|Joe, Terry, and Owen eat at Norms on "Men of a Certain Age"|
My review of tonight's season finale of Men of a Certain Age, and some thoughts on the season as a whole are after the jump.
Two months ago, I would not have thought that I would ever like a show about fifty year old men dealing with their lives. This is not the type of show that I usually watch and I probably would not have sampled it if TNT hadn't sent me screeners of every episode of the summer season, and I am glad they did.
This show has been one of the most surprising little shows on television this season, and the finale exemplified the reasons why it is the best drama that was on the air during its run. This show was able to take me on an emotional journey with three very complex characters. That's all I can really ask from a series, and a finale. It told stories that were simple, and yet had emotional stakes behind them. What it also did was it let the actors add the emotional depth. It also allows for the show to open up new chapters in the characters' lives.
Joe is playing for a spot on the Senior tour. The plotline is simple payoff, yet Ray Romano helps make this more complex then it looks on paper. He showed exactly how important this event is for Joe and how he is dealing with the ups and downs of the plotline. He is what made this payoff worth the wait. Seeing Joe hit the first tee very well, then deal with too many clubs, then actually start hitting well, then missing a very easy putt and falling short of the senior tour. This is a lot for a person to go through and it was very frustrating for Joe. That's clear in the scene where he breaks the 15th club that was in his bag.
Then, the skies darken and things lighten up for Joe. Everything that he had worked for up until that point pays off with the other old guys making mistakes because of the rain. This is where one chapter closes and another one opens. Joe will now be a part of the senior tour and is going to restart his romance with (who I assume is) his former girlfriend Dory. (*) It left Joe's story in a place where I don't want it to end, but yet a place where I could see both the conclusion and the new beginning.
(*) Because Dory is played by Sarah Clarke, I couldn't tell if Joe was supposed to trust her or not.
All the stuff that Owen has been dealing with at the dealership finally comes to a head. The dealership has been in the hole for awhile and now his staff knows exactly what is going on with the finances. I'm glad that we finally got to see Owen take charge of the dealership and actually tell his Dad that he is in charge. He earned the right to try to motivate the salesmen into selling the cars. O.T. has to learn to understand that this is Owen's dealership now, and he has to try to dig the dealership out of the hole that it was in when he inherited it. He's closing one chapter, and opening another chapter where he will try to save the dealership. Andre Braugher continued to do great work in this one, helping bring Owen's feelings to the front of the plotline.
Meanwhile, Terry is closing the car salesman chapter of his life and is going to try to open a new chapter as a director. This idea understandably scares Erin. This lead to one of the best scenes of the episode, with Erin and Terry talking about Terry's decision. This was a fantastically acted scene that worked because both Scott Backula and Melinda McGraw. I don't think this will work for Terry, but at least he can still go back and be a car salesman.
There's one thing that I haven't mentioned yet in this review because I don't want it to be true. This could be the last episode of Men of a Certain Age that we ever see. The ratings haven't been very good at all and it's not a show that fits TNT very well.
I just don't want this episode to be the end. I want to see all of the new chapters that were started by the finale play out and continue to see these characters on my screen. I have grown to love this show and I don't want it to be taken away from me just when I discovered it.
But if the show is cancelled, what I will hold on to is that we got a brilliant set of summer episodes and this finale was one of the best episodes of television that aired in the summer so far. I will have to remember that what we got was brilliant, and even if it wasn't an ending, it would be a great note to go out on for the series.
What did everyone else think?