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Category Archives: Season Finales

SERIES FINALE: How I Met Your Mother “Last Forever” S9 E22

So that’s how it ends.   The story of these 5 friends we have been following for 9 years has reached it’s conclusion and in some ways it’s exactly what I thought and in other ways, it’s nothing like I thought would happen.   One thing is for certain, people will be talking (and screaming) about this finale for days to come.   It was that kind of ending.  I imagine most people loved it or hated it.   Judging by the early comments, people LOATHED it.  However I am not one of them.    Was it my favorite finale ever?   Not even close.   Was it as bad as Dexter’s finale?   Not even close.   But enough with the broad strokes.  Let’s dive into this and if you haven’t seen tonight’s finale, stop reading now and come back when you have.

I have mixed feelings on this finale.  There were parts I loved and parts I didn’t and parts I was indifferent about.   But since this was a very polarizing finale, I can see how people would lean one way or the other.   I mean come on.  We just spent THE ENTIRE SEASON on the weekend of Barney and Robin’s wedding only to have them be divorced 20 minutes into the finale.   Hence one of the parts I didn’t like.   If you were just going to break them up, couldn’t we have spent, maybe, oh I don’t know, 6-8 episodes on the wedding weekend and the remaining 14-16 episodes on the aftermath and subsequent years and maybe a little more on Ted and Tracy (Question #1 answered….Mother’s name is Tracy.)  In some ways I feel like I wasted 20+ episodes this season by having this build to a wedding that ultimately didn’t matter.  I would have rather spent more time getting know Tracy a little bit more since technically the show is about her.    It would have also made the scene where we learn that our fears raised in “Vesuvius” came to fruition…Tracy gets sick and passes away…much more powerful because we have been closer to her.    Not to mention, since Ted has been searching for this woman for as long as we’ve known him, it would have been nice to see Ted grieve the loss of his wife instead of it being mentioned as an after thought.    But it just goes to show you how awesome Cristin Miloti is.   I fell in love with her the minute I saw her.  She was perfect for Ted.   We got to see some snippets of that over this season, but not enough for my liking.   But in the brief time we did get her, she made the most of it and made the audience fall completely for her the way Ted did.   And maybe that was exactly the point.   It’s pretty obvious this was the plan from the beginning.   Penny and Luke (Question #2 answered….the names of Ted’s kids) who were played by Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie, had to film those scenes at the end of Season 1 because if the show lasted a long time (which it did), they couldn’t show them aged on the couch 9 years later since this is supposed to be a story told in one sitting.   So if that is what they filmed 9 years ago, this was always the plan.  It explains why Tracy didn’t show up until this season.  It explains why even when she was here, we only got bits and pieces of her.  Because even thought the show was called How I Met Your Mother, it was never about the mother.    This was the story of Ted and Robin.    The mom was the red herring the whole time. You can look at that one of two ways.    You can love the story told in a way that we didn’t see coming (although my husband called it last week) or you can feel completely betrayed by the absolute misrepresentation of the series.  Either way, you’d be correct in your feelings.   But were the writers correct in staying the course?

There is something to be said for laying out a series game plan and sticking with it because that’s your vision and that’s the story you want to tell.   But then I think you need to define how long that story lasts because to me, you can’t have it both ways.    You can’t have a series go on and on and have the story and audience reaction to characters take you down a path you didn’t expect only to rip their hearts out later because it didn’t fit your original plan.   If you have a plan, make a 5-6 year plan.   But if you’re willing to let the story go where characters, actors, and/or fans take you, then you need to be flexible.   Even though you filmed those scenes with Fonseca and Henrie way back when, you didn’t have to use them.  It could have been something for the box set of DVDs “see what the writers originally planned to do!!!”    That’s good marketing people!   I guess that’s why I’m so curious about not just the finale but the whole final season.   If this was the plan you were sticking to, which I don’t mind as much as other people do, then WHY do an entire season on the wedding of a couple destined to fail?   Why try to cram the next 15+ years of stories and bombshells into 60 minutes?   The wedding could have been done in 6-7 episodes and then we could have had another 14-15 episodes to learn more about the mother, their relationship, her impending demise and Ted’s grief over that and how it impacted him.    Because that is something I would have wanted to see.  This is a man who has been searching for love his whole life.   Since we’ve known Ted, he’s a romantic and he loves being in love.   So to lose the “love of his life” (which now is up for debate) and not see anything from the character on how that impacted him, I think strays from the true character of Ted.    We were there when Marshall and Lily broke up and then got back together.   We were there when Marshall and Lily got married.  We were there when they debated about having children and then watched them bring Marvin, Daisy, and #3 into the picture.  We were there when Barney met his birth father.  We were there when Robin found out she couldn’t have children.  We were there when Ted was left at the altar by Stella.  We were there when Marshall’s dad passed away.  So how in the world can we not be there when Ted loses Tracy?   I feel so robbed as a fan.   That’s what upsets me the most.   There were so many moments in the finale where we could have had more and the writers had the time to do it with this final season and chose not to.   Instead we got Billy Zabka (although that doesn’t bother me as much because I love me some Billy Zabka), Daphne, Gary Blauman, Cassie, and other pointless characters when we could have spent more time on our Fab 5 and Tracy since this will be the last time we see them.   That’s what I’m most disappointed in.

