Last night all major story lines on Life Unexpected
were wrapped up in a way that seemed to be the most perfect series finale we could have asked for -- given the circumstances -- exactly one year after its premiere. However short its time among us, we learned to care about these characters (especially Cate, Baze and Lux), so bittersweet is the word I'm looking for to describe this farewell.
There was a lot going on, people were crying and having outbursts throughout the two hours, all of which was necessary to get to the last few minutes when we see they have managed to work things out.
"He Made Me Feel ... Normal"
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The first part of the finale dealt with the aftermatch of the trial and how the truth affected Lux's relationships with Eric and her parents. Cate is acting overbearing and overprotective of Lux; she can't do anything about the past, but she can prevent something as horrible to ever happen to her again.
In the meantime, Lux is trying to put it all behind her, to forget about it and start being normal. In order to do so, she needs someone she can rely on, and that's Eric. However, though he had said -- when Lux was about to testify against her abusive foster father -- that nothing was going to change between them, it wasn't true.
Her statement made him realize that what he was doing with her was wrong and not too different from what Trey did to her. He avoids Lux but she goes after him; she doesn't want her past to keep ruining what's good in her life. Though he doesn't want to bail on her, Eric can't handle it anymore, and he turns to Math with the truth.
"I Swear to God, If You Ever Touch Her Again, I'll Beat You Senseless"
When Cate can't get a hold of Lux, Sam gives her up and tells them all about her secret relationship with the teacher. Lux denies it, lying her way out one more time. What she didn't know was that Eric had already made a decision. Baze can bearly control his impulses to punch him in the face for taking advantage of his daughter when she was at her most vulnerable. They trusted him and he betrayed them.
"Don't You See That You've Done Me More Damage Than He Ever Did"
Nobody cares to listen to Lux's side of the story, she was the one who couldn't keep away from Eric because he was the only one who had been there for her during the most painful events in the past months; while Cate was busy fighting with Ryan and compensating by child-proofing their home for their unborn baby; while Baze was busy making a living and planning a future with Emma. Now they ask Eric to move away and never make contact again. He says goodbye with a present that embodies what he should have done all along: a compass, to show Lux how to find her way without him.
"No Matter What I Do, Nothing Keeps You From Throwing in My Face What I Didn't Do"
Lux blames Cate for everything that has happened since she went to talk to Valerie. Cate can't take it anymore because she's done nothing but care for her since the first day she came back into their lives, and the fact that she doesn't realize how wrong it is to be with her teacher only serves to prove that she's still a child. Cate knows what's best for her because she is her mother. (First time we actually see them argue like mother and daughter!) If Lux ends up hating her, that's the price she has to pay for protecting her daughter, like Ryan says.
Little did Baze know that Emma had a secret he could never let go. Just when he was making grownup decisions, thinking about selling the bar and buying a house where Emma and Sam could move in with him and Lux, his daughter drops the affair bomb on him.
And so, we move on to the second part of the finale.
"Everybody Has Stuff Nobody Can See"
Jones offers to take Lux to see Tasha and she begins to open up about the reason why she is so upset, but he quickly makes a comment on the sophmore girl who was rumored to have an affair with Mr. Daniels -- and how she must be really messed-up -- that makes her regret it.
When Tasha is unable to see her, Lux returns home and finds Cate worrying sick about her whereabouts. She wants Lux to be honest but she lies because she feels that she isn't normal. She tried to warn them, but now they are stuck with her, a broken person nobody can fix. She asks Lux to talk with someone.
Lux calls Jones, who tells her that he never thought of her as screwed-up, that he actually liked her from day one, in case she doesn't remember. Back then Lux didn't believe that she could date him, such a normal kid. Who is normal? Jones shares that his mom is bipolar, and he's afraid the same thing will happen to him.
Cate is having the worst day, week, month, year of her life! She finds out about her miscarriage, and on top of that, it seems that she won't be able to have any more children. She doesn't want Ryan to feel stuck with her now that she can't give him what he wants. Ryan says that he chooses to fight for the things he already has with her.
Later on, Cate tries to have another talk with Lux along the same lines; she understands what it's like to feel broken in the inside or not good enough. Cate assures her that knowing all there is to know about her would only make them love her more. If she could only have one kid, she would choose her. I think that's what Lux has been needed to hear all along.
"If I Could Quit Being Your Son, I Would"
Baze's mother calls him to ask if she could have his father's birthday party at his bar, completely unaware of what's going on between them. Baze wants to know from Jack himself why he wouldn't say something about his affair with Emma. His father says that he tried to prevent it from happening but he wouldn't listen, and that Emma was only with Baze because she couldn't be with him. What a jerk!
During the party Baze decides to make a toast, and seconds before he exposes Jack's lie, he looks at his mother and has a revelation. He was trying to be like the man he believed his father was, but kids should be raised to be themselves and learn from their parents' mistakes. He's done listening to Jack telling him what to do.
"I Could Deal With Losing Anyone in This World. My Dad, Emma, Cate, But Not You"
Emma meets with Baze and tells him that he is not half the man his father is, he is so much more; she never told him the truth for fear of losing him. The reality is that Baze can't be with someone who is a constant reminder of his father's mistake. Lux apologizes for ruining things between Baze and Emma and thanks him for everything he's done for her.
At the doctor's office, Cate runs into a really pregnant Julia. When she is about to tell Ryan, the screen fades to black, and we are taken two years into the future.
"These years together have been our light years, the years when everything became brighter. When we learn that the bright spots in our life aren't merely spots, but constants."
I know that it must sound cheesy for those who weren't so attached to Life Unexpected, but even I (in a previous article) asked for a flashforward so, guilty as charged! It's a shame that we'll never be able to watch it play out; all the break-ups and hook-ups, all of the obstacles they had to overcome to be where they are and it sure looks like a much better place than where they started off.
"Life is full of unknowns, and when those unknowns are too overwhelming, it's the constants that we have to hold on to."
It's Lux's graduation day. She is giving her valedictorian speech to the class of 2012, standing before everyone who loves her. Jones, her boyfriend (who wasn't afraid to tell her there was no such thing as normal); Tasha, her friend (the one who has always been in her life, even during the hardest parts); Ryan, who is with Julia and their son (who could have walked away but chose to stick around); a very pregnant Alice (with Math's baby we can assume); Fern and her parents (without whom she wouldn't be there, who helped her out when she fell and answered when she knocked). Then, it was revealed. The moment we knew was coming. Are Cate and Baze a couple? The answer, of course, is yes. Who dares to complain? Not I. Sniff. The end.
(Image courtesy of The CW)