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Life Unexpected Finale: Happily Ever After for All! Plus, Scoop on Liz Tigelaar's New ABC Deal

Sorry for the delay on my Life Unexpected recappy thing — I had to watch the East Coast feed, then wait for the tears to dry, rewatch it on the West Coast and, you know, try to stop crying again before I could even attempt to form the teensiest of coherent sentences.

The LUX finale was really, truly that emotionally draining, for me at least. But I want to know what you guys think. Come inside to chat about the CW series’ (probable) swan song, plus find out some exciting scoop on showrunner Liz Tigelaar’s much-talked about deal with ABC that may (eventually) help fill the void left by the little LUX that could…

Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you’ve yet to watch tonight’s Life Unexpected finale!

Here’s your 30-second LUX finale breakdown: Lux (Britt Robertson) and teachertutorboyfriend Eric (Shaun Sipos) split in hour one after Cate (Shiri Appleby) and Baze (Kristoffer Polaha) found out about the star-crossed lovers and flipped out. In a senseless act of viciousness, Lux spilled the beans to Baze about Emma’s (Emma Caulfield) affair with Daddy Baze, causing the end of those two, as well. Cate and Ryan (Kerr Smith) discovered they’d suffered a miscarriage, in addition to the fact that Cate is infertile. The two agreed to stick together, but Cate ran into Ryan’s very preggo (with his baby) ex-Julia (Jamie Ray Newman). Cate and Lux were finally able to see eye-to-eye, bonding like they’ve both so desperately needed to over the series’ run, thus sending us two years into the future.

Lux is graduating, giving the class commencement address, and the whole fam-bamily is looking on. Ryan, Julia and their son. Math (Austin Basis), Cate’s BFF and their baby on the way. Fern, Lux’s social worker. Baze’s screwed-up parents. Tasha (Ksensia Solo) and Jones (Austin Butler), no longer together because he’s now with Lux, who finally feels like a normal girl. And — wait for it — Cate and Baze, first side by side watching the ceremony, then hugging their daughter the graduate (she even calls them mom and dad!), then kissing. Together at last. All together now…awww!

Bonus for Life Unexpected superfans: Lux discusses “light years” in her commencement address, a nod to the series’ original title.

Call me a sappy romantic or a fan of all things mushy-gushy — I’ll own it. I truly believe that despite the massive time constraints placed on the brains behind LUX, the series’ final hours were poignant, moving and provided lovely little send-offs for each of the characters we’ve grown to love over the past two seasons. (For those who don’t remember, The CW gave the series notice that it would not be receiving a back nine episode order, cutting the story-telling time nearly in half, and possibly for good. The result? Tonight’s finale.)

Thinking back, it’s hard to believe that our Life Unexpected adventures began just one year ago — to the day, in fact. It’s even harder to believe that in such a small amount of time, when countless shows come and go, leaving little to no impression on viewers, Tigelaar’s passion project was able to impact countless lives, mine included, and maintain the spirit of yesteryear’s WB greats (I’m talking Everwood, Gilmore Girls — both shows centered on modern family values with brilliant writing).

To me, Liz honored everything we’ve grown to love about Life Unexpected in tonight’s goodbye. Was it the ending she’d have done had she had two more seasons to tell the LUX story? No. But was it a satisfying sendoff for those of us who’ve spent the past year loving LUX? Absolutely.

And if you love Liz, you’ll love this: In June, Tigelaar’s development deal with ABC Studios begins and she’s already got some amazing new stuff in mind.

“Right now I have ideas and have been talking with [Everwood and No Ordinary Family showrunner] Greg Berlanti about doing something,” she tells TVLine. “We’re just kicking everything around. But yes, there’s some stuff I’m starting to think about.”

Rest assured though, Tigelaar will not enter into her next venture lightly.

“Mostly, it’s how can I do something that I care about as much as Life Unexpected and how can I do it for ABC?” Liz explains. “What are the shows people are going to respond to that feels like it’s something that can be from my heart? How do you go from writing about a foster kid who feels abandoned and loves her mom but hates her mom and is ashamed of her past to…will the cupcake store open in time?! I dunno, we’re out of batter. We can’t. And we’re trying to figure out what the thing is, what ABC wants.”

Now it’s your turn: Did you love the finale as much as I did? Are you sad to see Life Unexpected go? Are you excited about Liz Tigelaar’s next hit series? Hit the comments section and fill me in!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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44 Comments
  1. Michael says:

    Another great CW/WB show goes down in flames. I loved this show. Kristoffer Polaha was excellent in the role, and would love to see him in other things. Why doesn’t CW just come right out and say, “The show is over.”?

