In the thirteenth and final episode of Wonderfalls, Jaye and Eric’s final goodbye is interrupted when a toy tells Jaye to “let him go.” Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Wonderfalls.
My gods, the potential for a second season is just CRIMINALLY UNFAIR.
- There are so many little hints at the incompleteness of Wonderfalls in this finale. Whether intentional or not, it’s clear that there was always supposed to be more. This story was always meant to go on. While this chapter was closing, there’s a clear indication of where the show could continue, and it really, really, really sucks that it’s gone.
- I still think “Cocktail Bunny” is the show’s best effort, but this episode is seriously incredible. It definitely has the feel of a finale, and through the use of the hostage situation at Wonderfalls, the writers are able to put in motion their plan for Eric and Jaye.
- And goddamn, things are so painfully awkward for the first ten minutes or so of “Caged Bird.” It is just relentlessly frustrating to see Jaye struggle with the constant interruptions by animals telling her to do the exact opposite of what her heart wants. She has a chance to tell Eric that she’s not happy, but the voices tell her to let him go. That’s a general theme we see over the course of this episode, which refers to the young shoplifter, to Mahandra’s hang-ups about her attraction to Aaron, and to Heidi’s realization regarding her husband. But in the first half of this episode, none of this seems fair. If this force is doing good for others, why the hell must Jaye suffer in the process?
- This episode finally aims to answer that. Well, sort of! The writers have never been that obtuse or blunt about revealing too much about this fictional world, and that mystery fuels most of my interest. So I’m happy that while “Caged Bird” wraps up things and provides me with a great deal of emotional closure, the “answer” to everything isn’t disappointing.
- I’m happy that Sharon is the one who helps her sister find the courage to contact Eric, to refuse to let him go. Again, it’s really neat to see Jaye purposely resist and contradict what the animals tell her, like she did in the beginning of “Cocktail Bunny.” To see her act selfishly without direction is empowering because she’s starting to do what she thinks is best for her. And she’s doing it without someone telling her to!
- Of course, then everything turns into an unholy disaster when a guy who just robbed a bank slips inside Wonderfalls and eventually takes Alec, Sharon, Jaye, and Wade hostage, possibly delaying Jaye’s final meeting with Eric. Why??? WHY DOES THE UNIVERSE WISH JAYE AND ERIC TO BE UNHAPPY WITHOUT EACH OTHER? I don’t understand! I don’t fucking understand.
- And then the messages Jaye gets are just so relentlessly ambiguous and unhelpful. “Give him heart”???? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? (Funny enough, I actually said, “DO THEY MEAN THAT LITERALLY?” in the commission video for this episode. I GOT IT RIGHT FOR ONCE.)
- Does she help the security guard find his bravery? But won’t that get him killed? The bank robber is clearly unstable, especially once he finds out that a guard he shot at the bank actually died. So what’s the point of all of this?
- AND THEN ERIC SHOWS UP AT THE SHOP, AND JAYE IS FACED WITH AN IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION, AND SHE HAS TO ACT LIKE A TOTAL ASSHOLE TO ERIC, AND IT’S FUCKING TERRIBLE TO WATCH, AND WHY MUST SHE BE FOREVER UNHAPPY 🙁 🙁
- I know I’m all-capsing about this, but it really got me thinking about self-worth and how multiple characters got the chance to look at themselves in a new light because of what happens here. (Seriously, I am not introspective or thoughtful at all in the video for this episode. I’m mostly shrieking and holding my face.) After turning Eric away again, this time for what appears to be forever, Jaye is at the most cynical she’s been since the pilot. It takes the barrel bear to get her to inspire Wade again, but it’s interesting to note that she had resolved herself to believe in her own unhappiness at that point. The security guard was convinced he wasn’t cut out to be anything more than a lowly security guard. Mahandra, meanwhile, was certain that she had to keep her feelings for Aaron a secret forever.
- What changes? Why do these people suddenly reverse their own beliefs? In Mahandra’s case, the writers are clever enough to give us a touching and brutally honest set of scenes where Mahandra and Heidi actually talk to one another. It’s unexpected, especially when Heidi ends up being the one who helps spell out why Mahandra’s behavior is so ridiculous. I’m really happy with how Heidi is portrayed here because it humanizes her and prevents her from coming off as this horrible antagonist with no depth to her. She just wants her husband back, and she’s also realizing that she’s worth more to herself than letting Eric treat her the way he does. I know that’s a bit of a stretch because there’s a lot we don’t see, but why else did she rush to Eric to break up with him? She knew that she had lost him in some way, that he’d never be able to move on from Jaye.
- Hell, what was she supposed to think after seeing Eric on that news broadcast? This wasn’t a case of Eric simply having a hard time letting go; he was clearly refusing to do so.
- And yet, at the end of this, there was a bittersweet ending. (At first, that is.) As the animals’ messages suddenly make sense, Jaye is able to save everyone. Though I did find it hilarious that the chameleon had to finally start explaining what he meant. FOR ONCE! Jesus, do you see how much time y’all could have saved if you’d just been detailed and specific with your messages? LOOK WHAT HAPPENS. But I digress! I mentioned early in my Wonderfalls reviews that this show essentially made us experience a super long Rube Goldberg device, and this is another fine example of that. Perhaps it’s the first multi-episode arc??? I THINK SO.
- “Give him heart” is literal, and Jaye provides this when her actions lead the bank robber to kidnap her, where he’s then run over by the very ambulance that came to pick up Wade due to his heart attack. Turns out that the bank robber was an organ donor, which allowed Jaye to give Wade a heart. Literally.
- But there’s a more metaphorical meaning here as well. As Jaye was reunited with her family, I was saddened to see Eric walk away with Heidi, but only because I knew that this made sense at the time. We weren’t going to get a happy ending for Jaye like this. MY HEART.
- So I was totally shocked when Eric turned up at the store in the final scene. And while I would have been pleased if the show had ended with Eric walking away with Heidi, I admit that I’m damn fine with this ending, too. It’s not a guarantee, and that goes back to my insistence that this finale is incomplete on purpose. We get a hint at a relationship between Eric and Jaye. The same goes for Aaron and Mahandra, too! Which is why it’s so frustrating that this is the last episode ever, y’all. THEY COULD DO SO MUCH WITH THIS. There’s so much more to explore!
- Alas, there’s no more for me to explore. I’ve come to the end of my journey through Wonderfalls. WHICH MEANS I START PUSHING DAISIES TOMORROW. OH MY GOD. IT’S HERE. IT’S HERE!!!!
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