Medium Series Finale Watch: Me Without You
Well, the end has arrived. Six-and-a-half seasons, a change of networks, 129 episodes, several near-death experiences, growing pains, puberty, “I see dead people”, career ups and downs, many many Opening Dream Sequences, tons of guest stars, and scores and scores of murderers, rapists, kidnappers and other assorted villains getting their come-uppance. What a delight this show has been. It seems rather ironic that I would choose to recap this show, only to have it cancelled on me (I didn’t jinx it! I swear!), but I figure any show that can last this long, especially given the less-than-advantageous time-slots it’s been thrown into, has earned a whopping great amount of respect from TV historians like myself. God knows dozens of lesser shows would have fallen by the wayside given such abject circumstances.
I honestly don’t know what the cast will do with their lives now that Medium will, from this moment, exist only in syndication and on DVD’s, but I wish them all the best. They have brought tons of joy, thrills, chills, laughter, tears, and smiles to me for the better part of seven years, and for that, I am grateful.
Tonight’s episode does not start with an ODS, but a telephone conversation. But first, to backtrack: Allison’s kidnapping in the last episode prevented her from meeting with Manuel’s friend, the dean of the law school that she applied to. I don’t know if the rush to finish out the season meant that there were several episodes that were scrapped rather than aired (and which might cause a few noticeable plot holes this episode), but apparently all is well and good; Allison is about to start law school, and Joe is calling her from an airplane from Hawaii to Arizona, having spent nearly a week in the Aloha State at a business conference. Cut to several hours later, during the wee hours of the morning… Joe calls again and states that he’ll be landing an hour earlier than anticipated. He tells her this mere seconds before the plane hits a patch of terrible turbulence that ends with Joe’s plane taking a nosedive. His last words to Allison are that he loves her, and then the phone cuts off. And I pray to God that this is an ODS after all, but we are not shown Allison waking up screaming. Instead, we go right to the credits. Could Joe be… nah, they wouldn’t dare. (Or would they...?)
Instead of rejoining the story in progress, we fast-forward to seven years in the future. Allison, wearing thick-rimmed glasses and conservative lawyer attire, is practicing her opening remarks for an upcoming trial against a Mexican drug cartel leader, for which Allison will be second chair. Her boss, D.A. Dennis Caruso, heartily approves, so much so that he’s considering letting her take point. Upon returning home, Allison is greeted by Marie, who is now 14 years old (and played by Sasha Pieterse from Pretty Little Liars). The next day is the seven-year anniversary of Joe’s death, and Allison wants to take Marie to the cemetery to pay their respects. However, Marie balks, stating that since nothing of Joe was ever found (NOOOOOO!), they had to bury an empty coffin. Allison pleads, but Marie is adamant, saying she’s grieved enough. Apparently there haven’t been any “visitations” from Joe’s spirit in the seven years since either, a fact that kind of ticks Marie off because she still never had the chance to say goodbye. Later, at Joe’s grave, Allison catches us up on a little family history: Ariel ended up going to law school, but married some guy named Dave before she finished. Bridgette is now in college and has decided to pursue a major in creative writing. And Joe’s middle name is “Pritchard”, which is something I never knew before. Well, if that were my middle name, I probably wouldn’t tell people either.
Allison’s big trial starts, and the defendant is a man named Luis Amenabar (played by Enrique Murciano, who spent all those years on Without a Trace). We get a few moments of opening statements, and that’s all. Later, in the courthouse parking garage, Caruso informs Allison that Amenabar’s attorney offered to plead guilty if they shipped him back to Mexico, a deal they flatly refused. And then things take a turn for the tragic. Caruso gets into his car and turns the ignition, which sets off a car bomb that kills him instantly.
A shocked Allison meets with Mayor Devalos (cool), who is still being aided by Lee’s wife Lynn. And speaking of Lee, he has since been promoted to Chief of Detectives. He informs Allison and Manuel that security cameras at the garage picked up nothing, but it seems clear who planted the bomb. Manuel begs Allison to hunker down and prosecute Amenabar herself, because not to do so would be to let a cartel leader subvert justice. He even promises her that she and her daughters would have round-the-clock protection. This apparently is enough for Allison to agree to continue.
Later, Allison gets a phone call from Ariel, who stands by her mother’s decision (and, who seems to have a very noticeable baby bump – mazeltov!) to keep going. Allison retorts that she’s been feeling frustrated at Joe’s lack of posthumous presence. But we then get an explanation for that in the episode’s first dream sequence (putting aside for the moment that this entire “It’s a Not-So-Wonderful-Life” premise of this episode isn’t one great big dream sequence itself): a stray dog runs down what seems to be a Mexican beach and comes across a body washed up on shore. What do you know, it’s Joe! And he’s alive! Yes, that would certainly explain the lack of visitations, wouldn’t it? (It’s worth noting that the music that plays over this scene is very Lost-esque.)
The next morning, Allison is in Devalos’s office begging him to use his pull with the Mexican authorities to try to find Joe. Devalos seems reluctant to follow-up on a dream from events seven years in the past, but he agrees to help her in any way he can. But for now, back to the trial: we see Allison cross-examining a man who is presumably one of Amenabar’s enforcers, who is in prison for killing two of the cartel’s competitors. Not surprisingly, the man refuses to implicate his boss. But when Allison looks at Amenabar, she instead sees Joe, still sporting the same shirt his was wearing the day his plane went down. However, it’s only a momentary flash. And later that night, a phone call from Devalos brings bad news: all attempts to find Joe have come up empty.
