Could you have hit that delete key?!
I realize that the series may not be ready to answer the big questions and that could be why Ivan Turing deleted the data at the team's fingertips in Proof Season 1 Episode 6, but it absolutely pained me to see it.
There wasn't a single moral dilemma in this world that would have kept me from researching that data under the circumstances in which it was obtained. Watching it disappear actually made me nauseous. I I had to remind myself it's just a TV show.
"Private Matters" was one of my favorite episodes so far because it hit so close to home for so many of the characters. It was so well woven into their personal lives, from Ivan and his impending death, to Cat and her near-death experience and finally Will and his actual death and how his own secrets deserved to be kept, even beyond the grave.
The ethical dilemma wasn't as cut and dry as it seemed, however, as the death that provided all of the data – data that could quite have literally changed the course of life as we know it – was from a scientist who was actively recording it in pursuit of scientific discovery.
If Ivan and Cat really thought about it, if they were gone but had already signed on to record all of their thoughts prior, things might look a little different. I'm skeptical of Ethan's wife and whether she really knew him, or was putting his thoughts and desires before her own in the matter. What would he have wanted?
When it came down to it, was Turing Industries planning on making a feature film out of the memories, or were they going to treat the discovery with the utmost respect? It's a safe bet to assume the latter. When you put Ethan's death experience up against what individuals and couples went through for Masters and Johnson as has been portrayed on Masters of Sex, it hardly seems all that upsetting by comparison.
The process Ethan went through prior to his death was so unique, having already mapped to many of his images and memories, and then to have died so suddenly, it seems impossible to duplicate the situation. Under laboratory circumstances, the closest they could get would likely be a near death experience, and that's not going to give them what comes after the welcoming embrace of a loved one.
Was I the only one who watched the final scene with hope that Ivan had decided to keep the footage despite telling Cat he had deleted it? I believe he only decided to keep it because his feelings for her suddenly became a little more than friendly after being confronted by Len.
It's interesting how in an instant your potential future with someone can change, as I believe Len's did with Cat when he didn't take her research with Ivan about NDEs seriously. That hug she gave him felt like a goodbye, as if she finally realized she would never connect with him fully again. That he didn't understand how much her own NDE with Will meant to her was kind of shocking, as he'd otherwise seemed like a caring man. Yet, he did cheat on her...
Similarly, Ivan never had any aspirations to be anything other than friends and colleagues with the lovely Dr. Tyler, but when confronted by Len, he suddenly realized how special she was and had a chef flown in for Thai food and talked to her about visiting another part of the world together. It didn't seem like a coincidence. Look for Ivan to fight for his life after his talk with Charles a lot more than he had in the past. Now he has something to fight for.
Like I said, I'm not sure the series (or any for that matter), is ready to grapple with concocting video proof of life after death. But there was years worth of data on Ethan's recording, so they had plenty of time to decide whether they really wanted to go there. Finding bits and pieces along the way would have been exciting and kept us on our toes. Was deleting it the easy way out?
What would you have done? Do you hope they'll mention in Proof Season 1 Episode 7 there was a backup? Was deleting it really that easy? If you were Ethan's wife, Julie, would you have wanted to know where he was and what his thoughts were after death?
You'd think that would haunt her for the rest of her days, being so close to knowing and brushing the knowledge aside. Maybe my biggest issue with it was the time frame in which everything happened. The consequences of the data, saving and deleting it, were enormous. They should have given Ethan the courtesy of kicking it around a little longer before making a decision.
OK guys! I'd really love to know what you think, so please take a moment to comment. This one really had me reeling! If you missed it or any others, you can watch Proof online right here via TV Fanatic!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.