Better Call Saul: ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4 Finale Recap: Suckers!

Jimmy’s slide into Saul continues as Mike faces a brutal choice.
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Mary J. Blige Helps Dennis Basso With Finale at His Runway Show, Talks ‘Body Cam’ and New Netflix Series

MARY J. GLADLY O-BLIGES: Nine-time Grammy winner Mary J. Blige is accustomed to performing in front of thousands, but walking the runway with Dennis Basso at his show Monday afternoon was a different kind of appearance.
“Of course, I was nervous. I’m not a runway model.” she said backstage after the show at Cipriani 42nd Street. “I was hoping that I would walk right and my train wouldn’t get caught on my shoes so I can do Dennis justice.”
The musician flew in from New Orleans where she is shooting the film “Body Cam,” to help the designer take his final bow. She also plays the lead in the designer’s latest ad campaign. Basso said, “I couldn’t feel better here with my good friend Mary. I feel exhilarated. It’s like a new everything for me. I’ve changed my collection. It’s not such a heavy hand. It’s lightweight, feathery and has just a little touch of beading here and there. It’s pure spring/summer.”
Wearing a slimming, white column gown, the musician said, “Style is however you want to express yourself. There’s no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s how you feel and what makes you feel good. When you are trying

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Operation Finale

Operation Finale Opens Wednesday, Aug 29, 2018

Fifteen years after the end of World War II, Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad and security agency Shin Bet – led by the tireless and heroic agent Peter Malkin (Isaac) – launched a daring top-secret raid to capture the notorious Eichmann.

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How Connie Britton Returned to Nashville for the Series Finale

Nashville, Connie BrittonRayna Jaymes lives again! Sort of. Connie Britton returned for the series finale of Nashville, and yes, her character is still dead. Britton left the series during season five, its first on CMT…

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Secrets: Everything You Didn’t See on the Season 10 Finale

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 FinaleThat’s a wrap, squirrel friends!
With last night’s coronation of Aquaria at the season 10 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s time to officially close the book on yet…

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TV Scoop Awards 2018: Vote for the Saddest Cancellation and Best Series Finale

TV Scoop Awards, Cancellation/FinaleThe end is nearly here, both in terms of category roll out and the shows in this category.
Today’s TV Scoop Awards categories are Saddest Cancellation and Best Series Finale. The…

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‘The Americans’ Cast & Creators on the ‘Heartbreaking’ Series Finale: ‘It Just Felt Right’

It’s barely been two weeks since their critically acclaimed series wrapped its six-season run on FX, but the cast and creators of “The Americans” reunited Sunday at the ATX Festival in Austin, TX to deconstruct the “heartbreaking” series finale. On hand were showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, executive producer Chris Long and series stars Keri Russell […]

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Critic’s Notebook: In ‘The Americans’ Finale, the Deepest Cuts Don’t Leave a Mark

The finale, like the series, raised questions of who deserved sympathy and why. As always, the answer was complicated.
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‘American Idol’ Finale: Three Finalists Will Perform Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Journey Hits

The “American Idol” reboot is coming to a conclusion with its two-part season finale airing tonight (May 20) and tomorrow (May 21) on ABC with the top three battling to be crowned the new winner. Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Maddie Poppe and Gabby Barrett are set to perform tonight, with the top two to be revealed […]

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Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas on Returning for Once Upon a Time’s Finale: We Were Wondering Why It Took Them So Long

Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Once Upon a Time Series FinaleGinnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas are saying goodbye to Once Upon a Time all over again.
The former stars of the long-running ABC fantasy series famously walked away from the show one year…

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Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas on Returning for Once Upon a Time’s Finale: We Were Wondering Why It Took Them So Long

Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Once Upon a Time Series FinaleGinnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas are saying goodbye to Once Upon a Time all over again.
The former stars of the long-running ABC fantasy series famously walked away from the show one year…

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Today's the Day – "Friends" Finale Aired

On May 6, 2004, we bid farewell to Phoebe, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler and Joey when they turned in their apartment keys for good. Watch!
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Scandal Stars Have a Message for Gladiators Still Not Over That Series Finale

Scandal, Season 7“For all of those out there dealing with a Scandal Over hangover, I would suggest maybe having another sip of wine, watching the show one more time, and just remember that all good…

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Katie Lowes Says "Scandal" Finale Is "So Satisfying"

The "Scandal" actress weighs in on the long-running Shonda Rhimes series coming to an end. Will Gladiators be happy with the finale? Find out!
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Once Upon a Time Is Welcoming Back Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, and More for the Series Finale

Jennifer Morrison, Once Upon a TimeBefore we say goodbye to Storybrooke for good, a whole host of fan favorites will return for one last hurrah.
E! News has confirmed that the two-night Once Upon a Time series finale will…

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The Endless and Painful ‘Most Dramatic Finale Ever’ of ‘The Bachelor’

Happiness in love, and happiness watching TV, both come with a price.
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"The Bachelor" – Exclusive Finale Sneak Peek

When Arie Luyendyk Jr. & Becca K. sit down after a hometown visit, Becca begins to have tough questions. See it in this look at "The Bachelor" finale.
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The Bachelor Finale Sneak Peek: Becca Kufrin Calls Lauren Burnham “a Huge Threat”

Becca, Lauren B., The BachelorArie, you’ve got some explaining to do.
It’s down to two women on The Bachelor, and on Monday night, Arie Luyendyk Jr. will choose between Lauren Burnham and Becca Kufrin, a…

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The Bachelor Finale Sneak Peek: Becca Kufrin Calls Lauren Burnham “a Huge Threat”

Becca, Lauren B., The BachelorArie, you’ve got some explaining to do.
It’s down to two women on The Bachelor, and on Monday night, Arie Luyendyk Jr. will choose between Lauren Burnham and Becca Kufrin, a…

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Legends of Tomorrow: Jax Returning for Season 3 Finale

After a four-month absence, Jefferson “Jax” Jackson is returning to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow for the Season 3 finale.

ComicBook.com reports former series regular Franz Drameh will reprise his role as one half of Firestorm. The Season 3 finale will air in April on The CW.

Warning: “Crisis on Earth-X” Arrowverse crossover event spoilers follow.

Jax formed Firestorm with Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber), who died during the “Crisis on Earth-X” story arc. Jax survived, but lost his powers. The character tried to remain with the team, but left during the midseason finale “Beebo the God of War.”

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Did Dean Unglert Propose to Lesley Murphy on the Bachelor Winter Games Finale?!

Bachelor Winter Games host Chris Harrison has teased a “surprising, romantic and beautiful marriage proposal” on Thursday night’s reunion show — so is Dean Unglert the guy who pops the question?

In a promo for the finale, Unglert — a fan-favorite on Rachel Lindsay‘s season of The Bachelorette who earned a playboy reputation as the center of a love triangle on Bachelor in Paradise — bends down on one knee for Lesley Murphy.

Then, the camera pans to someone holding a Neil Diamond engagement ring … but only time will tell if Unglert, 26, really asked Murphy, 30, to marry him. (Remember that super playful kissing competition?)

Murphy previously told PEOPLE that she connected with Unglert because of their shared sad history: “We bonded over the fact that both of our moms had breast cancer and his mom unfortunately passed away. He knew about my surgery and my recent double mastectomy. He had the sweetest things to say about it. He was like, ‘I commend you so much for doing that.’”

RELATED VIDEO:  Bachelor Winter Games Contestants Reveal Their Biggest ‘Bachelor’ Crushes

“We’re very different people, but that’s attractive in a way. He drew me in,” she added. Not to mention,“He’s hard to look away from!

Either way, wedding bells could be ringing for two of the international contestants in Vermont — and it looks like virgin Ashley Iaconetti finally heads to the fantasy suite.

The season finale of Bachelor Winter Games airs on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.


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Dancing with the Stars Finale: Child Star Frankie Muniz Reflects on His Return to the Spotlight

 

More than 10 years since Malcom in the Middle‘s end, Frankie Muniz took center stage again on Dancing with the Stars, and he’ll compete in the finale Tuesday night.

While the actor, 31, hasn’t completely shunned Hollywood in the last decade — appearing in Criminal Minds, The Mysteries of Laura, and Sharknado 3 — Muniz shifted his attention to other interests.

“Since Malcom ended, I raced cars professionally for a while, and I was really focused on that,” he told PEOPLE in September at the Dancing With the Stars season 25 cast party at New York City’s Planet Hollywood. “Then I was in a band for a long time, and I was really focused on that.”

Then, he joined DWTS pro Witney Carson to fight for the Mirrorball Trophy on the upcoming season of the reality competition.

“The timing was kind of right for me,” Muniz explained of his decision. “This was the first time I was like, I can really do what I want.”

WATCH: Frankie Muniz’s Powerful Dance

The Agent Cody Banks star also sought advice from previous DWTS contestants.

“I’ve had a lot of friends who’ve done the show, and they’ve honestly said it was the best experience they’ve ever had,” he said. “A lot of people were really talking it up and how much fun it was, and I thought it looked like fun and here I am.”

 

Carson, 23,  said Muniz’s experience as an athlete and a musician paid off in rehearsals.

“Him being able to keep on beat and hear the beat in the music is so helpful,” she said. “Sometimes with celebrities, I’ll have to sit with them and play the music and like clap to the beat, but that stuff we can skip.”

So, Muniz just had to overcome his nerves, which he named as this season’s the biggest competition.

“I’m so nervous to dance in general,” he admitted. “My first biggest fear is dancing in public.”

The Season 25 finale of Dancing with the Stars airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.


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Jenna Johnson Teases Dancing With the Stars’ Finale Will Be Full of Surprises and the Holiday Spirit

Jenna Johnson, DWTSDancing With the Stars professional dancer Jenna Johnson, now part of the dance troupe on the ABC series, is taking you behind the scenes of season 25 in her last guest blog of the season for E!…

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Fashion Police Announces Series Finale Episode With Never-Before-Seen Clips of Joan Rivers

Fashion Police CastIt’s been a good run, Joan Rangers.
After more than two decades of laughs, Fashion Police will air its series finale Fashion Police: The Farewell on Monday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. Hosted…

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Being Mary Jane Canceled: BET Drama Will Wrap Up With 2-Hour Series Finale in 2018

Gabrielle Union, Being Mary JaneMary Jane Paul is signing off the air–for good.
Being Mary Jane, Gabrielle Union’s BET drama centered on the titular TV news anchor, has been canceled by the cable network, E! News…

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Twin Peaks Finale: Did All of Our Questions Get Answered? (Nope!)

