Well, as a season finale, I'm all for it. As a series finale, it blows. Too many loose ends! Shall we count them up?
First: Bruce and Susan. She is really hot under the collar at Bruce -- not because of Melinda, per se, but because Bruce lied to her about Melinda. Bruce can't understand why Susan's so upset about the lying, and that more or less confirms Susan's suspicions that they're just not connecting. Want to know who planted those suspicions? Melinda, who, when confronted by Susan, said, "Hey, Bruce feels you two aren't connecting these days." Melinda also told Susan that she wasn't in love with Bruce, but she was attracted to him and they're a lot alike. Anyway, Susan and Bruce have a huge blowout at the Deckers' end-of-summer party and Susan ends up stalking off with some strange man. But that must not have taken, because a few hours later, she's fielding a phone call from Roger, and she agrees to meet him in his hotel room. Bruce won't notice because he's tracked down Melinda to whatever bar she's frequenting that evening.
Second: Roger's in a hotel room because he somehow couldn't bring himself to board a plane to Cincinnati and begin job-hunting. This is after he A) accepted the job offer, and B) overrode Janet's objections with "You may be the heart of this family, but I am the head of it." So Roger's angry at Janet. Janet's unhappy because she had wanted to grow old with Susan and be around for Trina's baby, and then Roger doesn't get on the plane. Instead, he calls Susan and she meets him in his hotel room. Meanwhile, poor Janet's left at home to paste her new column, "Ask Janet," into her scrapbook and sit alone at her kitchen table.
Third: Trina finally spills the beans about the pregnancy to Tom after Susan expresses surprise she wouldn't. "All summer, you've been preaching about the importance of honesty in marriage," Susan points out. Because Trina's a big girl. She puts her money where her mouth is, and couches the announcement in terms of "I know we agreed not to have kids, I know what I have to do, but I wanted to know if there's room to talk about this." Tom thinks there is, and declares, "I have never loved you more than I do at this moment." They end the episode sweetly: Tom's dozing with his head pillowed on Trina's stomach, and Trina's reading the Dr. Spock book Janet brought her.
Fourth: Following a huge earthquake in Guatemala, Doug's sense of helplessness over not knowing whether a friend is okay and his aimlessness dur to unemployment collide. He finds a solution -- he's off to help rebuild in the country -- and manages to ditch Laurie at the last minute. She had been planning to join him, but Doug points out via letter that she should savor her last year of school before launching into the adult world. As a consolation prize, she gets the keys to his place for the year.
Finally: Gail's sister Maggie takes Sam and tries to get Gail into rehab, but our favorite coke whore checks herself out that night and BJ catches her partying with two men. He is absolutely gutted by this, as Sam's entire life has just been disrupted for a lie.
Do Roger and Susan finally consummate their relationship? Does Janet tell Roger to go to Cincinnati without her? Does Janet find out about Roger and Susan? Does Bruce leave Susan for Melinda for good? Does Gail finally make it into rehab? Do BJ and Sam reunite? Does Laurie stay true to her wifty true love? Do Tom and Trina figure out how to juggle swinging and swingsets? Unless this show gets picked up by a cable net, we'll never know.Come on, someone. Get this show!
The episode opens with a slow pan across the Decker house and Tom VO-ing, "You are one sexy little lady. Some hot water, a little butter ... and I will gobble you right up." We see that Tom's working his mojo on a lobster, and although Tom's charm is truly extraordinary, I am skeptical of its power to transcend species barriers. Trina's amused by the sweet talk, but as a load of clams gets delivered, she get nauseous. Tom asks, "Since when did you get so squeamish?" "Is she pregnant?" my mom asks. Note: In the name of historical veracity, I watched this show in the presence of two people who were married and raising children in the 1970s -- my mom, whom some of you may remember from other recaps as Mabell, and my stepfather, Sparky. Anyway, y'all should be awed that my mom, who had never watched an episode of Swingtown was able to instantly peg Trina as pregnant. Also, she confirmed that Tom's tight-n-tiny shorts were indeed historically accurate.
So it turns out that Tom's having an end-of-the-summer clambake, and the only thing that's keeping Trina from hurling all over the Saarinen table is the comforting thought that Susan will be storing several pounds of the clams over at her place. Then Tom comes over to put the moves on her, and the smell of his seafood-laden lands wafting up toward her nose sends her to the bathroom. Oh, it's cruel that pregnancy gives you olfactory superpowers.
We cut to Bruce complaining about the smell in the Miller house and Susan curtly informs him that he's smelling mothballs. She's pulling the winter clothing out of storage and nursing one mother of a grudge vis a vis his little lie last night and the fact that he crept in long after midnight. Susan also lets Bruce know, very subtly with a nod to his briefcase, that she's on to him.
Then we hear Janet saying, "Pack your bags. I want you out of this house immediately." Is she finally kicking Roger to the curb, and thus preparing to embark on a fabulous new life as Chicago's latest advice columnist? Sadly, no. She's reading a draft of a column over the phone to Henry. Roger comes into the kitchen and expresses astonishment that Janet's been on the phone for over half an hour. She quickly gets off and happily burbles about Dear Trudy, reassuring Roger "You have absolutely nothing to be jealous of with Henry." Roger dismisses the idea that he'd actually be upset at anyone else expressing interest in his wife, then snits about how he was expecting a phone call. Janet preps a speech on how dream jobs are nice, but we all have to live in reality, and Roger replies that as a matter of fact, he already heard about the job, he did get the job (the "So f*** you, you faithless harpy" is left eloquently unsaid), and he wanted to sleep on it because "there's one thing -- we're moving to Cincinnati." We cut to Janet's shocked face.