It seems fitting that I write about the series finale of Everwood for the last post of 2011. I'll remind thee that I spent parts of spring and all of summer writing about season one (just in case one forgot that fact immediately after reading the first sentence of paragraph #1). Everwood was a show about loss and recovery. How does one go on after suffering a huge tragedy, such as the loss of a spouse or a parent? The show also dealt with themes of friendship, romance, love, abuse, filial bonds, community, discrimination and prejudices, and small-town American. The writers treated these themes with deftness and poignancy. Everwood wore its heart on its sleeve; one should always have a Kleenex box near by because Everwood would make one cry, or at least, feel a bit dusty.
Personally, the themes of loss and recovery resonated with me during this year. I spent portions of my season one reviews relating my own experiences with grief and loss. It was part-cathartic. I identified with Andy, Ephram and Delia. Greg Berlanti's "Pilot" script is incredibly perceptive on what it's like to lose a parent. The series was perceptive about the process of loss--the journey from grief to mourning, and the truth that the pain never entirely disappears, and that any small touch could irritate the wound (to paraphrase a sublime sentence from Tolstoy's War & Peace).
Andy Brown visited his wife's grave in the series finale to say his final goodbye to the woman he literally changed his life for following his death. Andy apologized for waiting too long to become the man she always deserved to be with. Her death fundamentally changed his life. He learned that the only way to sleep well at night is with the knowledge that you're a good parent and father. Andy went through a tremendous transformation during the four seasons. He made mistakes, HUGE mistakes, but he learned and grew from them. Andy and Ephram healed their fractured relationship. The great doctor Brown flew to New York, to talk to his deceased wife at her grave, because he planned on proposing to Nina, and he told her that pain and loss are unavoidable. The monologue included the essential themes and ideas of Everwood; it's poignant, honest, sad, and joyful. It's the most essential scene in the final because it just about completes Andy's arc. Everwood always belonged to Andy Brown.
Now for random and scattered thoughts:
-"Foreverwood" works as a season and series finale. The fourth season wasn't a ratings darling. The first hiatus of the season became a four month long hiatus. The show returned at the end of the March and aired uninterrupted until its June 2006 finale. Presumably, the ending of "Foreverwood" was shot after The CW chose not to bring the series to their network. Originally, the finale ended with the surprise arrival of goddamn Madison in Everwood. Amy's outside, with a Ferris wheel, waiting to declare her never-ending love for Ephram. Ephram listens to a message from Madison inside, and suddenly the growth and progress he made in season four disappeared. Had the show been renewed, I would've stopped watching the series. Madison always sucked. Nina was going to be pregnant but the identity of the father would've been unknown, leading to a soap-opera-ish deal between her, Jake and Andy. Cancellation actually saved the series from executing horrible creative decisions.
-Part of me enjoyed the happy ending for Harold and Rose, but another part of me loathes the convenience of the ending. I disliked Everwood's reliance on plot devices to shake things up and create drama. For instance, Harold lied to adoptive services about Rose's medical history because he didn't want cancer to ruin their chances of adoption; moreso, though, Harold wanted to wipe cancer away and forget it happened to his wife. #419 introduced a couple expecting a baby. The mother-to-be is a schizophrenic; the father has a rare blood cell disease that eventually kills him. The mother's then overwhelmed by her illness and the existence of the baby. Suddenly, we learn she's viewed Dr. Abbott as a father-figure yet we've never seen this woman until now. I liked the completion of Harold and Edna's arc more than the baby stuff, in which Edna agrees to live with her son and daughter-in-law as she tries to figure out how to go on without her Irv. It's sweet and heartfelt.
-The Bright-Hannah relationship was fine until the writers decided to have Bright cheat on her. I don't care about melodrama as long as it's earned in the narrative. One could argue that the series earned that arc because sex had been an issue between Bright and Hannah. The writer's introduced their "rut" followed by the cheating incident. Hannah doesn't speak to Bright again until he falls through a window and nearly dies (which is the most bizarre choice in the fourth season because Bright falls through the window at the end of act II, the doctor explains the head injury's life-threatening, there's surgery, characters assemble in the hospital waiting room, then he's fine and things return to normal, and it's never mentioned again).
-I thought I'd care more about Andy-Nina on a re-watch. I didn't though. Scott Wolf's Jake Hartman becomes a serious problem during the fourth season. The writers introduced Hartman's drug addiction past. First, he was a plastic surgeon, then a homely doctor, then the idea-man behind an AA type place in Everwood. His relationship with Nina lacked passion and conviction. We were constantly told by Nina or Jake that they loved one another, but the love never showed. Nothing was active between the characters. I felt frustrated by the amount of time it took for Andy and Nina to get together.
-It got dusty on the re-watch when Andy finally bought Delia her horse. Now, the horse scene didn't affect me as much as the conversation prior, when Andy told his daughter he's perfectly okay with the knowledge that her teenage self will hate him on more occasions than she loves him.
-The best scene will always be the final one between Amy and Ephram. Amy says the sweetest things to Ephram in front of a Ferris wheel and Ephram says the sweetest things to her. Madison always sucked because Amy and Ephram made so much sense together. Why the hell would Ephram be drawn to goddamn Madison when Amy Abbott's around? The scene's perfect. The panoramic shot of Everwood is an amazing final image of the series.
Happy New Year. See you in 2012 with an all-new HIMYM review.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK