John from Cincinnati: His Visit: Day 9 (season finale)
(S01E10) We got three great things in what I suspect was the last episode of John from Cincinnati ever:
2. The Zip is back.
Seriously though, to the three of us left watching this show, WTF?
This episode was, at turns, exhilarating, confounding and disappointing.
The opening was fantastic. Seeing John and Shaun come in on the waves - all synchronized swimmer-style to a Dylan soundtrack was all I really needed. It was nice to see everyone come around and connect a little. Dickstein got his blowjob. Mitch got a helping hand or two to peel him off the ceiling. John got an El Camino, and apparently, got taken offline for a bit while the car salesmen slipped into "my father's words." Linc even seemed to get the picture after his confab with John. I, however, may never get it.
The season finale provided closure for the characters if not for us. Stinkweed is covering for the Monad parade and the Yost family's adventures in innerspace. (Religious people love a parade - a pilgrimage straight to the holy ocean.) Tina is staying in town. The family is back together. Bill got Zip back. Even Teddy found a friend in Freddy's Teddy. (Best line of the night: "Segregated whenever they're indoors.") We, however, are left with a big ole mess of "huh?" The doctor comes back 20 years younger? Cissy gets pregnant? Cass-Kai is the mother of God? Shaun is going to be sponsored by John's father? 9/11/14? Hell. Whatever. Maybe if they stopped introducing so many damn characters, I'd care about the answers to these questions. But, let's focus on the big picture.
What did you take away from the sometimes enlightening, often infuriating John from Cincinnati? Seriously, we could spend a lot of time concerning ourselves with the artists' intentions, but this isn't a puzzle to be solved like Lost or its imitators. (Although, I will say that the green bird in Flaubert's A Simple Heart represents Jesus and art and a lot of other things, and I'm totally down with Zippy being that bird's inheritor.) Anyway, back to my original sentiment, this work stands up if you connected with it. Did you, or do you want those ten hours of your life back?
When the show wasn't boring me to tears, it did make me think. It made me think about liminality and connecting with people and compassion and William James' Pragmatism. Since this is the last review I'll ever have to write of this show, I'm going to share this. (It's not a normal show. I don't have to write a normal review.) I know that the James brothers are an inspiration to David Milch as well so I think it's appropriate, and it came to me again and again while watching John from Cincinnati these past few weeks.
In one of William James' Pragmatism lectures, he speaks from God's point-of-view. Here's what he has to say about the world:
"I am going to make a world not certain to be saved, a world the perfection of which shall be conditional merely, the condition being that each several agent does its own 'level best.' I offer you the chance of taking part in such a world. Its safety, you see, is unwarranted. It is a real adventure, with real danger, yet it may win through. It is a social scheme of co-operative work genuinely to be done. Will you join the procession? Will you trust yourself and trust the other agents enough to face the risk?"
It's a little "we're all in this together," and I'm sure there's more to be taken away from the show than this, but it's what I got for now.