    Loved Gilmore Girls and Everwood, and now this show is gone too. Truly a sad, sad night/following days for me.

  2. l says:

    i love liz tigelaar, i’m sure she will create the next best show!
    and i hope she take shiri with her!

    • JC says:

      Awesome finale!!! I agree with Michael’s comments above. Another great show reminiscent of the former WB down the drain — much too soon! Reminds me of what happened with Everwood. I’m a huge Liz Tigelaar fan and can’t wait for her next project, especially if Greg Berlanti is involved.

  3. Brynna says:

    I’m so so so sad to see LUX go. It was a great show, totally reminiscent of the great WB shows of the past. Unfortunately the CW is more interested in airing fluffy crap then this kind of awesome story telling. Alas we only had one year with the amazing LUX cast, but it was a great year. It shall be missed. At least we had a great finale though.

  4. MDEP says:

    I know I am probably in the minority about this, but I hated the ending. After two seasons of watching Cate and Ryan invest their time and energy to be together, saying how much they love each other, and over coming many obstacles, they do not even wind up together? Boooo! Ruined the show for me a bit.

    • CLM says:

      I agree.

      If the show had gone on for longer I would have liked to see Baze and Cate end up together but considering what we saw during the shows run, right up until half way through the last episode, I think they should have ended it with Cate & Ryan.

    • Jewls says:

      I agree as well. Even though I think the ending was probably how it all would have played out (Ryan finds out about his kid, tries to stay with Cate, eventually realizes he can’t, they break up, Cate and Baze get together etc etc) it just seemed way out of place considering the past couple episodes. I mean, you go from Ryan swearing all he wants is to be with Cate and that being with her and Lux is more important to him than another baby to kissing someone else?!! Obviously a lot can change in 2 years and had this ending been in 2 years it would of fit but it wasn’t in 2 years, it was now and it seemed like too many changes happened in 5 minutes.

      I mean, the same can be said for Lux and Jones. He was dating Tasha and now he’s with Lux and Tasha is ok with it?

      Even Baze, I really liked him with Emma it was the first relationship he acted like a grownup in and I was kinda of rooting for a better ending for them.

      The way I saw it play out was that Kate and Ryan would find out what they were having (boy/girl) and finally start being happy together again.
      Baze and Emma would move in together and Lux and Sam would develop a friendship (considering they are both messed up in their own ways)
      And Kate, Baze, and Lux would finally develop that parental bond.

      Even in the graduation scene at first I thought Kate/Ryan were together and sharing parenting of Julies son. Baze and Allison were together and expecting a child.

      I guess overall I just wish we had another 2 years to see these stories play out.

  5. crs says:

    I agree – I really became invested in Cate and Ryan and wanted them to be together. When the two of them were doing their radio show together, I thought everything was in the clear and the two of them were going to survive as a couple.

    And then there was the flashforward and Ryan was sitting beside of Cate at Lux’s graduation. In my mind, even after Julia showed up, I thought that Cate and Ryan were still together, though he was co-parenting his son. Being the crazy family unit that they all became over the course of the show, I just assumed that Julia had been accepted into that unit as well. (Of course, I guess she had been accepted – as Ryan’s wife :( )

    I’m going to miss this show. And what did they replace it with? Hellcats. *sigh*

  6. Cea says:

    I’m sorry but I’m disappointed with how they ended the story for Cate and Baze… I wanted them together in the end but not like this! I wanted them to be together because they love each other not because Ryan made Julia pregnant! They should have ended it with Cate and Ryan as CLM said, considering what we saw up until the end.

  7. jen says:

    bring the show to ABC then.LUX is too good of a show to cancel. there is still so much more to thier story that could be told.

  8. r.j. says:

    Poor Kerr Smith, First Dawsons Creek’s Crappy Kill Jenn Push Joey And Pacey Together Ending. Now This.

    • Idgie says:

      I agree about the ending of LUX but not Dawson’s Creek. Pacey was always better for Joey despite not being her first love. Dawson was a brooder as was Joey. Great friends… bad marriage material. Where as Pacey challenged her and was optimistic, he was so much better suited for Joey’s sullen temperment. Dawson and Joey had a childlike love not the case with Joey and Pacey.