As for the ending and the writers choosing to have Ted and Robin be together at last, that didn’t bother me as much as other people.  After all, the show is “How I Met Your Mother” not “How I Spend The Rest of my Life With Your Mother.”   Because for a long time, I really liked Ted and Robin together and was secretly hoping she was mother somehow and someway.   But I also thought she was great with Barney in a lot of ways.   Hats off to Cobie Smulders because that woman had chemistry with everyone!  And I’m ok with the show runners giggling to themselves to have this be the rug the pull out from under us.  As a fan of TV, I like when a show surprises me and throws a fun twist (as long as it makes sense….yes I’m looking at you St Elsewhere.)  I mean, I was one of those people who would scream when they would revisit the Ted/Robin pairing over the course of the series because ultimately we know they don’t end up together.   So what was the point right?    Well, now we know.  Now we know why after determining they aren’t right together, bad timing, hook ups, break ups, dating, not dating, longing looks…..it was all because they were meant to be together.   And while I’m ok with that, I still have to raise my eyebrows at a few things.   First, why have that ceremonial moment on the beach with Robin and Ted where Ted finally let’s Robin go?  Because if you’re still going to have a thing for her after all this time, then you haven’t let her go.  It also made me think, if you’re really over her, then why are you moving to Chicago?   And since the writers knew this was the path, why have that scene?  Second, why did Robin need to be with Barney?   I mean she married one of his best friends.   Couldn’t she have just been the career person now and that’s why she couldn’t be with Ted as well as Ted meeting Tracy?   If the answer is because they needed a wedding to get Ted to meet Tracy and to show with Barney’s character that being married really isn’t for him….fine.  He could have married the stripper girl he was engaged to.  He didn’t have to marry Robin.   I’m not sure why the writers would get many fans invested in Robin and Barney only to have it crash and burn.  Barney and the stripper could have crashed and burned with the same results.   So why get the audience invested in Robin and Barney only to know that the end game is Robin and Ted?   Robin could have been with someone else or alone with her career.  She didn’t have to be with Barney if the end game was Ted.  Finally, when Ted is in MacLaren’s on the phone with Tracy and Marshall is pissed because here’s Ted falling for another girl and going too fast, Lily is sitting there with a huge smile on her face and tells Marshall…this time it’s different.  After Victoria, Stella, and yes, even Robin, Tracy invoked a reaction out of Ted that was unlike any other woman ever has indicating to me, that she was his soul mate and one true love.  Again, why have that line and that moment if ROBIN is really his one true love?    Maybe I’m missing the point.  Maybe the point isn’t that Tracy or Robin are his soul mate but that they both are.  It’s the only thing that makes sense.  Because if it’s just Robin, then the other parts about Ted and Tracy don’t make sense.  And if it’s just Tracy, then the end of the story doesn’t make sense.    So I guess the only thing that does is that BOTH women are Ted’s true loves.    That while Ted has been searching and searching and fearing that he’ll never meet anyone he can share his life with, he was blessed (or cursed) to have two women he could love completely and spend his days with.   It certainly is a more real world scenario.  But is that what the audience wants?   Judging by initial reactions, I don’t think so.

Ultimately I wanted closure for my Fab 5.   And whether you liked it or not, that’s exactly what you got.  Marshall and Lily are back in NYC with baby #3 and Marshall finally got to be a judge after giving it up for Lily in 2014.  I had no doubt Marshmallow and Lily Pad would have a solid, happy ending because they have been solid since the pilot.  Even with all their ups and downs, NO ONE ever doubted that these two would be together forever.  In my mind, they were the heart and soul of the show, especially Lily.  As for Barney, he went back to being single and finally told his friends what I thought he should have said years ago….that basically he’s not the settling down type of guy.    He likes having throngs of women coming in and out of his life with no commitment.  It’s who he is and he’s very happy like that so as his friends they should accept him for who he is and be happy for him.    And they were.   But after the perfect month (LOL) Barney finds out he got Day 31 pregnant.   Actually I’m surprised this never happened before with all the girls he’s slept with over the years.  While in typical Barney fashion, we don’t know the mother’s name and he really wants no part of this, he gets introduced to his new baby….a girl…Ellie.   Turns out Barney is a one woman guy.   It just so happens that the woman in his life, the love of his life, is his baby girl.   And the always amazing Neil Patrick Harris just completely blows this scene away and gives us one of the most beautiful moments on the show when he tells his daughter the following:

You are the love of my life.   Everything I have and everything I am, is yours.  Forever.

I mean come on.  If you are crying after that you have to be a little dead inside.   It was such a beautiful moment.   The other fantastically beautiful moment in the episode was when Ted and Tracy met for the first time on the Farhampton train tracks.   Talk about a meet cute!!!   It was so sweet and a great nod to many of the clues dropped over the years…the mom being in the Econ 305 class Ted accidentally thought was his Architecture 101 class, her being Cindy’s roommate, losing the yellow umbrella on St Patrick’s Day….it was perfect.   Then the reveal of her name, Tracy McConnell, because the initials T.M were on the umbrella and Ted and Tracy “fought” over whose initials they really were.   I loved it.   It was everything I could have imagined for their first meeting and more.    And I did like the ending.    Since they decided to stay the course and put Robin and Ted together in the end, I think they wrapped it up well with Robin being in her apartment with the same breed of dogs, Ted being downstairs, Robin opening up her window to see him (with the dogs peeking out) and Ted shows her the Blue French Horn.  Again, a great nod to the pilot to have everything come full circle.

Look, I know many people are disappointed in how this turned out.   No one wanted to see Tracy die and Robin be back in the fold, except for the die-hard Ted and Robin shippers.  I think a lot of people feel duped.  And that’s why the finale is a hard one to wrap my head around because you can look at it a few ways.  You can look at it and say that if that was the plan all along, ok.  I applaud the writers sticking to their guns and telling the story they wanted to tell.    There are many people out there with an early idea of a show but then let it just roll and see where it goes with no real end game.  Not these guys.  So I respect that.   There  are still lots of things I would have done differently but overall, I can’t be unhappy with how everything resolved itself.  Especially since this is something that happens in the real world….people fall in love with multiple people all the time.  People lose their spouse and reconnect with old flames…it happens.  In the end, Ted got what he always wanted and I think people want to see that for his character.    OR…you can look at it and say, WHAT THE HELL WERE THESE GUYS THINKING?    Once the show went longer than expected, once you see how the actors (Smulders and Radnor & Smulders and Harris) played off of one another and their chemistry, once you see the audience’s reaction to story lines….change it!!!   You don’t have to stay the course if another one, a better one (matter of opinion) presents itself.   Maybe they felt backed into a corner with the “and that’s how I met your Aunt Robin” line.    Maybe because the kids reaction was filmed 9 years ago, they felt they had no other choice but to end the story this way.  But these guys were creative and smart and I think could have figured out a way around it.   Hell, they could have put an aged Fonseca and Henrie on the couch and said “Jesus dad.  That story took so long, we aged 20 years!”    Maybe they didn’t want to.   Ultimately, I hope the 60 minutes of last night (and even this last season) doesn’t put too much of a damper on what was truly a great series with an amazing cast and creative team.   I spent 9 years with this crew…many of whom are my age.   All I wanted to see was them happy and together.   While most of the episode last night showed them fractured, in the end, the gang was back together, as they should be, and in the end, we know they all ended up happy.   Whether or not it was a viewers definition of happy is another story, but the writers showed us a group of friends who loved each other and supported each other and were there for each other, altogether and happy…and that’s how a series like this should wrap up.

