When it ends, everything either comes together or it falls apart.
I’m always thinking about how things end. It’s part of my nature as a writer to look to where the story is going. I was just having a conversation about how much I (we, this person agreed) love a series finales. They’re hard to do, finding just enough resolution to the story that has been going on for a year or more. When they’re done especially well, they feel like the whole thing was planned from the beginning (spoiler, even when they are, they’re kind of not, being at the whims of networks and viewers and all of that). Sometimes the finale happens elsewhere.
Cowboy Bebop seeded it’s conclusion in the beginning and as that story progressed the end seemed inevitable. Firefly was cancelled so fast that they didn’t even get to air all of the episodes on television, but a few years later it got the perfect conclusion with the film Serenity (and as much as I’d love to see more with those characters and that world, I’m completely satisfied at where we were when the final credits rolled). Another Whedon project, Angel, had one of my favorite finales (and one of the best final lines with: “I don’t know about you, but I kind of want to slay the dragon”). They didn’t know it was the end end, but they crafted a conclusion that promised the world would continue, even if we didn’t see it.
And more recently, the Cameron Crowe TV series on Showtime, Roadies, had a pretty perfect arc. The season followed a group of, well, roadies on the tour of a band in some sort of transition. The catalyst for uncertainty and change was a financial manager that joined the tour, eliminating some positions and focusing on cutting costs, etc, for a purpose he didn’t fully know. A true ensemble drama, it tracked several characters as they came to personal realizations during this tour and addressed aspects of themselves and their pasts. The series was bookended with two characters that end up tied together, possibly romantically, leaving the tour and the group to follow their life elsewhere and then realizing that what they were looking for was back at the venue all along. We begin with the girl, in the premiere, leaving and getting as far as the cab, before returning and banging on the door and begging for readmission (she was let back in, to the venue and to her old job). When we conclude, the man gets as far as his plane seat before he realizes how much his life has changed and how he doesn’t belong in his old life anymore. He returns to the venue and the last moment we see is him banging on the door before the credits appear. In this case, Showtime didn’t renew the show for a second season, so presumably, Mr. Crowe had a direction for the show to continue, but at the same time, he left it in such a perfectly poetic position.
We’re surrounded with them in life as well, except those we can’t plan and seldom occur in a manner that we would like. If there is any poetry, it isn’t realized until much later. Lately, all I’m seeing are the effects of entropy. This election cycle has really made so many things ugly. And I just realized, it was beginning right around the time that B broke up with me. Last night we had our staff Cabaret at work (we really do work parties better than anywhere else) and I was reminded that the last one we had was when B and I were still together. And I had to think about how much has happened in the last year.
Social media has made things weird. When relationships get to the point where you do something like unfriend them on Facebook it seems very final. There is always the possibility that either party can friend each other again at some point, should things change, but social media has shifted how we view and experience these times where things fall apart. These connections are sometimes business related, sometimes familial, sometime tenuous, but they are a tether to another part of our lives (whether we’ve drifted from that part or not). When we unfriend someone, it’s cutting a tether to that person.
I just listened to the song, from Hamilton, One Last Time, again (hence the title of this entry). “We’ve got to teach them how to say goodbye.” I’m still learning. I don’t like it, but it’s a constant in life. If we don’t say goodby, sometimes we don’t grow. Sometimes if we say goodbye, it’s the end. Sometimes when we say goodbye, there’s the possibility for a future hello. For now, I’m just going to say
More later …