  9. Eric says:

    The ending was definitely off but I’ll still take it over anything else. I wish we could see the stories that led to those moments. How did Math and Allison end up together. How did Baze and his dad repair their relationship? How did Ryan get with Julia and what pushed Baze and Cate together in the end? Thanks to lack of people watching the show we won’t see how they get there but I’m happy we got to see where everyone got.

    • lorna says:

      I think many more ppl watch than Nielsen reports. GRRR. I agree, though, Ryan and Cate were so in love and he kept saying he wanted to be with her. Why couldn’t he just coparent with Julia? Stupid Julia.

  10. Melissa says:

    I always wished Cate and Baze would get together but all that we invested in Ryan and Cate, it was just sad to see them split up. It was just kind of dissapointing to see it thrown upon us in the last few minutes. Would have liked to see a little explination on how it got to that. Otherwise, okay finale. Will miss he show.

  11. Allison N says:

    I loved the season finale. Liz and the Lux crew did an amazing job. I definitely cried multiple times. I thought Emma Caulfield did an amazing job, and I am sorry that her and Baze cannot be together, BUT I do love Cate and Baze together! I didn’t really like Lux and Jones because I kinda wanted Lux and Sam to date. I love how Liz did the whole two years later segment because that was a great way for closure. I do wish it wasn’t ending so we could see certain storylines play out:Baze and Cate getting together, Cate and Ryan splitting, and so on. I will miss Life Unexpected so much; it really was a family show on the CW.

  12. Emily says:

    Ugh. Sometimes time jumps are an expedient storytelling tool. But when you use them to essentially erase several seasons of investment in two characters- I agree, they suck. They did it on LOST, when they jumped 3 years and all of a sudden, after three seasons of a slow-build with the Sawyer-Kate relationship, you suddenly see a happily domestic Sawyer-Juliette. This was extremely polarizing- many loved it- but others felt cheated because so much time had been invested in the previous paring that the new couple, while completely logical, was hard to accept. Same thing happened here. Should have been Cate-Ryan.

  13. Kymberly says:

    I agree completely on everything! I wouldn’t have minded though Cate & Ryan had ended up together only becuz it would’ve been nice to see Cate & Baze coming back together…But the fact that they were all 1 big happy family made up for it. Would really love to see some network pick it up AND would like the CW to get back to the way used to be!

  14. raelee514 says:

    I loved it. The only thing that bugged me was I was a Cate/Ryan fan and actually think it was more realistic and true to life if Cate and Ryan stayed together and Baze figured out as he did in the the finale to grow up without trying to emulate a father who keeps disappointing him and find someone of his own.

    But I can’t hate the finale just because the couples I wanted didn’t work out because it was beautiful and it totally made me cry. A lot.

  15. Liz says:

    I was confused by it, actually. The entire show was about how Ryan and Cate could overcome their obstacles, but two years later, they aren’t together. I mean, I get it. Baze and Cate were the end game, but it felt rushed. I guess with no more time, what are you going to do? I was satisfied though.

  16. Alicia says:

    I liked the finale up until it flashed forward two years. I agree with everyone else that it felt too disjointed. I wanted Cate and Ryan to stay together. It seemed like they had worked out all their problems or were at least getting there. If we had been given the chance to see how everyone got to where they did it would have made more sense or been easier to accept. Still an awesome show and I’m going to miss it!

  17. Amy says:

    I totally loved, loved, loved this show. I can’t believe they took it off the air! Liz wrapped it up awesomely with a nice pretty bow. Couldn’t have asked for anything more, with the exception of another season!

  18. Diana says:

    I really liked it, LOVED Cate & Baze together and am bitter that time was wasted on Ryan (really? she married him when she was and always will have a thing for Baze)and on BitchBoss. What successful woman in her right mind would sleep with her assistant, let alone her assistant who is also her boss/ex-lover’s SON?

    But I’ve played the Cate/Baze makeout scene just a few times … :) Props to Liz T for doing the best she could with the CW hand she was dealt.

  19. Kim says:

    I was crying over and over again about this finale. I kinda wanted Lux and Eric to be together in the end. Maybe after graduation, finding each other. The were so cute together. But Jones makes more sense. Cate and Baz finally together really did make sense too but to make Cate infertile? Was that really necessary? There was still so much growing up they all needed to do to get to that commencement speech! We missed all that time and growth. I was hard to watch and to take in all of it. So, I saved it to rewatch later to be more comfortable with it. I will miss the Life Unexpected bunch so much! Just imagine what kind of things she will get into in college!

