Alex: 'Shit's getting real out there.'
far as finales go, that was incredible. Just when we thought we were
about to get our happy ending, they pulled the rug out from under our
feet and sent us sprawling. For fifteen minutes I felt excitement, which
turned to weeping, then disappointment, then happiness, then confusion.
I think I'm still stuck at confusion. Was this a fitting end to five
years of blood, death and long brooding stares? You know, love it or
hate it, I think it probably was.
I have a weird feeling I'm going to spend the bulk of this review talking about what may have happened, as opposed to what actually
happened. What actually happened is that our heroes won. They battled
the devil, and through a process of self-sacrifice and derring-do, they
beat him, were stripped of their respective curses, and regained their
humanity. But is that what really happened? That final shot of
the origami wolf on the mantelpiece seemed to cast some serious doubt on
the validity of their triumph. As in Blade Runner, where Gaff
left Deckard an origami unicorn to show that he was a replicant, the
origami wolf (created in Tom’s alternative reality) somehow managed to
find its way into the present.
to suggest that Hal, Tom and Alex aren’t living in the real world any
more, they're living in an alternative reality created by Hatch. Hal
even gave him the solution when he said 'You should have put us
together. Everything is incomplete without them'—a pertinent point,
forcefully hammered home by the closing dialogue between Hal and Alex.
So, is that what Hatch did? The only thing missing from their respective
alternative realities was each other. The simulacra which Hatch created
for each of them were just too perfect, so what better way to create an
aura of realism than to populate the fake reality with real people?
The ending reminded me a little of the last episode of US TV show Awake. Everyone on that show lived happily ever after, except it
was a false happiness created in an imagined reality. Of course, that
finale, too, is entirely open to interpretation, but shouldn't we at least feel some joy that our three main protagonists succeeded in
pulling off a group Pinocchio and became human again? Hal hit the nail
on the head when he said that the desire to be human was the end, not
the beginning. If you want it, then you have it. The truth is, they’ve
been human all along—they just didn’t realise it. Being human isn't a physical condition, it's a state of mind. So becoming physically human again
wasn't strictly necessary for happiness, it was just the proverbial
cherry on top of their potentially fake cake.
realising that she wasn’t a ghost any more, coupled with Hal looking at
himself in the mirror and being able to see his reflection for the first
time in over 400 years, really choked me up. Ditto watching them sat
around the TV watching Antiques Roadshow and playing a game of
guess the price of the antique. But if it is all a façade, then we should probably be feeling sad that the world's greatest defenders are out of the game,
and that the devil reigns unopposed. But it's hard to deny Hal, Tom and
Alex the win, even if everything isn't quite as it seems.
Perhaps a fresh trio of supernaturals will arise in Hatch's world and
put an end to his wicked machinations. If we've learned anything these
past five years, it's that supernatural trinities can and do exist in
the most unexpected of places.
Of the three alternative
realities, I thought Tom and Hal’s were the most moving. Hal meeting up
with Leo and reliving his final moments as a human was particularly
poignant, as was Allison's surprise (and pregnant) return. But Allison's
appeal to Tom to forget the past and concentrate on the future felt
awkwardly rehearsed. It was almost as if Hatch were talking through her.
Similarly, the appearance of Alex's father felt somewhat off kilter, as
did Leo's last ditch attempt at talking Hal into dying. I liked that,
in the end, all three of them chose humanity and each other over their
own happiness. Which, naturally, makes it all the more galling to know
that, despite their noble intentions, they may all have been duped.
there consolation to be had in the knowledge that they all ultimately
chose to do the right thing? Is it even possible that the ending really was
authentic, and that there's a completely plausible explanation as to
why the origami wolf was there? Initially, I tried to run with that, but
could find no obvious support. The camera tilt at the end, followed by
the sad trombone music, all seemed pretty insistent that something was
amiss. Was the ending meant to be ambiguous, or was it simply there to
point out a concrete truth? I begrudgingly choose the latter, although
showrunner, Toby Whithouse, has promised an extra scene on the
DVD to help clarify matters. Could this extra footage explain the
origami wolf? Maybe. Or maybe the reality is something altogether
You have to applaud the audacity of the finale, even if it wasn't
perhaps what the fans were expecting. I liked that Toby left the fate
of his beloved characters in the hands and imaginations of the fans.
Different interpretations are possible, and once the promised new
material becomes available, maybe we'll see things more clearly. Of
course, it may also muddy the waters even further. Either way, I liked
the choices Toby Whithouse made tonight. This could have been a very
different finale. Instead, it ended in a way which gave us a potentially
happy ending, whilst leaving room for possible new adventures.
Shame we'll never see them.
—It was nice to see Alex in different clothes for once.
—Great shot of Alex coming out of her grave. Except, if she can pass
through solid objects, why would the grass and earth move?
—Although killing Hatch might have wiped out Hal and Tom's curse, what
about Alex? She had no curse, she was dead. Why should killing the Devil
bring her back to life?
—The music playing when Hatch made the origami wolf sounded eerily (and probably intentionally) like Vangelis.
—Great opening number in 'Putting on the Ritz'. Very Buffy. Very Evil Hal. Very nice singing voice.
—Loved the obvious dig at the BBC from Hatch about spending cuts
restricting spectacle. No horsemen of the apocalypse for the BBC, the
Devil had to do all of his own heavy lifting.
—I liked that Evil Hal was honest about Good Hal's feeling for Tom. That was a nice touch.
—So Hal was responsible for Leo's death, too? I wonder how many lives he's ruined and then tried to help?
Hatch: 'Blimey, my throat. I need a Strepsil.'
Alex: 'Wait, was this caused by that bloody Employee of the Month
competition? I knew it! Those things always lead to shit like this.'
Hatch: 'You dragged the world to the brink of the abyss. Well done!'
Hatch: 'Oh, hello. You found your way back then?'
Alex: 'Yeah. Wouldn’t want to miss a bullshit super-villain speech from one of the cast of Cocoon.'
Hatch: 'Do you know what the definition of madness is?'
Tom: 'Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.'
Hatch: 'How do you know that?'
Tom: 'I seen it on Eggheads.'
Hal: 'You know where you went wrong? You should have put us together. Everything is incomplete without them.'
Hatch: 'Bunch of puffs!'
Tom: 'You'll have to excuse me, Allison, I'm having a Quality Street moment.'
Hal: 'Thank God I’m still me. I was good again. It was ghastly.'
Hal: 'Goodbye Tom. You deserve better friends than me.'
Hal: 'The desire to be human is the end, not the beginning. To want it, is
to have it. You’re not wasting your time, Tom. You’ve already won.'
Alex: 'Where did Hatch put you?'
Hal: 'Somewhere a long way away. But it didn’t have you two. I told him that
he should have put us together, that it was incomplete without you
Alex: 'And here we are.'
Hal: 'And here you are.'