Parting is such sweet sorrow. Especially when I’m forced to part with a show like Whiskey Cavalier, one that in “Czech Mate,” proved why it deserved not just another season, but many, many more.
As I wrote earlier, though, network TV is far from where it needs to be when it comes to recognizing what viewers actually want to see – or the way they want to consume entertainment.
That’s not on this show, though. Whiskey Cavalier was never a super deep show, or a super twisty one, but one thing it always was throughout the course of it’s first season was fun, and tropey and light. That’s all we required to get invested. That’s all we needed to love it.
It’s all we’ll need to miss it.
So, before we bid adieu, let us discuss the good, the tropey and the friendships in “Czech Mate.”
The thing with Will and Frankie was always a thing. We knew it, they knew it, hell, I’m pretty sure everyone that ever came in contact with them saw it. For a while there, I expected the show to play on the ‘they don’t realize what they mean to each other’ trope, but the show skipped that step and went ahead to the ‘they do realize but you know, timing and their job gets in the way’ trope.
Of course, that trope makes for more compelling moments, even if the show never got deep into the toxic parts of relationships like this – jealousy or possessiveness (which thank you, Whiskey Cavalier, thank you).It’s easier to put these two people into moments that’ll showcase their true feelings, because they aren’t oblivious to those feelings.
This gives the whole relationship an extra layer of depth, eve before there’s been so much as a real kiss. Will and Frankie know there’s something between them, know how far they’d go for each other, and they know the only thing standing in the way of more is …well, each other.
When this show started, this isn’t how I saw it going. I expected a more antagonistic approach to their relationship, a push and pull, a total clash of their styles. And we did get that, for a bit. And then, then the show did this super surprising thing – it got REAL.
I’ve talked about this before, but it should be mentioned again: Whiskey Cavalier dared to treat Will and Frankie as two people, instead of two characters, which means their growth, personal and towards each other, was linear. They weren’t stuck in the same place for even two episodes, same as people process every new experience and adjust accordingly. That might make for less stereotypical television, but on a day and age where reality is celebrated more and more, it was surprising, and refreshing to see.
And it made me love them even more, even if at times it felt like the push and pull wasn’t developing the way it should. The problem wasn’t really Frankie, or Will, the problem were my expectations of life, expectations tempered by what I’ve seen in TV shows, again and again, and expectations that, in many ways, bleed into our daily lives.
So, whether this is the last time we ever see Will and Frankie again (can it not be?) or whether they’re back to share their relationship with us, one thing is for certain: I’m glad I got to meet them, and I’m glad I got a chance to experience this part of the journey with them.
I believe a happy “beginning” is coming for them. So let’s cheer to that.
I think we can all agree the most surprising thing about where we found ourselves during the finale is the fact that anyone threatening Ray’s life was a matter of concern. Let’s not remember Frankie herself did that in episode 2, and we were all cheering for her.
But Ray has grown on us, he really has, and his “redemption arc” hasn’t been filled with big moments, instead it’s been pushed by Josh Hopkins’ inherent charisma and some damn good writing that has continuously gone against stereotype by just being, you know, real.
People mess up, that’s the hard fact of life. Sometimes people even mess up in catastrophic ways that are seemingly senseless. You don’t want to hurt the people you love, and yet sometimes you do, and you are the cause, there’s no ifs and buts about it.
Ray hurt Will. Bad. Ray likely knew he was going to hurt Will as he was sleeping with Gigi, and he still did it. Does that mean Ray cannot ever be forgiven? If you’d asked me ten episodes ago, I would have been leaning on the side of never ever, a la Frankie, but the beauty of ten episodes of treating a character like a person is that, at the end of the day, we know Ray.
We understand him.
And that makes it easier to forgive, if not forget. People are flawed, and messy and sometimes they hurt you. You are flawed and messy and sometimes you’ll hurt people. That doesn’t necessarily have to be the end.
It really doesn’t.
I’m going to be honest here, I absolutely hate cliffhangers, especially first season ones, most particularly first season ones for shows on the bubble. I mean, no matter how many people are watching your show, there is a large contingent of viewers out there who are invested in the story you’re telling, viewers who will fight for more if required, who’ll make noise, and who’ll fight the good fight.
Those viewers don’t need a cliffhanger to care. We never have. And yet the same way networks are stuck in the old ways of evaluating TV shows, showrunners are stuck in the same old ways of getting attention for viewers: leaving us hanging by putting our favorite characters in danger and/or dangling something we really want in front of us and then cutting to black.
Whiskey Cavalier did both, for the record.
But I’ll argue we don’t really need any of that. In general, and in Whiskey Cavalier. I mean, Ollerman being alive and Standish being in trouble aren’t really outlandish things, considering the genre, and the Will and Frankie thing only serves to make us frustrated, because how many times have we been here before? We already know these two have feelings for each other!
So yes, the dreaded cliffhanger should be a thing of the past, it really should be. If you make a good show, you don’t need those final seconds of OMG what’s gonna happen next to keep me interested, and you don’t need those seconds to make me talk about the show.
Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!
Whiskey Cavalier aired Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.