Cherish the Day: Catharsis
March 25, 2020 6:23 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Series Finale: Gently hosts a birthday party for Miss Luma and most of the gang gathers. A surprise visitor from the past turns up.
posted by mediareport (5 comments total)
A pleasant but not really satisfying resolution to the first season. Ending on Miss Luma's party was fun and allowed us to see the great supporting ensemble interact again. That moment between Ben and Evan at the buffet was the kind of thing that made the show so good early on (and is a sign Evan still hasn't really stopped pretending that things are just fine), but would have been more poweful if we'd actually seen the events Ben was still angry about 3 years later. I get that the time-jumping one-day-at-a-time format means a lot had to be skipped, but what replaced it in these last few episodes - Look! Quincy Jones is here in the finale and will now read an anecdote from a piece of paper! - just felt off, like the writers were shying away from what the show did so well in favor of crowd-pleasing gimmicks. Quincy should have been a moment at Miss Luma's in an early episode, not a brand new featured guest star in the finale.

I know Ava DuVernay cares deeply about using her shows to boost black cultural history (that Duke Ellington moment, the fun "Waiting To Exhale" bit, e.g.) but there could have been a better way to honor Cicely Tyson than to present the full "Happy Birthday" song. It wasn't until more than 25 minutes into the finale that we got anything close to a real moment between the two main characters that wasn't immediately interrupted.

As usual, the main actors were fantastic even when the writing let them down. Xosha Roquemore has been a revelation; I can't wait to see what she does next, and she and Alano Miller did their best to sell the heartwarming reconciliation in that last 5 minutes.

If folks are looking for a smart, open, well-made look at black love, I'd highly recommend the first 5 episodes of this show, and think the end of episode 5 works as a great conclusion to a beautifully told story.
posted by mediareport at 7:02 AM on March 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

I watched this yesterday and, yeah, ultimately unsatisfying. Great cast, and great chemistry between the leads, but I don't know what I'm meant to take away from the ending. I mean, is it that their love is so strong that they'll always get back together? Or that despite their love, they're going to keep having the same conflicts & dysfunctions and just be that couple that keeps breaking up and getting back together umpteen times while all their friends and family have to watch the trainwreck over and over?

Still, I hope they do get another season. It's a good concept for a series, and with Ava DuVerney there's pretty much a guarantee of good casting and gorgeous cinematography whatever the scripts end up being.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:17 PM on March 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Plus lots of jobs for women writers, directors, and crew!
posted by mediareport at 7:58 PM on March 26, 2020

Agree that this didn't stick the landing, but I did enjoy Miss Luma's birthday party. I liked Gently's line about party planning not being her calling just because she's good at it - I'm glad she found a thing she's really passionate about. It kind of felt like the writers wanted to end with Evan and Gently going their separate ways, but couldn't quite commit to the "downer" ending, so they went for something ambiguous instead.

But agree that Xosha Roquemore is fantastic all the way through. I'd only seen her in The Mindy Project prior to this, and it was cool to see her shine in a dramatic lead.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:45 PM on March 30, 2020

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