Some weeks, this revival of Will & Grace has been just as incredible as the original series: hilarious, poignant, contemporary. Understandably, the show is trying to find its footing in a world full of television, watched by people who always have an opinion. But the fall finale tried to be hilarious, nostalgic, and poignant all at the same time, and it got clunky. Real clunky. “Trip on the memory of Debbie Reynolds while honoring Shelley Morrison, knock your wig loose” clunky.
We open at Grace Adler and Associates, and oh boy, it just kind of hit me that we now have three main characters working there. That’s going to throw all the main characters in the same place way more often because you know that Jack isn’t going to be doing any work for anyone. This week, Karen is the last to arrive…you know, because she didn’t really want to be there to begin with.
She spent the morning looking for Rosario (!!), who never takes the day off unless it’s Christmas or Maids Eat Free Day at Applebees. And Rosario was missing for good reason: She’s in the hospital.
At the hospital, Jack is a mess. He’s running up and down the halls DEMANDING Rosario’s Jell-O…for himself. Such an incredible ex-husband. Karen shows up with balloons; she’s decided that once she gets out of the hospital, she’s going to throw Rosie a quinceañera — which Karen explains as the ceremony when a woman hits menopause and becomes a man. But when the doctor comes to speak with Karen, it’s not good news. There were complications. Rosario is gone. Karen asks if it’s to some underground maids’ fight club, but when Grace tries to clarify, Karen says she already knows.
At Rosario’s funeral, Grace asks if Karen needs anything, and Karen is over it. She says she’s been on her own since 9 months old; she breastfed herself. She just wanted to throw Rosie that quinceañera since her mother was so terrible to her.
And that’s when we’re interrupted by the iconic Lorraine Finster. Minnie Driver is a TREASURE. And Lorraine’s practically family. She slept with Karen’s husband. Karen married her father. They once had a three-way. I don’t want to know the involved parties…nope, wait, it was Lorraine’s father. Great. After a quick hug (and earring heist), Lorraine makes her exit, like a lady.
As Grace and Will approach the casket, Grace tells Rosie that she’s wearing the pin she gave her, saying how much she loves it before admitting that she’s literally lying to a corpse. But it’s not like they’ve been appropriate all episode long. Will leased the space next door to Grace’s business since, you know, they all work together now, and Grace is upset because she thinks he should have run it by her. It keeps coming up, and Grace finally says that Will works for her. Mid-argument, her mint flies out and lands in Rosario’s casket.
Jack is having a panic attack pre-funeral, throwing Bibles into pews and breaking down over seating orders. Grace reminds him that all he has to do is get Karen through the day — but Karen isn’t there. She’s at the bar next door. In a surprise twist, we get Smitty back! Remember ol’ Smitty? Karen asks him for advice, but he can’t hear her because he’s almost entirely deaf. It cracks Karen up because Smitty knows just what to say. (Recap continues on page 2)
When Grace gets to the bar, she tries to relate but ultimately does exactly what Will told her not to do and makes it all about herself. I’m going to be gently critical for a moment: As iconic as that shower scene was, there’s something about Grace as of late that just feels like…maybe it’s too much. The screaming, the pushing. Though Grace has always been a lot, in the original series, it never felt forced. In this episode, well, it kind of did. And that’s a shame because this moment is all about Grace’s mom, played by the late Debbie Reynolds. Maybe it’s just a sad reminder that we don’t get Debbie back.
Back at the service, ex-husband Jack has taken the stage to say some words about his ex-wife Rosario. When Jack runs a little long, he starts to toss it over to Karen, but she’s still not there. Will tells Jack to stretch it, so Jack literally stretches.
When Grace gets back, she tag teams out with Jack before Lorraine appears with a new plan: Steal Karen’s car, get an 8-ball, drive to Atlantic City, and whatever happens happens. That’s when Grace points out that they’re wearing the same pin, but, yeah…you know the drill.
In the bar, Jack tries to talk with Karen, but she’s just not having it. She just wants him to sing. So Jack launches into “Happy,” which happens to go along with dances like the electric slide, the choreography from The Wiz, and “Thriller,” in case you’re looking for something impressive to pull out a a wedding. In the chapel, Grace and Will are still arguing about her business when Jack comes back, humiliated — not too humiliated to flirt with the presiding priest, but you know, pretty humiliated.
So Will steps in, only to tell Karen that she’s free to approach this funeral however she wants. And while she goes off on a tangent, he simply hugs her. She says, “Of all the times to come onto me, you pervert,” but as he starts to pull away, she latches on. Will says the funeral is over and everyone is gone, but if she wants to see Rosario one last time, she can.
And with just about three minutes left, Megan Mullally makes a play for the Emmy. With her head arrogantly turned up, Karen approaches Rosie’s casket and immediately notices Grace’s mint in her hair. She apologizes for not being there, but what was she supposed to say? She was her maid? Her sparring partner? Her best friend? Because she was all of those things. And when Karen finally acknowledges all those “What do you need?” questions, there’s only one answer: for Rosario not to be gone. So she takes off her ring and says she wants Rosie to have it. It belonged to her mother and “Lord knows she’s been eying it for years.” But she also says she’s not going to the cemetery. She wants to remember Rosario her way. So she sits for a while, removes a bottle of cleaner from Rosario’s casket, and polishes the top before looking over and saying, “Te amo, mami.”
At the entrance of the church, Will, Grace, and Jack watch from afar as Jack says this is what it looks like when Karen is sad. So there you have it. Rosario is gone, though thank God, Shelley Morrison is fine (someone knock on wood). There were a ton of guests, but having Minnie Driver, Smitty, and the funeral of Rosario in one episode felt like a lot of fish to fry, and though that final scene was pitch perfect, it’s hard not to think that Rosario deserved more.