Sunday, January 5, 2014

Summer TV Rewind: Wonderfalls 1.13: "Caged Bird"

“I let him go. I had to let him go, but I didn’t want to let him go. I wanted to keep this one. Why can’t I have nice things?”

So yeah, it’s not exactly summer anymore. In fact, it’s pretty much the coldest weather we’ve had (or will have…hopefully) all winter. But it occurred to me that when things at my day job kind of exploded at the end of the summer, the end of the summer MTVP schedule got a bit neglected. Now that my day job has calmed down a little (for now), I can’t leave this excellent finale of one of my favorite shows hanging. I’m not sure offhand if the creative team knew this was the finale at the time it was being filmed, but it wraps things up fairly nicely. We finally, by the end, get a conclusion to the Jaye and Eric saga, although there are some more painful moments to endure before we finally get there. We don’t get any real resolution to Jaye’s situation with the Muses, but by the end of the episode, she does seem a bit more comfortable with the role they play in her life.

Most of the episode takes place in the Wonderfalls shop, which seems appropriate for the series finale. Jaye and security guard Wade are watching a kid they think may try to steal something. This is a good introduction to Wade, who in stereotypical fictional security guard fashion, really wanted to be a cop but couldn’t meet the physical standards. Jaye just wants the reward Wonderfalls will pay her for catching somebody shoplifting, but Wade sees his job as an opportunity to actually change lives. The muses start telling Jaye to “let him go,” which Jaye first interprets as meaning she should let the shoplifting kid go. This makes Wade more upset, obviously. The other interpretation of “let him go” that she arrives at pretty quickly is Eric, of course. Eric stops by to by souvenirs and tell Jaye that he and Heidi are going back to New Jersey. He implies that if Jaye asks him to stay, he’ll stay, but thanks to the Muses, Jaye doesn’t.

Wade is trying to encourage the local cops to deal with the shoplifter kid when news of a serious crime comes over the radio. There has been a robbery at a nearby bank. This doesn’t affect Wonderfalls at all until the bank robber finds his way to the shop while trying to evade the cops. There isn’t a back door, and the gate to the boat tour kiosk is closed for the off season, so he has nowhere to go. He decides that his best option at that point is to take hostages. Alec has to close the store, so the only people left with the bank robber are himself, Jaye, Sharon (who had stopped by to coordinate with Jaye about an anniversary gift for their parents), and Wade. The bank robber shot a security guard at the bank, and as they see on the news that the security guard has died, the bank robber gets more desperate. All he really wants is a clean way out of Wonderfalls.

Eric of all people makes this clean getaway a lot more complicated than the bank robber anticipated. In a really sweet scene earlier in the episode, Sharon saw how broken up Jaye was about Eric leaving and suggested that Jaye tell Eric how she feels before he really does leave for good. Jaye takes Sharon’s advice and calls Eric, asking him to meet her at the trailer park. Eric agrees, and when Jaye doesn’t show up, he stops by Wonderfalls to find out what happened. The bank robber tells Jaye to make Eric go away, so she says mean, nasty things to him and won’t give them closure. Eric does go away, but we’ll find out later that he knew Jaye was acting strange and clued the police into the bank robber being at Wonderfalls.

Even though most of the action in the episode is set around the hostage situation (understandably), there’s a lot of time devoted to sorting out the show’s various romantic subplots. Mahandra is still resisting taking her relationship with Aaron public. She thinks that because Karen always hates any girl Aaron brings home, dating Aaron officially will be seen as a betrayal of the Tyler family. Mahandra gets stuck distracting Heidi while Eric goes for his rendezvous with Jaye, so she starts complaining about this situation to Heidi. Heidi, rightly, thinks Mahandra’s worries are ridiculous. Heidi’s been spending the past few episodes just trying to get Eric to love her again, so she thinks it’s ridiculous that Mahandra is worried about pursuing a relationship with someone who loves her without reservation. By the end of the episode, Mahandra and Aaron kiss in front of the rest of the Tyler family, and they’re completely cool with it.

Jaye and company try to organize a daring escape attempt from Wonderfalls, but it all falls apart when Wade has a heart attack just as he’s trying to clobber the bank robber over the head with a paddle. Jaye and Sharon manage to keep Wade barely alive, but it raises the stakes and makes the bank robber more desperate. Just when things are really looking like they aren’t going to end well, the Muses tell Jaye about a secret door out of the store. She leads the bank robber there, and he forces her into his car. Just as he’s trying to speed away from the shopping center, though, he crashes into another car. That car is driven by none other than Heidi, who sped off from the Barrel in search on Eric as soon as she saw him on the news talking about why he knew Jaye was in trouble. Heidi and Jaye remain unhurt, though, because an ambulance taking Wade to the hospital runs over the bank robber.

Eric and Heidi leave for New Jersey once all the dust settles, but all is not as it seems. The final scene is in the fairly near future. Wade has recovered, and he’s back at work (although he can’t really run down shoplifting kids at the moment). Jaye is working a regular shift at Wonderfalls when she’s shocked to see Eric standing in front of her. He wants to return all the souvenirs because he doesn’t need them anymore. He and Heidi are now divorced, and he’s moving back to Niagara. He went back to New Jersey just long enough to get Heidi settled. Now that his old life is finally all in order, Eric also wants to be with Jaye again. Jaye is thrilled, and the series ends with them kissing right in the middle of the store. I guess that old saying about if you love something set it free actually works out sometimes? We can only hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment