Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Do an Ending

Justified really stepped it up for their season finale. Walton Goggins did a terrific job as the tormented, former? bad guy. And oh my goodness - the last ten seconds of this episode was spectacular! I actually gasped and inhaled quickly. First we got a smooth, slightly slowmo dolly move with well timed/coincidental wind on Olyphant's hair. Then there was the perfectly paced pause, smirk, fake gun bang. I really am not just saying this because I think T.O. is nice to look at - it was a beautiful ending shot and right in tune with the show.

On the other hand, Saving Grace's SERIES finale was a great letdown. I haven't been a devout follower of this show. Well, let's rephrase. I've watched every episode since mid-season one but haven't been in love with it. I've always admired Holly Hunter and her commitment to a role - her portrayal of Grace Hanadarko did not disappoint. She was a flawed, flawed character that I still rooted for. And although I am a little squeamish with religious shows, this one tackled issues of devotion, doubt, forgiveness, redemption with...grace. Laura San Giacomo and Hunter had a great chemistry and the depiction of Angel Earl was refreshing and well played with tenderness by Leon Rippy.

But although (spoiler alert) I had no problem with the show ending in Grace's sacrifice, I was severely tweaked by the choice of song in the last minutes. I know that may sound silly, but any true follower of TV/Film will tell you the importance that music plays on the emotion and flow of a scene. Saving Grace chose to play a song by The Calling titled "Wherever You Will Go" during their final moments to depict the OKPD's grief with Grace's death. But this supposedly heroic act was made cheesy and hollow due to this song choice. I read an article with Hunter once about doing a scene from Saving Grace where she dresses in uniform to go to a funeral and how important it was for her that the music was just right. So I can only assume that a producer or key player on this show insisted on this song by The Calling. I don't care if the lyrics are spot on, it's way more than just the words that should be considered. And if you put a great song by Everlast as your opening theme music and then end with this dated sap, you've failed. Ugh, it is still making me angry. Just a poor, poor choice to end what was a powerful and gritty show.

And on that note, kudos to Warehouse 13 for giving us Portishead in the background as they introduced this season's villain. Nice choice! The Poirtishead song may be dated just like The Calling song was, but it was used so much more effectively. Television music supervisors are making careers for new fresh musicians (look at Grey's Anatomy), but a WELL placed oldie-but-goodie makes all the difference.


Chad said...

There is no doubt that music plays a big role in my enjoyment of TV shows. Buffy had some choice toons, and The OC and now Chuck do an excellent job as well.

In this particular case, I think you are going to have a hard time with any music of that type from that time period (all those three syllable bands).

And this may point to a problem with music in TV shows, they can overly influence ones view of the show.

Mil said...

Now which came first? The Everlast song or the show? Was it written for the show? The lyrics seem perfect. Yes, like the oldie but goodie by Portishead. Isn't it sad that late 90s songs are now oldies?