Wow. Just when I thought The Darkest Show Ever Made couldn’t get any darker, it went all pitch-black on my ass. I can safely say that nothing good happened to any of the characters this season. Except, maybe, for Ruth. As my mom pointed out, she gets around.
Let’s start with Nate. Poor, poor Nate. Peter Krause did a phenomenal job of busting out even more angst, but DAMN. This guy has had a lot to deal with in just 13 episodes. First, they scared us with that whole Nate-might-be dead thing, then we find out he’s “settled down,” which is so completely out of character, then we find out his content marriage is anything but, and then Lisa disappears and dies? That’s harsh. I love Lili Taylor as an actress, but I honestly never found a reason to like her character, so from that very inhumane standpoint I’m glad to see her go (Nate + Bren 4-Eva!) but I think a normal person in Nate’s circumstances would be far less restrained than this guy. He seems to exert his anger to the point of exhaustion, and even drives drunk, but that’s about it. It still doesn’t even feel like he’s feeling what happened to him. It’s too ridiculously traumatic, and I blame Alan Ball. I hope Nate gets a break next season.
Onto David. I cannot emphasize enough how much of a badass Michael C. Hall is. His character exemplified exactly how I feel about Keith (Mathew St. Patrick), too: He’s an asshole! And David puts up with all of his crap! Those last couple of episodes were some of Hall’s best acting work on the show, especially when he tells Keith off and slaps his hand away. These two are in a weird co-dependent, forcefully loving relationship, and it’s almost uncomfortable to watch them together. I hope something drastic changes in their lives next season, because I’m not going to be happy if David ends up with Keith. (I love David Hornsby!)
Claire? Who knows. The abortion thing was a bit much. So was Russell, who was maybe the least intriguing guy she could have chose to be with, ever. And her art teacher? Insufferable. I know the Gabe storyline dragged on way too long, but I was so excited to see him in the season finale that I realized how much of a letdown the rest of Claire’s life had been over the previous twelve episodes. At the very least, I love Lauren Ambrose, and I love her even more when they wash her hair because it looks pretty and shiny and nice.
Brenda is definitely my favorite character, even if she’s a royal bitch. I think she’s made enough amends to be forgiven, and what with her recent interactions with Billy the INSANEST PERSON ALIVE, she deserves some normalcy. Rachel Griffiths is just so incredibly mysterious and intriguing in the role—Brenda is the type of character that’s an open book to the right person, but she’s far from finding him or her, and the audience isn’t that person, either, so we remain on the outside like everyone else.
Oh, and Rico should really dump Vanessa and her sister and just party at the tango club every night. Freddy Rodriguez looks much better when he’s smiling, anyway.
Ruth, though. First she had a little BFF in Kathy Bates (which hardly intrigued me), then she had an awkward non-physical relationship with Arthur, a.k.a. Rainn “Always a Little Dwight” Wilson, then she jumped into being a guy’s seventh wife. At least she’s the only one taking care of Nate’s baby.
For all of this season’s incredibly dark, depressing storylines, I still enjoyed it for its paintball fights, hallucinations, three-ways, crying babies, art shows, and shocking deaths (some of which were family-related, which was disorienting). I just hope next season involves a few more smiles and a lot more Richard Jenkins as Nathaniel Fisher. This family needs its guardian angel now more than ever.