MEDIUM: How It All Ends

So the series finale of Medium has come and gone. I recently listed my favorite episodes of this unique show, and while I don’t think I’d rank this last one among my best of all time, it had its moments. The night began with Allison anticipating Joe’s return from a business trip the night before her first day of law school. Before the opening credits even flashed across the screen, the phone rings, and Joe’s plane goes down as he keeps telling his wife he loves her. All I could think is, they’re not really going to kill Joe. Are they? Are they?

Cut to seven years later. A widowed Allison is a lawyer. Devalos is the mayor, and Scanlon is the chief of detectives. Ariel is married and pregnant, Bridgette’s a budding writer, and Marie is a moody teenager who doesn’t understand why her father’s spirit never reached out given what the DuBois women are able to see and hear. Allison takes over the prosecution of a Mexican drug lord after her colleague is murdered, but more importantly she begins to dream that Joe survived the plane crash and has no memory of his former life. And somehow he’s connected to the drug lord! Okay. So they’re going to go this route, I thought. A little implausible, sure, but given the nature of the show, I’ll buy it, and I guess it will be a happy ending.

Not so fast. When Allison finally finds the amnesiac Joe, she is jolted back awake on the night of the plane crash. Joe is really most sincerely dead. He confesses to sending Allison a dream about the life she can have without him. In true Allison fashion, she took control of the vision and would not give him up. But those things only happen in dreams, Joe has to leave his wife, and Patricia Arquette was as heartbreaking as Jake Weber was reassuring. Allison can and will go on. Part of me feels that the series should have ended on this note. So often Allison is happy to see this spirit or that slip way once she’s helped them in one way or another. But this is her husband. She only wants him to stay.

As for the epilogue, my feelings are mixed. We flash forward 41 years. Allison is an old woman, surrounded by evidence that her daughters have their own beautiful families and that Bridgette did in fact become a successful author (she is the most imaginative of the DuBois children). Allison dies, and she is reunited with Joe at last. Was there ever any doubt that he would wait for her? The series proper ends with their kiss. A fitting final image to be sure (the show was as much a romance as it was anything else). Overall, I liked the episode (and it was cute seeing the actors goofing off and out of character as a kind of curtain call). But a scene or two of Allison actually living without Joe rather than immediately cutting to her death might have made for a more poignant conclusion. For all the times Joe thought he’d have to carry on alone, in the end Allison has to make her way through the world without him.

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