Years and Years: Episode 6 (Finale)
July 30, 2019 6:13 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

As Viv Rook's regime tightens its grip, the entire Lyons family is forced to take action. Spurred on by both Muriel and Daniel, Rosie faces up to the troops surrounding her home and takes radical action with Lincoln's help. When Bethany reveals the shocking truth about her father, Edith and Celeste form a secret alliance to stop him. But Stephen is in too deep, as the mysterious Erstwhile Policy turns deadly, forcing Edith and her girlfriend Fran to embark on a reckless, dangerous mission for Viktor's sake. On a long, dark night, the challenge is clear: can one ordinary family actually change the world?
posted by DirtyOldTown (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sigh. I felt let down by this ending. Granted, it would have been hard to meet my expectations in any way since I was so riveted by the show. But there were so many things that were too pat, too happy-ending. I actually wanted it to be even darker, because that wouldv'e felt true-er. A colleague pointed out to me today that it's naive to think that just showing the results of concentration camps on all the screens would get people into action - we can see that now, and most people don't care. Also, springing Victor - this is where you knew this show was set in the UK, because the whole crew wouldv'e been shredded by a hail of gunfire in any similar situation in the US. It just didn't have the emotional truth the other episodes did. And they didn't even go into the mysterious "They" that Viv worried would kill her. Also the coda with Edith was like, sure, but I don't really care that much about this form of immortality.
posted by Miko at 6:16 PM on July 30, 2019 [8 favorites]

Also, NO redemption arc for Steven. Just no!
posted by Miko at 6:16 PM on July 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

I feel like the whole point of this whole series was so that Russel Davies could lecture us with Granny's big long speech. That was the real ending, thats what it was all about. I guess she wasn't wrong about any of it though. It's happening right now.

I noticed how when Celeste was asking Stephen for a job the way her face was and the way she was lit and shot she looked different than she had, like genuinely innocent and childlike. And then in the next shot oh no just an act. Well I bought it!

I also thought it was interesting how they addressed how Danny died wearing a life jacket cause I was wondering that too.

I liked the ending. It's really hard for people to do something they have never seen anyone do. We need stories like this to help us do what needs to be done.

Of course we have these camps now and everyone knows everything about them. Nobody's going to storm that castle and load everyone onto trucks, no perp walks, no revenge fantasy.
posted by bleep at 10:13 PM on July 30, 2019

I liked the ending, not so much the part with Edith, that seemed to go on way too long, but I did like the "happy ending" part. Viv Rook being arrested, the BBC coming back online, Viktor being freed, Rosie crashing the truck through the gates. No, it wasn't realistic or believable, but after the 5.5 episodes of misery, I was completely ready for it. Hearing Viv saying and doing exactly what Trump's saying and doing right now, I really enjoyed seeing her taken away, and the rage on her face was perfect. I'd have liked the women driving the two trucks to run over a few guards, and I was happy to see Stephen shoot Woody.

Apparently I need more fantasy violence, at least when it's the good guys doing it.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:51 AM on July 31, 2019 [4 favorites]

Hey you guys catch the water thing?

Bethenny when she describes wanting to be transhuman I'm pretty sure describes the air in her lungs as feeling wrong, like water

And then the graphic description of how Danny died inhaling seawater (I think RTD is trying to shoehorn a redemption arc for Stephen by illustrating his fixation on Danny's death and also get his theme in, and there's really too much going on)

After how the channel is described as this barrier that is so small in distance and yet impassable, because it's water

And Victor describing how capsizing a half-mile away from shore may not seem far but is in fact very very far when you're trying to survive

And then Edith is imprinted onto water.

I don't know what more to say about that, really, except they felt like very deliberate choices.

I think the whole yay a camp is liberated thing ending is sort of just what do I want to say--a papering over of what's really going on? I can't imagine that RTD would imagine a scenario where we have two terms of Trump, a nuclear strike on China, a term of Pence, and whatever the hell is going on with France and Spain and then voila nationalism is vanquished because the business with the camps has comes to light.

I think RTD thinks we're fucked six-ways to Sunday and is hoping that technology will save us.

Which, I guess if he wanted to do this project, I don't know how else it could go. I keep seeing references to this series being nihilistic. I don't think it's that. I think it's that he sold completely perfectly a world lurching into collapse and can't sell the salvation in the same way because (in fairness to him) it doesn't exist yet. Whereas a second term of Trump? Makes my blood pressure raise every time I think of it.

I'm sort of yearning for the perfect structure of Children of Earth. Remember that scene where Gwen, when everything is going to shit, refers to The Doctor and imagines him turning away from the planet in shame? What Years and Years is sort of like that moment without Captain Jack to make this gigantic personal sacrifice and save the day. The Doctor would be ashamed of us rn.
posted by angrycat at 2:59 PM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

Granny's speech was straight out of An Inspector Calls.

