So Long, Carrie Mathison.
We are mourning the end of a series in my household.
This is notable because we watch so few TV shows these days. When the series ends, it leaves a hole, or a gap, but also an opportunity.
The hole can be painful when a good program and all of the interconnected characters you followed season after season cease to exist. There have been many over the years.
Let’s stroll through some memories so I can process the end of Carrie and Saul.
I grew up in a household where we gathered around the TV most nights, before heading off to bed. We laughed together at the shenanigans of roommates on Three’s Company, the silly antics of the Fonz and the Cunninghams on Happy Days, and many of the spin-offs that followed.
We cried together too, when Mary Ingalls lost her sight on Little House on the Prairie, and when Grandpa died in the 7th season of The Waltons. These were cathartic moments that my family shared.
Now I’m (obviously) an adult. Recently, my wife and I cut the cable. We weren’t watching network television, except for the odd sporting event, SNL and Sunday Morning. Not worth the bill each month.
There was no such thing as “binge-worthy” in my childhood. We were concerned with moving the rabbit ear antenna around in time to see the program. Then came the VCR and taping the show to watch it later.
In this era of streaming anything you want whenever you want it, the wife and I have only binge-devoured a couple of shows. One was Breaking Bad. I don’t remember the other.
Since I have known her, I can count a dozen TV shows we followed to the end. We were ready to let go of True Blood when it ended. Last year we were upset when Netflix cancelled The OA after two seasons, because we liked the characters and the weird premise.
Between “ready for it to end” and “upset at the premature cancellation,” we have the shows that are ready to end, but we keep watching them because they keep making them and we are curious.
Take Ray Donovan. Why not go out with a bang? The last several season finales felt like really good series finales to me. But now it just feels redundant and mostly unsatisfying. We continue watching because we like the characters, even though they aren’t doing anything new.
Lastly, we have the shows that went on too long but finally ended. And Homeland closed out last weekend after eight seasons.
How did you feel at the conclusion of Homeland? Was it plausible? Did they pull it off? Was there closure?
I’ve waited a few days to write this up, to let the dust settle and possibly remove my harsh critic in favor of the fair critic. But throughout this final season I’ve been cringing. A lot.
There are only so many moves to make in the course of a narrative, and I can’t say precisely how the end should have played out. I just know it stinks.
Choosing how to wrap up all of the intrigue, mayhem and chaos generated over eight seasons must have been daunting. They gave some closure to Saul Berinson’s story line. This was the best part of the finale.
But sending Carrie Mathison off to live with a Russian spy in Moscow? That landed with a stinky plop in the toilet.
Hence the mourning. The plot has concluded. I feel dissatisfied, and relieved. I am both disappointed with the ending, and happy to have my Sunday nights back.
There were some good television episodes during their run, and I enjoyed the diversion.
It’s just too bad that it didn’t end well.