Twin PeaksIt’s all over, once again, and once again we’re left going, “what the f–k?!”
It’s possible that tonight’s Twin Peaks finale made sense, but it’s also very…

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Heroes Rise and Fall in Marvel’s Secret Empire Finale

Marvel’s Secret Empire crossover wrapped up today as the Avengers made their final stand against Hydra Supreme Steve Rogers.

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Warning: this article contains spoilers for Secret Empire #10!

While Steve Rogers was drastically outnumbered as the final battle began in this issue, his Cosmic Cube-powered armor more than evened the odds. Steve quickly triumphed over his foes and used his near-limitless power to remake reality, creating a new world where Hydra remained in power throughout the 20th Century.

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Will & Grace Stars on Undoing the Finale, Another Renewal and Getting Topical Once Again

Will and Grace, Will & GraceWill and Grace–and Jack and Karen–will return. Again. NBC announced the revival of the series, which has yet to debut, has been renewed for for a second installment of 13 episodes next…

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Shadowhunters’ Katherine McNamara: The Finale Is “One of the Most Heartbreaking Things I’ve Ever Done”

ShadowhuntersShadowhunters is going Game of Thrones. Sort of.
When E! News caught up with series star Katherine McNamara and the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con (her first one!) she had a chilling teaser for…

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Doctor Who Prepares to Say Goodbye to Peter Capaldi With His Last Finale

Doctor WhoThe regeneration has begun!
Or at least something has begun, making the wait for the annual Doctor Who Christmas special all the more difficult.
Tonight’s finale not only…

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Sense8 Shocker! Netflix to Say Goodbye to Canceled Series With 2-Hour Series Finale

Sense8, Jamie ClaytonIt’s not time to say goodbye to Sense8 just yet.
In a surprising move, Netflix has ordered a two-hour standalone episode of the sci-fi drama created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J….

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Pretty Little Liars Boss I. Marlene King Answers a Few Lingering Finale Questions

Pretty Little LiarsPretty Little Liars came to an end last night, and concluded with all its mysteries solved (sorta) and all its main characters happy, for the most part.
In case you missed it, last…

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The Originals Season 4 Finale Was Absolutely Filled with Emotional Goodbyes

The Originals season 4 finaleSo much for Always and Forever.
The Mikaelson family officially broke their vow to stick together on tonight’s finale of The Originals, but it was for an incredibly good reason. In…

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TV Scoop Awards 2017: Vote for the Saddest Cancellation and Best Series Finale Now

Cancelled Shows, Sense8, Girl Meets World, Vampire Diaries, BonesThe end is here.
Not only is this the final set of polls in our TV Scoop Awards tournament (thank the TV gods), but it’s also all about endings. This final round is all about the…

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Legends of Tomorrow’s Season 2 Finale Will Be Its Biggest, Craziest Episode Ever

Legends of Tomorrow, season 3 finaleGet ready for some serious s–t to go down.
Legends of Tomorrow ends its second season tonight, and based on everything we’ve seen and heard so far, you might want to strap…

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‘This Is Us’ Finale: ‘Love’ Was Top Viewer Emotion for Divisive Episode

While the season-one finale of NBC’s hit drama “This Is Us” generated disparate audience reactions, one thing is certain: It’s been the No. 1 show on TV in terms of giving fans the feels. For Tuesday night’s episode, “Moonshadow,” 35.2% of posts on Twitter about “This Is Us” expressed some sort of emotion, according to Canvs,… Read more »

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Mandy Moore Responds to This Is Us Season Finale Backlash: “I Would Encourage Patience”

This Is UsNow that This Is Us has finished its first season, one thing is becoming abundantly clear: Not everyone thought they stuck the landing.
There’s a growing contingent of the show’s…

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30 Perfectly Snarky Tweets About ‘The Bachelor’ Finale, Season 21

For more on “The Bachelor,” check out HuffPost’s Here To Make Friends podcast below:  

 

 

Do people love “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” or do they love to hate these shows? It’s unclear. But here at “Here to Make Friends,” we both love and love to hate them — and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

Follow Claire Fallon and Emma Gray on Twitter. 

Want more “Bachelor” stories in your life? Sign up for HuffPost’s Entertainment email for extra hot goss about The Bachelor, his 30 bachelorettes, and the most dramatic rose ceremonies ever. The newsletter will also serve you up some juicy celeb news, hilarious late-night bits, awards coverage and more. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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Paul Wesley Cried While Reading ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Finale Script

You’ve probably heard that The CW’s beloved series “The Vampire Diaries” is coming to an end next month. 

We recently learned former cast member Nina Dobrev is returning to the show, and read her second emotional goodbye to the cast and crew on Instagram. Now, it’s Paul Wesley who’s making us tear up. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Wesley confessed that he cried when he first read the finale script, and he even sent a teary-eyed selfie to the creators of the show. “I wanted them to see that Paul Wesley could actually formulate tears in his personal life and not just on screen,” the actor said.

Unfortunately for us, that selfie is private and will probably never surface to the public. But the thought of Wesley crying in real life is enough for us.

“It’s this very interesting melancholy,” he explained of saying goodbye to his character, Stefan Salvatore.

“I did Stefan’s final scene with Elena [Dobrev]. It was strangely emotional for me. You’re saying goodbye to this time and this moment. The two of us are never going to be playing these characters ever again, and these were really important characters in television for eight years. That’s emotional.”

As for his thoughts on how the show concludes?

“I thought how it ended was powerful.”

“The Vampire Diaries” series finale airs March 10 on The CW

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Who’s Dying in the Vampire Diaries Series Finale?

The Vampire DiariesDearly beloved, we are gathered here today to…well, speculate about whose funeral we’ll be attending before The Vampire Diaries signs off for good.
With just a few weeks to go…

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Girl Meets World Series Finale: How Did It All End for Riley and Maya?

Girl Meets WorldThe show may be over (for now), but Riley and Maya will be friends forever.
Girl Meets World’s series finale was filled with nostalgic nods to Boy Meets World–including nearly its…

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Sherlock probe: Did Russians leak finale?

The BBC is investigating whether an online leak of the final episode of the TV series Sherlock was the work of Russian hackers.
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Sherlock finale ratings hit all-time low

The series finale of BBC One’s Sherlock drew its lowest-ever overnight UK ratings on Sunday night, with 5.9m tuning in.
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Kerry Washington Teases “Scandal” Finale

Hear why the last five minutes of the season finale will have you jumping out of your chair! Plus, Kerry Washington shows love to the series' fans.
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Redemption for Damon in “Diaries” Finale

Hot " Vampire Diaries" star Ian Somerhalder hints that the season four finale will have something special in store for his character. Listen in.
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Who Will Elena Choose in “Diaries” Finale?

Listen in as KristIn Dos Santos gets fashion twinsie Nina Dobrev to spill deets on "The Vampire Diaries" season four finale!
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Game of Thrones: Episode Five “A Nest of Vipers” Season Finale Trailer

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A few select moments from the available choices lead up to the season finale of Telltale’s Game of Thrones.
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The Paradise Report: Take-Aways From the Bachelor in Paradise Finale Part 2

But why do you have to live in Idaho? With that, Bachelor in Paradise came to a conclusion. I also came to a conclusion: Watching show is a half-step above staring at a painting of…


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All the Shocking Reveals From the Pretty Little Liars Summer Finale

Pretty Little Liars promised us answers in its summer finale tonight, and after five long years, answers we finally did receive. Here's a breakdown of all the biggest reveals from the nail-biting episode. Charles/A is…


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The Bachelorette Finale: Back to Where It All Began

The dirty little secret of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is that the finales are always the most boring episodes. And this one felt roughly six hours long. I think Kaitlyn summed up the boredom…


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Seinfeld Doesn’t Mind If You Make Fun Of His Finale Because He Has No Feelings

Jerry Seinfeld is fine if you joke about the heavily criticized last episode of “Seinfeld.” That is — as long as he considers it a “good joke.”

While speaking at the Vulture Festival on Saturday, Seinfeld shared his opinion on the joke Julia Louis-Dreyfuss delivered about the “Seinfeld” finale on the last episode of “Late Show with David Letterman.” (The joke: “Thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointing series finale.”)

“I like all jokes,” Seinfeld said. “There’s really nothing else I care about except jokes. I don’t care who has them, whose feelings have to be hurt — if it’s a good joke I’m into it.”

Seinfeld mentioned that the joke was a second option after he and Louis-Dreyfuss pushed back on the first, and wondered if the writers had been hesitant to use it at first to spare his feelings.

“Maybe they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. That’s what it may have been: That they had that joke and they didn’t want to hurt my feelings and then, of course, they don’t know I don’t have feelings.”

It’s unclear whether “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David would feel the same way, as he’s revealed in previous interviews that the negative reception to the show’s finale still influences him. Speaking to Bill Simmons in December, he mentioned how audience perception of the episode has made him hesitant to end “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in a similar fashion.

“I got so much grief from the ‘Seinfeld’ finale, which a lot of people intensely disliked, that I no longer feel a need to wrap things up.” he said.

For more of Seinfeld’s comments, head over to Vulture.

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‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 5 Finale Title Hints At Appearance Of That One Big Character

Game of Thrones” says, “All men must die,” but they never said anything about staying dead.

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Image: HuffPost/HBO

The title of the Season 5 finale, “Mother’s Mercy,” is giving rise once again to speculation that Lady Stoneheart, aka the zombified version of Catelyn Stark, may be making an appearance, and this time it’s a pretty strong case.

