'The End' Season 1 Review: Raw yet quirky approach to reality of life and death
There have been many shows where viewers are introduced to someone’s failing life and how they cope with it. However, there have been only a few projects that have managed to shed a light on the aforementioned topic in a quirky manner. One of such shows is ‘The End’ on Showtime.
‘The End’ is an Australian TV show that follows three generations of a family trying to cope with their lives. Everyone is going through something, but the show’s main focus is on Edie (Harriet Walter) who wants to end her life and die with dignity. On the other hand, her daughter, Kate (Frances O’Connor), is going through a lot in her life as well.
The series opens with Harriet Walter lying in bed with a bag over her head and a near-empty bottle of booze by her side. At the same moment, a log falls out of the fire downstairs and her home is set ablaze. However, this is now how she wants to die. Harriet gets off the bed and takes the last sip of vodka. Seeing the situation, she thinks of jumping out of the window and ending her life. She groans as she hits the ground and is really disappointed when she gets injured.
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Harriet is furious and fiercely jabs the bracelet on her wrist. While going to the hospital, she shows the medic her bracelet that reads, “Do not resuscitate.” The opening scene perfectly sets up the tone for what’s about to come. The episode is funny and devastating at the same time as viewers think that it is not that simple to arrive at such drastic decisions.
Meanwhile, her daughter Kate (Frances O’Connor) believes that enough is enough and it is time to call her to Australia. As Harriet reaches Australia, she gets to know that she is being relocated to a retirement village where people like her are spending their time either to enjoy their lives or just counting their days before they take their last.
The show takes a drastic turn when one of Kate’s patients hangs herself in the hospice room because it was unbearable for her to suffer so much. This happens after the patient and her husband had procured enough of a drug to kill her and wanted to go home to do so. But, as someone who specializes in palliative care, Kate refuses to give permission. That’s where the real crux of the story arrives: is there a need to keep someone alive when his or her condition is worsening?
The thought of dying is something that’s still seen as taboo and it is a topic that we always shy away from whether that be out of fear or sadness or the uncertainty that comes with death. The series does a perfect job in asking that question and forces you to ask yourself if you should or should not have the right to die with dignity.
The best part of the show is that it never shies away from talking about things that might trigger viewers. From having suicidal thoughts to self-harm, creator Samantha Strauss has touched every topic that needs to be talked about. For example, one of the show’s characters, Oberon Brennan (Morgan Davis), is going through a gender-related dilemma. He is a transgender schoolboy and covers himself in scars as he goes through the worst period of his life. Just like his grandmother, he continues to think about whether he should end his misery or not.
As we move forward, we get to know why Edie wants to end her life. She underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer, took care of her husband when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and bladder cancer. Edie also finds out a diary where she finds out that how he cheated on her on different occasions during their marriage. Edie is really depressed and wants to end all of it. The show also addresses how these kinds of suffering can affect someone.
Walter as Edie is as good as it can get. No one could have portrayed the role better than her and we are really fortunate that we are seeing an actor like Walter still doing such magnificent roles. She is raw in her emotions and doesn’t let her guard down. On the other hand, O’Connor has done a splendid job in depicting a woman who is torn between her personal and professional lives.
Morgan Davis is a revelation as Oberon as she plays the role of this conflicted person on how he should be living his life. Meanwhile, Ingrid Torelli as Persephone is weird in many ways, but her courage to stand for truth is what makes her personality so intriguing.
It is not easy talking about life and death and ‘The End’ doesn’t provide an easy answer on how to talk about the matter. It further complicates the complex conservations on the aforementioned topics. All in all, ‘The End’ might not be everyone’s cup of tea as everyone doesn’t want to sit around and talk about how they want to die. But the series beautifully revolves around a family that is imperfect and dealing with some real issues.
‘The End’ is undoubtedly one of the best shows we have seen in a long, long time. ‘The End’ premieres on Sunday, July 18, at 8 pm ET exclusively on Showtime.