Television has had a long, illustrious tradition of controversial series finales — from a baby suffocating on M.A.S.H., to the Seinfeld characters ending up in jail, to The Sopranos‘s infamous mid-whack fade to black.
Television has also had a long, illustrious tradition of frustrating and disappointing queer viewers.
These two traditions collided last night on The L Word, which ended its six-season run with a finale (“Last Word”) that left most viewers somewhere between disappointed and outraged, as we captured during our liveblog of the episode.
One of our readers, Kate, predicted early into the hour, “This entire episode will be everyone yelling about Jenny being a monster, no resolutions, then BAM Jenny is dead, the time runs out on the episode.”
Which pretty much sums up what happened: there were no real surprises, the show just ended. Not gracefully or thoughtfully (like, say, Six Feet Under did) but abruptly and carelessly.
As AfterEllen.com reader The Dude pronounced as the finale came to a close, “It ends not with a bang but structural collapse. Typical.”
This structural collapse was glaringly evident almost from the beginning of the episode. Extreme closeups and odd camera angles were employed. Characters disappeared (Kelly was saved by a bell somewhere) or randomly appeared (Jodie thanked Bette and Tina for letting her be a part of their lives). Others delivered rambling monologues that were so poorly written you couldn’t even follow them (Alice talking about Tasha and Jamie on the phone, Molly thanking Shane).
Nonsensical plot contrivances were introduced (Jenny’s photo of Bette and Kelly was suddenly turned into video and edited and set to music), and timelines were ignored (the second story on Bette and Tina’s house was suddenly complete).
False drama was created (Dylan and Helena suddenly breaking up over trust issues), and almost all major loose ends were left untied. (Tasha and Alice staying together? Who knows. Max keeping his baby? Anyone’s guess.)
The biggest question of all — “Who killed Jenny?” — wasn’t even answered, despite Showtime’s relentless promotion of the murder mystery as the central question of the season. But even that’s not surprising, since Chaiken publicly stated midway through the season that she had no plans to answer it.
In an AfterEllen.com reader poll conducted last week, 74% of respondents predicted Jenny killed herself or died by accident — which is what appears to have happened. At the end of the episode, Alice simply went out to the pool area while everyone else was inside watching the tribute video Jenny had made for Bette and Tina, and found Jenny floating dead in the pool.
Several readers have presented humorous alternative theories to who killed Jenny, ranging from Max’s moustache, to Jodie Foster, to — as reader Gracie suggests — “Dawn Denbo by the pool with the candlestick holder.”