The main evidence is that one of Stoneheart’s aliases is “Mother Mercy,” according to the appendix of George R.R. Martin’s novel A Feast for Crows. She is also referred to as “Mother Merciless” in the book.

Adding support, there’s a Season 6 casting call for a character who sounds like Septon Meribald. It’s on her journey with Meribald that Brienne actually meets Stoneheart in the books.

Now, “Mother’s Mercy” seems like it’d be a pretty obvious giveaway, but just because there are hints, it definitely doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing. The showrunners and Catelyn Stark actress Michelle Fairley have repeatedly shot down rumors that the character will show up; past teases of an appearance have obviously not amounted to much; and, as the Westeros.org Twitter account notes, “Mother’s Mercy” is different than the Stoneheart moniker “Mother Mercy”:

Damn. Why’d they have to include that apostrophe? All apostrophes must die!

The synopsis from HBO also doesn’t say anything about Stoneheart or her revenge:

Stannis marches. Dany is surrounded by strangers. Cersei (Lena Headey) seeks forgiveness. Jon is challenged.

Still, as Vanity Fair points out, the episode titles often cover a lot of storylines, and there may be a chance for Stoneheart to appear and dish out some of her special brand of “mercy” …


Image: Giphy

Chills …

For more, head to Vanity Fair.

Correction: An earlier version identified “Mother’s Mercy” as the Season 6 finale instead of Season 5.

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The Best Moments From The Late Show With David Letterman’s Finale

In terms of late-night shake-ups, this is an earthquake: David Letterman has just hosted his last episode of The Late Show. And after his more than 33 years on the air (11 on NBC, 22…




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What Happened Backstage After the Dancing With the Stars Finale

Val Chmerkovskiy had one of the best dreams ever on Monday night. It went something like this: After two hours of sweating it out, Tom Bergeron announces Val and Rumer as the winners of Dancing…




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The 15 Craziest Season Finale Twists of All Time

It's that time of year when most TV shows air their season finales before the summer hiatus—and that means a bevy of surprise births, deaths, breakups, weddings, and other crazy twists that leave viewers clawing…




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Matt Czuchry’s Surprising Opinion on the Gilmore Girls Finale: “I Liked How Rory Refused Logan’s Proposal”

Some might know Matt Czuchry as Cary Agos on The Good Wife, but true Gilmore Girls fans will forever know him as Logan Huntzberger in their hearts. So it's not so surprising that when the…




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The ‘Mad Men’ Finale, Coke And Don’s Quest For Enlightenment

Two days after the “Mad Men” finale aired, what more is there to say? So many critics have weighed in with thoughtful and insightful essays; even when I don’t particularly agree with another writer’s opinion, I’ve been floored by how eloquent and intelligent the post-finale commentary has been.

So is there anything more to add? Sure. The mark of a truly great TV series is that we think about it long after its gone. My view of “The Sopranos” has evolved a lot since that famous cut to black, and there are moments and ideas from a dozen other long-dead shows that still percolate in my brain to this day.

When it comes to the closing images of “Mad Men,” I just want to add my voice to the chorus of those who have said that there doesn’t necessarily have to be a binary choice when it comes to how to view Don Draper’s smile and the famous Coca-Cola ad.

I lean toward the idea that Don did write the ad, but does the answer to that question have much of an impact on the ending?

It does and it doesn’t. Let’s consider the choices:

Don didn’t create the ad. That means the smile was about Don reaching some kind of self-acceptance and inner peace, and hooray for that. What next? Well, I think it’s clear that Don would eventually leave the retreat (if nothing else, it seems awfully short on alcoholic beverages). It’s only common sense to think he would eventually go back to advertising. Being a mechanic or a drifter doesn’t pay all that well and results in the occasional beating, and Don does have three children to support. Whatever the payouts from various business dealings, the money in his bank account wouldn’t support vacations, private schools and college for three children, let alone the posh lifestyle Don likes to lead when he’s not crashing in cheap motels.

But more than that, Don, like Peggy, has an itch he simply must scratch. He’d get back into the ad game because he loves the thrill of the chase, and pursuing a great ad concept has always brought him more joy than any relationship. He has meaningful bonds with Peggy and Sally, but dealing with other human beings has been and will always be work for him. Being an ad genius, chasing ideas and the ghosts of ideas — that also can be hard work, but also contains moments of uncomplicated joy.

Don can’t not be an ad man, at the end of the day. As I said in my finale review, this is how he communicates with the world. In fact, it’s the only way he’s consistently been able to connect with the rest of the human race (beyond Peggy and Sally, that is). For the most part, other people are abstractions to whom Don pitches ideas about connection, home and affection with wry intelligence and elegance. Ultimately, he’s trying to sell himself ideas that he has been resistant to, because he is a reject, an orphan, an outsider who finds it hard to experience or feel love. Maybe if somebody accepts those things, he can learn the trick of it.

Don can’t stop being an ad man because he will, until the day he dies, be pitching himself on the idea of “perfect harmony.”

So, if he didn’t have a great idea for a Coke ad — and I think the show strongly implies he did — he’d have another great idea about another product someday, and, being who he is and needing a paycheck as well as validation, he’d simply have to follow through. One day, he’ll ditch morning yoga and don (!) the power suit and floor a client with something they didn’t know they wanted but need, once he creates that need inside them. No one understands the dance of yearning and satisfaction more than Don Draper, so of course he’s not done with the ad game.

Don did create the ad. I lean toward this interpretation, partly because, as I said in a Twitter dialogue on Monday, the expression on his face was the satisfied smirk of a man who knew, in his bones, he was going to absolutely crush a pitch. I find nothing wrong with that interpretation of the smile: The satisfied Draper smirk is a beautiful thing. I haven’t watched every episode of “Mad Men” twice (if not more) because I only want to see Don wallow in a vat of cheap booze and self-pity.

When he’s on an upward trajectory — calm, confident and cool — that is also intensely magnetic. My nickname for early-seasons Don Draper is “Sex Batman” — you know it’s true — but when he’s on his A-game at work, you could also think of him as the Iron Man of pitches. Part of the reason that Don mode is so entrancing is because, in those moments, he’s unapologetic, commanding and incredibly sure of himself. These qualities in any human being are attractive; we all want to think somebody knows what they’re doing (hence our love of superhero stories). Like Don’s clients, we want to believe a man can fly, and the sharp-suited, suffer-no-fools, tells-us-what’s-what Don Draper lets us believe, for a moment, that liftoff is possible.

I’ve referred to a couple of Don modes here — to go with the theme of Sunday’s finale, we could call them Downward Dog Draper (booze, self-pity) and Upward Dog Draper (Sex Batman, pitch master). But the fact is, these modes are just two different stages of the same cycle we’ve seen Don go through for seven seasons. It’s all about the wheel, really.

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
And suffering follows
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows
Like a never-departing shadow.
— The Dhammapada (Gil Fronsdal translation, Shambala, 2005)

You know I was just waiting to bust out a classic Buddhist text, right? I’ll get to why I’m doing so in a bit, but that reference to a wheel may ring a bell.

At the end of the series, we saw Don enter a phase we’ve seen him in many times before (perhaps one or two times too many, which is why it was time for the show to end).

The Don who walked into the ocean in “The Mountain King” is the Don who embraced Leonard: We are seeing Don, once again, find a few precious scraps of self-acceptance, self-awareness and compassion. He will emerge from the retreat with a little more understanding of himself and his inner workings. Will that give him a power-up as an ad man? Well, sure. Is that the end of the world? Not if he conducts himself in a way that doesn’t make Sally or Peggy ashamed of him, and not if he conducts himself in a way that doesn’t make him lapse into self-hatred (well, not too often).

If I had a problem with the finale, it’s because throughout, I wanted Don to go home to Sally, the human being with whom he arguably has the most powerful bond. She was in pain and in crisis, and even though she addressed those problems with typical efficiency, she was still in great need of someone to lean on. Surely Don, of all people, could recognize the plight of a frightened child who feels alone in the world?

The Don who dropped everything, no matter what, to be with that child is a Don who’s truly gained some real wisdom. I accept but can’t love Don’s story in the finale, because it was distracting for the formerly unwanted child to ignore his own childrens’ obvious and pressing needs.

I’ll digress a bit to give another reason for why I found the finale a bit deflating: There are many flavors of “Mad Men” episodes, and this simply wasn’t one of my favorites. Part of the fun of the show is that it has many different modes — heist episodes, contemplative episodes, character-driven duets like “The Suitcase,” Ingmar Bergman-esque episodes, formal stylistic experimentations, Cheever short stories, hobo episodes. Nobody asked me — shocking! — but the truth is, I didn’t want the show to end in hobo mode. My preferences lean toward either the “Suitcase” or “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.” styles. Did I want “Mad Men” to finish on the “Jet Set” end of the spectrum? Not so much.

It did end in that mode, and though I found the themes and ideas surrounding Don a bit on the repetitive side, that’s okay. Maybe I’m being overly kind, because the last few seasons have been a bit repetitious, but I’m inclined to be kind to a show that has produced so many moments of pleasure and great art. So here’s my most generous interpretation of the series finale: Maybe the repetition was the point.

Will Don lose a good chunk of the self-awareness he gained on those cliff tops and in those group-therapy rooms? Will he go down into a spiral and come out the other side again? Almost certainly. Whether or not he created the Coke ad, he’ll have success with some other client. And he’ll still sleep on the couch in his office, have sex with inappropriate women and wake up depressed. He’ll make a bunch more money, and he’ll still experience moments of intense loneliness.

Don’s life — success and money and Coke aside — will be a constant turning of the wheel, cycles of self-doubt and pain followed by halting attempts at self-awareness and connection. Isn’t that the way for all of us?

I’ve been to about 10 meditation retreats in the past decade or so. Once, on the way back from a retreat, I was seated next to a young mother who had a toddler on her lap. The child, who was about 15 months old, was adorable; my own son was only a few years older at the time. I smiled at the child’s attempts to climb all over me as well as her mom; for the first hour, all the patience and kind feelings engendered by the retreat held sway. The second hour of the flight was decidedly less rosy. By the time I deplaned, my jaw was set and I couldn’t wait to get away from all other humans.

