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S04.E12: The Heartbreak of Truth


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10 hours ago, Shorty186 said:

Every episode just lowers the bar of my expectations for the finale. Even if this wasn't the last season, I would be disappointed.

Same. The mystery isn't too bad, but all the interpersonal drama was unnecessary. One of the best things about this show was the core group of friends and I feel like that has barely been present this season. Ace has been alone in the morgue almost every episode. The joy and fun seems lost. That's not even getting into the condensed timeline making no sense whatsoever (George, who barely graduated high school because of her home life, has now zoomed through an undergrad degree in 3 months and is off to law school? What?)

Regardless of when they knew this would be the final season there's still a lot that's...not great here. 

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I've thought all season that everyone involved with the supernatural has been incredibly careless with it. I still remember when they were running around with a demon in a backpack and ended up getting a kid possessed. Now they got someone killed. Poor Alice.

Ace is completely right to be pissed at Nancy for what she did. Even if she was trying to help him, not only did she take his choice to remember away from him, she could have lead to Alice never being identified.

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The supportive bromance between Ryan and Carson is always great. I love how Ryan gave Carson full credit for raising "the best person I ever met" and supports him in being a dad again. I feel like I need to rewatch season 1 and remind myself much he has grown. 

All right, the truth was heartbreaking as the title suggests. Poor Ace. And it makes perfect sense because all I can think of is back in season 2 when he got kidnapped and was telling Nancy not to give up the info to save him because he couldn't be responsible for the deaths of those people. Yay for character consistency. Boo for sad Ace breaking my heart. 

George can do better than this guy. I really liked her and Nick better together. I appreciate that they're trying to set everyone up for a happy ending with significant others, but I feel like George going off with this guy and selling the Claw is a bad idea.  

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Last penultimate episode we will ever get and this show seems to be doing everything it can to end on a whimper due to the unnecessary romantic angst and unneeded drama.

The fight between Nancy and Ace (which, again, well acted by both Kennedy McMann and Alex Saxon) at Alice's apartment highlighted once again why I'm more annoyed by the stuff with Ace and Ghost Alice than Nancy and Tristian.  Both pairing are overdramatic and eye-rolling in their own ways, but at least you get the sense that Nancy is aware that her and Tristian have a lot of issues and this could end up being problematic.  But Ace really came off like he would be all for Alice never getting closure of any kind, so that she can just be his ghost girlfriend for the rest of her time.  I get that he is hurting, but it just feels very... selfish of him, I think?  Maybe a little patronizing?  Either way, I'm glad that he did go through with telling her the truth and she has now moved on.

On the flip side, I'm with him that Nancy did cross a line by using the Sin Eater to make him forget about his part in her death.  I guess she was letting her feelings cloud her judgement and knew that the guilt might eat him up, but he's right that taking something; even if it's traumatic like that; away from a person will probably change them in ways that is hard to predict.  And, yeah, by doing what she did, she almost made Alice a Jane Doe for the rest of her life and would have been forgotten about.  Poor form, Nancy.

Also, I guess as long as someone thinks they sinned, it counts with the Sin Eater?  Because no matter what, someone was likely going to die.  Sure, maybe Ace's decision to save Thom over Alice was due to the former being his father, but it was probably always going to be the most logical choice since he was already having issues even getting to Alice through that door and fire.  Hell, a few seconds later and he would have joined her in the after life.  There was no way to win in that scenario, but I guess I can understand why Ace feels guilt over it.

Nick and George selling the the Claw and both of them having plans to leave Horseshoe Bay gives off the sense that they might have known by now that this was going to be it.

Bess' scenes with Lovett were good.

Nancy's Two Dads continue to be the best two dads anyone could have!

So, it looks like Callie is going to be the main antagonist for the finale, as after finding out they have prevented the Sin Eater from taking form again (but not quite curing him), she's now unleashed the tainted water on most of Horseshoe Bay.  Not sure how we will have time to get a satisfactory conclusion for both this and everything else that will need to be addressed for the finale episode ever, but I guess I'll wait and see.

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Did I enjoy the episode? Yes. Am I about to get pretty critical about it? Also yes.

1. This episode was in early draft stage when they heard about the cancellation - and it shows, what with all of the sudden side plots focused on wrapping things up - selling the Claw, Bess and the Sherriff agreeing to be co-guardians of the town, Carson getting ready for Fatherhood try 2, George getting ready for college (to address the comment above, she got into a prelaw program, which....doesn't really explain why she was in a torts class with someone clearly in his last year of undergrad heading straight to law school, but there's so much wrong with the timing of all of this that I'm just going to ignore it), Ryan and George somewhat inexplicably with long-term, endgame love interests who have barely appeared on the show before this and were mildly shady when they did, and so on.

