The L.A. Complex Review: Don't Say Goodbye
It's been awhile since I've been this impressed by a finale.
And while I'm hoping it's not a series finale, I can't help but feel satisfied if it turns out to be the end of The L.A. Complex. Each character not only earned his/her ending, but everything felt just as real to me as when the season started. Let's start with the first episode of the night, "Xs and Os" and finish off with "Don't Say Goodbye."
Even though I saw the whole arson/insurance fraud thing coming from a mile away, what I liked about Connor's storyline is that we get to see him becoming more resilient. Granted, he's still signed up for Scienetics 101, but he's a far cry from where he was when he burned his house down. And he's able to deal with the accusations from the police without hurting himself in the process.
I've had Charlotte wrong from the start. I always assumed from the very first scene she was in that she was trouble for Connor. And she is by way of Scienetics, but I certainly thought that the DNA test was falsified and we'd come to find out she is some kind of evil recruiter. But, as usual, The L.A. Complex takes the road less taken and shoots for a little misguided incest instead.
Raquel's storyline wasn't at the forefront in this episode, but things did progress with her boss, Mark. And Manny did, in fact, bring a car to work that looked like the Back to the Future Delorian. Props to the show for that reference. I watched this storyline while covering my eyes. This series can go pretty dark and the more Raquel gets in with Mark, the worse the fallout I envisioned.
Poor Kal. Every time it seems as though he'll catch a break, something terrible happens. Granted, he's responsible for a lot of it, but hey, I get it - he's damaged. Now he's being tested and Christopher is by his side to help him through his father's hospital stay.
Every week, Kal's story resonates with me and this week is no exception. The moment Dawna realizes he's gay was well done and showed us a more passive coming out, which for Kal, is growth. His scene with Rook was also stellar. When Rook tells him, "I've known you since I was 4; I didn't need to watch it [the hard drive]," I couldn't help but feel moved. We haven't seen too much of Rook, but he cares about Kal and it showed in tonight's episode.
Nick and Sabrina have both been career oriented, but Sabrina has always been more motivated than Nick as far as pushing herself to write new material and put herself out there. He lies to her about attending an industry gig and performs comedy for kids. I like that he's given the choice between practicality and the risk of his dream. It's not an easy one and the show does well to show us this. Sabrina getting the callback was a no-brainer.
Onto Abby and Grey. Married! Goodness! For whatever reason, maybe I'm just into romance tonight, Abby's impulsive behavior didn't irk me the way it has in the past. Grey seems like someone who really cares for her, and although she made a crazy decision, they seem like they're in love. And crazier things on this series have happened.
Finally! Beth was likable tonight! The fact that she took the higher road when Cam's awful, pretentiously beautiful, and smug ex-girlfriend came into the picture made me take notice. I also liked seeing Beth back down and show her insecurities to Cam when she realized affording college may not be an easy road. Could have lived without the video camera remark in the library stacks, though. And, of course, Beth and Simon's dad comes back into the picture. Let's start there for the last hour in review.
"Don't Say Goodbye"
We pick up with Beth right where we left off and she's furious and hysterical and all the deserved emotions of a young adult whose mother died, father abandoned her, and whose brother was taken back by her father. Phew. Now say that three times fast. All of Beth's emotions were earned, but her storyline was the most predictable of tonight's finale. She's living for her family and herself by choosing to go to college in the Yukon. Why, the Yukon, by the way? Seems like such an odd choice for their family. And while her and Cam won't last, I'm glad she's heading to school.
Oh, Abby. The best and worse thing about Abby is that she never knows how to keep her mouth shut. While I love her for speaking up at her audition, I'm sure that's not how most people get roles. Discouraged, she heads home and immediately finds the tapes from Gray. Romance is in the air and the last place we see Abby is at an airport kiosk buying a ticket to Germany. Godspeed, Abby; I hope your annulment of the annulment is not in vain.
Sabrina and Nick's story felt real to me. Well, not the part where Sabrina has to relocate to New Orleans for a Will Arnett sketch show, but the part where her and Nick agree upon having to go their separate ways. They're a great couple, but Sabrina's right: they came to Los Angeles for their careers, not to get married. And so it goes.
I'll end this with my three favorite characters: Connor, Kal, and Raquel. I'm a little in awe of where they took Kal and Connor respectively. Connor is of course repulsed by his sister's kiss. He asks why. She is horrified, doesn't know. He runs to the nearest Scienetics Center and the next thing you know, Roxanne wants Charlotte out of Connor's life so she can "direct her."
Connor resisting the force of Scienetics was rewarding for me as a viewer, even if it was for a brief moment. Connor is finally becoming an active member in his own life, and no, that's not Scienetics lingo. He removes the bandage and is unwilling to hide his pain because he wants to move past it. Well done, Connor. Maybe the worst is over for you!
Kaldrick King AKA Sean Dugan. One, I love Andra Fuller, not just for his God-given good looks, but for the sensitivity and authenticity he brought to the role of Kaldrick King. I believed his struggle and I believed his letter in the end. Every word. How about when he thanks his brain dead father for showing him that a man can change? I get choked up just thinking about it! And while Kal was never ready to come out to his father directly, his father's death freed him and allowed him finally to tell the truth about who he is to the public.
If for no other reason, I need a season 3 of this series so I can see what Kal is up to. His story just got so much better! I want the public reaction and no one can do it better than The L.A. Complex. Feels strange to be proud of a television character, but lest we forget, Kal attempted suicide earlier this season! He's come a long way!
And then there's Rook. The ending to tonight's finale was totally unexpected, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. Does this show really need that ending? But really, it's less about the ending and more about showing us a fully developed character reaction to the interactions between Rook, Infinite Jest, and Kal earlier in the episode. Rook wants to protect Kal and get back in his good graces. In Rook's mind, shooting Infinite Jest accomplishes both.
And last, but certainly not least, we have Raquel quitting her credit card scheme and throwing her focus fully into Kevin and Cam's film and a new boyfriend. For the moment, she seems genuinely happy. I was anxious to see how this storyline would wrap. I didn't want to see Raquel hauled off to jail again, but she clearly needed some kind of consequence. Works perfectly that Mark ends up taking the blame for this; Raquel isn't ruined, but her relationship is. Luckily our girl is resilient.
How about the last two minutes of the episode? We finally get to see Cam and Kevin's movie trailer, which by the way, looks like a strange version of Wilfred and A Beautiful Mind mixed together, and Raquel has the perfect closing line: "We made something," she says to Kevin and Cam, but also to us, the viewers.
Take this literally or take it as more meta-talk, but I love that line for its infinite meanings. Plus, how about all those head shot-esque/The Royal Tenenbaums close-ups? They were visual credits and if the series doesn't come back, I'm content with remembering each character as they get their final close-up.
We are the few. The proud. The L.A. Complex fans. I hope to see more of you next year!