If Joe is, in fact, alive, you may be asking yourself “why hasn’t he made any attempt to contact Allison or get home?” Well, the most obvious answer is the right one: he has amnesia. His head is bandaged as explains to a Mexican cop that his memory loss is likely permanent, and needs help getting home (wherever that is). The cop leaves Joe’s side, and walks across the street to a parked car, whose passenger is revealed to be Amenabar. He tells Mr. Druglord that Joe has amnesia, and Amenabar pays him for his services. That can’t be good. And then, of course, Allison wakes up.
The next morning, Allison requests a meeting with Amenabar and his lawyer. Using subterfuge, he offers Amenabar a chance to clear himself of a trumped-up charge concocted by Allison as a means to see if he knows anything about Joe. Unfortunately, Amenabar is a wily one, and sees right through the charade. Finally, he makes Allison a deal: get him extradited to Mexico, and he’ll tell her where to find Joe.
Of course, Manuel is none too pleased about Allison’s putting the state’s case against Amenabar in jeopardy to indulge a wild goose chase to find her husband. Though it doesn’t make much sense why a cartel leader would want an amnesiac American in the first place, Allison tells Manuel that making the deal is the right thing if it leads her to Joe. Manuel is less than convinced, and tells Allison that there will be no deal with Amenabar.
The trial commences with Allison questioning Amenabar’s accountant. Amenabar take the opportunity to let Allison briefly glimpse a photograph in his possession, which clearly shows Joe very much alive. She demands to know where he is, but Amenabar, having now taken up residence inside her head, remains mum. And this latest outburst is the last straw for Devalos, who tells Allison later that night that he has no choice but to replace her as lead counsel, lest their prosecution fall through.
The next dream sequence gives further information about the whereabouts of Joe: apparently Amenabar’s dirty cop friend Eduardo has convinced Joe that his name is Danny, and that he is an employee of Amenabar. Joe relates that he has been repeatedly dreaming about a “mysterious blond woman” that he’s convinced he knows, along with three little girls that “feel like” his family, but Eduardo tells him it’s all his imagination. And Allison awakes with a “we’ll just see about that” look on her face.
The next morning, Allison tells Manuel that she met with Amenabar again, and he confirmed that he has been using Joe as a drug mule for the past seven years, smuggling drugs that he didn’t even know he was carrying. He asks her why Amenabar would tell her such a thing when there’s nothing in it for him, but a phone call from Lynn lays it all out: despite being replaced, Allison used her influence to agree to the extradition deal with Amenabar. The prosecution is over, and Manuel looks like he just got stabbed in the stomach. It’s a good thing the series is ending tonight, because this is the kind of thing that puts a real crimp in relationships.
After the commercial break, we see Allison in her SUV heading down to Mexico with Marie in the passenger seat. Marie is fed-up as hell, wondering why her mother would destroy her career and her daughter’s life to find a man who probably won’t even remember them. But drive on they do, until they reach the location that Amenabar presumably gave to Allison. She pulls up to a small house and gets out, and heavens be praised, there is Joe. He doesn’t recognize Allison, of course, but after she explains who she is and who HE is, a flicker of recognition crosses his face, and she throws herself into his arms. However, as they embrace, Allison is interrupted by a familiar voice. She looks around, and sees Joe – another Joe – looking at her, and telling her that she needs to wake up. And so she does.
Allison gets out of bed to see Joe standing there. She thinks it was all a dream, and Joe has just returned from the airport. But then Joe gives her the horrible news: his plane did crash. He did die. And everything she just experienced was a dream that Joe sent her to show her “how things could be.” She breaks down crying at losing him for the second time in one episode, and Joe tries to reassure her that she’s strong enough to handle it. She begs him to stay, but then he’s gone.
The next caption reads “Forty-One Years Later”. We hear a young girl leaving a message for her great-grandmother Allison on an answering machine. We see an assortment of photos: Ariel with her husband, Ariel cradling her newborn, and a few other photos of Ariel’s daughter. There is also a stack of books listing Bridgette as their author. We see Marie at six, Marie at fourteen and Marie as a grown-up, married mother of three. We see a family photo of the Dubois family that we’ve grown to love.
And finally, we see Allison, a very old woman. She listens to the message, and suddenly her body grows limp. A nurse comes in and sees that Allison is, in fact, deceased. But almost immediately, we see Allison’s spirit, the Allison in her 40’s, standing there watching. And as she looks upon her own body, a familiar voice says hi. It’s Joe, and he’s been waiting for her. They kiss, passionately. A kiss between soulmates. A kiss for all eternity. And… fade to black.
Well, my first reaction is that of slight disappointment. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, and this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I suppose that concluding a show about otherworldly psychic abilities and the capture of murderers with a warm and fuzzy ending might be inappropriate, but no one likes to see their favorite characters die, even if its of old age. Knowing that it’s over, and that the Dubois saga has run its course, does make me feel better, though.
Final caption: “The real Allison and Joe continue to live happily with their daughters in the Southwestern United States.” And then we get some off-camera footage of the actors. Precocious twins Miranda and Madison Carabello (Marie Dubois). The stalwart David Cubitt (Lee Scanlon). The stern but noble Miguel Sandoval (Manuel Devalos). The adorable Maria Lark (Bridgette Dubois). The all-growed-up Sofia Vassilieva (Ariel Dubois). The terrific Jake Weber (Joe Dubois), who played one of the greatest unsung husbands in TV history. And, of course, Patricia Arquette (Allison Dubois), the psychic soccer mom whose charm and singularity of purpose were a joy to watch these past seven years. Thank you, all of you. You done good.
Thanks also to Glenn Gordon Caron for creating these exceptional characters and for keeping it fresh the whole time. To good old Frasier himself, Kelsey Grammer, for sticking with the show through thick and thin as producer. And thanks to you, dear readers, for allowing me to chronicle the waning moments of a truly worthy show.
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