My guess is that the actors for Cameron and Red were initially hired/scheduled to play roles in an upcoming plot for the fifth season (Cameron) and the Sin-Eater plot (Red) before suddenly getting switched to these endgame love interest roles, on the basis of "OMG WE HAVE TO GIVE EVERYONE AN ENDING" rather than "OMG DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE SENSE?" I mean, yay for Ryan's character growth, and I realize relationships on this show move quickly, but am I seriously expected to believe that a character introduced as a sorta questionable black market relic dealer several episodes ago, briefly mentioned as maybe kinda sorta helpful a couple of episodes ago, and eager to steal more relics at the start of this very episode, is now considering staying in Horseshoe Bay for a happy ever after with Ryan? 

(It didn't help that this immediately followed a scene clarifying that Ryan now has much better, stronger relationships with Carson, Nancy, and Bess and even to a much lesser extent Jean, Nick and Ace, than with Mystery Thief, but I only have one episode left so I should probably stop grousing over this.)

Which brings me to George. I'm all for her heading on to law school, but....does she really need to sell the family restaurant and move across the country for a prelaw program, given that the prelaw program she is in right now is good enough to get Cameron into a decent law program? A prelaw program that is allowing her to continue to care for her sisters and somehow keep a restaurant open even when said restaurant keeps having to close for various events and supernatural activity?  

But the worst problem with all of this is that it forced us to spend time with these endgame moments rather than spend time on the three main plots, to the detriment of most of these plots. For instance, why does Callie think that doing weird Sin-Eater rituals in a basement is a bad idea? She's been verbose enough in previous episodes, and I was expecting some sort of comment from her here, especially when the episode later confirmed that sometimes doing supernatural stuff without sufficient research gets people killed. Is that Callie's concern? Because if it is - and again, given the rest of the episode, that seems reasonable - allowing her to say that, rather than just a threatening, "You have no idea what you've done!" or even add a "I can't let this happen!" could have added nuance and/or threat to what was otherwise a wait, what, it's bad enough that Callie is willing to risk not just poisoning the entire city BUT also a major fine and citation from the EPA? (That has to be coming, right? Has to be.) 

Remove just one minute from the restaurant chatter and you have that nuance and/or threat.

Same with the Sheriff/Bess story, which ....kinda wrapped up for, as far as I can tell, no better reason than "hey, it's the next to last episode, so time for the Sheriff to suddenly give Bess her ok to go ahead and celebrate/do supernatural things!" Which....not only was a complete 180 more or less out of nowhere, it was deeply contradicted by the A plot, which was largely about "Here is what can happen if you mess with the supernatural, folks!" A longer discussion could have addressed that - and acknowledged that Bess's YAY SUPERNATURAL can have issues - but the episode didn't have time, because, restaurant. Cute guy moving to the other side of the country. Uh huh.

And also, this meant that the A plot focused only on Nancy, Ace and ghost girl, and not on the other people initially involved in the A plot: George, who decided that the Drew Crew absolutely had to help the two cursed brothers, even though the Drew Crew was dealing with a number of other things at the time, and Bess, who decided to help even though, by her own admission, they did not have a safe way to handle the curse.  Ace then compounded this by not informing his father or the captain/ghost girl that he had the equivalent of a bomb on board (and while I'm on this, why did the captain wait until they were out in the ocean to introduce herself). The point is, this is not all on Nancy, or Ace, and the others need to know. As do the parents of the cursed brothers. And Alice's family. Like, this is not just about Ace and Nancy.

And I suspect that in the original plan for this episode, other people were told - at the very least it would have made a nice call back to season 1, when the Drew Crew realized that all of them had helped - however unintentionally - to murder Tiffany, and tied in both with Nick's ongoing "uh, is any of this a good idea" and Bess's "Go Supernatural Go" plot!

Though that second part could have run into a slight problem: by tying the whole "Supernatural is Evil" characters so closely to real-life bookbanning earlier this season, backtracking and saying, well, ok, the anti-supernatural folks have a point here kinda sorta makes it feel as if the bookbanners kinda have a point, which, no. Auugh. No. But that said, this is something that could have been dealt with/discussed by allowing Bess and the Sheriff to also be part of this, forcing Bess to examine her thinking here.

Anyway. Back to Nancy and Ace. This isn't the first time Nancy has crossed a moral line for Ace (hi, seasons 2 and 3), and I would say her decision, however temporary, to let a tsunami destroy a town was worse, but altering the memories of not just Ace, but everyone else (not to mention leaving all of Alice's friends/family in suspense) was definitely crossing the line. So I don't blame Ace for being angry here - although I will note, Ace, that you chose to stop trying to break the curse without consulting Nancy, a decision that's made both of you miserable. And once again, this could have easily been a longer discussion - and probably should have been - but, hi. Restaurant plot. Ryan finds true love plot. Because next episode is the series finale.