Did everything I learned on that retreat about compassion and forbearance seep away in one plane flight? Maybe. But that’s the great comfort of Buddhist thought: It takes it as a given that we are all stuck on the wheel of samsara, an eternal cycle of endless rebirth. Am I a better person because I go on retreats and meditate? Nope. I still snap at people and act like an idiot on a regular basis. But do I think, over time, I have gained more awareness of how my mind works and the patterns I’ve fallen into? Yes. Like Don, I’m a work in progress, but part of that progress is an awareness of my worst impulses, which in turn creates more opportunities to interrupt them. But it’s a process — a cycle — not a destination.

The same goes for this show. The great legacy of “Mad Men,” I think, is its mastery of the episodic form of television. So many ambitious shows divide their season-long story into 10 or 12 or 13 chunks and call it a day — and that approach can work. But call me an old-fashioned classicist — I love an episode of television that feels like an episode of television.

Like “Lost,” or “Star Trek” or “The Sopranos,” “Mad Men” would often take the viewer on a discrete, concrete journey within one episode, which could be about an idea, or one or two themes, or one or two people. Matt Weiner was masterful at telling great short stories on screen and populating those richly imagined stories with believably complex, intelligent, driven people. And while “Mad Men” gave viewers several excellent season finales and penultimate episodes, I don’t think anyone will look at the series finale and put it on a list of Greatest Finales of All Time. The best episodes of “Mad Men” sometimes came at the end of a season, but the show’s true treasures were often middle-of-the-season gems — postcards from a journey, not statements on a destination.

In any event, I’m okay with the somewhat ungainly finale because of what preceded it. Don has changed a lot in the past decade. Each turn of the wheel has left him with a little more knowledge than he had before. That might be wishful thinking on my part, but television is projected into our eyeballs and we project our hopes and dreams right back. Did he change this time? Sure. It’s the real thing. Or the wheel thing, destined to turn again and again.

I don’t know if Don dabbled in Buddhist teachings while he was at that clifftop retreat center, but I’ve found it to be a great comfort in times of trouble, because the Buddhist masters take it as a given that we will cycle through this life, and other lives, again and again as we attempt to achieve higher states of consciousness and less injurious modes of living. (The character began life as Dick, who killed Don and was reborn in that identity, which he killed off again to re-embrace Dick. Wheels within wheels).

Everything I’m bringing up here — it all sounds hippie-ish and earnest and vague, and yes, the quest for self-awareness can quickly slide into a state of self-absorption (which certainly happened in the ‘70s and undoubtedly happens now). It’s easy to mock certain aspects of self-help culture, but underneath Don’s quest for constant reinvention is a desire to help himself. “Mad Men,” for all its sharp humor, didn’t diminish or poke fun at that aspiration, even in the finale.

Under a slick exterior is a show that is sincere in its hopes for its characters. They might be out to make a fast buck at any cost, and they might also be people doing some good in the world. They might be in the pay of heartless corporations, and they might also be perceptive people with smart, subversive ideas. It might be cynical to beam out ads about love and tolerance into the world in order to sell sugared water, and it might also be a meaningful act that promotes kindness. All of those things can be true.

That’s why the world of advertising has been such a fertile arena for the show: Don is pitching the world on what he wants to be true, and as consumers, we also want to edit reality into something we can cope with and possibly even enjoy. That’s the real circle of life, at least in our capitalist world. People are receptive to great pitches, which can be double-edged swords; “Mad Men” reminded us every week that “the truth” can be malleable, which is a scary and thrilling idea. Don’s whole journey is that of someone who turns insights into slogans he can use to sell cola and nylons — but, when it’s phrased right, don’t we long to buy to what he’s selling?

A great pitch leaves room for the imagination of the pitch’s recipient — we complete the circle. And Don’s no different than anyone seeking to get ahead. We all use our perceptions to our advantage. Aren’t I turning my insights into clicks right this moment?

I find the Coke ad, and Don’s possible role in the creation of it, no more and no less cynical than Don’s role in the creation of the Carousel pitch, which, viewed from a certain perspective, tells the entire story of the show. “It goes backwards, forwards … Around and around, and back home again.” (Back “om” again.)

The wheel of samsara — death and rebirth — is one of the central symbols of Buddhism, a faith that takes it as a given that we are always cycling through different modes, trying to find comfort, trying to find a home, trying to find ourselves and some kind of meaning among the pain and wonder of life. The quest always brings us back to the same place. The Dhammapada again: “Hatred never ends through hatred. By non-hate alone does it end. This is an ancient truth.”

Don is able to bring a mode of Buddhist-flavored thought to the creative process: He can make observations and evaluations that help him and his protegees — and the work — evolve and change for the better. He’s not great at turning that dispassionate eye inward and framing what he finds in ways that help him survive the darkest times with minimal damage. He can be tin-eared and clueless about social change, but he’s even more blind to his own blundering tendencies. Non-judgmentally observing and understanding the patterns formed by bad choices is harder than seeing what’s wrong with ad copy. He has his moments — the Coke ad is a genius distillation of an aspirational cultural moment — but it can be frustrating to watch Don make the same mistakes over and over again.

Don’s trying, but he’s tried before. When he recounted his sins to Peggy, that speech felt a little rote, if I’m being honest. That said, Jon Hamm conveyed Don’s revulsion and shattered disgust incredibly well. And at least that moment of hitting bottom led somewhere.

When Leonard spoke, part of the reason Don cried was because he recognized himself in that entirely average man. Don/Dick’s entire life has been marked by the kind of early rejection that he will never truly overcome. He has been chosen, but sometimes, he doesn’t feel chosen, wanted. The refrigerator light goes off.

But that’s okay. Don looked at Leonard, and saw that there was nothing wrong with him; Leonard’s just another human being, trying his best. We all bring what we want to bring to the Rorchach test known as “Mad Men,” but I think Don experienced two crucial revelations in that scene: He recognized that Leonard was a good person who did not see his own goodness, and he — Don — recognized that he also has some good in him. He realized that he can’t do much, but he could be kind and open in that moment, and tell another person: “I see you. And I care about you.” The cycle of samsara is broken — or at least interrupted — when we can look beyond the self.

That’s sincere, earnest and uncool and I don’t see why else we’re on Earth, if not to experience those moments. Here we are stuck on this wheel, this hamster wheel, this carousel. I see you.

Don will shower, shave and put on a suit that’s a little old-fashioned. It will be a suit that projects an unmistakable air of power and mastery.

Don will go back into an airless office and drink and pitch and make deals and make money. He’ll try and fail to connect to his kids, but once in a while, he will actually connect. Those moments will make it worth the attempts.

His kids and Peggy will know that the cycle will trend downward again. He won’t show up to meetings and baseball games and holiday parties and crises. He’ll win awards. He’ll be unreliable and self-absorbed.

Don will start to think another person — probably a Sad Brunette — holds all the answers and can heal him. He’ll try to save someone else and forget that, all along, he has been trying to save himself. He will undoubtedly listen to the siren song of fear and rejection.

And he’ll be reborn. Again. So turns the wheel.

I talked in-depth about the “Mad Men” finale in a TomandLorenzo.com podcast that will go live Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. Previous Talking TV podcasts on “Mad Men” are here.

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The return of Charlie Sheen to “Two and a Half Men” has been speculated about for months. And the show’s series finale, “Of Course He’s Dead,” included tons of Sheen references. Everything seemed like it was building up to a comeback. Then, it didn’t happen.

Sheen did, in fact, tease an “anticipated” cameo on Twitter, but it turns out that was for his upcoming appearance on “The Goldbergs.”

So what happened? Following the end of the series finale and its absence of a certain rock star from Mars, a vanity card from executive producer Chuck Lorre ran on-air explaining the situation:

I know a lot of you might be disappointed that you didn’ t get to see Charlie Sheen in tonight’ s finale. For the record, he was offered a role. Our idea was to have him walk up to the front door in the last scene, ring the doorbell, then turn, look directly into the camera and go off on a maniacal rant about the dangers of drug abuse. He would then explain that these dangers only applied to average people. That he was far from average. He was a ninja warrior from Mars. He was invincible.

And then we would drop a piano on him.

We thought it was funny.

He didn’t.

Instead, he wanted us to write a heart warming scene that would set up his return to primetime TV in a new sitcom called The Harpers starring him and Jon Cryer.

We thought that was funny too.

Despite the lack of warlocks, the finale pretty much had everyone else you can think of: John Stamos, Arnold Schwarzenegger and even Angus T. Jones. And though there was no Sheen, that didn’t stop his former character, Charlie Harper, from coming back in animated form:


Lorre and Sheen, of course, had a historic fallout that gave us memorable phrases like “winning” and “tiger blood” and even led to Sheen’s character being killed off from the show (or so we thought). But as the vanity card shows, it appears the two sides just couldn’t agree on how a comeback would be handled.

As a final ode to the show and the Sheen saga, the last moments of the series showed a Sheen body double getting a piano dropped on top of him, supposedly killing the character for good. Soon after, Lorre appeared and said, “Winning,” right before a piano dropped on him, too.
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“It’s always important to me to tell stories that are honest and that not only speak to me but the human condition,” he added. “Police brutality itself is a byproduct of black people’s socioeconomic disposition in this country. Institutionalized racism is interwoven into the fabric of the country, police brutality is just one thread.”

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Koenig ended “Rumors” by reading a letter from Syed. “‘At this point,’ he wrote, ‘It doesn’t matter to me how your story portrays me — guilty or innocent — I just want it to be over,'” she said. “It will be. Next time, final episode of ‘Serial.'”

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Cocaine Withdrawals and Blood Transfusions: Clive Owen On The Season Finale Of ‘The Knick’

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead. Do not read on if you haven’t seen the Season 1 finale of “The Knick.”

