“Saving Grace”

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I blogged. Moving will do that to you. More on that later. What I really want to talk about it the TV show “Saving Grace” starring Holly Hunter. Yes, I know I’m coming late into this since the show is now over, but without cable, I had to wait on the DVDs and just got to watch the finale last night.

I have to say I’m hugely disappointed in the writers.

First of all, if you don’t know the show, it’s basically a cop show that centers around Grace Hanadarko played by Holly Hunter, a lewd, crude, Oklahoma City cop with a very dark side and an angel named Earl, brilliantly played by Leon Rippy. Grace drinks too much, swears a blue streak, smokes like a chimney in winter, and humps every man she meets. But she has a heart as big as the outdoors. If you’re her friend or family, there is nothing she won’t do for you to protect you. If you’re her enemy, there’s nothing she won’t do TO you to protect others.

As a writer, I have to admire the characters created in this series. They are believable and well written. The dialog, though rough, is realistic. The situations are also realistic. It’s a well-written, well-crafted show. It’s not my usual fare and it surprised me that I liked it as well as I did. But the ending left me flat. Okay, I’ll give the writers some credit. Maybe they’d just found out they’d been canceled. Maybe they were having an off day. Maybe they were trying to leave a message. Maybe…well, whatever, it fell flat.

In the last show, I guess Grace is trying to find solace after accidentally killing a young girl in a car accident. She goes to Mexico to trace the child’s path. Along the way, she finds “rebirth” and “baptism” by the ocean and returns to OK to face a demon/evil who has been plaguing her over the past few episodes.

First issue – why didn’t the writers introduce this guy earlier in the series? By bringing him in now, it’s almost like an afterthought. I don’t find it very believable.

Second issue – the ending itself. It was a complete and total downer. Yes, she sacrificed herself. I knew that was coming. All of us who watched it knew that was coming. But the ending left no hope for the survivors – or the viewers. It was completely devoid of any spark, except that of darkness. Does that mean evil won? By Grace sacrificing herself, will evil now have free rein? A possibility. But… in today’s climate of hopelessness, I would have left the viewers with a thread to hold onto. Perhaps my ending would have been like this:

Scene: Ham and Butch carrying stretcher with body bag (supposedly Grace) to ambulance. Everyone lined up in two rows saluting, sobbing.

Cut to picture of Grace sitting on top of pile of letters, possibly even drinking a beer, Earl standing behind her.

Grace: Will they be okay?

Earl: Eventually.

Grace: So, what now?

Earl: We go home.

Grace: Will G-pa and my sister be there?

Earl: Yep.

Grace: Cool.

Grace stands, puts the beer bottle down, takes Earl’s hand. There is a flash of brilliant white light. Everyone turns, sees only the beer bottle sitting on top of the pile of letters. Rhetta grins through her tears.

Fade to black, roll credits.

And that’s how I would have left the characters – and viewers – with a little hope.

But then, I’m all about the happy endings. 🙂

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