Greetings, Mistresses fans. We interrupt your regularly scheduled melodrama – unapologetically drunk, mentally unstable Woman Scorned pointing a revolver at the Sexy-Stupid Psychiatrist who carried on a lengthy affair with her late husband, then bedded her emotionally unstable son — to bring you one of the most delicious retorts in modern television history.
Sexy-Stupid Psychiatrist: (Trying to buy time/make a 911 call/continue a season-long tradition of foolery) Let’s just talk about this. Can I make you a drink?
Woman Scorned: Sure. Why not?
Sexy-Stupid Psychiatrist: What can I get you?
Woman Scorned: Scotch.
Sexy-Stupid Psychiatrist: Sorry, I only have vodka. How do you like it?
Woman Scorned: (Now burning with white-hot rage, index finger twitching on the trigger) IN MY HAND!
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Honestly, if there was an Emmy Award for Best Bitchy Retort by a Villainess in a Drama Series – and come to think of it, there should be – then whichever member of the Mistresses writing staff is responsible for my new favorite way to order a drink at a bar or restaurant would be collecting a coveted statuette next September.
All together now: In. My. Hand.
(Side note: The only possible competition in my fictional Emmy category might come from previous Mistresses zingers including, “Maybe you should tell him you were screwing his father: That should break the spell.” And, of course, this additional instant classic from the Season 1 finale: “Did you see Tom’s face when you were screwing my son?”)
But, wait. Let me rescue this recap from a sauv-blanc-fueled flight of fancy and return the focus to the gasp-inducing, cliffhanger-filled, “Oh. Em. God. This show had better get a Season 2 pickup!” action contained in “I Choose You,” the devilish, sometimes harrowing, always entertaining Season 1 finale.
For the uninitiated, Sexy-Stupid Psychiatrist is Karen Kim, and she’s been such a white-hot mess all season that compared to her, the surface of the sun is positively chilly. And Woman Scorned is Elizabeth Grey, who’s been knockin’ back booze in her pitiful little mansion all season long and plotting to systematically destroy the life of a romantic rival who should probably have her prescription-writing privileges permanently revoked in order to pursue a career in minimalist interior design.
Anyhow, let’s review the cahoots that happened to our four central characters – and then delve into key questions that loomed as the episode came to its conclusion.
KAREN | The season finale kicks off with Karen in the shower, trying to wash away 13 weeks of baffling personal, professional and legal decisions. (Oh girl, you’re gonna need a bigger bar of soap.) Meanwhile, Elizabeth is busy sipping scotch and alienating her son, mocking his romantic feelings for Karen. “To her, you were nothing more than a pathetic child with a misguided crush,” she hisses. “Yeah,” Sam shoots back, “then why did she sleep with me?” Oh snap! The apple clearly doesn’t fall far from the bitchy-bombshell-dropping tree.
Elizabeth shows up at Karen’s, slurring something about apologies, needing five minutes of time, and so Karen invites her inside — as if Elizabeth hadn’t just finished trying to sue her and decimate her professional reputation.
“Your home is lovely Karen…sparse,” says Elizabeth, her vitriol as tingly as a freshly popped Altoid. “No pictures of anyone anywhere. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have a family of your own.” And then…she pulls out a handgun! (Who else adored the transition from that visual to the sound of April banging on the soda machine?) Karen tries to stall her with small talk, with offers of cocktails (see the above transcript) and even with an invitation to play “Ask Karen Anything?”
Elizabeth (who really ought to be a character on every primetime comedy and drama in existence), goes directly for the jugular with this razor-sharp query: “Did you see Tom’s face when you were screwing my son?” (Yes, I know I already recounted that line, but it’s tasty enough to repeat, no?)
Karen’s already dialed 911 and left her phone inside her liquor cabinet, and now she’s trying to pepper the conversation with hints of where the police can find her. “Holly Oak is a quiet street,” Karen offers, but Elizabeth is having none of it. “Shut up! Just shut up!” (A good response to everything Karen’s said all season.) And then Elizabeth reveals her plan: “Considering your recent shame, I don’t think people will be surprised when you end your life with a fistful of morphine and a bottle of vodka.” LETHAL DOSES OF MORPHINE!!! See how the Mistresses writing staff brings everything full circle?
But wait! Sam, looking for his passport in the safe – because, honestly, leaving the country may be his only option for escaping the crazy — discovers the family gun has been checked out for some early afternoon usage. Uh-oh! He races to Karen, breaks through the glass door with a chair – very Body Heat, with an Oedipal twist – and tries to talk some sense into Mommie Dearest before she becomes a murderer. Except this ain’t her first time at the (murderous) rodeo! Recalling Tom’s final night on Earth, she shares, “He looked at me and said, ‘Karen, I want Karen.’ Those were the last words I heard before I decided to kill him.” And then Sam and Elizabeth take a page out of the Chicago soundtrack and both reach for the gun. There’s a struggle, a gunshot, and some blood splatter. The identity of the victim – Elizabeth? Sam? Karen’s last shred of dignity? – will remain a mystery until Season 2. (And there’d better be a Season 2, ABC!)
