The one thing I keep talking about this season is how much the characters have grown from where we began at the start of season 1 and how naturally that transition has gone. Nothing exemplifies that better than the way in which we find that Gordon, Haley, Cam, and Joe have become this little family together. The episode opens with such a wonderful family moment and I feel like this entire episode has been about growth in some way or another and yet how change doesn’t always mean that nothing remains the same.
To start with, can you believe that Cameron and Gordon are the friends they are today remembering how much they were at each other’s throats in the beginning? Cameron and Gordon’s rivalry was so bitter when they first met, and now, even after Gordon found out about Cameron writing the algorithm for Bos that gave Rover the ability to crush Comet, they’re able to sit and chat all friendly. It’s a mark of how both of them have grown as people. They’re able to put things behind them that, once upon a time, they would’ve never even dreamed of letting go, choosing instead to cling to that bitterness until it dragged them both down. Season 3 was when their friendship really began to formulate, but these days, they’re very at peace with each other. They have a healthy friendship, really. There is no better way to describe that.
Joe talks to Bos when they meet up about how it is crazy even to him to think that the person he used to be is the same person as he is now, and it is to us viewers too, except the transition has been so believable and realistic. Joe MacMillan in season 1 was a cold, hard, desperate man who had been forced by life to become an island of one, focusing only on himself and his own success. Joe even says to Bos that that Joe “Wanted everything, and didn’t care who he had to go through to get it”, which is absolutely true. The Joe we have now is a person who has seen what that does, multiple times, and as he’s grown as a person and come to accept himself better, he just doesn’t want what he once did.
He mentions wanting children, and I think that we’ve seen a very natural progression from Joe being all about me, me, me to being a person who wants to stop running at the next big thing and just stop and enjoy what he has. The way he treats people is enough of an example of how he wants these people in his life and wants to keep them now, he doesn’t just want to use them up and go on to the next ones. It’s such a really interesting move to have him and Haley bond so much, especially after the big reveal that Haley’s issues relate to her being queer just like he is. I love that Joe sees her for who she is and immediately recognizes himself. I think that now that Gordon has also gotten a glimpse at Haley being queer after realizing the bird tattoos are the drawings from Haley’s rocket, he’s going to understand her a lot better, too.
While all this positive growth has been going on, over on Donna’s side of the fence, things aren’t going so well, and we get a glimpse at what I think this whole season has been building to, and that’s Donna realizing that the person he has become isn’t necessarily one she likes. Her life is so career oriented, and everything in her life is focused on being the biggest and baddest boss bitch of all, and she’s great at it. But at the same time, we constantly get shown how her big, modern, fancy house is empty, she drinks a lot, and even at work, she’s pushing people. She has so much pride and refusesto budge, and now it’s costing her at work as well.
What really makes it the most obvious how empty her life is even though she is at her most successful is the way that, when she gets stopped for drunk driving, the only person who she can call to come get her is Gordon, her ex-husband. Her little speech about how she was imagining herself crushing 22 year old Donna was heartbreaking, because you see that she’s finally starting to break under the weight of her own success. I also really enjoy the way that, though their marriage wasn’t successful, Gordon and Donna are still each other’s rock when times get tough. You’ve seen it a few times before, but Gordon and Donna have so much history that even now, years after they’ve been split up, they still get each other better than anybody else. It’s just another one of those examples of how they’ve each grown as people and yet are still the same person they always were deep down.
I’m really excited to see where this all goes. Cameron is starting on a new adventure and I’m eager to see what that is. Donna causes a rift between Joe and Gordon in some way, or so the previews show, and I’m eager to see what that is. I want to see what they do with the news that Haley has a secret crush/girlfriend and this is why she has been acting so strangely. I wonder if the “Joe wants kids” thing is going to go anywhere. I wonder if Bos and Diane are gonna get married. There’s just so much left to look forward to and so little time left! I’m going to miss everything about this show once it’s finished, but I will spend the rest of my days hyping it until everybody I know has given in and watched it and regretted not watching it while it was airing.
What did you guys think? Any comments you want to make? Any thoughts you want to share? I’m always eager to see what others have to say!