I think I need a hug. The last episode of Pushing Daisies is about as solid a finale as possible, considering that nobody knew it was a finale at the time. It has a story that brings most of the major characters together and a massive reveal at the end — and even the last-minute bit of closure seemed to fit. "For endings, as it is known, are where we begin," we'll chat about this episode when you read more.
I wrote last week about my mixed feelings about the return of Pushing Daisies, especially knowing there wouldn't be much wrapped up at the end. But "Kerplunk" makes it all worthwhile. Not only is it a solid episode, it ends on a note of hope. While I knew it was unlikely — especially with a comic book on the way — I feared the show would end with a rushed Chuck/Ned kiss. But what we get in this episode is so much better. Chuck makes herself known to the aunts, and while we don't get to see the reaction, that final sweep through Coeur d'Coeurs shows that it's ultimately happy. It's "the promise of a new family, brought about by the words 'I'm alive.'" And while I so wish we could have seen that family thrive, I'm surprisingly satisfied just knowing it exists.
Even better, the moment of Chuck's big reveal is completely earned. We see young Lily and Vivian — Lily by turns annoyed with and protective of her little sister, born with a hole in her heart — and their journey to becoming the Darling Mermaid Darlings. And at the hands of a vindictive former (well, apparently current) swimming rival, Vivian learns the truth about Chuck, Lily, and Charles Charles at long last. It's impressive to see Vivian — normally so gentle, she wants fresh lilacs in their swimming contract — hurl something against a wall, and even more impressive for her to seriously consider living without her sister. Well, for a second anyway, since the moment of her breakdown is also exactly the moment Chuck turns up at their door.
Chuck's story in this episode is fascinating — and not one I saw coming. The whole time she's been alive again, she's gone to great lengths to make sure the aunts are happy. But it turns out a full-blown European tour isn't the kind of happy she wants them to be, because she'd miss them too much if they weren't nearby. She nearly sabotages their return performance — something, it should be noted, that would certainly not make them happy — when Ned makes his confession: Ned fears he'd be less important if Chuck and her aunts could reunite. But that's selfish; if he truly loves Chuck, he should let her love the ones she loves (presumably under close supervision, of course).
Some other thoughts:
- Great Lily quote, and one that could only ever be uttered on this show: "Don't sign my name to that 'Sorry a shark ate your b*tch of a sister' letter."
- Emerson and Olive's matching sweatsuits are amazing, as is Olive's crime moll voice in the interrogation scene.
- Wilson Cruz! As a synchronized swimmer! That's inspired.
- Amazing that Ned has a picture of Chuck and her aunts still sitting on his old instamatic camera. Actually, just amazing that Ned still has his instamatic camera.
So let's talk about the final moments. Penny comes back to Emerson! The aunts go to Europe! Olive embraces Randy and his sack of pasta and opens a mac-and-cheese shop called The Intrepid Cow! It's all so happy and bouncy and sweet, complete with Digby bounding through yellow fields. It's unfortunate the show couldn't wrap up the stories with Chuck's father and Ned's father on TV — I'm especially curious to learn more about Ned's dad, because I have some theories — but I suppose that's what the comic is for. And with an ending like this, I can wait. What about you?
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.
— Additional reporting by Kate Emswiler and Kimra McPherson