rush, as Jack (Matthew Fox) and his band rushed to set off the hydrogen bomb Faraday (Jeremy Davies) led them to, hopefully resetting the future. But what if it didn’t? The return of Bernard and Rose was a joy; they'd been living happily alone in the jungle to avoid the drama of the group; as Rose put it, "It's always something with you guys…." Sawyer's (Josh Holloway) arc with Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) was touching, as she, separated from him, alone at the bottom of the drill hole, hit the bomb with a rock to set it off, crying and cursing. Set your time machines to "reboot" for next January … or perhaps not?
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES also played with time at the end of its finale, though not as drastically as the five-year jump we saw at the beginning of this season. Dave (Neil McDonough) was revealed to be the psychotic nut-case viewers already knew he was; Teri Hatcher (Susan) did a wonderful job caught in his potentially deadly web. Mike (James Denton) arrived just in time to save Susan, leaving a flummoxed Katherine (Dana Delany) alone at the airport, with no wedding in sight. But wait! At the end, the show jumped a few months into the future, and we saw Mike getting married…but not the woman under the veil. When I recently spoke to executive producer Bob Daily, he noted the following about Mike and Susan: "For those two, it's always, 'Where will [they] end up?' It was such an integral part of the first season. The trick is balancing the fans' desire to get them back together, with the dramatic need of keeping some tension. … [But] their relationship will always be important to the show, whether or not they're married." So there's a good chance Susan is marrying Mike, again … or, perhaps not.
24 was literally a terrific roller-coaster ride from one hour to the next. The finale was, for me, no different (though the final half-hour was apparently too plot-heavy for some fans). The bad guy, Alan Wilson (Will Patton) was caught, and tied to a huge conspiracy to control the United States dating back to the assassination of President Palmer. Jack's (Kiefer Sutherland) daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) finally proved she is her father's daughter, and not just a target/victim, by following one of the baddies to an underground parking lot, alerting the FBI and saving a crucial laptop from a burning car. Agent Walker (Annie Wersching) comforted Jack in what were possibly his final moments and then went off to interrogate (or kill?) Wilson. Carlos revealed his true reasons for acting like such a shmuck (revenge for his murdered wife and unborn child by killing the man ultimately responsible, Wilson) and I can't totally hate him. Chloe and Janice (Mary Lynn Rajskub and Janeanne Garofalo) had a funny exchange in which Chloe thanked Janice for her help, but in her own inimitable way. The producers were brave enough to bring the Imam back to help Jack come to peace with his God. Will Jack die? Will Walker use some of Jack's illegal techniques to take care of Wilson? Perhaps — but since the show has been renewed for an eighth season, perhaps not.