Bob Newhart had dreamed about the stars since he was a little boy. He used to stare out his window for hours, too enthralled to go to sleep, only to nod off later in class.
Despite his brushes with academic narcolepsy, Bob graduated with high grades and was quickly recruited to NASA. Here was where he truly excelled above the other space-exploring hopefuls, coming in first in tests of turbulence tolerance, advanced button-switching without the aid of gravity, and ability to eat freeze-dried ice cream in large quantities.
Bob thought he had found his soulmate when he met Marcy Heidiger, a science reporter who had eyes the color of the night sky, hair the color of the sun, and a face as round as the moon. They had only been on two dates when Bob had already decided she was the girl he was going to marry.
Art by Wirrow
All fires begin with a spark.
All sparks begin with friction, two pieces of something hard and unmoving that don’t fit together, but strain to, yearn to wear themselves down. They push and push, struggle, catch. And then a click, a thin scrap of light.
Everything begins with a spark.
(They were too different to ever work, all scars and jagged edges, hurt and broken and repaired so many times they were full of pit-marks and potholes. Both too stubborn, their friends said, shaking their heads. Hard. Principled. Unyielding. They shouted and fought, orbited around each other with gleaming eyes like animals in heat.)
In order for me to properly review the season finale of Hawaii Five-0, it is necessary I tell you the following story: This last weekend, my brother graduated from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry. Since the university is so large, there were two graduations: a big one where they had a “big” speaker, and a smaller, intimate one for the department where they all received their diplomas and their professors spoke. One professor, in particular, said something that’s been stuck in my head, especially since the season finale of Hawaii Five-0. No, he did not talk about Hawaii Five-0 in the graduation speech (though that would have made it way more interesting). He was talking about how the real world is different from college, and he made an interesting point about what we consider to be good or good enough in different situations. For instance, an 85% on a test is a B+, which is a good grade you can be proud of. But an 85% will not be good enough in the real world in many situations. Say these kids took their degree and went on to become doctors — they couldn’t perform open heart surgery if they only 85% knew what they were doing.
Season finales are the open heart surgery of television shows. They are extraordinarily difficult to make amazing. Good is easy, most episodes of TV shows are good. But to get an episode that says, “This isn’t just any old episode, this is a finale“, they need to go that extra mile. They need to both wrap a season up to a viewer’s satisfaction, but leave enough unanswered questions that everyone will tune in next season. And as if that wasn’t hard enough, they need to be the sort of episode that bears repeated scrutiny every time someone views it. They need to have the power to hold up. Because if you’re a crazy person (like me), you re-watch season finales trying to find itsy-bitsy clues you missed, or maybe just because you need to scratch that itch over the long summer hiatus. And the Hawaii Five-0 finale got it 85% right.
I’ve said it a million, billion times, and I’ll say it again — it is awful trying to review part one of something without seeing part two. Imagine having to review a book when you still have four chapters to go, or a movie before you reach the conclusion. It’s pretty much impossible. And this is why I always have issues reviewing the second to last episode of a season. Because, much like this week’s Hawaii Five-0, they’re often functional as part one of a greater arc, and how are you supposed to form an opinion on something’s conclusion when you only have half the material to review?
By nature, I’m not a particularly patient person. I never see the point of sitting around twiddling one’s thumbs when you could be doing something instead. Which, I guess, is why I’ve always had a particular problem with this time of year. Episodes leading up to massive season finale blowouts are generally calm before the storm sorts of episodes, the sort you forget until you get the DVD set and go, “Oh, right, that happened.” Which is sort of what this week’s episode of Hawaii Five-0 was.
When I heard that there was going to be a press announcement Sunday night I was totally freaked out. When I hear “surprise press conference regarding national security” that’s going to happen that late on a Sunday night, to me that translates to you’re all going to die, fuckers, put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye.
So it wasn’t that. It was good news. It was Osama bin Laden. And I should have felt relieved, or proud of my country, or something. And I did feel relieved that it wasn’t some sort of imminent bombing, but mostly I felt… nothing. I felt absolutely nothing.