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Spoilers below for Roseanne's season finale, so be sure to watch before reading on.
When Roseanne made its big revival debut on ABC earlier this year, America was reintroduced to a Conner family that only wished the retconned lottery-winning plotline would have remained a reality. Its social commentary, while sometimes polarizing, has been a broad and topical reflection of middle class life, and the sitcom didn't stray from those lines with its Season 1 finale (or its Season 10 finale, if you're playing it that way). Read on to find out where Roseanne and Dan landed when the nine-episode run came to a close.
Dan's Work Problems
Even though the issue of illegal immigrants played a role in Dan's recent business problems, financial desperation drove him to shadily bypass his best buddy Chuck's crew in order to save money by hiring his own illegal immigrant workers. Which wasn't too pleasing for Roseanne in theory, and definitely wasn't pleasing for Chuck in reality, but it was all Dan could think of as a way to save enough money for Roseanne's knee surgery. Big ups to Grey's Anatomy star James Pickens Jr. for his limited but worthy performance in the episode.
All the stress took a mighty toll on Dan -- though thankfully it wasn't bad enough for any heart problems to come up -- and it got worse once he discovered their basement was completely flooded due to storms. And not for the first time this season, viewers watched as Dan got super-intense, and here, a wooden door became the unwitting victim of his crowbar. But instead of having to further pinch moneys for the exorbitant costs needed to fix the basement, he'll actually be saving money, with that arc closing on The President calling for a State of Emergency in Illinois (which Darlene states is misspelled in his tweet). So he'll be able to save half of the incoming FEMA money by doing the work himself, which allows for other expenses to get taken care of. Such as...
Roseanne Knee Problems
Roseanne's first season in the new millennium revealed its titular character to be feeding into her own pill-popping problem without anyone knowing, which made surgical procedure all the more important. The money situation was an obvious hurdle early on in the finale, and Roseanne got Jackie to help her look through the basement for potential treasures to then sell off. They thought they had struck gold, but after one mildly creepy scene involving a doll appraiser, they were back to square one. Or even worse that that, since the basement flooded. ("After 40 years, we finally got a pool!")
As referenced earlier, the finances got taken care of, which just meant that Roseanne had to finally face her own innate fear of going under the knife for any permanent changes. She then had a somewhat somber conversation with Dan about dying, which happened in bed and felt like a fitting wraparound to the start of the season, where Roseanne joked about Dan being dead. The finale actually ended before her surgery happened, with the family sitting down to a meal of Roseanne's favorite foods. Though she could only eat for eight minutes...now seven minutes...before having to fast ahead of the next morning's operation.
Darlene's Work Problems And Halloween Callbacks
As the spearheader behind Roseanne's return to primetime dominance, Sara Gilbert got to end Darlene's season on a somewhat positive note...maybe? Life hasn't been so easy for everyone with Darlene and the kids living in the Conner family home, so her landing a job at the casino was a great thing...also maybe? Becky got to offer some job advice, in what was my favorite exchange of the episode, telling Darlene to be more of a people-person to customers. Watching Darlene's attempts to ooze charm were amusing, although I definitely hope she starts making money in ways that don't involve Doug Stanhope's kissing lips. Or at least the character he's playing. Darlene and Stanhope would probably get along damned finely, but we still want to see more from her and David in Season 2.
Since Roseanne only came back to ABC in the spring, the show wasn't able to deliver any memorable Halloween episodes in full, but the finale did deliver some great moments on that front after spooky decorations and things were found in the storage that survived the flooding. Laurie Metcalf nailed a quick bit with some fake teeth, and the show's macabre humor came up big time when Roseanne faked a heart attack to prank Harris with a chestburster prop. Harris is sooo sick of that place.
So all in all, "Knee Deep" wasn't the most groundbreaking episode, ending not on any theory-heavy twists and turns, but on the Conner family loving each other and being there for one another. Which is all it really needed to do. Now to have some casserole while waiting to see who else is coming back next season.