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'The Closer' recap: A breathtaking season finale!

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Theclosersedgwicktenney_l“You ran. You never run.” With those five little words, The Closer (once again) managed to do what it does better than any other crime drama on television: inject wit and personality and heartbreaking human connection into the midst of a thrilling investigational rollercoaster.

And I use the word “rollercoaster” very deliberately. Think about the speed at which the twists and turns arrived in the concluding 15 minutes of last night’s season finale. Consider the emotional blind curves that kept popping up: Who else got choked up as the team wished each other “good luck” while checking their ammo and heading out onto the dangerous rooftop? Or when the team stoically carried Sanchez to the rescue helicopter? Or when Brenda ordered Sanchez to keep breathing? And let’s not forget the pure adrenaline rush of the final confrontation — from the moment Daniels spotted the shooter (decked out in his full body armor, looking like a vision from a nightmarish videogame) to the slo-mo shot of Sanchez using himself as a human shield to protect dear, old Provenza. I’m surprised I didn’t throw my hands in the air, close my eyes, scream wildly, and feel the wind blowing in my face — that’s how rollercoaster-y it all was.

And indeed, at the end of the hour, there I was, perched at the edgeof the highest peak, bracing myself for a conclusion — gut-wrenching?joyous? — when TNT cut to the credits and another egregiously noisy adfor that total piece of crap, Raising the Bar. GAH! I should’veexpected the writers to leave Sanchez’s survival as a cliffhanger, butI was so wrapped up in the total awesomeness of the episode, I neversaw it coming. (Kind of like creepy suspect John McFadden’s mom,floating around obliviously in her white nightgown.)

Oh, can we talk about that McFadden kid for a second? Seriously, there’snothing worse than a smug, privileged teenage perp, and you could feelhow Brenda wanted to smack the chocolate right out of John’s mouthduring his interrogation, as he chewed deliberately and refused tooffer any useful information about where the bombs were set todetonate. Too bad she didn’t, since his candy bar, combined with abottle of prescription pills, sent him into cardiac arrest. I’m notsure if I was supposed to feel any sympathy as the team applied thedefibrillator paddles to the kid’s chest on the floor of the interviewroom, but I’d be lying if I said I did. I think maybe that “You willlearn about Evolution’s End as you line up to die” shtick blocked myempathy receptors or something.

The one thing that bugged me was the fact that Brenda and hercolleagues didn’t suspect the creepy manager of the home-improvementshop as an EE collaborator, not until the dude had outfitted himselfwith a bulletproof bodysuit and a cache of weapons. But then again, asPope noted, it’s not every day you end up with two dead teenagesuspects, one who gets BIPped (along with Babs!), and one whoessentially pops a poison pill right under your nose.

Speaking of that slow-moving machine, was anyone else delighted withhow quickly Brenda came to appreciate the bomb-sniffing robot — “Babsis a she.” — after realizing how close she’d come to a brush withdeath at the original suspect’s house? The whole finale, in fact, waschock full of funny moments. Brenda’s shrieks of “my purse!” as Sanchezcarried her from the apartment like a sack of potatoes, not to mentionher outrage at having to wait for a bomb squad before getting herprecious evidence. Provenza’s comment about the bomb suspect havingbeen previously arrested for defecating on his high-school principal’sdesk: “Which means he’s been dropping bombs his whole life!” And yes,Sanchez’s “You ran. You never run.” When you can score a laugh line onwhat might be a pivotal character’s final words, you know you’restrapped in for a ride that’s well worth taking.

I’ll be holding mybreath till January, how about you? And while we’re talking about thecliffhanger, what did you think of the season finale? (My sister Kathy* informs me that if I hadn’t been fast-forwarding through the ads, I’d have caught a Soy Joy commercial that tied in a little too closely to the snack-time product placement that had happened on Brenda’s desk only moments before.) And will anyone be outraged if we don’t get ourselves a lovely Closer-style wedding between Brenda and Fritz (the quietly terrific Jon Tenney) at some point next season?

* Also angry that I missed last week’s recap due to DVR issues.

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