Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review - United States of Tara Season 3 Episode 12 The Good Parts

Although "The Good Parts" was only intended to be a season finale, not the series finale, I thought the episode gave proper closure to the show in its own way. Like Tara herself, the finale is not a nice thing you get fit in a box. It has rough edges, maybe is too sprawling, but comes together at the end to remind us what the show is about, even if it ends without a resolution. After three wonderful seasons, I'm sad to see the show go, but also glad that it ended the way it did.

After a season of being driven to the brink, Max got his time to shine and go berserk. It's actually quite clever what the writers did, giving us two separate instances when Max imagines himself going crazy but acts normal. The last time, however, Max does go crazy, ranting, grabbing the bird, and hurling it against the wall. The first two times act as a buffer, leading us to believe that the third is the same thing and that things will return to normal. But it slowly sets in, just as the family has come to terms with Tara. Max is really doing this and things can't be normal.

Marshall and Kate have gotten a lot to do in the past few seasons (relative to the first), and they got to wrap things up with Tara is well. Marshall and Tara finally connect when Tara brings him to Lionel's memorial. For all the things we can say about Tara as a person (jumping off the bridge was pretty dumb), this moment exemplifies her character, a woman who loves her kids and tries to do the right things, even when it's not possible. Kate decides to stay home and take care of Marshall, but also gets to keep Evan. Charmaine and Neil agree to move to Houston, and Charmaine, in the cutest way, proposes to Neil. It's mostly good news for the more axillary characters.

And so, at the end, Max and Tara drive to Boston, awaiting what may come next. It's not a conclusion which answers questions or even tells us what happens next. Instead, after a season of misery,   it ends on a hopeful note.  Tara may not get better, but if one thing is for certain, it's that her family will be behind her. Tara was hardly a perfect person, with or without her alters, and neither is United States of Tara. But with both, there was also something to draw on and enjoy.

United States of Tara, in the last two season, was not primarily about the scientific details of DID or how Tara became the way she is. The show, like many others, turned towards the various characters and the Gregson family. We got to know them much better, learn the consequences Tara had on them. As all the characters became human so too did Tara and her condition. What started as a wacky show about a person with wacky personalities became much more. Bravo to everyone involved with the show.

Score: 9.4/10
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