“The Big C” brought Cathy Jamison’s journey (not “battle”) with cancer to a close Monday night (May 20) with the fourth hour of “Hereafter,” the shortened Season 4 that wrapped everything up.
The course of “Hereafter” obviously did not run smooth for Cathy, but it was such a beautiful look at someone dealing with the last year of her life. In the final chapter, Cathy came home, since insurance would not pay for her to stay in hospice any longer, and she struggled with wanting to end things on her own terms.
We’re glad the show didn’t go that way. It’s not that assisted suicide would have been an outrage, but it didn’t feel right for Cathy and Sean. Plus, if she’d gone too early she wouldn’t have had that day with her father and Adam’s graduation.
Yes, both those things were giant tearjerkers, particularly Adam working his butt off to graduate when all we’ve seen of him is that he’s kind of a terrible student. But Laura Linney really sold it — so much so that we were afraid she’d say, “Lucky me” and drop dead right there at the breakfast table.
Instead, Cathy passed later that day while under the care of Ina, her delightful at-home hospice nurse. As far as we know, her last words were, “Go get two forks,” which is kind of lovely in its simplicity.
We aren’t sure how we feel about the very end — was her therapist a God-like character? St. Peter in a dress? We never did see her interact with anyone but Cathy, so maybe she was never there at all. And Angel was there to take her over to the other side; he’s not the angel of death after all.
Would it have felt better to simply end on Cathy floating in the pool with Marlene and Thomas nearby, rather than go for any religious aspects? Maybe. But it’s also nice to think that if Cathy wanted to go to some kind of Heaven, she got to go there.
As an aside, it’s a shame Dr. Sherman passed away, too. We would’ve liked to think in the “Big C” universe that he’s forging ahead with curing cancer.
But overall, we found the entire four hours of “Hereafter” to be a really solid ending to an excellent show. It’s not every program that can have you laughing as tears stream down your cheeks.
What did you think of “The Big C’s” finale?