Key Questions: Is it daft of me to hope that Elizabeth survives the melee, somehow manages to make nice with Karen – “Oh, girl, the pistol was loaded with blanks the whole time!” — and somehow joins our core quartet next season? She could just sit in the background rattling the ice in her cocktail and offering judgmental bon mots as the ladies discuss their crises! Also: Yay or nay on a scorching hot Karen-Sam/December-May regular-booty-call situation in Season 2? Or should she go on and wreck a different patient’s domestic bliss next summer? Or maybe form a triangle with her hot former colleague Jacob and that hot insurance investigator Anthony? (Notice a trend of how everybody and everything on this show is hot – except the contents of Elizabeth’s tumblers?
APRIL | April starts the week by pow-wowing with her gals and confessing last week’s makeout with Paul (which was wisely followed by her fleeing the scene instead of checking for signs of life below the belt on her formerly dead spouse). When Savi asks about what this means to her relationship with Richard, April lays her cards on the table. “It doesn’t quite feel like it does with Paul.” And Savi – pregnancy brain in full effect – shoots back, “Like battered wife syndrome?” followed by a comical, “Did I just say that out loud?” When Joss and Karen join Savi’s Greek chorus, April is outraged. Her friends have spent the last year telling “despicable lies,” plotting and scheming, then begging for forgiveness, but she’s not allowed to even consider absolving Paul?
I’m all, “Uh-huh, you tell ‘em, sister!” Until April goes to Karen for advice. “Feelings are feelings: You can’t guilt them away,” says Karen, because apparently it’s no big deal that Paul FAKED HIS DEATH AND ABANDONED HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER FOR THREE YEARS IN ORDER TO START A NEW LIFE AND A NEW FAMILY WITH SOME SKANKY FLORIDA SWAMP DWELLER. (Sorry for the all caps, but I mean…) Karen tells April to close her eyes and figure out who she sees a happy life with.
April rushes off to lunch with her adorable boyfriend, plants a whopper of a smooch on him, and then swings the axe: “I’m so sorry, Richard…” (This is what happens, guys, when you don’t promptly pick up your cell phone during a woman’s hour of crisis.) But just when it looks like April is about to take a turn onto Seriously Misguided Blvd – Paul, skeevily, is all “I’m never not showing up for you again” – she sees his cellphone light up with a call from Swamp Dweller Miranda, and he freakin’ ignores it. And then Miranda calls April – the pink flamingoes in her yard symbolizing her lot in life – and asks the former wife and about-to-be other woman to have Paul pick up his damn phone and call his son. And because April is the moral center of this show, she sends her no-good presumed-dead spouse back to where he came from. When she visits Savi in the hospital (more on that in a second) and reveals she’s ditched Paul, broken up with Richard and is now ready to take to the dance floor when Beyonce calls out for “all the single ladies,” Savi’s response is priceless: “How long have I been out?”
Key Questions: If Mistresses fails to get a Season 2 pickup – I know, I know, I shouldn’t shoot such blasphemy into the universe – isn’t April’s decision to choose herself and her daughter over either of her suitors a pretty satisfying ending? And don’t you wish she’d been around to counsel Carrie Bradshaw back when she was deciding between the Russian and Big on Sex and the City? That said, aren’t we gonna miss Richard in Season 2? (Insert frowny emoticon here.)
SAVI | Savi wakes up to find yellow roses on her doorstep on her birthday – but no note explaining who sent ‘em. She can’t even trust her feelings about who she wants them to be from, “because I’m a lunatic,” she explains to her friends. It’s not from her law partners – who’ve made her a Cheese of the Month Club member. They’re not from Dom. They don’t appear to be from Harry (who calls and suggests she start taking care of her won medical bills). And they’re not from Joss, April and Karen – who’ve booked a fabulous thunderbird (the car, not the band) and a Palm Springs hotel for a weekend getaway.
At the Palm Sands later that morning, Savi and Joss witness a father successfully getting his adorable tyke to jump in the pool, and even though electricity and pool water don’t mix – a light bulb goes off over Savi’s head. “This entire time I’ve been asking myself the wrong question: Who will star with me in my romance? But it’s not about that; it’s a different kind of romance – the romance of a family for this baby. You know, the kind we never had and always wanted.” In other words, whichever suitor turns out to be the biological dad is the one Savi sees as her destiny.