So what did you think?  Did you love it?    Hate it?    Confused by it?   Content with it?   I’d love to hear what you have to say!

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SEASON FINALE REVIEW: True Detective “Form and Void” S1 E8

WOW.   What a season.    This show brought story telling and acting to a whole new level and the finale certainly didn’t disappoint.   I know there were so many wild and crazy theories out there about how this was all going to go down.   Ultimately, I didn’t care.   And I don’t say that in a dismissive sense.  I say it in a respectful sense.   Nic Pizzolatto has told such a glorious story from start to finish that I wasn’t concerned with where it was going because I trusted that it would end as it should….and it did.

With so many people speculating as to who the Yellow King was and how all this tied together, it’s easy to get caught up in the prognosticating.  But in my humble opinion, the point of the narrative is lost if people only focus on the “who done it.”   This show is not Criminal Minds or CSI or even Castle.  It’s not about solving who’s the killer at the end of the arc.  It’s not about trying to put the pieces together to figure it out.    It’s about the story of these two dark, broken men who are solving this crime and how this case has impacted their lives and their journey together as partners and eventually, friends.   Now don’t get me wrong, I still wanted to know who the damn Yellow King was and why/how this all happened.   But I wasn’t as curious about that as I was to see how the resolution impacted Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey.)   I wanted, more than anything, for this story line to come to a resolution for their characters.   To wrap up their characters’ arcs.    See, when you look at this show, they could have been anything….truck drivers, CPAs, tennis pros, salesmen…it didn’t matter.  Whatever their profession, the story revolved around how these two men came to be both as individuals and as partners.   It just so happened that they were detectives solving a crime that personally connected with both of them (for different reasons) and that was the catalyst to help them work through their inner demons and move away from the darkness and towards the light.   And they needed each other to do it.

Marty’s biggest issue was trying to be, in the most benign of descriptions, “the man.”  Both at work and at home, Marty wanted to be everything to everyone.   Master of his domain.    And the harder he tried, the more he went in the opposite direction…whether by his own doing or as the result of someone else’s decisions.   At work, he was the guy everyone liked, but maybe not always respected.   When he partnered with Cohle he wasn’t happy about it but to appease him, he was told he was the lead, the point man for all cases.   Eventually, after several years, that really just became a title with no meaning behind it because everyone knew that Cohle was the one solving the crimes, getting the confections, making the arrests.   Marty was just the paperwork pusher.  Instead of being the lead dog, he was the ultimate  lap dog.  Reduced to nothing more than administrative assistant to Cohle.   At home, his daughters couldn’t stand him and didn’t want to be around him and his wife (because of her own frustrations at being married to a man with such little inner strength) could be quite the ball crusher when she saw Marty asking and speaking in ways that were less than authoritative.   He could be meek and timid and that frustrated her.   Marty’s solution?    Start banging all these younger versions of his wife to make himself feel like a man again.   In the end, albeit way too late, Marty realized that he pushed away the one woman he really loved, destroyed his relationship with his daughters, and is now left with nothing.   Or is he?

Rust is the complete opposite of Marty.   He never cared about being “the man.”    All he cared about was justice.  No one liked Rust.  No one understood Rust (no one cared to.)  And Rust didn’t care.  He was on a mission…to seek justice for Dora Lange and the other young children who were kidnapped, raped, and murdered.   And he could go after these thugs with reckless abandon because he doesn’t care if he loses his life in the battle for truth.   It was that way when he was undercover (and probably why he stayed as long as he did), it was that way when he went undercover again with the Iron Crusaders, and it was that way last night when he went after Eroll Childress.   Why did he value his life so little?   Because that meant he would be closer to his daughter.   If he dies, he’s back where he belongs…with her.   I think that’s why Rust was moving around like a breathing corpse because nothing mattered without his little girl and her mom.  His soul and spirit died the same day his daughter did.  And even though it’s pretty much assumed that’s why Rust is the way he is, you never really understand his level of grief and pain until last night when the walls come down and the vulnerability shines through and we get our first look at the real Rust Cohle.

The best part of watching this season, was watching the partnership/relationship of Marty and Rust evolve into what it became…friendship.   These were two men who really didn’t like each other.   Actually, I would say Marty didn’t like Rust.   Rust’s feelings were buried so deep I don’t think he felt anything.   I think it would be fair to say that these were two men who didn’t understand one another.   But over the course of the season, as each man grew to know the other better (whether they wanted to or not), an understanding developed.   Eventually, that understanding grew to kinship.  Because at the end of the day, all they have is each other.   They came to learn that the only people who really understood them, were each other.   These were two dark, broken men.   Whether they were broken at someone else’s hand or their own, their inner selves were destroyed in such a way, it was no wonder they couldn’t have a normal life.   Marty and Rust both suffered losses.   Rust lost his daughter to God and his wife to grief while Marty lost his daughters and wife due to negligence and self loathing.    Either way, their families were gone.    What was left?   A lot of shattered pieces to be picked up and put back together and inadvertently and painfully, that what Rust and Marty did for each other.  Now they needed to shatter those pieces just a little bit more (with Rust sleeping with Maggie) and those pieces were left there for a long time before someone picked them up.  But this case brought them back together and as mad as Marty was and as guilt ridden as Rust was, they teamed up to finished what they started.   Years later, even when Marty was forgiving Rust, in his own way, Rust wouldn’t have it.  He would let Marty let him off the hook.   Hell we knew Rust hadn’t let himself off the hook because he never fixed his tail light that broke when they fought in the parking lot.  It was his reminder of his weakness and betrayal.  And I think that’s how Marty was able to start to forgive him.   But once they had their man and they went after him to finally get the justice those victims deserved, you really see how these men grew to trust, respect, and care for each other.    When Cohle was being gutted by Childress, Marty came in to stop it and save him.  Then when he turned his attention to Marty (after throwing an ax into his chest) Cohle mustered up all his strength to kill Childress.   Then Marty crawls over to Rust and holds him in his lap until help arrives.  He never leaves his partner’s side.    Even in the hospital after he wakes up and Rust is banged up but ok, Marty is still by his side.   And even though Rust doesn’t show it to Marty, after he kicks him out with his one finger salute asking him to never change, a smile comes over his face.  The kind of smile you get when your friend has made you laugh over something that should be painful.  That comfortable acknowledgement that no matter what, they are there for you.   That satisfying feeling that you have someone in your corner.   It’s confirmed even more so at the end of the show when both men are outside and Marty gives Cohle a present (his Camels) and then rolls him away to enjoy them.   We see Rust, not just break down his wall, but throw grenades and set off bombs to bring it down.  After everything they’ve been through, he lets Marty inside.  He beautifully and tearfully gives Marty what Marty has wanted since the day he met Cohle…and understanding behind the psyche of a disturbed man.  And boy does he paint a clear picture.  You see it in Marty’s face as he watches him explain how he never felt like he should be here because with each dangerous scenario he put himself in, it was one step closer to reuniting with his little girl.  Because at the end of the day, Rust wants happiness and peace.  And in his mind, for the longest time, only death could bring that because he would be with his daughter again.   But as Marty explains to him that while there is much darkness out there, there is also great light, he lets Rust know that he can find the inner peace he so desperately seeks if he focuses more on the light than the dark.   For the first time, since probably his daughter passed away, Rust believes him.    As such, he makes Marty take him away and arm and arm they go off into the darkness to seek their light….with one another.