Luckily Nancy and Ace have a history of forgiving each other very quickly - since they only have one episode to get past this!

And yes, I still think they will. I'm still not feeling overly convinced by Tristan, though, to be fair, we haven't exactly spent much time on him, either.  

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(edited)

This season just doesn't make sense as a whole. If you step back and track the plot points through every episode, it's a jumbled mess. The only thing I can think of that would have made it work better is if they took eps #401 to #403 and tacked them to the end of the season instead, at least regarding the Nace relationship.

But I remember being so happy with those episodes thinking the writers really subverted expectations by bringing everything out to the open and dealing with the curse head-on instead of dragging it on. Yet here we are. Those episodes made the ones that followed seem so unbelievable and OOC because it's like the writers just decided to pivot for no good reason.

But had Nancy actually kept her mouth shut, I could kind of understand how Ace could start falling for a ghost had he been moping around for 8 episodes and even see Nancy "moving on" with Tristan. Meanwhile, Nancy is forcing herself to move on because she thinks it's a guaranteed way to keep Ace safe from the death curse, but it kills her to see how miserable Ace is, until she starts getting jealous over him and the ghost. Maybe she would have even decided to have the Sin Eater eat the sin of his/their feelings to help them move on, but then the truth water that Callie unleashed causes them to remember their feelings, Nancy decides to confess about the curse and we would have at least had the Drew Crew working to break the curse for the last 2 or 3 eps. 

ETA: I don't doubt that the writers loved the show. It just makes the whole trajectory of the season that much more baffling.

 

Edited by Shorty186
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1. The writers have clarified/confirmed on Twitter that portions of this episode (specifically the stuff with the boat and the water) were filmed while they were filming 408 - that is, prior to finding out that they were cancelled. So to a certain extent they were stuck with parts of this. 

This also means that portions of 412 were pitched/blocked, scripted and filmed prior to learning about the cancellation, so, from a purely production standpoint, ouch.

The writers also mentioned the possibility of Tristan joining the Drew Crew in season 5, which, combined with this season's George Goes to College plot, and Nick divesting himself of all the local ties he created in seasons 2 and 3, makes me wonder if Leah Lewis or Tunji Kasim had considered leaving the show prior to hearing about the cancellation notice.

2. For me, the issue with making sense of the season has nothing to do with Nace (though I realize I'm obviously not speaking for many fans here!) and everything to do with the supernatural stuff. Because on the one hand, you have the show explicitly comparing attempts to ban the supernatural with attempts to ban books, with Bess and the others shown as heroes for not being afraid to use and celebrate the supernatural, and the main person trying to stop access to the supernatural, Callie, shown as the season's main villain, willing to poison an entire town.

And at the same time, the show is bombarding us with examples of how the supernatural stuff literally a) allows people to get away with murder; b) is currently dooming a 20 something guy to early death; c) can be used to manipulate people and local politics; and d) gets people killed.

I'm not sure how or even if the show can address this, even without needing to sorta tie everything up (presumably the last ten/fifteen minutes of this ep) and deal with Nace (presumably another ten minutes). But it's something I think should be addressed, or at least acknowledged.

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Its really sad to see the show end like this after such an excellent run. Its not awful or anything, there are still a lot of great moments that I really enjoy, but I like to think that if the writers knew that this was the shows last season, they would have made a lot of different choices. On the other hand, I cant imagine even in a regular season getting invested in Ace and his ghost girlfriend and Nancy dating the Sin Eater or in George's hardly seen law school love interest, even Jade, who I like, comes off as pretty pointless. I really just want George/Nick and and Ace/Nancy to be couples and for the main cast to all be together having fun and solving mysteries, is that really so much to ask?! Its sad to see a show get bogged down with boring relationship drama at any time, but its even worse when you know that the writers can do better and that we're about to get to the shows ending. 

Poor Ace, he really was put in a no win situation but its very understandable and in character that he would be devastated by Alice dying. He has always hated the idea of being even indirectly responsible for bad things happening to people, but Nancy also has a history of making questionable choices for his sake, so while I think she messed up takin his memories of what happened, I get it. 

I liked seeing one last morbid nautical pagan Horseshoe Bay festival. Yeah, Horseshoe Bay's history with magic is weird, but its better than meth for the most part. I'm also so glad we got a really nice scene between Nancy's two dads, Ryan telling Carson that he raised the best person he knows as so sweet and sincere. Carson has also been a big part of helping Ryan grow as person, he's sort of a wise big brother for him as well as a co-parent. 

 Oh no, Callie has turned their fun bonfire into an early Festivus! Prepare for the airing of grievances! 

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