'Harper's Island': Gasp! ...Sigh
The titles are very telling of how I reacted to the last two episodes of "Harper's Island."
The recap is going to be a bit different tonight, since we don't have plots and suspects to discuss, nor a wish list for who dies next. For a full run-down of all the deaths, check out our "Harper's Island" Death Gallery.
We lost 4 little Indians tonight plus John Wakefield. I was sad to see Trish, Danny and Sully die, particularly Danny. He put up a good fight and met a gruesome end. Also, Henry's death was a little poignant with the "I love you" uttered with his last dying breath.
Wakefield's death was anticlimactic. I mean, it was nice that Henry chose Abby over Wakefield and the look on Wakefield's face was great, but after all the gun shots and fights and gun shots and fights, Wakefield gets stabbed with that little knife and just keels over? That's how he goes out? Weak.
Christopher Gorham worked his ass off these last two episodes. I don't love the plot nor the dialogue he was given, but Gorham gave it 110% and sold it really well. He was also really good at being creepy. Best lines of the two hours:
Henry: I didn't know he was my father then, but when I looked at him there was a connection.
Abby: A connection? With the man who hung my mother from a tree?
Henry: Kinda weird, huh? I was inspired by the guy that everyone else feared and hated!
Gorham's delivery of that is just priceless. The second runner-up goes to his line to Sully: "I'm impressed. Seriously. That is quite possibly the stupidest thing you've ever done."
Along the same line as Gorham, both Cassidys deserve a shout-out. Trish's death scene was excellently done by Katie Cassidy and Elaine Cassidy had some nice work at the end when she was being held captive. So well done all around to those three.
Other good things include the initial capture of Wakefield (very creepy, I thought Danny was done for) and Henry confessing to Sully. That entire scene was fantastic.
The total number of times I wish a character had back-handed Madison tripled within these two episodes. The character is annoying and the little actress isn't much to write home about.
Also under "The Bad" would be the general writing of the show. They've dropped Jimmy stuff all along and I like a good red herring as much as the next guy, but I don't think there was enough Henry stuff. Any kind of resentment towards his parents, any absences that looked suspicious, any interactions with Abby that are most than just friendshippy. I want to be able to go back and watch the show in its entirety and spot Henry clues and I just don't think I will be able to.
The final 30 minutes and here's why. I'm on board with Henry as Wakefield's son and accomplice. I enjoyed the acting by all the characters involved. I even dig the incest-y vibe going on with Henry's feelings towards Abby.
It reminded me of how I felt when I saw the final Lord of the Rings movie. It was 3 hours of action-packed awesomeness and then 30 minutes of Shire crap tacked on to the end. The Henry-Abby stuff worked for me, but the ending was anticlimactic. It was totally out of sync with the feel of the show. If they were going to wrap the show up that way, the Creepiness Factor needed to be ramped up to 11.
I guess it's kind of fitting for the show as a whole because it's a great idea with only mediocre execution. The idea that Henry chooses Abby and loves her in a brother/lover kind of way is fantastic, but I didn't like they way it was done. I mean, where were they on the island? How did the team that searched the island not find them? Why would Jimmy agree to sign a confession if, as Henry said, there was no threat to Abby's life?
There is also still some unexplained stuff from the Rampage Day. What happened when Jimmy stopped Wakefield? How did he not see a dead body lying there in the street?
Furthermore, Henry staged the wedding to get Abby back to the island and get her all to himself, I guess? And the 25 or so victims were just a bonus because he had "impulses?" What was Wakefield's deal, then? If he wasn't in on the Henry-and-Abby-live-happily-ever-after scenario, did he just want to go on a murder spree again? Was the plan in Wakefield's mind for him and Henry to go live in the lakehouse together? Why would Henry even involve Wakefield if Abby was the prize? It's all very muddled.
Overall, I applaud CBS for trying something different. I wish they had had better episodes at the beginning of the run so that ratings would've been stronger, because I think if they gave this type of show another shot, they would only improve upon their first effort.
"Harper's Island" was at the very least entertaining and I enjoyed most of the cast immensely. In the age of "Usual Suspects" and M. Night Shyamalan, we've come to expect more and I wish the writing had been a little tighter.
What do you guys think? Satisfied with the ending. Please share all your thoughts and feelings below.