Just finished watching tonight's "Everwood" finale, the second straight week I've watched the show after missing most of the season thanks to The WB's endearing disregard for my television-viewing schedule.
Because I've somehow skipped reading articles on the subject, I have no idea if the show's producers knew they were dead in the water when they wrote the finale, or if they just guessed that things had run their course and wanted to cover all emotional bases. In any case, since the wise executives at The CW decided the network's identity would be better served with "One Tree Hill" and "7th Heaven: Zombie Edition" (NOTHING can kill the Camdens), Monday's "Everwood" was, indeed, the show's last. To their credit, the "Everwood" team turned around and gave fans a finale that was as manipulative and emotionally satisfying a finale as any devotee could ever hope for. Logic and context be darned, on one starry Colorado night, every surviving character got exactly what the fans were praying for and delivered on every promise.
The show's great near-genius (using the word genius in the context of "Everwood" is like using "brilliant" in the context of an "American Idol" contestant, though "near-genius" seems OK) is that it could mix pathos with warm fuzzies in a way that virtually no other show could touch. When Dr. Brown (Treat Williams, whose career will now return to its pre-"Everwood" levels, only with prestige and dignity) comes to the realization that Dr. Abbott (Tom Amandes, always the show's MVP) was just a big romantic idealist, he was late to the game. Even at his most crotchety, Dr. Abbott was also an idealist, craving a world of small town simplicity and small town life that may not have even existed in Norman Rockwell paintings. Over the show's run, Dr. Brown -- and all of the tragedies, upheavals and mood swings that seemed to accompany him -- taught Dr. Abbott to appreciate a different kind of romanticism, a WB kind of romanticism, where death, and break-ups and disease and misery could seem ready to engulf the world, but where a well-delivered line of dialogue, a beautifully composed shot featuring snow-capped mountains or just the right gesture or well-timed hug could make everything seem whole again.
The finale of "Everwood" was satisfying because it left every character stuck in some degree of tumult or misstep. There's a sense at the end of the episode that there's going to be a lot of messiness tomorrow, but for one glorious night, the across-the-board happiness feels genuine.
Tomorrow, will Nina wake up and remember that she accepted Dr. Brown's proposal just two days after Bailey (Scott Wolf deserves credit for carrying off one of the ass-iest things any TV character can do) ditched her at the airport?
Tomorrow, will Hannah realize that she gave up a free ride to Notre Dame to go to A&M on the off chance that Bright is forever redeemed?
Tomorrow, will Edna wake up in her little room in her son's house and remember that she's lost two husbands in four years and that getting to choose her own wallpaper isn't going to be enough to make her happy?
Tomorrow, will Ephram remember that as he walked out the door he told Stephanie he'd see her in five minutes and that Stephanie is kind of hot and feisty and isn't likely to be the kind of Drama Queen we know Amy to be?
Tomorrow, will Delia (Vivien Cardone) realize that as much as she wanted a horse when she was eight, she'd kinda rather have gotten a new Razr cell phone or something instead of an animal she's gonna have no way to ever get to see?
Those are all questions for tomorrow and it's probably better that "Everwood" didn't have to worry about answering any of them. For tonight, I suspect the show left an awful lot of fans with misty tears in their eyes, which is pretty close to closure.
I couldn't help but think that this would have been a good way for The WB to go off the air as well...
Did the "Everwood" finale work for you?
UPDATE: Should anybody care, a somewhat expanded and slightly prettied up version of this post is now up over at Zap2it.com.