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August 29, 2015

'United States of Tara' Season 3, Episode 12 (Series Finale) Recap

by Laura Prudom, posted Jun 20th 2011 11:05PM
Toni Colette['United States of Tara' - 'The Good Parts']

It's the end of an era -- or at least the end of an excellent, and sadly underwatched, show, one that took more risks and offered more insight into the human psyche than most series could even dream of.

And though 'United States of Tara' suffered an unexpected cancellation after filming for Season 3 was completed, I still found myself satisfied by the way the loose ends were tied up, even though I would've gladly seen the show continue for many years to come if the TV gods answered to me instead of eroding ratings.

After all, someone with Tara's condition cannot suddenly be cured, certainly not just by "drowning" the manifestation of your molestor in an imaginary tub, as the reappearance of T., Alice and Buck demonstrated at the end of the episode.

There may not be any cut and dried "happily ever after" for the Gregson family, but as Marshall's film illustrated earlier in the season, as long as they have each other, and despite all the chaos around them, Max and Tara can still "make good" just by continuing to persevere against her condition.

It's probably as perfect an ending as we could've hoped for, even if the creators had been given some warning and a chance to slowly build towards a grand finale. Facing and defeating Bryce was surely Tara's most important milestone on the road to recovery, allowing her to realize that she didn't deserve what happened to her as a child and that it wasn't her fault. By finally taking the reins and confronting her biggest fear, "killing" Bryce the way he'd been offing Tara's other alters, she demonstrated that she no longer wanted to be a victim.

Max and his journey were the real focus of the episode aside from Tara, his internal struggles playing out in increasingly dramatic and violent ways until, at last, he exploded in a real outburst -- luckily the only casualty was the turducken. He's played the stoic and loving husband perfectly for three years, but lord knows the guy was due for a breakdown given everything his family has had to deal with, and it was great to see Tara and the rest of the family in a solid enough place to simply support him in that moment and roll right past it.

Charmaine and Neil finally decided to get married and, though Charmaine might be doing unspeakable things to feminism by "following her man" all across the country, the pair truly are perfect for each other.

I think that the mark of a good finale isn't always wrapping up a story in a neat bow and declaring "The End." I'm far more intrigued and satisfied by the type of finale that answers questions, but that also allows us to imagine that these characters will live on -- that the story doesn't end just because we're not watching any more.

Even if we'll never know The End, we did leave all the characters on a deservedly positive note; Kate found love, and although Marshall's conclusion was lacking that romantic closure, he'd at least made peace with his mom. I feel like both kids finally discovered a sense of self this year, and I can imagine that Marshall will grow up to be an eccentric-but-genius filmmaker with a ton of Oscar-winning films inspired by his boatload of familial issues.

Tara Gregson still has miles to go before her journey ends, but even if we won't see her reach some predetermined finish line of "sanity" (if there is such a thing) it was nice to share the walk with her for a while. I'll miss every crazy, hilarious piece of her.

What did you think of the 'United States of Tara' series finale? Were you satisfied by the ending? Or do you wish it had done something differently?

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Julio Juri

It felt like a finale, a good one...I really wonder what more could happen next, I mean, the three basic alters returned, but...they like to take care of Tara and they are mildly inoffensive (well, maybe not T.) and the only evil one, Bryce, is dead. So, I do prefer to leave the Gregson family with their new lives and relationships and hope the best for them...

June 25 2011 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Like you, I am really happy with the closure, not neat & tied in a bow, but you get the feeling this family is going to survive, as they have been, in their own way, on their own terms, given their circumstances. What I liked about this show, is I felt despite the craziness, the essential core of this family was so real, so they could live next door to me. Happy to see they remained intact, loving each other & finding love. Ended on a sweet note.

June 21 2011 at 7:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jordan Cole

It saddens me to lose one of the best shows on tv. What hurts me even more is that right after the credits rolled I had to look at Nancy Botwins face and be reminded that her once great rotting corpse of a show gets to continue and for a seventh year and Tara doesn't. But anyways, the finale and the overall arc was satisfying the only thing I wish was that as Tara put her head out the window she would have looked back at the house and saw all the alters waving goodbye. Then she turns to the front and smiles knowing that while her illness wasn't cured, the alters that protected her were no longer needed because she was finally strong enough to deal with her problems herself. In a perfect world I will imagine that as her ending. The End!

June 21 2011 at 1:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

watch United States of Tara Season 3 Episode 12 online


June 20 2011 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fantastic analysis. I'm going to miss this show as well. It's sad to see such a great thing end.

June 20 2011 at 11:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fantastic analysis. I'm going to miss this show as well. It's sad to see such a great thing end.

June 20 2011 at 11:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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