UNITED STATES OF TARA “The Good Parts” Review

UNITED STATES OF TARA Series Finale "The Good Parts" Season 3 Episode 12 (1)

UNITED STATES OF TARA “The Good Parts” Season 3 Episode 12 – The series finale of United States of Tara is bittersweet. On the one hand its sad to see a show of this calibre being cut because of a lack of viewership. On the other, I don’t know what could have been a more perfect season finale. It worked on so many levels, dialling the craziness way back as Tara, herself once again, kills Bryce Crane and leaves for Boston, for the specialist Dr Hattaras suggested she see.

Her family were left in some degree of stability: Charmaine asked Neil to marry him and they’re moving to Houston; Evan told Kate he loves her, and they’re together in a happy relationship; Marshall reconciled with his mother, has decided to tell people exactly what he thinks after harshly realizing that there was so much left unsaid between himself and Lionel and is now going to be looked after by Kate. A few episodes ago Kate called Marshall “the glue” that keeps their family together, and at the time that may well have been true, but after Lionel’s death and Bryce’s chaotic appearance, the Gregson family’s “glue” is Kate, who has evolved from ass crushing cake antics to the responsible, selfless older sister in a mother’s role.

I say some degree of stability, because then you have Max. Max had some great scenes in this episode, from guitar playing at midnight in his driveway to brief flashes of his true feelings as he smiles and nods and grits his teeth, to punching a chicken at the dinner table. Max is the guy to pull Tara out of the river and out of her head. He’s the doting husband who can try and try but nothing goes his way: there was no resolution to their relationship because there was no resolution to be had. For better or worse, in sickness and health, he’s with Tara, and he’ll be with her until he dies, driving her up and down the country to psychiatrists, joylessly searching for stability just so he can see the Tara he married and not one of her alters. He does the best he can with what he has, he’s one of the most selfless characters I’ve seen in fiction, without being a martyr. He’s Atticus Finch, the unlikely hero.

Bryce made his final appearance in the first few minutes of the episode, getting water boarded by a very pissed off Tara. The scene with Bryce reminds me (if I might be so snotty) of that line from Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol: “He killed the one he loved the most, and so he had to die.” It seems applicable not only to Bryce, but to Tara and her alters.

The writers were very smart to leave Bryce and all of the other alters (for the most part) at the wayside and instead concentrate on Tara, or what is left of her. This woman is insane, she’s struggling and it’s not funny and it’s a testament to how far this show has grown that it’s turned from slapstick affair with T and Buck and Alice to showing just how pathetic and desperate her situation is. There’s nothing funny about blacking out, resurfacing to see your daughter with a bloody nose, your son on the ground after a smack down, your husband desperately trying to keep things together, holding onto his wife as she cuts their own children.

The finale really worked, both as a season and a series finale. Everything was very organic and it marks the end of a very good series of television which explored mental health better than any television series I’ve ever seen.

What did you think of this episode, as a season and series finale? Sound off in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter @CiaraMoyna