Red Band Society “We’ll Always Have Paris” & “Waiting For Superman” Review (Season 1 Episode 11 & 12)

Red Band Society FOX Cast

Now that it’s over, it’s impossible tell whether Red Band Society will be a show that’s remembered alongside other so-called ‘one season wonders’. It started out strong, with critical acclaim and audience willingness, but something went wrong somewhere down the line, and the show’s final two episodes have aired just 13-collective hours after its premiere.

It had a lot of legitimate problems, most of which were never really solved in the limited time the show was given, but this two-part finale, ‘We’ll Always Have Paris’ and ‘Waiting for Superman’ were two of its best, and saw this universe and these characters off in a way that’ll be of some comfort for the intense fandom it has inspired.

Because above all, it’s a show that reached out to a specific audience, and that audience certainly responded. Go onto Tumblr right now and you can see it’s effect for yourself – people adore this series in a way that your police procedurals and standard medical dramas never get, and that alone makes it’s cancellation a bummer.

The first episode starts us off with Kara, who is in the hospital’s weird limbo space with Hunter, as he tries to convince her to accept his heart and live on without him. They go to Paris for one last date – the most normal one they’ve ever been able to have – and Kara finally realizes that surviving would be a better tribute to his memory than simply dying alongside him. That would be the easy option, and that’s not good enough for her anymore.

It’s a fittingly emotional ending for a character who has proven to be the show’s biggest achievement. She was our entry point into the show’s premise, and we’ve been given the chance to see her story begin and end, with lots of mistakes in the middle. Nothing about it feels rushed, which is a miracle when you ponder just how much more Red Band Society could have done with her had it gotten the chance.

Then we have Emma, whose storyline in these episodes was thankfully love triangle-free. Instead, we had her confronting her issues without the excuses or really much of the denial, even seeing a breakthrough with her mother during their family therapy session. Kudos to Ciara Bravo, who gave a beautiful performance that really sold her suffering. In past episodes, Emma has come across almost whiny, but that wasn’t the case here at all.

I even cared more for Jordi than I have in the past, even if it was marginal. He’s been the show’s flattest character throughout, overshadowed by so many other strong players, but I liked the way Red Band Society handled the idea of faith with his grandmother.

Less good was Dash and Mae’s shoehorned-in romance, which I thought did a disservice to Dash in his final two-hours simply for taking him away from the rest of the group. That’s always been my biggest problem with the show – the red-banders never felt like a group – but Dash was always the one to bring them together when necessary. Giving him a random love interest here, then, distracted from what his characters had always been about.

My favorite storyline of the night, even if it probably got the least screen time, was Leo’s. Though Kara ended up pulling focus a lot of the time, Leo has always been our protagonist, so it was good to see him get the bitter-sweet ending. It’s realistic (and ironic) that the guy who has always been the group’s cheerleader is the one to be dealt the biggest blow, but the show reached a good compromise in letting him accept it, rather than simply implode.

He imploded for the first hour, but then the guy he had helped the most – Jordi – snapped him out of it with just a few simple words he needed to hear. Survival has become a burden in his case, and getting sick again gave him permission to take care of himself. All of this was underlined with the lack of focus on his and Emma’s romance. It didn’t take away from their bond, but rather strengthened it by delving into them as individuals.

So let’s not grieve what Red Band Society could have been had it not been cancelled, but instead celebrate what it tried, and sometimes succeeded, in doing during it’s short run. A lot of people have taken the show to their hearts which, when you boil it down, is all Red Band Society really wanted to do.

You can’t always get what you want but, if you try sometimes etc etc.

What did you think of the episode, and the series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.