What did you think of last night’s finale and the season overall?    Will you be back next year because I sure will!   And who would you like to see as the two main leads next year?    Let me hear from you!

 

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SERIES FINALE RECAP & REVIEW: Dexter “Remember the Monsters?” S8 E12

Wow.  Ok.  So that was the end of Dexter.   Hmmm.   It’s so hard to begin this because I really don’t know where to start.   I guess I’ll start with the obligatory if you haven’t watched the series finale of Dexter, please don’t read below.   That’s a good idea.

You know what’s weird?   I re-listed to Episode 40 of the For the Love of TV Podcast to hear what my thoughts were on the season premiere of Dexter and what I would and wouldn’t be ok with as a wrap up for him.  What’s absolutely creepy is that one of the scenarios I laid out was this idea of Dexter riding off into the sunset (or dreary Northwest) and being alone with no one in his life as kind of a life lesson that he can’t really be connected to anyone because of who he is because as much as he’d like to try, he is who he is…a killer.   But after watching how it played out, I’m not so sure if I’m ok with it.   And that most likely has to do with the fact that I wasn’t crazy about this season overall.

I was hoping this swan song for Dexter would be more about him and the characters we’ve come to know.   Each season we’ve had our Big Bad…and we’ve had some excellent ones.   I thought the Big Bad of this season should have been Dexter.   I think it would have been fascinating to see what happens when Dexter’s double life finally crumbles around him and how that impacts him, Debra, and the other people who were duped by him over eight seasons.  I don’t think there was any need for Vogel (and re-writing the history of the code), the brain surgeon, the kid who wanted to learn to be a killer like Dexter, Masuka’s daughter, I would even throw bringing Hannah back wasn’t necessary (although I didn’t hate her character the way other people did.)   I would rather have seen Dexter lose it due to his putting Deb in a position to have to kill LaGuerta.  And as a result Dexter would get sloppy and Miami Metro would start to come around to who he really is.  Then the race would be on…would they finally figure it out and can Dexter continue (or would he care to continue) to try to hide who he really is.   The end result would be that he couldn’t.   So he would either have to escape by either faking his death or somehow getting away (kind like what happened in the series finale) or someone would have to kill him.  I think that would have been so much more fascinating than what actually happened.   Instead Deb dies as a result of her wounds suffered at the hands of Saxon (yes I know Dexter pulled the plug but Saxon really killed her), no one at Miami Metro has a clue still, Hannah is left to raise Harrison in Argentina, and Dexter fakes his death to become a lumberjack in Seattle or Vancouver or where ever the hell he went.   And to top it all off, we don’t even get the benefit of seeing the Dexter kill room one more.   No, he tricks Saxon into stabbing him with a pen in his holding cell so Dexter can then stab him in the neck and make it look like self-defense.  Seriously?   After all the precision and kill rooms over the years, the last two kills we see from Dexter involve turning a switch and stabbing someone with a pen.   Let me just say….MAJOR FAIL.

I talked about this before, series finales are hard.  It’s so hard because fans of the show have such HUGE expectations since this will be last time they ever see their favorites characters altogether.   Unless of course kickstarter gets involved and a movie gets made but that’s another story.  And fans have their lists of the best and worst ever.   So these writers and show runners have a very tricky task in front of them.   Even if creators and show runners know their end game at the beginning of the series or a few seasons in, knowing what you want to do and being able to pull it off to satisfy the story, the characters, and the fans are two completely different scenarios.  Unfortunately, I think Dexter will go down as probably one of the worst finales ever and I think a lot of that will also have to do with the fact that the season overall was very poor.   If they wanted Dexter to have a self-imposed exile, I would be ok with that in theory.   But it’s the way he got to that exile that has me scratching my head.   I hate to say it but a lot of it felt…lazy.  For example, Dexter was so worried about getting Hannah out of the country because everyone was looking for her.   Then here’s an idea, how about cut your hair, dye your hair, wear glasses, buy colored contacts, where different clothes….SOMETHING!   Why was Hannah walking around looking like Hannah?   She goes to take Harrison to the hospital and doesn’t think to at least wear a hat and sunglasses?   The show runners fluffed this question off by saying the FBI and cops are always looking for people and we don’t know what they look like.  Plus she was a “not a high priority criminal” because she was never convicted of a crime.   WHAT?  Her face was all over the news as a person of interest in her husband’s disappearance and she was connected to several other deaths.  That seems ridiculous to me.  Then you add in, Masuka’s daughter story line (what was the point), Quinn going for sergeant only to lose to his partner that we never saw again after she got her promotion (who cares), and Quinn and Jamie’s relationship that had to fail so he could be with Deb only to have Deb die (I don’t even know what to say about that.)   It was bad.   And they didn’t want to go down the road of the Miami Metro crew finding out because they thought it would be too much with everything else going on.   How about get rid of all that other crap no one cared about and put in stories we would.  I don’t understand that!   The writers really thought we’d be more interested in Masuka’s daughter, Hannah, and Saxon but not how the people we have known since season 1 would react to finding out who Dexter really was?  That absolutely befuddles me.

