The Fairly Legal season finale is upon us. It ends up being a fair reflection of the entire first season: while there are some highlights, ultimately, it ends up being merely a passable diversion.
Kate is brought to the Croatian consulate to handle a custody dispute. Veronica's soon-to-be adoptive father Pete (that's Scott Holroyd, aka Chuck's evil CIA agent Justin Sullivan) wants to keep the daughter that isn't biologically his from being taken back to Croatia by his mother-in-law. The frustrated father and the protective mother-in-law eventually realize that they want the same thing. I have to give credit to Holroyd, who does a good job of playing incensed parent, completely different from his smarmy turn on Chuck that made me want to hit him with a frying pan. Once again, with a good guest star performance, Sarah Shahi likewise raises her game. The only concern I have with this is that so many bad things happen to Kate in literally minutes (more on those in a second) that the whole final act verges on melodramatic.
The show also scrambles to tie up its ongoing loose ends. David Smith (Richard Dean Anderson) turns up unannounced and meets Lauren (Virginia Williams), who isn't pleased with what she learns about her late husband from the mystery man. In turn, she finally snaps and fires Kate from the firm, though common sense tells me that the future of the show would be a little messed up if that was permanent, which makes it anticlimactic in my book. At least we have apparently seen the last of Mr. Smith, so if the show should return, hopefully it will be without a need for a mythology.
Oh, and Kate thinks she's pregnant, although it's later proven that she's not. It's a revelation that completely undercuts Justin's previously stated need for a change in their relationship (from "Coming Home"). If she could be pregnant, they're obviously still sleeping together (and having unprotected sex at that), which means that nothing much changed at all. I am glad to see Justin finally unload everything he feels about her - the guy's been taking so much flak all season long that he had to explode at someone, sometime - but knowing that nothing really changed after the last time he tried to stand up for himself, I don't give his words much weight. And sadly, we've now gone the entire season without one scene of the award-winning prosecutor actually trying a case.
Not to mention that Ethan Embry is unseen yet again. He's pretty much disappeared from the show, which is unfortunate, although perhaps for the best. Watching his wonderful work on Brotherhood has only highlighted to me how much more he can do than what he's been given in the role of Spencer.
Over ten installments, there have been good episodes of Fairly Legal ("Priceless", "Ultravinyl") and bad ones ("Benched," "My Best Friend's Prenup"), and therein lies what makes it so hard to consider. While there are things I like about it, there are other things I dislike just as much. Even the show itself doesn't seem to know what it wants to be from episode to episode; it's billed as a drama, but often comes off more as a screwball comedy. And when it shares a network with such outstanding original series as Burn Notice, White Collar and Psych, I can't help but expect more than average. Especially when FX's hilarious comedy Archer is in the same time slot.
I give credit to USA and everyone involved for trying, but while Kate Reed might be back, I don't think I will.
For more Fairly Legal, head over to DigitalAirwaves.net.