“The Knick” ended its 10-episode debut season on Friday, and the hope each character found in his or her new beginnings was bookended with a sense of dread. Thackery discovers an unfortunate way to kick his cocaine habit in the form of 1900-era heroin. Barrow bests Bunky Collier, but Mr. Wu learns of his manipulation. Cornelia’s wedding day arrives, but she’s haunted by the thought of her clandestine abortion and her feelings for Dr. Edwards. And Edwards himself is given the chance to shine while Thack is out of commission, but he, too, must suffer knowing Cornelia is off vowing to love another man. No character wins, but the show surely does. This was a stunner of a season finale, exemplifying the best of Steven Soderbergh’s slow-burning drama. HuffPost Entertainment caught up with star Clive Owen, who plays Thackery, to discuss the finale.

Did you study cocaine withdrawal to decide what that would look like once Thackery’s supply runs out?
I did as much research as I could. The great thing is that cocaine shortage again was based on fact. Everything in the show is inspired by real events. The idea of starving Thackery of his drug and then coming back and this more than ever was a brilliant way of climaxing. To go through that period of struggle, of not having the drug and then getting it and taking too much, was always, I felt, a great way to build him toward the end.

Nurse Elkin’s role in procuring cocaine is fascinating. Does Thackery really love her, or does he only appreciate when she can do things for him?
I think by that time he’s a desperate addict. When she delivers that and when she finally comes through with the cocaine, he’s like, “She’s the most beautiful, loving person.” He’s a desperate addict by this point. Just the fact that she’s delivering what he needs is everything.

We see him compete to advance various surgical procedures, but he does it mostly out of ego so he’ll always be considered the best. How much does Thackery actually care about medicine?
I really do think by the ending couple of episodes that he’s completely lost his way. He’s a complete paranoid, competitive mess by the end. He is brilliant, but by this point he’s in a desperate place and he’s not thinking straight. That’s kind of where we’re taking him — he’s heading for a fall.

Many of the surgery scenes are both graphic and relatively primitive. Is there a doctor on set guiding how they should look?
Yes, we had the most amazing expert, a guy called Dr. Stanley Burns, who runs this archive of literally hundreds of thousands of photographs from this period in the world. The show is like his fantasy come to life. He has an unbelievable wealth of material; he has medical documents that were handed between doctors at the turn of the century, he has instruments that were used at the time. He was there for every single operation and would be able to describe exactly how it would have been done, so we leaned on him tremendously.

That blood-transfusion scene in the finale is wild. Surely some of that is CGI.
Really, I have to say that the prosthetics guy on this thing did an absolutely unbelievable job throughout, and there’s so little CGI in this whole series. Everything is totally convincing, even to the naked eye, including that transfusion scene. That was the one scene where I remember I turned to Steven at one point and said, “How on earth are we ever going to bring back Thackery from this?” Will we ever be able to redeem him from this? I mean, in such a coked-up state, to be attempting something like that with this poor little girl, it’s a wild as it could get. But that’s the make of the show.

Do you think Bertie made the right choice in remaining so loyal to Thackery, especially at the end when he realizes what’s been going on?
It’s difficult because Thackery does eventually go off the rails, but there’s no question that, at the beginning when we meet him, Thackery is a genius. He’s learned an incredible lot. That’s the journey of what happens, but there’s no question that Bertie would have learned an awful lot, but he’s also had to withstand an awful lot.

clive owen the knick

What do you think happened to Abigail and her syphilis nose?
We might not have seen the last of her. I won’t say anymore on that.

We’ve seen shocking surgeries all season, but the most jarring moment probably comes when we see that Eleanor’s teeth have been removed because that’s how doctors thought they’d cure mental illness.
I agree with you. It is shocking, and what’s shocking is that that was the practice at the time. That was real. They actually really did think that. And the scary thing, when you do a show like this, is that what we’d be doing in 40 or 50 years’ time would make us think, “How on Earth could we have thought that was right?” How on Earth could a doctor really have believed that?

It must be hard to shoot in contemporary downtown New York but make every scene look and feel like it’s set in 1900.
Steven has just the most incredible people around him that he’s been working with for a long time. What was really incredible is when you film on one of those outside days, you’d come to the exterior of the hospital and you’d walk on and everything would already be up and running. You’d do a shot in the carriage and it would pull up and you’d get out and 20 minutes later we’d be on to something else. It was so incredibly efficient, and they were so focused in getting those big outside scenes nailed so quickly. There were very challenging days — we were shooting real New York Chinatown for 1900 Chinatown. We’d find a block in there that we’d dress and shoot, but you can imagine the logistics of trying to pull that off. They went in there and they were just incredibly together.

What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve learned about medicine in 1900?
The thing that you’re kind of left with is just how much they were shooting from the hip. It was a time of change; things were coming big and fast. They were rethinking things on a weekly basis. At the time, doctors were sharing information across America and Europe. It was a wildly exciting time in terms of the breakthroughs they were making, probably this time in this period more than any other period.

You’ve worked with Robert Altman, Mike Nicholas, Alfonso Cuarón and Spike Lee. What does Steven Soderbergh, the consummate multitasker, bring to “The Knick” that no other director could?
I think the reason no other director could have taken this on and done it the way that he did it is that he has done everything. He directs, he operates, he lights, he edits, and it’s a singular vision. It’s 10 hours of television that completely comes back to one man and a singular vision. To have that is really extraordinary because I don’t know of any of the other directors you mentioned or any director that I’ve worked with who could do that and could hold the whole canal like he approached it at the speed with which he approached it. And he dealt with something so rich and detailed. He’s extraordinary in that way; there is no one like him. For an actor to work with that is a real privilege because he’s so on top of all aspects of what’s going on that you’re kind of left just worrying about your acting, which is a great place to be because you’re so sure. It’s a one-stop gig. You know that it all comes back to him. There’s something kind of great about that, about shooting a scene and there not being that dialogue of, “What if we did this?” or “What if we did that?” No. It goes back to that guy and his vision and his taste and his talent. I’m telling you he’s a hugely, hugely impressive person.

When does Season 2 start filming?
We go into pre-production soon and I think I’m heading out to New York for January.

What do you hope to see in Thackery’s future now that he’s been exposed to heroin?
He’s been so edgy in his story and so visceral and dangerous. What’s great is the idea of being able to go into the next season and it could just pick up and hit the ground running, taking it further and exploring new territories. I’ve got a number of the scripts already and it’s just really exciting where we can take it.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Happily Ever After?The Leftovers Finale Recap

Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 10 of HBO’s The Leftovers, titled “The Prodigal Son Returns.”

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This is what I was waiting for all season. Total and complete chaos.

I was sure we were stuck with Kevin in the woods and wondering what the heck the GR were doing laying out baby clothes.

They crossed a line — making people remember with wax figures of the departed.

Jill had gone to be with her mother on the very night they were going to leave figurines all around town, and then almost dies in the riots.

Nora? If I could use profanity I would. I was convinced she was going to shoot herself, so the little twist on the porch was well worth it.

Things I Love About This Show:

1) The use of sound and silence. Maybe it’s overdone every now and again because the show is so dark. But the silent screams and the physical acting being good enough to work under that theme song? Not an easy combo.

2) Of course, the story’s about the family. Cue the piano. I was annoyed that we kept forgetting about Tom. And trying to figure out how he was going to fit in. I’m glad he’s back in the center — almost “Walking Dead”-style.

3) Not being sure if I should laugh or cry. So yes, the family. But the dog?

What did you think of the finale? Is this show cheesy or am I totally cynical? Are we almost happily ever after? Let me know @karenfratti or in the comments.

“The Leftovers” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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‘The Leftovers’ Season 1 Finale Recap

For me, the central question of any story is the one I asked here a few weeks ago: Why now? At the time, it was a question that was frustrating me in “The Leftovers,” but no longer. This show has always been about the gray space between good and evil. That conflict is clearer in the season finale than ever before: All of these people that we’ve been watching and wondering about and caring about for all these weeks, this story that has been sometimes stagnant and sometimes an emotional gut-punch, they all crystallized this week. And, damn, was it satisfying.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Andi Dorfman Chooses Josh Murray And Gets Engaged On ‘The Bachelorette’ Finale

It’s official: Andi Dorfman has made her choice! Drumroll please … (AND SPOILER ALERT!)

The 27-year-old Atlanta district attorney chose Josh Murray during “The Bachelorette” Season 10 finale on July 28 — and he got down on one knee to propose with a Neil Lane sparkler. So did she say yes? Well, of course she did!

“Andi, you are the answer to all my prayers. You are the woman of my dreams. You are the woman that I never thought existed in this world,” Murray told Dorfman, who was smiling from ear-to-ear.

“I know that feeling from the very first time I saw you, I know that feeling now, is love. It is,” Dorfman gushed. “You’re the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. You’re the one I want to have babies with.”

Murray, 29, is a former professional baseball player who now works as Financial Services Rep for Capstone Financial. And luckily for Dorfman, he also lives in Atlanta.

The runner-up, Nick Viall, was thrown a curveball when he was sent home heartbroken after Dorfman told him their relationship just didn’t “feel right” in a hotel room before the final rose ceremony. Although he received the first impression rose on the series premiere in May, it appears Viall wasn’t the front-runner like he had thought.

Congrats to Andi and Josh! Here’s to another TV wedding …

josh andi
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‘Mad Men’ Finale Review: Dance Fever, Burgers And Space Travel

Do not read on unless you have seen the seventh episode of “Mad Men’s” final season, “Waterloo,” which also serves as the show’s 2014 finale (it returns with seven episodes in 2015).

We all know that when a “Mad Men” episode is heavy on business intrigue and office politics, it’s usually a winner, but even by that standard, “Waterloo” may have been entirely too much fun. Jim Cutler pulled his big moves, and you know what? The late Bert Cooper was not Napoleon in this episode, Cutler was. The man with the big glasses overplayed his hand and he ended up with very little to show for it. Speaking of Bert Cooper, what just happened?! Did he just do a song-and-dance number with a group of prancing secretaries? I do believe that actually did happen. All righty then! “Mad Men,” never stop surprising me!

