Premiered: September 17, 2014
Finale: February 7, 2015
A new show for FOX this year, Red Band Society started off strong at the beginning. It had high hopes with the help from an Academy Award winning actress and the show also being produced by Steven Spielberg. Even with these factors the show still didn’t perform well after it’s initial premiere, with FOX choosing to air the rest of the episodes following the New Year on Saturday nights. This past Saturday FOX aired the final two episodes of the season, with the speculation being that these will also serve as the final episodes of the series. So for those who have not seen the last two episodes, there are SPOILERS.
The finale begins with the hospital dealing with the loss of one of their patients. Although losing a patient is nothing new in a hospital, it was the first character to die in this show and allowed the audience to see how each character, whether they work there or a patient, dealt with it. And if that’s not enough to set the scene for the following episodes, it is also made aware that one of the major players has received some bad news about their prognosis.
Kara (Zoe Levin) is receiving the heart that Hunter (Daren Kagasoff) had signed off to her in the event of his death. While she is on the operating table her conscious is sent to that wired “in between” space where all the patients seem to go when they’re under anesthesia, and who is there to greet her but Hunter. These self-indulgent scenes are catnip for audience members who weep for the couple that could have been. Hunter ultimately has to tell Kara to live a life without him because she still has a one to live, that she cannot give up because he will no longer be there. When she comes to from the surgery Kara takes the heart she has been given as a second chance to be a good person.
Charlie (Griffin Gluck) is out of is coma, and at his point, gaining back his muscle skills slowly but steadily. As the narrator for this series, the inner monologue of this character has been the backdrop for the theme of the episodes. As he is being discharged from the hospital he still has not managed to speak. With Nurse Jackie (Octavia Spencer) warning that he may not recover fully.
Jordi (Nolan Sotillo), failed to get emancipated so he can make his own medical decisions, making it harder for him to obtain the surgery he needs. After this let down his grandmother comes from Mexico to the hospital. Jordi becomes spooked with the new awareness of what can happen on the operating table after Hunter, and also deals with the pressure of this grandmother being at the hospital. He goes back and forth from wanting the surgery to backing out. It does not help that Dr. McAndrew (Dave Annable) himself is dealing with the loss of Hunter and how he wasn’t able to help him, but he knows with Jordi he can.
After Emma is readmitted for relapsing from her eating disorder, her and her family enter into family counseling. Emma, to some, has been a character that they don’t know whether to like her or not. These counseling sessions allow the audience to know the back story of her diagnosis and how that was dealt with her family. Emma comes to the realization that her disease did more than affect just her, and that her unwillingness to ask for help really hurt her mother. I really wished some of this information was released earlier in the season, to make the audience understand Emma and her actions a bit more.
We learn that Dash (Astro) has an Internet girlfriend that he met in a Cystic-Fibrosis support group. Dash has always been the unsung hero of this show in my opinion; he’s always there for his fellow “Red Banders,” has the clearest head of all of them, and is able to get through his experience of living in a hospital with a witty sense of humor. It is cute to see him happy wit this girlfriend but there is one fatal flaw, and it is fatal. There is a huge risk with having two people with a weakened immune system in an intimidate relationship. Although their antics to be together is entertaining enough to watch, Astro knows that he cannot in good conscience be the reason why the girl he likes gets sick.
Leo (Charlie Rowe) has been the leader of this band of misfits throughout the season, but in these finale episodes we see that he is only human too, and a sick one at that. Spending the first hour of the finale silent as he deals with his cancer getting worse, the rest of the Red Band Society is unaware of how to fix this. Since Leo is the one is able to help the others out with their problems, when the roles are reversed it’s an interesting setting. Through Astro’s girlfriend he is able to understand the “superhero” effect he has on other people, and that even superhero’s have their weaknesses. He is able to use that and tell his family that the is not an exception when it comes to his illness and that if he has any hopes on getting better he cannot have those kinds of expectations from his family.
In season (series?) concludes with the Red Band members gathered on the hospital roof, including Charlie. Although this scene comes off a bit campy it gives off the impression that each member is aware of the new chapter of their lives that are beginning, whether that be recovery, new treatment, or surgery.
SIDE BAR: The girl that they show in the very last scene of the episode is Claire Wineland who has a channel on YouTube called “ClarityProject.” She creates videos about what her life is like with CF and her experiences of living in a hospital herself. She also posts video reviews of the episodes on the show and recently she shared what her time was like behind the scenes of guest starring on the final episode. She has an infectious personality and I highly recommend her channel if anyone is interested.
CLAIRE’S CHANNEL: The Clairity Project – YouTube