The Best (And Worst) Season Finales

by thethreepennyguignol

It’s been a while since I’ve done a straight TV post, so I thought I’d kick back and write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while: season finales. Yeah, I know I’m the only person on the planet whose ever given this more than the length of time it takes to peel an orange, but I need to indulge my sense of whimsy every now and then, what with university being over and real adulthood impending and OH GOD OH FUCK I’M NOT READY TAKE ME BA-

Ahem. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the best season finales, and cringe over some of the worst ones. Disclaimer: I know that talking about season finales is a pretty touchy subject for The Walking Dead fans at the moment, but I kind of lacked the ending of season six. Sue me.

Best: The End of Time, Doctor Who


So, I was tossing up between this and The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang-the latter of which I rewatched recently, and remains just as freakishly, madcappingly good as the first time I saw it. But I prefer this one, because it has some real heart mixed up in between all the fantastic bringing-together of plot threads. It’s got John Simm’s unbeatable performance as the Master (much as I love Michelle Gomez, I’ve got to hand this one to the big Simm), an almost painful emotional climax, and a simply tremendous introduction to Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor (honestly, I thought about this briefly last week, and had to sit down and have a cup of tea to get over how much I want him back). It’s a triumph of the Russel T Davies era and I’ll love it forever for that.

Worst: Sleepy Hollow, Ragnarok


Spoilers ahead for anyone who’s still bothering. I was a big defender of Sleepy Hollow when it first came out- yeah, it had it’s fault, but it was a lot of fun, and it had the fantastic chemistry between Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison to carry it along.Oh, whoops, no it doesn’t, because it fucking killed off half (the black, female half, natch) of it’s leading duo. Fuck it. Fuck it all. It happened weeks ago and I still go into little spasms of rage and wasted potential whenever I think about it.

Best: Hannibal, Mizumono

Hannibal - Season 2

Honestly, Hannibal’s second season is one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my entire fucking life. And this finale- delightfully nicknamed the “Red Dinner”-is one of the most singularly disturbing and beautiful things the show ever did. I don’t want to give too much away because it’s so phenomenal to watch going into it fresh, but be prepared for a genuinely terrifying performance from Mads Mikklesen (my love, my one, my only) and an ending that will have you glad season three is already out. I had to wait a year. A YEAR.

Worst: Doctor Who, Hell Bent

HELL BENT (By Steven Moffat)

Look, I’ve already covered this, but there’s not enough time in the whole of this young and fallow galaxy to cover how much I hate this bit of TV. A calamitously overblown and wildly fustrating hour of one of my favourite shows, the only way I can appropriatley get out my rage regarding it’s existence is by dissapearing to the forest for three days to hunt a lion with nothing but my hands and my wits. It’s always worth mentioning the fact that they resolved a long-running mystery by presumably forgetting about it and scribbling in a resolution in biro at the back of the script ten minutes before shooting, and that none of this is Peter Capaldi’s fault.

Best: Battlestar Galactica, Kobol’s Last Gleaming


Oh God, I know this show is so far from perfect, but when it pulls episodes like this (and the season one opener, 33) out of the bag, I can forget everything wrong with it (after all, I got half my pen name from one of the characters Battlestar). It’s a hugely ambitious two-parter that matches it’s scale with it’s visuals, throwing a handful of magic performances (Katie Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos, Mary Mcdonnel) into the mix just in case that wasn’t enough. If you’re bored of being told to watch this show, blame this episode.

Worst: American Horror Story, The Seven Wonders


For reasons that are legitimately beyond me, a bunch of people seem to ADORE the Coven series of AHS. For me, it’s painful dirge; I even gave up recapping the season halfway through because I was so bored and fustrated by the inconsistencies and meandering plotting Murphchuck and co were throwing at us this year. This finale, though? Something special. Not only do they lazily kill off Lily Rabe’s character- who was only mildly interesting in retrospect, but at the time, seemed like a towering literary creation- and then bring Taissa Farmiga’s back, they slap a messy bow on the Jessica Lange plot, repeat a plot point or four, and make Evan Peters and Denis O’Hare-two of those shows mouthiest, best actors- essentially mute for the entire run. Fuck it. Fuck it all. At least Hotel was- oh wait.