I’ll write more about what Don’s vision of Bert meant in a moment (spoiler alert: He wants Don to be free), but first, a question: Why does the moon orbit the Earth?

Now, you may think that I’ve been watching a lot of “Cosmos” lately (and you are correct). Of course, we know the answer to that question, but for thousands of years, people didn’t know. They came up with conjectures, ideas and myths — they crafted various kinds of stories. Some of those stories are great, some are a little loony, but, obviously, the truth is that gravity binds these two bodies together. We can’t see gravity, we can’t taste it or touch it, but, among other amazing things it can do, it can make enormous objects that are otherwise separated by vast stretch of icy space influence each other in multiple ways. The Earth and the moon are bound by invisible bonds — they are cosmically connected, forever.

As are Don and Peggy.

There were twin sources of driving tension in this episode: Would the astronauts make it back from the moon, and would SC&P land the Burger Chef account? Both of these things mattered greatly, and yet, they also didn’t matter.

Of course, everyone wanted the astronauts to come home safely (and kudos to “Mad Men” for threading that storyline with genuine suspense and excitement, even though we knew the outcome of the astronauts’ return). The thing is, whether or not their re-entry went perfectly, the astronauts had still accomplished something historic, something truly awe-inspiring. The astronauts (and the NASA teams behind them) had put human beings on the moon — an important symbolic step for the maturation of our species.

That accomplishment would always stand, regardless of what happened afterward. The same is true of another enormous but more personal landmark — the maturation of Don Draper.

Think about all the things that happened to Don before that pitch meeting with Burger Chef. His wife decided that their marriage was over. It had been over in all but name for some time, but just before leaving for Indiana, he got the final death notice from Megan. For Don Draper, here was another failed attempt at intimacy and commitment.

On the work front, Bert Cooper died. He and Don weren’t close, but he’d had Don’s back enough times for it to matter, and Don felt bad for Roger and everyone else who cared about the old coot. And of course, Cooper’s death altered the balance of power inside the agency, something that Cutler didn’t even wait 30 seconds to point out (this week in Lou is the worst: Lou is not actually the worst — that honor this week goes to the odious Cutler). When he got that call from a distraught Roger, Don had every reason to believe that all that he had worked to regain was now gone. He’d have to start over again, with no wife, no allies like Roger and Peggy in the background, no real friends to rally around him. He was as isolated as we’ve ever seen him.

So what did Don do at this very low point? How’s this for momentous: He didn’t pull a Don Draper. He didn’t hobo out to the Coast or make some other self-destructive decision. In a miraculous development, he didn’t think much about himself at all. He made a strategic and personal decision — in the wee, small hours, he decided on a course of action that makes sense from several different perspective. He saw that mission to its completion in a selfless and focused way. He helped Peggy deal with her nerves, he made her believe in herself and he made damn sure the pitch meeting went as well as humanly possible.

This is connection. For Don, this is landing on the moon.

What is true connection but an ability to see someone else’s point of view? What is connection but a desire to put someone else’s needs or a larger goal first? Don didn’t need to let Peggy land the account. He could have gone out on top and garnered the Burger Chef account as a final “screw you” to everyone on Team Cutler. But he didn’t do that. In one of his darkest hours, he didn’t fall down a rabbit hole of self-absorption and pain. He didn’t crawl into a bottle and drown in narcissistic angst. On his way out the door — which is where he thought he was headed — he tried to help his protégée attain a meaningful achievement. He got nothing from that, aside from a powerful rush of pride.

To me, the center of the episode was the look that passed between Don and Peggy when she stood up at the end of her pitch. Don knew she had nailed it, and she knew it too. Don may not be much of a husband or father, let’s face it, but he knows how to do the thing that Peggy just did, and sharing that moment with her — a moment of real and well-earned triumph — was sweet indeed. A collective effort at NASA got men on the moon, and a team effort at SC&P had brought them all to this point, but Don and Peggy were the ones who set foot on that spectacular terrain.

Don and Peggy have orbited each other forever, exerting strong influences on each other; she started out as the satellite and then he took that role, but none of that really matters now. As we saw last week and saw again this week, that connection is more tangible and real than ever. Don didn’t give Peggy talent — she always had it — but he helped her hone it, he pushed her, he toughened her and he made sure that when the moment came, she nailed the pitch. And she taught him too — about friendship, loyalty and persistence. They love each other in all the ways that matter. Like gravity, you can’t see that love, but it’s undeniably there. Don Draper, Dick Whitman — it doesn’t matter. He’s no longer an asteroid, floating through the cold darkness of space on his own, and he knows it. They both do.

Don also knows that there will always be office machinations — it’s just unavoidable during these tumultuous times. But does the end result have to be selling out to McCann? Unlikely. The moon, Bert crooned to Don, belongs to everyone. Why can’t a new firm — one begun by SC&P refugees — belong to everyone he cares about? “The best things in life are free,” apparently, and Don really wants to be free, once and for all.

Coming on top of a generally wonderful episode, Bert’s shoeless dance number was icing on one tasty cake, but it also set up the final run of episodes quite efficiently. Don could accept the large sum of money on the table and sell out to corporate overlords, or he could take off in a rocket to the moon — a risky journey, of course, but he’d have Peggy, Roger and possibly even Pete by his side. Let’s face it, Cutler’s technocratic beliefs and even Roger’s practical/desperate machinations don’t truly constitute vision. Don and Peggy have that — can they also be leaders? We’ll see.

I wouldn’t be against those two. But we will have to wait until 2015 for the answer to all these questions, and that makes me sad. As many have observed — even creator Matthew Weiner made this point — the show generally pulls off a big series of moves at about the mid-point of a typical 13-episode season.

In this 14-episode final season, the show stayed true to form by doing just that kind of thing in the seventh episode, but it’s likely that nearly a year will elapse before we see the end to this series of personal and professional machinations. AMC has done “Mad Men” no favors by stretching out the exit of a show that thrives on ambiguity and atmosphere. “Mad Men” typically marinates in certain themes and ideas before turning on the heat in the home stretch, and that wait between half-seasons will drain a lot of the momentum out of the show’s final run. But it is what it is, and we’ll have to deal with it.

As it happened, there was a lot to savor in this lovely yet energetic episode: We got a vintage Don Draper pitch (he was very smart in the way he reeled in Ted Chaough, who sure seems clinically depressed at the moment); we got a couple of subtle and evocative reminders that Peggy is indeed a mother; and I just loved the series of family tableaux that constituted the lyrical middle section of the episode. It was a brilliant visual representation of the Burger Chef “family supper” pitch: Roger, Mona, their son in law and grandson were an odd kind of family, and yet they shared the wonder of the day together. Betty’s family and her friend’s brood represented a range of viewpoints and ages, but in the end, Sally didn’t kiss the cynical athlete, she kissed the nerdy boy who made her feel a bond with something beautiful. Ted, Roger, Julio, Sally and of course, Don — they were all looking for connections, for bonds that weren’t just practical but emotional.

Numbers, data, surgical accuracy: That’s what Cutler advocated, and that’s the kind of cold, precise science that NASA workers had to use to make the moon shot work. But the journey to the moon wasn’t just about trajectories, angles and engineering calculations: It was a story people told themselves (with help from Neil Armstrong’s memorable pitch: “That’s one small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”).

“Mad Men’s” particular kind of humanism — one that loves individuals and outliers and emotional connections more than insiders, blowhards and data mavens — was all over “Waterloo.” And the moon landing was a brilliant vehicle for that kind of collective resonance and personal accomplishment. What this episode was after was a sense of wonder, and who wouldn’t feel that after seeing Don Draper act like a normal, compassionate, responsible human being. For once, Houston, we did not have a problem.

Cutler’s the only one who couldn’t see that there’s only so much you can do with number crunching and data. People want to be moved, and they were moved by the moon landing — in part, as Peggy noted, because everyone who watched it shared the same range of emotions.

Of course people enjoyed that story of progress and wonder– they’d been starving for it.

A final hail of bullets and favorite lines:

  • First things first: Ryan McGee and I will be recording a podcast with a very special guest on Monday. Around midday Monday, check the Talking TV page or on iTunes (Once it’s ready, I’ll also add the podcast to the bottom of this post).
  • Not only did Bobby break out his telescope, Megan had a telescope on her patio in California. What does this mean? Did Sharon Tate own a telescope??! #telescopetruthers
  • It looked to me as though Bert Cooper owned a Pollock. Cooper, you magnificent bastard, you!
  • “We don’t owe you anything. You’re a hired hand! Get back to work.”
  • In an episode stuffed with memorable moments, Meredith’s awkward attempt to seduce Don was hiii-larious. That moment was also a subtle reminder of Don’s change of status: These days, he’s just another guy at the office without a huge amount of mystique; women aren’t throwing themselves at him on a regular basis, not during work hours anyway. Only the dumbest human that SC&P employs would try to “comfort” Don in that particular way, and he’s way too smart (and/or not desperate enough) for that.
  • “What if it’s quicksand?”
  • “Should I reschedule?” “Get OUT!”
  • Excellent work in the final phone-call breakup between Don and Megan. Jessica Pare infused one simple word — “Don.” — will many layers of meaning, and few people do sad/hurt face better than Jon Hamm. Did you also notice that he was tearing up a little after Bert’s dance routine? He’s going to miss that shoeless elf.
  • “Take off your shoes.” “I don’t feel like it!”
  • “Marriage is a racket!”
  • I’m going to side with “Mad Men”/”Mad Style” bloggers Tom and Lorenzo regarding the development of Joan of late. I don’t think the show has done a good enough job of showing two things: Why she is so anti-Don, and why she is so mercenary these days. Both those things appear to be linked and they’ve practically been the only notes she’s gotten to play, though as we saw last week, she still very much believes in love and genuine relationships. For many seasons, she and Don got along fine, and though I know she’s eager to hang on to the status and partnership she now enjoys, her hostility to Don this season has never been properly explained, in my view. It’s kind of sad, because I think she’s an interesting character, but, on the work front anyway, there hasn’t been enough about her of late to offset the view of her as ruthless toward her once-respected co-worker.
  • Sally stands, stares and smokes just like Don.
  • Roger taking the nameplate from Bert’s office was just the right touch — sad, subtle and, in a way, momentous as well. Note the real emotion in his voice when he said, “Now I’m going to lose you too!” to Don. Roger’s the eternally irresponsible jester, but it’s nice to get these reminders that he feels things deeply.
  • “We have no liquor!”
  • The pitch scene did a great job of getting us inside Peggy’s head; she was so preoccupied and afraid that everything was just reverberating noise to her. Side note: She looked terrific in that scene. Her crisp blue and green dress and her bold red lipstick were just perfect.
  • I loved the shot of the SC&P team in the motel, rapt by the moon landing. There was such genuine interest and sincere delight on their faces. “Mad Men” can get grim and dark, but when it lets itself be optimistic, few other shows can touch it.
  • “Cooper still dead?”
  • “Cutler’s not going to stop until the firm is just Harry and the computer.”
  • The running gag of Harry not really being a partner has never gotten old.
  • “Really.” “It’s a lot of money!”
  • In a season that hasn’t been as .gif intensive as I would like, I hope many different images of Bert dancing around Sterling Cooper are up before morning. I’d bet half the reason that Weiner did the song-and-dance scene is because actor Robert Morse is a Broadway veteran, and Weiner just couldn’t let him leave the show without taking advantage of a few of those skills. And why not?
  • Thanks to everyone who has read these weekly “Mad Men” reviews — I am truly appreciative of the fact that you stopped by, and I hope we can all reconvene here next year.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Grey’s Anatomy Finale Recap: Dance it Out

Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 10, Episode 24 of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, titled “Fear (of the Unknown).'”

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“What, do you need an ‘I love you’ or something? I love you!” That’s probably the best goodbye between two dark and twisty friends there could be. That, and a dance party.

This could have went a few different ways and I have to admit that I smiled the whole way through.

Here’s why:

1) Yang’s character is (was) the best on television, ever. You all know it. Her send off was perfect: she got to tell Meredith to stop worshiping Derek, Karev that he was an imbecile, and wave, quietly to Owen. Like every other time “Grey’s” tries to teach us a life lesson, I thought this one was pretty darn good: there is no endpoint.

2) It was also just a good season finale in general. The worst interns are taken care of (Murphy off on her life, Shane to Switzerland). April makes good with the world and Mama Avery. And there’s conflict to deal with come September: a new character was introduced and it’s Ellis Grey and Webber’s child. Bailey thinks she’s getting Yang’s seat but Cristina left it all to Alex. Meredith is stopping the D.C. move. There was a George reference. Does it get any more perfect?

3) Did I mention how happy I am that Cristina, a smart, sexy, stubborn, single woman gets a happy ending?

What were your favorite parts? How much did you die a little when you thought she was in the mall? Do we even have to watch next season if McDreamy and Mer are going to fight and Webber has a daughter?

Tell me in the comments or let me know @karenfratti.

“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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Expect Plenty Of Death In The Season Finale of ‘Reign’

Prepare yourselves, Royals, more death is coming to French court.

This season on “Reign” there’ve been beheadings, battles and bedding ceremonies, but tonight’s final episode is upping the stakes for some of your favorite characters on the show. Adelaide Kane — who plays fledgling monarch Mary, Queen of Scots — spilled a few finale secrets to HuffPost TV, explaining that she’s very different from the character she plays:

Fans should be ready for a few things before tonight’s season finale airs.
Last week’s episode saw King Henry finally go full on crazy and Mary team up with Catherine to plan his imminent demise. Things didn’t work out too well for the scheming Queens and on tonight’s episode, Francis finds himself in danger and Mary might be his only hope. So what’s in store for our newlyweds?

“A couple of loose ends are going to be tied up,” Kane said. “We’re going to resolve some of the open plot threads.” And how does the show plan on doing that? Murder, of course. “There’s going to be some death, as there is in every episode,” she admitted. “Just a casual Thursday in the castle.”

But will Mary, who hasn’t been afraid to get her hands bloody this season, be involved in the action? Kane certainly hopes so. “I’d love to see her just stab somebody!” the actress joked.

Seriously though, fans should prepare for plenty of pomp and circumstance before the show says goodbye. A festival will be taking place, some jousting and oh yeah, a baby will be born. “Lola goes into labor,” Kane revealed. “But there’s no baby in the finale so you’re going to have to wait until the second season to find out about that.”

Don’t bother to ask Kane what fans can expect in Season 2.
“They don’t tell me anything,” the actress said. “I’ve been asking everybody. I have my little spy network that I bribe with baked goods and hugs, but it never works.”

One thing that does work on the show: the clothes.
Apparently, dressing the part of the queen has its perks. Since the pilot episode, critics and fans alike have agreed on one thing and that’s how damn good the cast looks while tromping all over the French castle. While we’re sure their good genes are to blame, it doesn’t hurt that Kane and company have had their choice of designer duds every episode. From Alexander McQueen ball gowns to Gucci mesh tops and everything in between, the costume department on the show deserves a round of applause for the all the hard work they do, and Kane agrees.

“I don’t even bother giving input,” Kane said. “They don’t ask me and they don’t need to. They know exactly what they’re doing.” And while donning couture sounds fun, Kane admits it’s one of the hardest parts of the job. “It’s very exciting but at the end of a 16 hour day, I want to rip them to shreds, douse them in gas and burn them,” the actress said. “You trip over your damn self all the time and going to the bathroom is so tricky.”

Since the show is taking a temporary leave of absence, Kane waxed nostalgic on the first season by revealing which scene was her favorite to film.
“I love anything with Megan (Follows) and anything with Toby (Regbo),” Kane said. “I love our fight scenes where we get to scream at each other. It’s very cathartic.”

Mary has no problem standing up for herself on the show, but Kane isn’t anything like her royal alter ego.
On the show, Kane totally embodies her strong and often stubborn character, but the actress want her fans to know, there’s a difference between who she plays on TV and who she is when the cameras aren’t rolling.

“I hate conflict,” Kane said. “I don’t like fighting people.” Thankfully, back-stabbings and assassination attempts are something the Australian actress doesn’t have to deal with in her personal life, but she says it’s always better to take the high road in any argument. “I’ve had my fair share of bullshit to deal with,” Kane said. “It’s always better to take the upper hand.”

The season finale of “Reign” airs Thursday, May 15, at 9 p.m. EDT on The CW.
Style – The Huffington Post
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‘How I Met Your Mother’ Series Finale Recap: ‘Last Forever’

“Last Forever” confirmed our worst fears. The hour-long “How I Met Your Mother” series finale proved the conspiracy theorists right. The mother, whose name we found out was Tracy McConnell, was dead at the end of the episode. By the time Ted told his children the story, she had been dead for six years, victim of a “sickness,” during which Ted loved her very, very much.

Blergh.

It was a moment fans saw coming, but the nail in the mother’s coffin (sorry, I had to) came after Ted revealed she died. In the final moments, Ted’s kids convinced him to call Robin to ask her on a date. It’s been six years, they said. It’s okay to move on from Mom. Seriously. He then showed up outside her apartment with that blue French horn. About halfway through the finale, folks on Twitter started to notice the hints: Robin and Barney got divorced (we’ll come back to this), Robin had a too-cute run-in with Ted and his daughter on the street and she told Lily that Ted was the guy she should have married. It fit together. It was the best, but also very much the worst.

Backing up a bit, the finale raced through the years between Barney and Robin’s wedding and present day. Within the first 15 minutes, we found out Barney and Robin got divorced three years after their wedding. Her career as a news anchor took off quickly and she began jet-setting around the world. Barney’s blog suffered. They got drunk in Argentina, had a lot of sex, got sober and decided to split up. Robin slowly, and unconsciously, was pushed out of “the gang.”

Barney went back to his old ways. There was a Playbook II, which involved “The Mannequin” and “The Jim Nacho.” He then embarked on a perfect month, banging 31 girls in 31 days, until number 31 got pregnant and had baby girl Ellie. In a moving scene, Barney said to the baby, “You are the love of my life. Everything I have and everything I am is yours forever.”

Lily became pregnant with their third child and she and Marshall finally decided to leave the old apartment. In an epic Halloween/ Goodbye Apartment party, she dressed up as a white latex whale and had one of the most dramatic scenes of the episodes in said outfit. (Major ups to Alyson Hannigan for this one.) At the party, Robin showed up, but clearly hadn’t seen the gang in months, if not years. She left in a fit, after seeing everyone together, and broke down “the gang” for Lily. “It’s just never going to be how it was,” she said. “It can’t be. It doesn’t have to be a sad thing.” And that’s true of all relationships.

himym finale

Ted and Tracy waited seven years to get married. There was no rush because an extraordinary, happy life just got in the way. Marriage had been the ultimate goal for Ted all along: Meet the right woman, get married, have kids. Switching up the order, but portraying a committed, loving relationship without the ring right away, rocked. It showed Ted’s growth and proved their love wasn’t centered around a wedding (though a French castle could have been nice), or one single moment. Instead it was based on millions of little moments, and a life they created with one another.

As series finales go, this one will probably go down as one of the heartbreakers. They killed the mother! I repeat, they killed the mother! After the finale aired, I stopped by a friend’s going-away party and left soon after arriving, explaining that I had to finish recapping a very confusing hour of television. When someone asked how the show ended, admitting they hadn’t seen an episode in years, I said, “The mother dies.” Everyone burst out laughing, as if I had been the victim of a bad joke. My guess is because that’s not how “HIMYM” was supposed to end, according to the first few seasons. “That’s so f*cked up!” my roommate — who also hadn’t watched the show in years — yelled at our TV when she saw Cristin Milioti lying in the hospital bed.

But life is cruel, as it has always been to Ted, and Tracy McConnell died.

