TV Review: Pushing the last of the ‘Daisies’ (Spoiler Free)

13 Jun


June 13th, 2009-

Sigh. It’s here at last. The final episode of the prematurely dead Pushing Daisies, and while it is a shame that there is no more, the show goes out on top with a completely entertaining episode that not only gives us one more silly mystery but more character interaction(and confrontation) than we have had in a while. Issues between Chuck and Ned bubble to the surface, Lily and Vivian take the spotlight, and Emerson and his reasonably little gumshoe, Olive continue to prove that a spinoff featuring their characters could be just as great as Daisies.

I’ve been dreading this ep because I heard they pulled it aside and rejiggered it to make it fit better as a final coda for the series. Usually when this happens, its an odd and uncomfortable fit; the writers, without the pressure of keeping an audience might either play it too close to the collar and go for the full wrap-up or give us something so out of  left field it leaves us thinking ‘huh’? Life on Mars ABC remake, I’m looking at you.

I’m happy to report that for the most part, Dasies avoids both of those traps. It introduces something of a game changer(hilariously, Ned actually uses the term game changer in the ep) at the end, and that would have been the perfect note to end on but then what follows is a CGI heavy narrated wrap-up which, while containing a hilarious visual gag involving Olive’s future, feels very rushed and unecessary. It reminded me of a kid’s high school presentation, when they have been rambling, and suddenly the teacher reminds that 2 minutes are left and so the student tries to relate the last 40 years of American history into a smidgen of time.

Otherwise, everything here is on point. The characters we love are here, doing the things we loved seeing them do, and like the last two eps, there is an upped ante in regards to creative deaths. The one that opens tonight is one of the very best, topped perhaps only by the grisly escalator death a few eps ago.

I also appreciated that the series doesn’t leave us with unresolved emotional issues. The final bit might wrap things too neat, but before that, during the actual story we see the characters crashing into one another and events that have been in stasis start moving forward. When the story it ends, we also feel a certain sense of closure for Chuck and Ned, and the rest of the characters. This isn’t done by some strange out of left field event like Ned losing the ‘gift’, although I always wondered what would happen if Ned met someone else with the gift. If he had touched someone twice and they were dead again, would a touch from a different person bring them back? It always seemed like an odd possibility out there dangling, but I’m happy to report nothing so ‘cute’ goes down here. No, in the end, despite the manic closing scene, Pushing Daisies goes out as it came in; warm, quirky, funny and sincere in all the right places.

Keep an eye out for My So Called Life’s Wilson Cruz, twice as flamboyant here as he was as Ricky, and Michael McDonald who played the ever annoying giant man-boy Stuart on Mad TV (ugh!)

And, like that…it’s over. Chuck, Ned, Emerson, Olive, Digby, Pigby, Vivian, Lillian and even snarky coroner guy–you will be missed. Catch the entire second season on DVD and Bluray on July 21st.


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