    • lorna says:

      I loved Eric too, II really wish he was in the last ep, but Jones is my 2nd choice for her. Although I started liking Sam. I HATED Bug.

  20. tomkat says:

    I was very disappointed in the finale and thought the jump 2 years into the future was more of a ‘jump the shark’ ploy.
    I was never a fan of the Baze character but wish it had worked out with the Emma character.
    Ryan was always the much better choice for Cate.
    All that said I still have preordered the complete series from Amazon.

  21. filmex says:

    Loved the show, and am heartbroken to see it go away. Like MA’s reference of “Gilmore Girls” and “Everwood”, because that’s the kind of pull it had for our family.

    Guess it was wrapped up about as well as possible…funny that a “happy” ending can be so sad, at the same time. Loved the chance to see Shiri Appleby and Kristoffer Polaha in action again; Britt is an extraordinary find; and how lovely it was to see Emma Caulfield again in something worthy of her talents, seemingly the first time since “Buffy”.

    I have no idea what they’re doing over there at the CW. “Gossip Girl” is going through the motions, the only time it’s interesting is when Blair and Bass are on opposite sides, but they refuse to let that dynamic last.

    “One Tree Hill” is the thing that wouldn’t die, kinda like Jay Leno.

    “Nikita” is the only thing we’re watching now, which means it will probably be pink slipped in a matter of weeks, the CW having no room for interesting shows these days.

  22. Stephanie says:

    I will definitely miss LUX! This show filled a hole in my schedule when it first came out and it has become so much more to me than just something to watch. The characters were great and the one thing I’m really sorry about is that they didn’t get enough time to develop into who we saw in the “two years later” portion of the episode. Throughout the series run I rooted for Cate and Ryan but I always knew everything led up to a Cate/Baze reunion so it was only natural for it to end that way. I too cried when she called them Mom and Dad…and honestly I’m tearing up just thinking about!

  23. I’m a 60 year old retired tough guy cop, and Life Unexpected blew me into the weeds.

    I thought Ms Tigelaar had run it right up to the ropes when it finished in S1.

    Then to my shock, S2 was just as emotionally brain bending and I had to buy shares in Kleenex.

    I think it is probably finished now, and what was the finale did seem a natural ending. I will miss it almost as much as Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which didn’t finish. I love Life Unexpected almost as much, and believe me, that is a whole lot.

    The writing was wonderful, the tangled stuff exactly what life is, and the players were superb.

    Liz, thank you, thank you so much.

    brendan (Atlanta)

    • Rebecca says:

      I miss TSCC too! Same situation as LUX, just when it was getting awesome it gets cancelled. So disappointed its all over.

  24. Susan says:

    I thought the finale and the time jump ending (which I was not expecting at all) were beautiful, especially considering the short notice given to the writers to wrap thins up. The only thing is I wish Lux hadn’t kissed Jones (mostly because I’ve never liked Jones) at the end and they had left it more ambiguous who she was with, if anyone. But that is only one chapter of her life of course.

  25. Jericho says:

    I found the 1:45 minutes that preceded the Flash Forward Graduation scene wonderful. The real problem I found was the last few moments of that scene. It felt like it was a slap in the face to fans. All these wonderful things have happened in two years and we only get to see the end.

    Personally I found it a cop out that Cate and Baze were together in the end. After all the show went through to alienate them from each other and try to prove that they weren’t meant to be together. I truly wish I could have left the show with Cate’s disturbed words of “we have to talk”. It would have been a more fulfilling ending than we received.

  26. Lynnette says:

    I thought it was an amazing finale!!! I cried like a baby. So sad it’s probably over:-( But thank goodness Cate & Baze were together!

  27. ss says:

    I knew Baze and Liz loved each other but I wish I had seen it happen. PLUS Ryan and Liz were getting along so… I guess if he had KNOWN Julia was really pregnant he would not have married Liz AND if Liz had known Baze loved her she would not have married Ryan. I guess the right people ended up together.. I would have loved to see Baze and Liz “get” back together.. BTW: Just because Baze’s dad was at the Grad does not mean that they are a happy family. It just means he was at his Grandaughters grad. Anyways I was glad if this show HAD to end that it did have an ending…I think Ryan and Liz could work together and be divorced. I think the show would be that more interesting lol…

  28. lorna says:

    I loved Eric, and him and Lux. I cried both eps. I am glad that Lux ended up with Jones, he was my fave for her other than Eric. I loved Cate/Ryan, and I love Cate/Baze, but I wish we had more seasons to see more of each couple. My heart is broken, I feel as if I have been dumped. Keeping my fingers crossed for a s3, will continue to email, tweet the cw and leave feedback at cwtv.com. Please join me guys!