I think it was time to say good-bye to Dexter.   I think the show had run its course so I think it was time to hang up the blades and the cling wrap.   I just wish we could have returned to the glory days of Dexter and kept it simple and focused and about Dexter and how he tries to fit his dark passenger life into his “fake” life and whether or not he could keep it going without them finding out.  Alas, we watched something much different from that and I think the characters, cast, and fans deserved better.

 

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SUMMER FINALE REVIEW: Pretty Little Liars “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t” S4, E12

Another summer finale and another big WOW moment.   And while in the moment I was wowed, I’m now skeptical.   Because the last big reveal of who “A” was, or at least who was part of the “A” team, turned out to be a fraud.   When Toby was revealed to be part of team “A” and working with Mona, the show completely back peddled on that and made Toby working undercover to bring “A” down.    Since the back peddle, I wasn’t buying it.    I think it was the writers reacting to their audience and the outcry that one of their favorite characters being written as a bad guy.    Now, maybe that’s not the case.    Maybe that was the plan all along. But like I said, I wasn’t buying it…..until this episode.   If it truly was the plan all along to make Toby work undercover and pull a fast one on us, it makes perfect sense since their plan was to reveal an even BIGGER jaw dropper of either who “A” is or who is on the “A” team…..Ezra Fitz!!!!   Now fair warning PLL writers, if you back peddle on this one too, I’m done watching your show, and I think you’ll risk losing many viewers because I think your fans are starting to lose some patience.

I’ve been frustrated with PLL lately.   I feel like we’ve been watching this show for 3 and 1/2 seasons and we’ve gotten absolutely nowhere.   We are no closer to finding out who “A” really is and why.   The girls keep having all these horrible things happen to them while never, ever wanting to get some help.  Their parents are never around (except for Hanna’s) and when they are around, they are completely clueless as to what is happening with their daughters.   I mean I know teenage girls can be moody and difficult (I used to be one of them) but what has been happening to these girls and the way they always walk around without any sense of happiness in their lives (see Emily) how do none of their parents ever think to push the issue and ask them what is going on?   And we’ve never really been let in on the secret as to WHY “A” is doing this to these girls.   What could they have done to this person to warrant this type of torture and torment?    That’s why we really need more answers than questions sooner than later.

So there were two big reveals in this episode…Ezra is “A”, or at least part of the team, and Allison is alive.   I’ve said since the first season that I think Allison is alive.   Whether or not that’s really true, I guess the show will confirm in the Halloween episode on Oct 22nd.   But I’ve always thought she was alive.  Although her being buried alive and reaching her hand out and the sorority lady just happens to be there and see it….yeah, I don’t know about that.

I know there are a lot of theories going around about both of these reveals.    And I’m going to go out on a crazy limb based on every episode I’ve watched, everything I’ve read and seen and say that not only is Ezra “A” but so is Aria.   I’ll let that one sink in for a minute.   If I remember correctly, the first episode of the series shows that Aria spent a year oversees.   So we have no idea what Aria was doing while she was away.   The reason we were given that she was away was because of finding out about her father cheating on her mother.  And maybe that’s true.   But if she was an angry Aria at that time, could she have met Ezra at that point?    If Ezra’s motive for being “A” is because he had a relationship with Ali, could Aria have known about it and therefore knew about Ezra or even knew him sooner?   Could they be working together this whole time?    If Ezria is the endgame (according to one of the writers) then it would make sense that they would be working together.   That way the relationship really was never fake, the way fans fear, because they’re working together.  I’ve always thought that one of the Liars was really “A” or part of the “A” team, I just wasn’t sure who.  I’ve had my suspicions about Aria before but now with this Ezra reveal (if it sticks) I’m thinking even more strongly that she’s part of the whole thing and has been from the beginning.   I told you it was crazy!

While the show has been frustrating me lately, I will give them this, they sure know how to do a finale.   However, if this was another red herring and there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for what we saw, I’m done.  I really am.  Because I’m tired of the false leads.   Do it once (with Toby), ok fine.   I don’t like it, but I can deal with it.   You do it again, with Ezra, I’m done.    Because nothing else you do moving forward will carry any weight.  I won’t trust you as a show or writing team.  I’m ok with mystery and storylines that keep me on my toes and guessing as to what is going to happen and who’s behind it.   But when it keeps happening in the realm of “ha ha, gotcha…it wasn’t what we led you to believe” then I’m bored.  I think you keep your audience engaged by at least answering SOME questions or by giving some sense of direction.   If it’s always questions and more questions and more misdirection, then you lose.   At least, you lose me.

So what do you think?   Is Ezra “A”?    Is Allison really alive?   Are you as frustrated as me or are you completely fine with the direction of the show?

 

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SEASON FINALE REVIEW: Game of Thrones “Mhysa” S3 E10

I’m still reeling from last week’s Red Wedding.   It’s why I haven’t written about it.    I was still in such shock and horror over what I saw.    So going into Sunday night’s finale, I thought “there’s no way this finale can be as good as The Rains of Castamere.”  Well I was sort of right.   Sunday’s finale wasn’t the jaw dropper that last week’s episode was.   But I also don’t think it was meant to be.   Remember, this season is only half of book #3.   So I don’t think everything was supposed to be wrapped up in a neat little bow.  But what it did do, was set up some interesting directions for families and characters moving forward.

The Greyjoys

Theon, I’m sorry Reek, is a turd.   After what he did to the Starks, I was fine to see him get his comeuppance.   But even this is a little much for me.  I agree with Theon, Ramsey should just kill him at this point.  I’m not sure what the point is of keeping him around.   He said he’s more valuable to him alive.   Why?   What does he need to leverage Theon for?   Roose Bolton did say that his bastard Ramsey does tend to do his own thing.  So I am assuming he is not doing this on his father’s orders.   I assume he has his own agenda.  But what is it?

