It marked the end of the season for Episodes last night. It also marked the first episode where I actually liked the main character. Like a movie that doesn’t make sense till the last five minutes, it took seven episodes of this show for me to finally like Sean and Beverly. And, like the hypothetical movie, I found myself thinking “Oh no, why is it over?” It’s as though the first six episodes of this show were all practice rounds for what was a very good episode. And now it’s over.
Without a second season pick up yet for Episodes, it’s hard to gauge what the season finale means for the show as a whole. With dramas, especially those on Showtime, fans can spend serious time fixating on what a season finale means (Dexter was all I thought about for at least a month after one finale). Comedies rarely have the fanfare of last minute twists or the moment of discovery right before the final credits, save for some sort of romantic story line either ending or beginning. But the finale of Episodes really was a cliffhanger. Not with plot points, but with the idea of where the show could possibly go from here.
After sleeping with Matt LeBlanc, Beverly learns that her jealousy over her husband Sean and the costar of the pilot Morning was unfounded. Racked with guilt, she vows never to tell Sean about her indiscretion. After wrapping the pilot, Sean and Beverly hear nothing from the network and book flights back to England. Sean drives to LeBlanc’s house to say goodbye, but slowly pieces together all the clues of the affair, figures out that LeBlanc “shagged” his wife, and the two get into the most pathetic fist fight ever filmed. Blinded by cinnamon-scented cologne, Sean can’t drive himself and so LeBlanc takes him back home. There Sean loses it on Beverly and they get into and uncomfortable and extremly realistic fight that ends with Sean predictably saying it’s over. What’s unpredictable is that both LeBlanc and Sean get a call at the same time; Pucks tested through the roof and the network is picking it up. Now this would have been a great idea for a show.
It’s easy to judge with 20/20 hindsight. And it’s really easy to judge something with no real accountability, as I clearly don’t write for Episodes or any other show. That being said, I honestly feel that this show would have been one hundred percent better than it was if they had started the series with the storyline introduced in the last minute of the season. The shift in the character of Beverly alone would have been enough to make me love, not just like, Episodes in its freshman season. Tamsin Greig finally got to show more than one emotion; no longer the dour, annoyed and superior character she was always written as. Perhaps it’s because her character was finally thrown off the high horse she was always on. Now the cheating spouse, Greig played Beverly with humor, guilt and love, something we hadn’t seen before last night. And despite her moral choices, you really cared about what was going to happen to Beverly.
Seven episodes of the hate/hate/love relationship between Beverly and LeBlanc felt stale half way through the season. But I can’t remember a show ever focusing on the aftermath of a cheating spouse. Especially one where the third party is forced to be with the couple they came between every day for work, With Sean and Beverly now having to write and produce a show staring the man Beverly slept with, it’s hard to really predict what would happen in the next episode; a rare feat for comedies. Episodes seems to embrace the uncomfortable moments of its characters with zeal. So I’m sure I would have loved watching these three people be forced to work together after something as uncomfortable as a broken marriage and infidelity. I hope that the show gets picked up for a second season soon, so I can watch the agonizing moments that are sure to follow.
Joey Slamon lives in Los Angeles where she watches lots of television and produces this show.