  29. Mels says:

    I’m so sad to see the end of LUX. I loved this show and thought the ending was satisfying too. It was super rushed and like others have said disjointed, but I’m glad Liz had enough time to put together some sort of ending for us. I’ll miss this awesome cast.

  30. Zilly says:

    Dear Meg
    I totally agree with you, I cried, I laughed, I squeed and cried some more… I loved it from beginning to end, the whole episode. I wouldn’t have mind if Emma stayed with Baze and Cate with Ryan, but I was rooting for Cate and Baze from day one and I’m happy they got together.. And I’d rather have a finale like this and a huge cliffhanger with all kinds of open endings.. I melted at the part where she said mom and dad, it was just perfect! Or when everyone kissed their unexpected spouse, or the final picture! So beautiful.. I loved every single part of it of the series!
    Do any of you guys remember the finale of CHARMED where they went 40 years in to the future in the last 5 minutes but they had flashes and voiceovers.. I kinda wished Lux had a voiceover in that ending scene something in the lines of “…Its been two years since Cate found out about Julia and a lot has changed…” And then she would explain the events.. Im not complaining because I love this ending also but it would answers alot of questions…
    My love for this show so much that, if i had the money, i would do what Karen Walker did on WILL&GRACE and finance the show for a couple more years..
    Its hard that a show as good as this didnt get a fighting chance.. I truly dislike CW for never giving this show an opportunity to succeed.. Im gonna miss this show and its gonna stay with me for a very long time..

  31. Miranda says:

    The only thing that disappointed me was how quick the ‘two years later’ bit was. Also reflecting back on it, I thought the only thing they might have added would be Sam and Tasha to end up together – one episode of the two hour finale only was not enough of seeing the cute (and Canadian <3) actor – but then I suppose that would keep Emma in Baze's life in a way.

  32. JACKY says:

    Have just watched Life Unexpected’s final episode in the UK – they moved the 2nd series to an afternoon slot but thankfully showed it every day!!! I loved the 2 years forward and I actually thought Baze was with the producer of the radio show!!! Loved the fact that Cate and Baze were together. Sad that the show’s finished too.

  33. Sierra says:

    Honestly I loved this show and I miss it up to this day :( and me watching this show made me feel apart of them it gave me the feelings I cryed ,laughed,smiled and it was depressing at times but I didn’t like the final I wanted cate to end up with baze but at the end I wanted cate/Ryan baze/Emma lux/bug and Tasha/jones and I would have been happy I fell in love with this show and I was very disappointed I the final . . .

  34. jolea says:

    Sad to see life unexpected go. Does bug or bobby come back. Do they get married lux and bug. And how are baze and kate going. Are they married. Is there going to be another season

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  36. Diane campisi says:

    I just finished life unexpected on Netflix. I discovered it by chance and was addicted I am. 53, although not a foster child, I suffered a lot of the same abuses that lux did as a teen. Ce made a large mistake when they
    Pushed it forward the two years. It would have been captivating to see, and of course you can’t go back and it’s to late now. I don’t know if anyone still post comments as I just finished finale in 2014! But I am disabled. This watch a lot of tv, and the last time I fell in love w a cast w so much chemistry working together was a series called life , I also discovered on netflix. I have NEVER. Gone to a shows website and left a coment, and besides Lucy memorabelia, andygriffith , honeymooners, etc. I want to purchase finan picture in end of series as soon as I saw it. I loved this show that much. At least now I can literally pull myself away from tube and get some.business taken care of ! Thanks for website.

  37. kel says:

    Just watched the show on Netflix. I was so happy Cate and Baze ended up together! They just had this chemistry that Ryan and Cate didn’t have. Baze, by the end of season 1, accepted Cate for who she was and he didn’t try to fix her. I thought it really said a lot that Cate always turned to Baze when she was sad or needed help, that means she is emotionally connected to him. I was sold on Cate and Baze after he held her when she cried about her “father” not caring about her. I liked Ryan a lot, he is a stand up guy but he just wasn’t right for Cate. I was disappointed that the show couldn’t have lasted another season so that we could have seen how Cate and Baze got back together, Lux and Jones, Julia and Ryan and Math and Alice, but overall I was satisfied because Cate and Baze got to be together.

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