Friday Favourites: season finales
By Hodderscape Team
Posted on July 1, 2016 in Friday Favourites, Television with tags the 100
As we recover from the Game of Thrones finale, we take a look back at the season finales that have knocked our socks off.
‘Restless’, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4
Alone, this episode is quite weird. As a season finale, it is completely bonkers.
The big bad has been slain, the Scoobies are triumphant and…. the season ends with a hallucinatory dream sequence involving Xander in an ice cream truck, Willow singing opera and Spike posing for a photoshoot in his crypt.
It’s genius. A daring way of ending the season, and a treasure trove of hints about what’s to come.
‘A Trip to the Dentist’/’Leave it to Beaver’ Veronica Mars, Season 1
Lasting only three seasons (and one late, not great Kickstarted movie), Veronica Mars was and remains one of the best tv shows to come out of the first decade of the 21st century. No lie. Season 1 was a nearly perfect season of television, and the two final episodes of the season cap it all off absolutely perfectly. Here’s what you need to know: Veronica was once a popular girl at her rich high school, with a hot boyfriend, Duncan, and an awesome best friend, Lily (Duncan’s sister). And then, one day, Lily is murdered – and Veronica’s father, the town sheriff, accuses Lily and Duncan’s father, a beloved billionaire, of killing her. Veronica’s life falls apart: her father loses his job, her mother runs out on them, Duncan dumps her, and all of Veronica’s old friends abandon her, making her a social pariah.
The course of the first season finds Veronica working part-time for her dad, now a PI, and spending her free time investigating Lily’s death. It’s a wonderful, labyrinthine season; no episode is wasted, and vital clues about the various mysteries are cleverly planted throughout the season. In the final two episodes, all the threads are finally tied together, leading to two of the most thrilling, fulfilling, brilliant hours of television I can remember seeing.
‘Swansong’ Supernatural Season 5
Back in the day I was a big Supernatural Dean Winchester fan – yes, I made that same joke in my piece on the show from ages ago, I like to recycle – and one of my favourite episodes was the season five finale. It was everything that you could want from a finale – there was love (of the brotherly kind), violence (of the angels and demons kind), hot dudes (again, of the brotherly kind) and death (I’ll leave that one ambiguous). I would have been completely happy for the series to end there, bleak but ultimately happy at the same time – it was a great way to end the angels versus demons story arch that had been on the cards since season one.
‘We Are Grounders’ parts I & II The 100 Series 1
The 100 series one brought us drama, lots of sexy young people smeared with dirt, and the return of Calvin from Hollyoaks. It was a brilliant season: a group of youngsters, who live with the rest of humanity up on a series of spacecrafts orbiting the earth, are sent down to the planet (allegedly destroyed by nuclear war) to see if it can be recolonised. There’s a twist: the group of youngsters are all criminals, and the Powers That Be on the spaceships have clearly decided that their lives are expendable. Of course, once on the ground, the 100 discover that earth is not, after all, uninhabitated… and there are dangerous predators out there who also exist in human form. Including the grounders, who live in clans locked in a permanent power struggle, and another group of gounders who have become cannibals: the reapers.
Enter drama, passionate love affairs admist all the drama (still shipping Clarke and Bellamy) and more shock moments than the current UK political crisis. And in the final episode – after weeks and weeks of the characters fighting down and dirty in primitive outdoor camps – there’s an ENORMOUS revelation. I’m not including spoilers, but it’s fair to say that absolutely everything the characters thought they knew, or believed in, is turned completely and utterly upside down.
‘The Children’ Game of Thrones Season 4
(SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS)
Some of the season endings up to now had been anti-climactic, but there was no way that this seminal episode could ever be called that, even after the jaw-droppingness of some of the blood-soaked episodes that preceded it. First there is the cliffhanging attempt of Jon Snow to assassinate the King-Beyond-the-Wall (just one of seemingly certain ends of Kit Harington’s character), then there is an epic CGI-enhanced battle as Stannis’ army overrun the Wildling encampment. Surely enough drama for one episode? But no.
Tyrion’s escape from certain death in King’s Landing, his vengeance on Shae and his father Tywin , the dialogue so brilliantly cynical preceding the last, half of it conducted by Charles Dance from a privy… next flash to Bran reaching the Heart Tree: vindication, redemption?! No, an attack of the undead puts all in doubt. But it wasn’t over yet. As certain as the Titanic finding that iceberg, Brienne crashes into the Hound on a blasted moorland… Was it just me but was what followed the greatest surprise of all? By now I felt Arya had full-blown Stockholm Syndrome and had embraced her captivity. But no, she won’t even allow the Hound a swift death but leaves him mortally wounded on the hillside. The deaths of two major characters was shocking, the sense of catharsis palpable, the need to know what happened next excruciating…