After Viv Rook's Lady Farage, we had a thinly-veiled Boris with the bow-tie guy on the news.
posted by entity447b at 6:10 AM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've seen a fair number if Emma Thompson performances but I don't think I've ever seen her do that particular accent before. She usually sounds so posh.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:19 AM on August 2, 2019

It was interesting how that played into her I'm-not-a-typical-politician schtick. I also appreciated that even some of the characters we were supposed to mostly like were sucked in to her malarkey, like Rosie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:25 AM on August 2, 2019

I know I'm swimming against the tide here but I liked the ending. I needed the ending. I needed it so bad I was willing to suspend disbelief about the probability of one family being responsible for taking it all down. But this episode, in particular, was so fucking bleak. I couldn't take it anymore. I almost stopped watching. And I like that with this show Russell Davies gives us both the encouragement and the instructions on how to deal with the poisonous populism ruining the world. Yeah, it's weird that one family shuts it down, but I suspect their family unit is more a stand-in for the rest of us. Listen to Murial. She's the elder of all of us.
posted by Stanczyk at 11:18 AM on August 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

If our real life 2030 or so is as OK as this, I will be thankful.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:08 PM on August 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

I respect cornball endings that talk about the power of love, etc. They're hard to pull off, and there's something brave about the attempt.

This was not my favorite episode of the show, but it's been as timely as everything else. We have actual concentration camps in the U.S. and no one is allowed in.

Ultimately, I thought gran was right. We may not be to blame personally, but we are all responsible. It's going to come down to ordinary people fighting for what's right.
posted by xammerboy at 10:38 PM on August 3, 2019

I should also say I was confused by some of this. How did automated checkout aisles become the villain? If a robot can do that job, I would literally rather pay people to do nothing than force people to do it unnecessarily.

Also, apparently in the future they've figured out how to imprint someone's soul onto water, but the sister is still in a wheelchair? Get your priorities straightened out future society.
posted by xammerboy at 12:25 PM on August 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I liked the ending too, but it was very definitely an RTD ending.

Binge watched this last weekend, missing much of our current dystopian news stories.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:54 AM on August 8, 2019

Also, apparently in the future they've figured out how to imprint someone's soul onto water, but the sister is still in a wheelchair? Get your priorities straightened out future society.

Maybe she didn't want to be cured.

From Glamour UK's interview with Ruth Madeley:

For Ruth Madeley, who plays single mother Rosie, one of the most alarming developments in the show is the ability to ‘cure’ disabled children, as she asks in the show, ‘where will it stop?’. As a working actress with spina bifida, campaigning for a more accurate representation of disabled individuals on screen, the question couldn’t be more poignant.
posted by Stanczyk at 1:44 PM on August 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

How did automated checkout aisles become the villain? If a robot can do that job, I would literally rather pay people to do nothing than force people to do it unnecessarily.

"Paying people to do nothing" is not an available option. The options are "pay people to check out your groceries for you" or "have an automated checkout aisle and DON'T pay a human".

"Automated checkout aisles" aren't the villain. "Replacing human cashiers with automated checkout lines so you can have bigger profits" is the villain.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:32 PM on October 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

We also have the choice of not making those jobs shitty jobs. There's no reason they can't be good jobs with good wages, tuition reimbursement, and a positive atmosphere - jobs people would compete to get.

But we want cheap groceries, and shareholders want PROFIT!!
posted by Miko at 5:12 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

But we want cheap groceries, and shareholders want PROFIT!!

Exactly, this was my point. And it was RTD's point as well - that it isn't the automated tellers ipso facto that are the devil, but the motivation behind them - and the fact that we accepted them so readily.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on October 16, 2019

I'm agreeing with you. I agree that it is not superior to pay robots for a job that could be a good one for humans.
posted by Miko at 3:51 AM on October 17, 2019

I had to stop watching the series because I was having a hard time distinguishing it from the news here in Chile. Watched the last 2 episodes last night, after they lifted the curfew (I know), and it was satisfying in a way, especially grandma's speech, but I also felt that making the Lyons heroic wasn't the right call. The point was that they were a relatively ordinary family, not the saviors of the empire.
posted by signal at 9:59 AM on October 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Let's all revisit a quaint time when the thought of Donald Trump blithely bringing on the end of the world as we watch stupidly on tv, losing our jobs and homes and watching society disintegrate sounded like science fiction. A quaint time called last fucking year.

Tbh, though, seemed kinda like a possibility last year, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:45 PM on March 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've been thinking about this show a lot. The part where the grandma says "Well it was a nice world we had going for awhile.."
posted by bleep at 11:46 PM on March 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

The Atlantic, late March 2020: The Show That Illustrates the Numbness of Staying Alive
The (timely) idea of human resilience in the face of constant crisis.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 6:05 AM on March 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

Oh man we were just talking about this show today. It was so dark, but our times feel darker even.
posted by Miko at 1:01 PM on March 31, 2020

Yeah, my running joke lately has just been ‘so, which episode of Years and Years is this again?’
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:23 PM on April 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think about this ending a lot. It's breathtakingly naive in retrospect, the idea that once people realize how bad it has gotten, they won't stand for it anymore!

They know. A lot of people like it this way. Others shrug. Others don't know how to fight it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:19 PM on October 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

I found myself thinking on the ending of this show again and came back to speak my mind on it, only to find out I had already done so a few years ago.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:22 AM on March 17

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