Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Leaving in a State of 'Grace'

By LillyKat
PTR Senior Staff Writer

I sure do like it when everything comes full circle.

Especially for show I gave up on LAST season.

If I recall correctly, I did my best Detective Lilly Rush impression and closed the case of Saving Grace - swore it wouldn't be re-opened, thought I had wasted my time on a show that really seemed to be more about pushing the envelope than in giving us much substance to go along WITH that envelope.

But last June, when I visited the set, the passion of the entire cast and crew forced me to take a second look at the series.

I'm still glad I did.

Yes, I had my gripes this season - which were about the same as they were last season: stop the endless downward spiral of Grace; give us something to care about in her character; separate her away from that co-dependent mess of a relationship she has with Ham Dewey; force her to grow up, be accountable and act like an adult; give some of the other characters a chance to shine.

When the show DID do all of this, it really worked for me. And with last night's second season finale, I think it was the best the show has had on offer.

Grace owned up to not only having been awarded a last chance Angel, but also in accepting her responsibility that comes along with that gift. She faced down her fear and demons - SOME of them, anyway - and was forced to understand her role in the larger circle of life.

That is, it really is NOT all about Grace Hanadarko.

We didn't get the happy ending with Leon Cooley earning a stay of a execution (which was the stronger play story-wise), but we did get some serious soul searching on the part of Grace that brought her face to face with Leon in the end.

And of which allowed her to make some peace not only with Leon, but within herself.

We didn't get the holier-than-thou lecture from Angel Earl (not that he ever really does that), but instead, more of the equal partnership between her and Grace as to the turn of event(s) that have brought them both to this point in time.

It was a page out of Touched By An Angel in that the angels on that show didn't always know the whole "plan" ahead of time. Sometimes, they had to learn it on the job. Or at the last minute. Or all of a sudden. And they had to identify with their human assignment in the same uncertain, uncomfortable kind of way, only being able to offer reassurance there IS a big plan.

Trust in it.

This is the second time in as many episodes that I can make a TBAA comparison. And THAT is a good thing for this viewer (since Grace generally likes to be anything BUT TBAA).

And we also saw the leveling of the playing field between Earl and Grace, which has been progressing nicely for most of this season. That is, they have become friends, gotten to know each other, have come to almost understand one another. And in the end, when Grace really needed Earl, he was there for her though perhaps not with the all-knowing answers that she had expected.

Which forced Grace to own up to it all by herself.

And I have to say, I am proud of her for doing so. I'm happy with where the writers have left her to start the third season. She turned a huge corner in this finale.

Is it temporary? Will she go back to her old ways? Probably. But I'd like to think it may be tempered somewhat, that there may be an even heavier conscience weighing on her now given the loss of Leon - and her role IN that loss.

Don't quite know how I feel about Ham having finally divorced Darlene FOR Grace. Line of the night goes to Darlene:

Darlene: "Does she love you?"
Ham: "I don't know."
Darlene: "Then what are you doing?"

Good question.

My own personal Idaho request is not to see any more of Ham's obsession over Grace or vice versa. Both characters are far more interesting to me when they are apart. They actually have to talk, not boink the heck out of each other. And in that, they mature a bit.

Obviously, it's not up to me, and I don't know what the writers have in store for the third season. But if this finale left us with anything, it would be a sense that Grace DOES actually seem to be worth saving.

Can't say I felt that way at the end of the first season.

How's that for full circle?

New episodes of Saving Grace return this summer. If you missed any of the second season, you can watch full episodes of the show anytime over on the show’s official Web site. You can also visit EmbraceYourGrace.com to share your stories of how you embrace your inner-Grace.

1 comment:

John said...

It was a great ending to a very good season (or half season or whatever this was).

I was sorry to see Leon go, but it was much more realistic that the governor would not stay the execution than he would. I oppose capital punishment, but Leon did murder a guard and I can’t see an Oklahoma governor commuting his sentence. But Leon’s journey was very interesting this season.

I wasn’t surprised by Earl’s support for Leon as a Christian or Moslem or Jew or whatever. He has been shown to be very ecumenical. I was a little more surprised by Grace’s priest brother being so supportive – happy, but surprised.

It was nice to find the connection between Grace and Leon that existed before Earl.

I wonder how Grace will act now that she is in effect in Leon’s role. Of course there are differences – Grace isn’t in prison and is a cop, so she can be more active in setting up her relationship with the woman involved in the dream robbery.

Do you remember that last season Grace went to the house her new connectee lives in, but didn’t do anything? Rhetta found it (or at least pointed her towards it) for her with her research. The first house she went to wrong was because she was “hearing” the address wrong.

I am sure Grace will backslide next year. First, it would be boring if she became perfect and second this whole last chance angel thing is a lot to absorb. Even with the proof Grace has, there is going to be denial at times.

‘Darlene: "Does she love you?"
Ham: "I don't know."
Darlene: "Then what are you doing?"

Good question.’

Ham answer was good also:

“Being honest for once” (or something very like that).

I liked last season more than you, but agreed that Grace was too out of control to be believable or sympathetic. This season has been much better, with only occasional Grace Gone Wild.

I am really looking forward to the summer season.

There are going to be a lot of good shows on this summer. The shows I watch in the summer may be, on average, better than the shows I watch most of the year.