Savi wants to rush back to L.A. and retrieve the envelope with the paternity results from Joss’ nightstand, but Joss knows Harry’s already stolen them and tries to stall for time. But nope – big sis has waited to find out who’s the baby daddy long enough, and races down the highway, only to have Joss call and spill the beans: Harry has the results, and hasn’t been heard from since he absconded with ‘em. BAM! That’s a big revelation. But the real bam is Savi’s car getting sideswiped – and Savi heading to the ER for surgery on a collapsed lung and other possible injuries.
As the doctors try to save her, everybody convenes in the waiting room. Well, everybody except for Karen (and her future BFF Elizabeth). When Harry sees Joss, he tells her to call Dom, too. “Why would I do that?” wonders the founding member of #TeamHarry. “Because he’s the father,” says the hot Australian hubby. OMFG may have been a Gossip Girl tag line, but Mistresses has bought it, totally owns it, and may now hold onto its rights for the next 10 years, thank you very much.
Savi wakes up, bruised and lacerated, to find Harry in her room. “So we’re having a kid,” she smiles. But Harry reveals the truth about the baby’s paternity. “But you’re here,” she says, half pleading, half expressing disbelief. And then, Harry – overwhelmed by the idea that he might’ve lost Savi for good – has a change of heart. “I don’t care who the father is,” he says, tearfully. “I choose you, Savi. I’ll always choose you.”
But it’s not that easy, because Dom’s not going down without a fight, or at least a swoon-inducing monologue of his own. When he visits the room and Savi tells him the baby is OK, he pours out his own heart. “Thank God for that. But I love you, Savannah. I have for a long time, and I just needed you to know that.” Savi, though, responds by pulling Dom’s hand from her face. Maybe the paternity’s not so important after all. Maybe, just maybe, Savi and Harry are back at where we first met them: A couple in love, and a couple ready for parenthood.
When April and Joss return to the room, Savi prepares to definitely answer the question of whom she was hoping the birthday flowers were from all along. But then her speech slurs, she begins to drift off, and we get a CODE BLUE situation. Joss screams for help. The doctors apply the paddles to Savi’s chest. And – Holy Mother of Cliffhangers That Had Damn Well Better Come With Some Resolution – the season ends!
Key questions | If ABC decides to do the devil’s work and cancel Mistresses should we A. Start a Kickstarter campaign to fund a second season? Or B. Take Alyssa Milano’s advice and send pregnancy-test sticks and whips (along with my suggestion, bottles labeled LETHAL DOSES OF MORPHINE) to the network to lobby for a resurrection? And on the subject of Savi, did Harry or Dom manage to sway you onto either of their teams this week, or do you remain steadfastly committed to one or the other? How great was Alyssa Milano in this episode? And is anyone else hoping the flowers were from Harry’s hot business partner? (OK, OK, that’s just me and my sick twisted mind.)
JOSS | Really, most of Joss’ storyline got resolved last week with her final split from Alex and her decision to abandon her career in real estate. But man, I have to admit it tugged at my heartstrings when Savi was still in surgery and Joss admitted to Harry how scared she was at the thought of losing her sister. “What if she doesn’t pull through this? What if…,” she said, her voice trailing off. “You’re a survivor, Harry. I’m not. I know I may seem like I am, but I’m not. I don’t know what I’d do without her.” Oh man, ABC can’t leave us hanging wondering whether Joss has to carry on without her big sis, can they? It’s not like she can fly down to Brazil and lean on her crazy mom!
Key questions | How sweet was it when Joss shifted her seat a little closer to Dom, so he didn’t have to sit all by his lonesome wondering about the fate of Savi and their unborn baby? Also, re. last week’s decision to change careers: Who else is vexed by the idea that Joss won’t be making big bucks in Season 2, and therefore won’t be able to afford all those chic little dresses of hers? (Mistresses writers: Maybe you wanna rethink that plot development over the summer.)
BEST LINES OF DIALOGUE
“I see your hot kiss with Dom and I raise you one scandalous makeout with Paul.” –April, confessing her sins to Savi and the gals
“Does that thing pick up cable?” –Joss commenting on the size of Savi’s giant sun hat
“For starting off Swedish and ending down under – all you’ve gotta do is give him the sign.” –Joss, explaining to Savi why the Palm Sands masseuse got the nickname “The Famous Antonio”
“You can say it. My hair looks terrible.” –Post car-wreck Savi, as April arrives at her hospital room
Gah! For yet another week I’ve passed the 1,000-word mark – veering toward 3,000! – on my Mistresses recap! So share your thoughts on the season finale below, and then add some ideas for what we can do for a successful renewal campaign!