Back in the Iron Islands, Yara and Baylon were sent a letter with a….um…..present?   In the letter, the unsigned (which we know is Ramsey) tortures Yara and Baylon telling them what he is doing to their son and by sending his…um…manhood to them as proof he is alive but being tortured.   Yara is sickened by this and wants to know what they are going to do.   Baylon couldn’t care less.   He tells Yara that Theon is no longer his son (“he’s not even a man”, he says as he points to the box.)   Yara is upset with her father.   Theon is still family but not according to his father.   He’s made his choice so that matter is finished.   Well Yara has made hers and she’s taking the fastest ship and her best fighters and they are going to get Theon back.   I always liked her.

Daenerys

Dany’s still doing her thing.   She’s increasing her army and freeing slaves all over the place.   So a little more of what she’s been doing all season long.   I love Dany and with Robb gone, she’s number #1 on my list to root for.  I take that back.  She’s still #2.   Arya is now #1 but more on her in the Stark section.  Unfortunately Dany’s storyline has been a little stale this season.  Not boring just more of the same.   At some point, I’d like to see something major happen with her.  She seems to be getting things a little too easily at this point.  I’d like to see some struggles for her.  She’ll need it to toughen her up when she gets to King’s Landing.    She needs to make sure when it come to battle, these people really do have her back.   I think they do but in a land where you can trust no one and she’s getting more and more people aligned with her that she hasn’t really known all that long or well, she better make sure she can trust them when it really counts.

The Night’s Watch

This has been the storyline that I feel bring the episode to a crashing halt.   Sam and Gilly and her son Sam, I really don’t care about them.   Now they are back at Castle Black after bumping into Bran, Hodor, and his crew.   Fine.   Maybe they can be on the back burner for a while.   One can hope.

As for our favorite bastard, Jon Snow, (although Gendry is starting to creep up there for me) has finally revealed himself to his Wildling gang and Ygritte, he is off and running back to Castle Black.   Unfortunately for him, he takes a quick stop to wash his face because really, no one wants to ride to Castle Black after crows have just eaten your face.   You should at least clean yourself off.   Ygritte finds him (but where is the asshole that she was with when Jon left them) and holds a bow towards him.  He tells her he knows she won’t kill him because he loves her and she loves him but he needs to go home.  At this point, I don’t know if he means Winterfell or Castle Black.   I assume Castle Black because Jon is an honorable guy but I wasn’t 100% sure.  You can see in her eyes that he’s right but she fires a bow at him anyway.   And then another.   And then another.  She hits him THREE TIMES with bows.  Ok, I know you’re pissed but was shooting him three times really necessary?  Do you think once would do the trick.   I thought to myself, if they kill off another Stark before a Lannister dies, I may never watch this show again.   Not because I’m a huge Jon Snow fan but it would have been too much.    But he doesn’t die (at least not yet) and returns back to Castle Black where Sam and the crew take care of him.

The Lannisters and the Starks

Sansa and Tyrion are having a nice little chat.  You can tell that even though they don’t love each other like man and wife, they have a respect and fondness for one another that is very sweet to see.   Each one of them have been through hell and back and it’s nice that they have each other to lean on and plot revenge attacks together.   I’m going to go out on a limb here and say they will fall in love for real.   I know it’s a 100 foot limb that’s about 3 inches wide hanging off the side of 200 foot cliff but I’m going there.  I’ve never liked Shae.  I know people do but I don’t.   She’s pretty bitchy and has never really done anything to make me like her (other than be a really loyal friend to Sansa.)  So I couldn’t care less if she and Tyrion stay together.  In fact, I was hoping she would take Varys up on his offer to high tail it out-of-town and start a new life never to be heard from again.   But alas, she’s staying.   But I think she ends up dead and Tyrion and Sansa get together for real.   Again, big limb, I know.   What was heartbreaking was after Tyrion heard the news about Robb and Catelyn, he went to tell Sansa and you could see she already knew.   Her eyes were swollen and wet with tears and her stare was cold and empty.   So Tyrion respectfully said nothing and turned away and left her to her thoughts and memories.   This poor girl.

Speaking of learning about the Red Wedding, Tywin had summoned everyone to the meeting room to confirm what happened at Riverrun and his direction of the elimination of the Starks and their army.    Meanwhile, Joffry has no time for matters so trivial.  He’s too busy planning to serve Grey Wind’s head to Sansa at his wedding feast.  Seriously, what is the matter with that guy and what the hell did Sansa ever do to him?   Tyrion puts a stop to the torture and Joffry has another temper tantrum about how’s he’s the King.  Tywin puts him in his place and then Joffry turns his ire to his grandfather saying his father was the real hero while he sheepishly hid away at Casterly Rock.   WOOOOOOOOOW!  He didn’t just say that to Tywin????   Oh yes he did!!!   I have a feeling if Joffry ever dies (one can only hope) it will be at the hands of Tywin.  Tywin calmly instructs him to go to his room and take a nap like a 3-year-old and Cersei takes him away.   That kid can’t die fast enough.  I hope it’s as painful as what Theon is enduring.

Later Cersei and Tyrion have a very interesting conversation.   Cersei tries to convince Tyrion that he and Sansa should have a baby so she can have some peace and happiness with a child of her own.   He reminds her that she’s as miserable as they come and she has 3 children.   Well 2 kids, 1 monster.   But she tells Tyrion that her children are what stopped her from killing herself long ago.  She remembers Joffry being a sweet, happy child that always wanted to be with her.   That leads to a question I’ve had for a long time.   What the hell happened to that kid to make him the vile creature he has become?   I really want to know.  I know he’s a sociopath but is it really that simple?    Or did something else happen?  Or is it the result of inbreeding?   I want to know.   I’m not sure we will though.

I think this is the first time, in a long time we are really seeing Cersei be honest and forthcoming about what she really feels.  I don’t think she was playing Tyrion or trying to manipulate him for her own benefit.   I think she was being a genuine sister.   You might all be laughing at me right now thinking (has this chick ever seen this show?   Has she seen Cersei before?)    Yes and yes.   But this was different.   My husband had an interesting theory about this scene and the one where Jamie comes home and sees her for the first time.  He thinks Cersei was planning to kill herself and may have even slit her wrists with that funky looking shell when Jamie walked in.  At first I didn’t think so but on further thought, she did mention how her kids were the only thing that kept her alive.  Well the two good ones are gone and the last one left is a diabolical sociopath (to be kind.)  Plus, she kept saying how she was certain she wouldn’t be marrying Loris Tyrell.  To which I started laughing thinking (has she met her father?)   So how could she be so certain.  Plus, she has been very calm and out-of-the-way as of late.   Maybe she’s resigned herself to calling it quits with life?   I don’t know.  It seems a bit..easy and cowardly for someone like her.   But depression can destroy even the strongest of people and with no Zoloft or Prozac in sight, maybe death is her only option.   You never know who Martin’s going to kill so anyone is fair game.

