09 March 2016


Early Edition: Last Page

And we're done! With a season finale that I was not expecting at all . . .

This episode was hard to blog about because it doesn't give Gary the usual moral or logistic dilemma that I tend to zero in on. By this point in his life, he seems to have hit his stride as The Reader. All the conflict he runs into here is external, and he deflects it all expertly. Both his friends and the city police are now taking his strange vocation for granted. This isn't a "Gary episode," you see. It's a "Marissa episode."

And for the first time ever, I think:
Harry, Hermione, and Ron

Have you thought about what being Harry's Gary's friend would be like? Early Edition gives us two major "types." First we have Chuck, who seems to share his best buddy's unusual vocation and to flourish because of it: starting out mostly curious and self-interested, he grows increasingly selfless, helpful, and even heroic in his own right. And the Gary-Chuck dynamic is a great part of the show, because Chuck is not just great comic relief, but also a great sidekick. Then we have Marissa, who doesn't really get involved in Gary's adventures, in the sense that her life doesn't also change because her friend has become The Reader. With the exception of the Pilot episode, she mostly helps out behind the scenes, letting him run things by her and nudging him toward what he probably already knows he should do.

But this doesn't mean her life isn't affected by Gary's unusual vocation. In the very first "Marissa episode," we saw that one of his missions gave her a chance to return to her hometown, where she had not been for years. And when she reconnected with an old flame, she was able to say some things that she needed to get off her chest and he needed to hear. There will always be some spillover when a friend of yours has an important mission that you yourself believe in.

We see the same sort of thing in this episode . . . and I suddenly realise that Marissa has a higher calling of her own, as The Counselor. There's more than one way to save a life--and they're not all supernatural.

The Season 1 finale doesn't give me my favourite break from the Early Edition formula, but it was nice to see a show with an extraordinary conceit take some time to celebrate something as ordinary as a close and fruitful friendship.

Now I must thank all my own friends who have watched and commented on Gary, Chuck, and Marissa's adventures with me: Bat, Bob, Christopher, Entropy, Hans, Itinerante, Jenny, Jess, Noel, and Sheila! And a very special thank you to the Most Valuable Commenter on this series, Brandon! It was fun while it lasted, wasn't it? =)

Your Turn to Be the Hero: If Gary were one of your closest friends, would you be more like Chuck the Sidekick or Marissa the Counselor?


Belfry Bat said...

That's clearly an alphabetical list, by the way. I can't recall the last time I said something useful.

Brandon said...

It has indeed been fun!

This episode was surprisingly low-key -- how things end gives special emphasis, and it's interesting that the writers decided to place the emphasis of the first season not on Gary at all, nor on his heroics, nor on The Paper, but entirely on friendship. I wonder now if that was the intent all along -- that the idea was originally that it was supposed to be a show about friendship, and it's just that the conceit was so striking in its own right that it often temporarily took on a life of its own. (That would explain, for instance, the otherwise odd fact that the narrative voice-overs are not by Gary, which would have been the obvious way to do things.) In a sense, we can say that the season would have been very different if it had really been about The Paper; while sometimes it is front and center, in fact it's mostly just the means to get Gary out and about and, it seems, interacting with his friends.

I suspect that I would be more Counselor than Sidekick; a lot of what makes Chuck good at the latter is his willingness to jump headlong into things, which is not the sort of thing I tend to do.

Enbrethiliel said...


Bat -- You'll notice that all my lists of friends are alphabetical or reverse alphabetical! I had thought about basing this one on frequency of comment or total word count . . . but then I got lazy. All the same, you might have come out near the top even with those two standards!

Brandon -- The finale is certainly surprising enough to make me want to watch Season 2! I don't think I'll blog about it, though. (Then again, committing to it would guarantee this blog will be around for another three years!)

I'm game enough to be a Sidekick, so that would be the role I hope I fall into. =) I also doubt the quality of any advice I'd have to give: I'd second guess myself too much to be a proper Counselor!