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The Ending is the Beginning: A Night of 1000 Bubbles (and Tears) on the Series Finale of "Pushing Daisies"

In the topsy-turvy world of Bryan Fuller's candy-colored Pushing Daisies, death isn't always the ending but quite often the beginning.

This weekend's series finale of Pushing Daisies ("Kerplunk"), which sadly went off the air without much in the way of fanfare after being delayed six months and unceremoniously dumped on Saturday evenings, followed through on this underlying thread, which had deliciously wriggled its way through the entire series.

After all, it's a series that began with the resurrection of a beloved dog by a grief-stricken young boy who soon learns that he has the power to bring the dead back to life with a touch. But it's an ability that has deadly consequences for those around him, even if he uses his powers to solve murders and avenge the dead.

The death of lonely tourist Charlotte Charles has lasting repercussions, particularly to her aunts Lily and Vivian (or, I should say, her mother and her aunt), who have become withdrawn recluses following Chuck's death, removing themselves even more from the world that once adored them as the Darling Mermaid Darlings. On the eve of their return to fame and fortune with the Aquacade, long-buried secrets have a nasty way of rearing their ugly heads, but so do second chances.

And really, that's what Pushing Daisies is all about in the end: second chances.

I had the opportunity to watch the final three installments of Pushing Daisies back in April (and wrote about my experiences watching these incredible episodes here) but, now that the final episode has aired, I'm curious to know what you thought of the series' send-off as it heads to the big piehole in the sky.

Pushing Daisies clearly meant to go out with a bang rather than a whimper and one need only look at the slew of guest stars assembled for the final installment to see how the series retained its unique quirkiness right up until the end. What other series could boast a single episode featuring Wendie Malick, Nora Dunn, Wilson Cruz, Michael McDonald, Joey Slotnick, and Josh Hopkins at a traveling sea show? (My answer: none.)

While "Kerplunk," written by Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts and directed by Lawrence Trilling, was clearly not meant to be the series' ultimate episode, I thought that creator Bryan Fuller and Company did a good job of quickly wrapping up many of the storylines. The swooping CGI-laden camerawork as we soar over the familiar landmarks of the already-missed Papen County was a delightful and bittersweet way to end the series, by backtracking through the entire series' many stops along the way, an aerial trip down memory lane that culminates in a final image of Digby running through the fields of daisies, heading inexorably towards his death... and his life.

Elsewhere, Vivian finally learns that her fiance Charles Charles had cheated not with some unnamed woman but with her sister Lily and that Lily had secretly given birth to a baby girl and concealed her pregnancy and Charlotte's true parentage all these years. And, while I assume that had the series continued Vivian would have kicked Lily out of the house they've shared all of these years, their row is interrupted by Ned and Chuck at their front door. And Chuck finally gets to tell her aunts that she is in fact miraculously alive. I can't help but wonder what their reactions would have been to seeing the once-dead Charlotte alive again (or how Ned would have explained that without exposing his ability) and I can only hope that the adventures of this diverse band of eccentrics does get to continue on in comic form.

Meanwhile, the publication of Emerson's book, "Lil Gumshoe," has the intended result: it manages to bring him together with his missing daughter Penny, who uses the pop-up book to track down her detective father. Again, while we don't get to see the reunion between the two (we hear Penny knock at the door and say she's looking for Emerson Cod), it leaves things open enough to continue in another medium.

And lovelorn Olive Snook finally finds love with the loopy Randy Mann, allowing herself to keep her heart open even after it got broken (over and over again) by her unrequited love for the Pie Maker. I loved that this unlikely duo would open up The Intrepid Cow, a cow-shaped restaurant focusing on macaroni and cheese. (And that said macaroni would be Lil' Ivey brand, a clever shout-out to Fuller's own short-lived FOX series Wonderfalls, where the cocktail bunny spoke to Jaye.)

Was it a perfect ending? Definitely not but it was bittersweet, featured the dulcet tones of unseen narrator Jim Dale, tied up some of the series' dangling plotlines and made me tear up all over again.

Ultimately, I'm going to miss Pushing Daisies, which remains one of the most unique, inventive, and original series ever to air on US television, and most of all, it's compellingly quirky and lovable band of characters. To Ned, Chuck, Emerson, Olive, Lily, and Vivian: I'll see you on the other side.

What did you think of the series finale? Was it everything you hoped for? Did you tear up or sob? And is this the end for the forensic fairy tale? Talk back here.


Bella Spruce said…
I didn't know how they were going to create an ending worthy of this incredible show (especially as this episode was never intended to be a series finale) but, by god, they did it.

"Kerplunk" was spectacular, both visually and story-wise, and, although I'm heartbroken that Pushing Daisies won't go on, I am thrilled that we were treated to one final delicious, satisfying, sweet bit of this perfect pie.
When the shark jumped out of the water and swallowed one of the Aqua Dolls whole, I actually giggled with delight. No other show can dazzle the way that Pushing Daisies did. It will be sorely missed.
CaraBee said…
I loved this episode. I still can't bring myself to delete it off of my DVR. It's like the messages from an ex-boyfriend that you keep listening to over and over.

I am still brokenhearted that this show was canceled. I wish that one of the edgier channels had picked it up, I think it could have found a new life (ahem) on Sci-Fi, excuse me, SyFy or maybe Showtime. Such a shame.
Unknown said…
No tears, but I'll sure miss it. My 12yo son just got into it and was very disappointed to find this is the series finale. I'll get the DVDs from our library so he can watch from the beginning.

It's a real shame that the more inventive shows aren't appreciated and get booted: Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, etc.

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