I’ve received e-mails (tens of them!) from readers who asked me for my take on the last episode of Guiding Light.
I have to admit, I’m reluctant to revisit the topic.
It’s been a looooong five months since we learned about GL’s fate, and I’m beginning to feel like it’s really time to take a deep breath and let go.
But I can’t resist an opportunity to add my two cents in, so here’s what I thought about the last days of Springfield.
Was I satisfied with what happened?
Well, it depends. If you’re talking about the last few weeks, and especially much of the last week, then yes, I was very satisfied.
Many of the characters that I knew and loved over the years were in play, and their actions were in character. These were not utter strangers. And I have to emphasize, strongly, that this is the positive part of the recent era of GL I’ve been trying to emphasize since last winter.
Because if GL had ended a year and a half ago, it would have been just as likely that I’d have walked away with my hands in the air saying “good riddance.” We had Josh/Cassie, Grady, and a whole lot of bizarre and stupid story. I don’t care if the whole damn thing was filmed in the parking lot of an IHOP, these episodes were about people that I knew. So I was, in a larger sense, happy.
I have to say that I felt the biggest emotional impact hit earlier in the week, with Monday and Tuesday’s episodes. The double wedding, and the death of Alan Spaulding, was intensely sweet payoff for all of the characters we knew and loved.
By Friday, most of the stories had been wrapped up in some sense, and the rest of the show was exposition for the future. It was sweet to know where everyone was headed in a year, but in a way, it lessened the impact, because these twists and turns were, in some cases, very new for the characters, and we hadn’t had time to invest in what happened a year down the line…which for the most part was love, love, love and a case of the BABIES! for everyone.
There were some nice surprises (Rick finally got the girl – Mindy) and the last scene with Josh and Reva was sweet. (I had to laugh that the last bit of dialogue was Reva saying “always” to her Bud.)
I do wish the newer characters and supporting characters (Daisy, Ashlee, Remy, Christina, Mel and Cyrus) had experienced their resolutions earlier. I think the emotional impact of the last few episodes would have been greater if there would have been a focus on characters we had a deeper connection to.
My biggest thumbs down is reserved for the Jeffrey/Edmund nonsense. I’ve complained about it before over the last few months, and for the show to take it as far as it did and then leave it unresolved was a completely puzzling move. I’ve admittedly never been a Jeffrey fan, but I’d be equally annoyed if I had been.
The whole plot islanded Jeffrey as a character in an odd way. (Though from a production perspective, it really made me believe Jeffrey’s departure, and Bradley Cole’s, was actually dictated by financial necessity. Perhaps the Jeffrey storyline was pretaped to allow him to depart early – and open up some salary dollars for the returnees?) I was also unwilling to believe that Jonathan would let Reva believe Jeffrey was dead for that long, not even for the collective safety of Colin, Henry and Sarah.
I feel somewhat schizophrenic about the ending for Otalia. I’m very disappointed that they didn’t kiss, and I was disappointed to see that their final scenes focused largely around making sure Frank was happy. But I’ve come to really feel that the Otalia story was still a magnificent one. I still believe their romance was realistic, despite the imperfections and shortfalls. It was nice to experience two characters as people falling in love, versus something that made you feel like you were watching an after-school special.
I loved the opening credits on the final episode, and wish we’d have seen some kind of historical bookend at the end as well – a sense that the Light was going out. As nice as the Josh/Reva scene was, I wish they’d have been perhaps the penultimate scene of the show. I would have preferred that the final scene been with the Bauers, or a montage of some of the faces of Springfield we’ve seen over the years.
At the end of the day, however, no one was shot by a firing squad, or encountered a dancing gorilla. And no cigars were extinguished on the front porch of the Peapack-Gladstone Tavern. After a few viewings, I understood that Ellen Wheeler and Jill Lorie Hurst wanted to leave the impression that these people’s lives would continue even if we weren’t watching. And in that goal, they succeeded.
See more of A Thousand Other Worlds here.