The hound has whisked Arya away to safety and I’m starting to worry that this girl is going to turn even darker that what she has already become.   I always knew Arya would not grow up to be the princess Sansa will be.  I thought she would be a warrior like Brienne.   I still think that but will she still be the good person, fun-loving Arya at heart?   I think part of the Arya we knew died a little with Ned and now more with Robb and Catelyn.  I still think her motives will be in the right place and she will still be a good person at her core but I don’t think she’ll ever be the same again.  I think we’re now going to see a very dark and distant Arya with a singular focus….to take down the Lannisters.

I have no idea how these books are going to end, but my hope is that it’s with Arya, Jon and Bran aligning with Dany and taking down the Lannisters, the Freys, Roose Bolton, and any other enemy they share.   Dany becomes the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and the Starks return to their rightful place in Winterfell as rulers of the North, including Sansa and Tyrion and their 5 children!!

So what did you think of the finale?   I know it’s hard to compare to the Rains of Castamere but there was no way that could live up to the Red Wedding episode.   But I think the episode did what it needed to do to set up next season and I have a feeling, since next season will be the end of book 3, that it should be a big season with a big ending.   Ugh, April 2014 is soooo far away!!!

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in HBO, Season Finales

 

NEW PODCAST: Episode 39 Covers Game of Thrones and Season Finale Discussions

A new episode of For the Love of TV Podcast is now available here or download from iTunes.   This podcast talks about the following topics:

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. How I Met Your Mother – Season Finale
  3. Castle – Season Finale
  4. Grey’s Anatomy – Season Finale
  5. Scandal – Season Finale

Next podcast will cover renewals and cancellations and the new shows headed to our TVs this fall.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Podcast, Season Finales

 

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SERIES FINALE REVIEW: The Office “Finale” S9 E23

“Christmas Party” was the first episode of the The Office I’d ever seen.   Followed by “The Injury.”   Both were Season 2 episodes.  I only started watching The Office because my husband saw “The Injury” on a plane and thought it was both bizarre and funny at the same time but that I had to watch.    I watched these two episodes thinking this is the dumbest and strangest show I’ve ever seen.  But we both thought, to be fair, let’s watch it from the beginning to understand what the hell is going on.   So we bought Season 1 and spent an entire Saturday watching this show and laughing our asses off.   By then, we were hooked.

Over the course of 9 seasons, The Office has had some amazing episodes and some not so great episodes (as many series do.)  It created one of the greatest, most realistic love stories ever in TV…Jim and Pam.  It gave one of the top 50 characters in TV history…Michael Scott.  It made us care about this wacky group of people in a way I never thought I would.  I remember watching the finale thinking that I was so happy to get confessionals from every character on the show.  Even fringe characters like Meredith and Creed, I loved hearing how their stories wrapped up.    Not many shows can pull that off where you honestly care about each and every person.   Even annoying Kevin!  I was so happy to see that after he was fired he ended up buying a bar and having a really happy ending!  But over 9 years and 187 episodes, these people became part of our family, our TV family.   Even as characters came and went, other than Michael, our core stayed through to the end and it was nice to see everything wrapped up so beautifully.

Series finales are hard to do.  Especially when the show has been on as long as The Office has.   There are huge expectations.   You want story lines wrapped up.  You want people who deserve happy endings to receive them and people who deserve to be punished to get their comeuppance.  You want questions answered.   You want people who should be together, finally together.   You want something momentous, rewarding, and sensational but yet still stay true to the nature of the show and the characters.  And most of all, you want closure for you but also to know that the characters you leave behind are still doing well and moving on in their lives, even though you are no longer there to witness it.    For me, that’s a quintessential finale.   And it’s so hard to do, especially when you have very little time to do it.   The Office finale was probably the BEST series finale I’ve seen in a long time.    It had everything you want to see and nothing felt rushed or forced.   For a comedy, it had its goofy, silly moments, but in true The Office form, it had its heart-warming moments as well. It was, dare I say, perfect.  I laughed, I cried, I cried harder, I laughed again.   At the end of that show, I was so content with what I had just seen because it was exactly what I wanted.   And because I got a little taste of everyone, I didn’t feel cheated.    But the hands down, best moment of the show, was seeing Michael Scott return as Dwight’s best man.  Even now I’m tearing up writing this because it was a phenomenal moment.  And not just because I really didn’t think Steve Carell was coming back.   It was because John Kransinski, Rainn Wilson, and Steve Carell knocked that simple scene out of the park.  It was so touching to see these men, who have given each other such grief over the years, come together as friends and be there for one another…it was amazing.    There was so much talk about whether or not Carell would or should return for the finale.  The last I read, he wasn’t because he felt he already had his send off and didn’t want to distract from the rest of the cast. Class act as always Steve Carell!   But I stopped reading about the finale because if he did show up, I didn’t want to know about it.   And I’m so glad I made that executive decision because it made his reveal that much sweeter.  I literally gasped out loud when he was standing there and burst into tears….especially seeing Dwight’s reaction and getting one last “that’s what she said!”   And it was perfectly handled because it wouldn’t have been right to have the finale without Michael Scott but he was also understated enough so that he didn’t overshadow the cast, but we got just enough Michael to be completely satisfied.    Again, perfection.

