FinaleWatch: 'Boston Legal'
I distinctly remember sitting down to watch the first episode of Boston Legal five seasons ago. I had given up on The Practice two seasons before that show put out its final episode, but something about Boston Legal piqued my interest. The show's had ups and downs during its five years, but for me it's always been appointment television. My final two appointments were back-to-back ones tonight. It was sad, but the show does seem to have run its course.
The first of the final two episodes began with Denny attending a merger meeting with people from the Chinese law firm which was trying to buy Crane, Poole, and Schmidt. Paul Lewiston had set the whole thing up, but both Denny and Shirley were completely against it. Shirley was against it because of China's record on human rights and Denny was against it because... he's Denny.
Denny's opinion seemed perfectly logical and reasonable for Denny, but Shirley's confused me. She was actually willing to have her name taken off the door at the firm (something Paul said she couldn't do as the firm owned her name) rather than have the Chinese buy her firm. Frankly, while the human rights argument made some sense, Shirley's anger did seem wholly out of proportion, and her actions out of character.
When it came down to a vote amongst the partners, they voted, overwhelmingly, to sell. Shirley was livid and tried to stop the sale in court (don't worry, it's not like she was devoting all her time to that though, she was having her wedding dress tailored in the office). Denny and Carl stood by her side. Denny because he agreed with her and Carl because he loves Shirley. It really showed how great a guy Carl is.
Carl's support may have helped Shirley emotionally, but it didn't give her a legal leg to stand on. The judge denied her request for an injunction and the merger went through.
Shirley then had a sit down with the Chinese partners which didn't go particularly well. She agreed to tender her resignation and asked that the new owners take her name off the door. The new owners responded by firing the entire litigation department, including Denny (whom, Carl said, they fired twice). Responding to that response, Alan came up with an insane scheme that had the litigation department firing the new Chinese owners. He should have been prepping for his upcoming Supreme Court battle (and he was), but he did take some time out to try and save the firm.
He did in fact go before the new partners and fire them. Brilliant! It was terribly fun to watch, Alan was in top form. By the end of his harangue he told the Chinese partners that he would allow them to stay if they agreed to stay out of the way of the litigation department. The Chinese thought he was joking, they all laughed and applauded. They later agreed to reinstate the department with Paul Lewiston running the show. They also opted to change the name of the firm to Chang, Poole, and Schmidt, and still wanted to show Denny the door.
While that storyline was, quite obviously, crucial to the ending of the series, other issues actually took center stage. Towards the beginning of tonight's finale, Denny found himself arrested at 1:00am. He had broken into a house and crawled into a woman's bed. He claimed he thought they had a thing, she apparently disagreed. The lady, Penelope Kimble, explained to Carl and Shirley the next day that it didn't seem as much an assault as Denny being completely confused about where he was.
Poor Denny, he actually did have no idea what was going on at the time. He came clean and told Alan and Shirley the truth. Kimble didn't want to press charges and Alan was even more raring to go to the Supreme Court and get Denny his experimental drugs.
Denny was so down and worried about his future that he actually proposed marriage to Alan. He wanted Alan to not only be able to make medical decisions for him, but to be able to tell Alan things that could then be covered under spousal privilege. The man was clearly hurting. On the balcony scene at the end of the first episode tonight Alan actually agreed. Wow. Fitting and funny. The only problem, they quickly learned, was that a Massachusetts gay and lesbian group didn't want them to get married (something about their not being homosexual) and wanted an injunction. It was denied.
I think it's great that after all his foolishness, mocking, and joking, they made Denny and his problem the real heart and soul of these final episodes. He has repeatedly made ridiculous comment after ridiculous comment, put forth ludicrous notion after ludicrous notion, but the show has still managed to find some of its deepest storylines with him. Having the main case tonight be Alan fighting for Denny in front of the Supreme Court was the right way to go out.
Their opposition in court argued well, and I'm not sure that she wasn't right, but (probably like you) I was still pulling for Alan and Denny. For his part, Alan, didn't argue well. He pulled the same anti-Supreme Court thing he did last time, going directly after court decisions with which he disagreed and which had no bearing on Denny's case. His statements were quite possibly valid, they just had little relevance. But, as Alan said, case law here wasn't so much with him. Alan finished by stating that the justices were Denny's "last, best hope." That was very true, but it made it less obvious why Alan would rip the justices and their decisions first.
Before that decision came down, Alan, Denny, Shirley, and Carl headed off to a beautiful double wedding in Nimmo Bay. There they met up with Justice Antonin Scalia. Not only did Scalia inform them (even though he shouldn't have) that Denny would get the drug, he married both couples.
In the second episode tonight, the show gave us two balcony scenes. The first was with two of the Chinese partners and played strictly for laughs. The final had Alan and Denny back on those incredibly uncomfortable looking chairs (I imagine them to be stone and rather unforgiving) one last time. Their final discussion was the same sort of foolish chat they usually engage in and ended with the two men having their wedding dance.
The show ended there, with Denny Crane and Alan Shore on the balcony dancing. I only wish that they'd sealed it with a kiss.
Farewell Boston Legal, we hardly knew ye.
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