It wasn’t the happy ending we thought we were promised when Carter Bays and Craig Thomas set out to tell the story of how Ted Mosby met his children’s mother. To viewers, it was supposed to be a story about finding your one true love in a messy, mysterious city, filled with best burgers and stripper versions of yourself. But instead, it was a story they wanted to tell, one we never see on TV. The whole nine seasons became one long tale about moving on from loss, accepting growth in pain, the reality of friends drifting apart and the negation of “one true loves.” Ted didn’t have one true love. He had two, maybe more. May we all be so lucky.

But, they never solved the pineapple incident. Just saying.

Some Stray Thoughts …

  • Robin’s hair. WTF was going on with Robin’s hair in the present day? That bob was not doing anyone any favors.
  • A+ return of the cockamouse.
  • Ted’s “ET” goodbye to Lily at the wedding was the only moment to make me cry. Anybody else?
  • That last sonofabitch was used very wisely.
  • Supreme Fudge trended on Twitter. That ruled.
  • Alyson Hannigan is a gift to TV, if only because of that whale costume.
  • One last “Murder Train” song for the road.
  • Hate to break it to Marshall but, Gazzola’s in Chicago closed in Season 5. No one would eat that crap again.
  • Ted’s “gray” hair was most certainly blue.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Finale Recap: The Supreme Emerges

Note: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “American Horror Story: Coven,” Episode 13, titled “The Seven Wonders.”

I don’t know about you guys, but after watching the “American Horror Story: Coven” finale (code name: The Witchlympics) I’m really revved up for some competition. It’s fun to imagine a parallel universe where an event like the Seven Wonders trials could replace the Olympics as the international standard of excellence. Watching witches and warlocks face-slap each other to victory is something I can fully get behind.

Anyway, so, Cordelia. Let’s see what I said her odds were last week:

Cordelia: 10 to 1

I feel like this is a possibility, only because she’s Fiona’s daughter and it seems almost rightful that she be in charge. She loves the girls and loves Robichaux, and is only now starting to come into her own. Also Ryan Murphy’s infatuation with Paulson might make her top dog.

So I wasn’t way off, and really, it’s the safest, most satisfying outcome — a Fiona rise to the top would have been something to behold, even though she didn’t deserve it. Knowing Murphy’s love of Paulson, Cordelia’s ascension to Supreme doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I predicted Cordelia becoming the next Supreme for the first time after Episode 6. One thing I didn’t see coming was the awesome return of Stevie Nicks (I knew she was coming back, but didn’t know it would be good). She seems to have woken up from her coma.

It was almost sensory overload watching the introduction to tonight’s finale, with Stevie Nicks wandering around Robichaux, singing “Seven Wonders” to the witches about to engage in the Seven Wonders test/Witchlympics. I can honestly say, at the start of my “Coven” recapping, I never would have predicted the finale to start like this. Random folk-rock singer serenading/lip-synching to a house full of witches practicing spells? Bizarre, for sure, but also very entertaining. And there was twirling.

One thing in particular about this finale was the pacing. It was lightning quick, with no time for meandering; it shows just how bloated the rest of the “Coven” thru-line was, with too many extraneous characters and tangents. If only this season as a whole had concentrated more inwardly on the Academy and the witches within it. This finale was focused, with a solid plot, even though the outcomes were as eye-rolling ridiculous as the rest of the show; but this was probably my second-favourite episode of the entire season. The writers had no choice but to choose someone for Supreme. No. More. Delays.

The various magic tests were a pleasure from start (Myrtle and her “last supper”) to finish (Cordelia taking her rightful place as Supreme). Particularly fun to witness were the respective Hells for each of the girls: the fried chicken joint for Queenie, Madison getting a role in the live version of “The Sound Of Music” — as Liesl (ha! ouch!) — and Zoe in a perpetual break-up with Kyle. Ugh, Zoe, even your Hell is boring. The saddest, obviously, is Misty’s Hell, and she never gets to escape! She’s trapped forever in a science lab, forced to cut open a live frog over and over. Seriously, that’s Hell for anyone.

Another great Witchlympics event was Transmutation Tag, where the girls — shocker — have fun with their powers. (I say “shocker” because we sat around for 10 out of 12 episodes navel-gazing while all this potential magic fun just wasted away.) It was nice to watch, but was again a glaring reminder that the young witches never really enjoy, or ever really use, their spells. Zoe’s impaling on Robichaux’s wrought-iron gate happened so fast that it momentarily robbed me of breath (not kidding!), even though Cordelia kinda-sorta saw that in her vision. With Zoe and Misty out of the running, we’re down to Madison and Queenie, and since Queenie can’t resurrect Zoe and Madison refuses to, there’s really only one logical choice left, and that’s Cordelia. Once Madison fails the divination part of the Witchlympics, she storms off and leaves Cordelia to take the throne. She, of course, brings Zoe back to life (and makes Queenie dance!). And Kyle, of course, strangles and kills Madison. (Anyone else think about this now-engaged couple’s dust-up in real life while watching this scene? Art imitates life, or so they say…)

Thank goodness Cordelia’s new Supreme powers get rid of those red eye sockets. Geez, it was hard to even look at the screen. We get a nod to “AHS: Asylum” when Cordelia’s being interviewed for TV. Memories. Oh, how I miss Lana Winters. But new Supreme Cordelia has her awesome qualities too: she’s hard-ass, gorgeous and rejuvenated, and she relaunches Robichaux as a worldwide success. (Email her at Cordelia@RobichauxAcademy.com! I tried, and got no bounce-back.)

After we say an absurd goodbye to Myrtle (which, c’mon, was totally unnecessary — but it had to happen so we could hear her last word, “Balenciaga!!!” and watch all the witches make one last procession to the old burnin’ stake), we have to have our last scene with Fiona, who’s obviously still alive, smoking and brooding in the corner of the Robichaux sitting room. Balding Jessica Lange looked so much like Jon Voight I just had to make a split-shot:

jessica lange jon voight

The final exchange between Fiona and Cordelia was touching, though still strangely suspenseful. I don’t trust Fiona one iota, so I was half-expecting her to stab Cordelia with a shard of glass. I have to hand it to Lange; her performance this season … oh hell, in all the seasons of “American Horror Story” … have been epic. Paulson, too. Watching the two of them hug, one frail, used and wasting away, the other vital and practically glowing, was a lasting image that would have encapsulated the series if they hadn’t made a joke out of everything by taking it to the most ridiculous level. Mother-daughter love, despite all of Cordelia and Fiona’s literal attempts to kill each other, was a strong theme on “Coven,” but just like the half-handed attempts to address racism, sexism and ageism (and even “different” kids in this episode — they say “witches” but they mean “LGBT kids”), we barely scratch the surface. If anything, “AHS” has a unique capability among current TV shows: since it’s based so strongly in fantasy (I couldn’t make this stuff up if I had 10 hits of LSD), it would be simple for the showrunners to use metaphor and imagery to address serious issues of our time. Instead, we get Myrtle one-upping herself every episode or Lance Reddick dressed like a Mardi Gras reject.

We get as close as we can to sealing the mother-daughter love loop when Fiona dies in Cordelia’s arms and ends up in her Hell, which is a fishing cabin with The Axeman for all eternity. Ironically, this is his heaven. Her disgust with the knotty pine walls — as if that’s the worst part about it — and her statement “This is Cordelia’s work!” made me shake my head. Oh Fiona, have you learned nothing? I guess her situation is pretty hellish, but wouldn’t a more apt Hell for Fiona be a place where she’s perpetually old? Or decrepit? I dunno, she was having fun with The Axeman and talking about running away with him two episodes ago. I don’t know why I’m complaining about this now. The moral of the “story” is a lifetime of evil ultimately gets punished (Fiona, Marie, Delphine, Madison), and the good souls (Cordelia, Zoe, Queenie) get a reprieve. Misty is the odd one out, who didn’t really deserve her rather brutal non-ending. (It’s actually kind of baffling that the writers did that to her. From what I’ve seen online, Misty was one of the most popular characters.)

I’m a bit sad to say goodbye to all these witches, but we’ll see many of the actresses back in their new forms for Season 4, whatever they may be. Communists? Stepford Wives of the 1950s? Aliens? Roswell workers? So many possibilities. I just hope the showrunners regroup and work on a solid plotline for next season. And yes, no matter what, I will be watching. Perhaps recapping, too. I’ve had a blast writing these for you guys this season, and I’m always happy to share with such an engaged, thoughtful audience. Hope you’ve had as much fun/rage/laughs as I did!

Witch, Please: (every week I’m going to award the witchiest witch of them all) You know it’s Cordelia. She can do it all!

Random Thoughts:

  • What about Spalding and the baby? They certainly left that thread dangling in the wind, eh? It’s almost like: “Nothing we do at this point will make sense with Spalding, so let’s just not do anything with him.” His final scene with Madison’s dead body was about as creepy as you can get. I thought he was dead, though … I … I give up.
  • Characters that didn’t really serve any purpose in the long run: (especially) Joan, (especially) Luke, Nan, Hank, Hank’s father. That’s a lot. And I might even be missing some.
  • No, but seriously. Are FX and the IOC in cahoots? Now I just want to watch the Olympics.
  • How could the writers do that to poor Misty? She was just an innocent, Fleetwood Mac-loving girl from the swamp. She deserved a better afterlife, like, I dunno, say a Stevie Nicks show that goes on for infinity?
  • Myrtle: “This is your bailiwick.” Madison: “Whatever that means.”
  • I LOVED the news ticker on the bottom of the screen while Cordelia was being interviewed: “Liza Minnelli talks about her hip.”
  • Yeah, Da Vinci was probably a warlock. It would explain so much. Also: Salvador Dali. I can see that.
  • Madison: “I’m going back to Hollywood, where people are normal.”

(Read what my HuffPost TV colleague Mo Ryan thought about this season of “American Horror Story” — we tend to have a mind-meld about these things, so whatever she thinks, I usually agree with her, and this is no exception)

Episode 12 Recap
Episode 11 Recap
Episode 10 Recap
Episode 9 Recap
Episode 8 Recap
Episode 7 Recap
Episode 6 Recap
Episode 5 Recap
Episode 4 Recap
Episode 3 Recap
Episode 2 Recap
Episode 1 Recap


Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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