There were so many relationships that developed on this show.  Some were more front and center like Jim and Pam, Dwight and Angela, Darryl and Jim’s friendship.  But it was some of the unspoken friendships that developed that was so nice to see highlighted.   For example, Stanley and Phyllis.  Here were two people who worked together for 15-20 years.  They sat across from one another for 15-20 years.   Even though we didn’t see it every week, these two were great friends.  To see the genuine embrace between them when they hadn’t seen each other in over a year, was so nice.   To watch Phyllis sit with the new rep in Stanley’s chair and feed him baked goods so she could fatten him like, like she did with Stanley was great.   But what got me was parlaying the hysterical idea that Stanley now lives in a shack on the Everglades in Florida carving birds out of wood, into this touching moment where Phyllis bursts into tears because he made a wood carving that looked exactly like her.   It was simple moments like that which really highlighted the connections between these characters that developed over the years.  Was it something we watched week after week….yes and no.  Yes and no because it was so subtle, we didn’t realize we were watching it until the finale.   The same could be said for Oscar and Angela.  They both drove each other crazy over the years and talk about two completely different personalities.   Highlighting the fact that Oscar was having an affair with Angela’s husband!   But strangely enough, that experience brought them even closer together.   In the penultimate episode, Oscar could see how broken Angela was and in a beautiful moment of kindness, extends his home for her and Philip to live in until she can get her feet under her again.   And when she reached out and put her hand on top of his, I lost it.   It was just that simple gesture that spoke so loudly about her feelings for what Oscar was offering to her.   I loved it.  And I loved seeing that continue even after Dwight and Angela were married with Oscar being Philip’s godfather!

But I think the friendship that was most beautiful to see come full circle, was the friendship between Jim, Dwight, and Pam….mostly Jim and Dwight.   Jim explained it perfectly.  He never hated Dwight.   He never wanted anything bad to happen to him.  He razzed him the way you would razz your brother.  And when it came down to it, he loved Dwight for who he was.   Dwight, we always knew, secretly had a man crush on Jim and even though he hated when Jim got the better of him, which was most of the time, he loved him for it too because he felt like he was in with him.  Over the course of the series, we saw their true feelings towards one another pop out because when something serious was going down, they leaned on each other and protected each other.  I think it’s also why Dwight considers Pam his best friend.  Because even though Jim would play countless tricks on Dwight and Pam would be complicit, she never wanted to hurt Dwight.   And when Dwight was going off the deep end really annoying his counterparts to the point no one liked him, Pam always stuck by him.   There were many times Pam believed in him when no one else did and he knew that.  Just as Michael always wanted to be their best friend, so did Dwight.   And in many ways, he was.

I can’t wrap up this review yet until I’ve spent some time on just Jim and Pam.   We watched their relationship grow over 9 years from best friends, to unrequited feelings, to an awkward but beautiful first kiss, to the beginning of a relationship, to an engagement, marriage, and children.   They were America’s ideal couple.   Then we hit season 9 and Jim and Pam hit a rough patch.   He was working for a start-up company in Philly and commuting back and forth from Scranton.  She felt all alone and abandoned at Dunder Mifflin and raising their 2 kids.  I really wasn’t sure where the show was going with this…especially with Brian the camera man lurking around and having obvious feelings for Pam.   I hoped they weren’t going down the affair route.  It wouldn’t have felt right.   And I hated watching Jim and Pam fight and be angry with one another.  I hated it.   Most especially, I hated seeing this couple who could have entire conversations by just looking at one another and knowing exactly what the other was thinking, being reduced to therapy speak.    “I appreciate” this or “to speak my truth” that.   What?   Are you kidding me?    This is what Jim and Pam is going to be reduced to?  But then a light went off.   We are getting to watch Jim and Pam remind, not only each other, but the audience, why they fell in love in the first place.  We get to see them fall in love all over again.   And because they have been the most real relationship on the show from day one, it would only make sense that this new job opportunity for Jim would put a strain on them.   It wouldn’t have made sense if it didn’t.   So we got to see that angst and then we got to see the payoff.   We got to see Jim and Pam flashbacks in the smartest way possible, in a video tribute to her so Jim could show how she is not only enough for him, but his everything.   It was a perfect way to be able to give the fans those flashbacks to our favorite moments yet still keep it within the context of the show.  In the end, Pam decided there is no way Jim is giving this up for her and sells their house without telling him (because, well, he bought the house without telling her) and they decide to move to Austin so Jim can work full-time for Athleap.   She finishes her mural, which is the story of the people of Dunder Mifflin, and Jim and Pam will live happily ever after….as they should.

In the end, all is right with the world.   Michael Scott is still married to Holly and they have lots of kids (which he needs two phones for all the pictures), Jim and Pam are together, happy, and moving to Austin to work with Darryl, Dwight is now regional manager of the Scranton branch (as well as the assistant to the assistant to the regional manager) and is married to the love of his life Angela and we officially learn that Phillip is really his son, Oscar is running for State Senator, Stanley is retired and divorced and living in Florida, Phyllis is still at Dunder Mifflin and still married to Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration, Erin found her birth parents and is still together with Plop, Andy is working for Cornell University, Meredith got her PhD (which she was going to school for the whole time), Toby is living in NYC with 6 roommates, Kelly left her pediatrician boyfriend to run away with Ryan (who by the way left said baby with the pediatrician,) as a result Nellie, takes the baby back to Poland with her and she now has the child she was always searching for, Kevin owns a bar, and Creed is going to jail!

Finally, I loved the way they wrapped up the documentary element.  I always wondered how they would do it.   I like the fact that they were smart enough to know that since the viewing of the documentary was in the penultimate episode, it wouldn’t make sense for the camera crew to be there for the finale.  It’s actually the first thing I said to my husband.  But they got around it by doing a time jump and saying they were there for a follow-up and retrospective with the Dunder Mifflin crew on being a part of the documentary, which they’re filming for the DVD.   And because the series was filmed this way, it was great for the cast to be able to say what they really feel about their show and do it in the context of speaking about the documentary.    I think the best line of the finale was when Andy/Ed Helms said “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days while it was going on instead of after they were over.”  You could see the way he was getting choked up that it was probably more an Ed Helms comment, than Andy Bernard.

I will miss The Office.  I know the last few seasons weren’t great and the show really went down hill after Michael left, but I don’t care.   I will miss The Office and all the people involved in the show.  I also want to commend the cast for heading out to the real Scranton, PA and spending time with the people of Scranton and thanking them for their good-natured sense of humor and their support of the show.   I thought it was awesome that they would all do that and take the time to not only say goodbye to us a viewers, but their second community of Scranton.     From top to bottom, the end of the series was handled magnificently and I can’t wait to watch The Office on Netflix, on syndication, on my DVDs, for many years to come.

What did you guys think of The Office series finale?

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in NBC, Season Finales, Series Finale

 

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