Let me start off by sharing my number one observation of this episode: holy mother of Bushmills, there was a lot of day-drinking in this episode, wasn’t there? I mean, first Frankie starts knocking back whiskey shots in the middle of the afternoon, then Ed has his boozy lunch meeting with the publisher, then Jay and Tess get wine-buzzed in an elevator…
It’s an appropriate theme when you think about it, considering that everything went completely to hell last week: Frankie and Jay’s tryst got outed (and also Frankie gets fired by the creepy, homophobic boss for covering Jay’s ass), Ed professed his love for Tess and failed miserably, Tess got really bad Botox, the birthday party was an epic, Wild West-style fail and everything sucks.
So now we’re in the final episode, which means we have just under an hour to tie up all these terrible loose ends. However shall Harriet Braun do it? Well, let’s take it by character arc:
If we move in together we can do this all day every day
It’s the morning after the disastrous Showdown at the BAC Corral. Sam and Cat, the only ones who got laid last night, are cuddling in bed. Sam’s landlord is still on her ass about payments, so Cat offers her the chance to join U-Haul Nation.
When Frankie finds out about the matter, she makes a joke about Cat not being the “U-Haul type,” and really? It took until the sixth episode for a U-Haul joke? You’d think a show with this many stereotypes/Important Lesbian Cultural Signifiers would’ve gotten to that sooner.
I Miss You Now, I Guess Like I Shoulda Missed You Then
Frankie invites Cat out for a drink and a talk at the Trans-Europe Planet Café (which by the way, is an actual place you can go to in Glasgow, as Google has just informed me, so let the Lip Service tourism industry boom commence!). She professes her undying love for Cat, who, understandably, resists. And Cat gets to the heart of the matter really quickly: “You’re always ready ‘til you get what you want. And then you have to fuck it up.”
Back at the Den of Monogamy, Sam wants Cat to finally meet her friends, including some guy named Ryder, which means he’s either “rugged” or probably “a douche” or “owns a significant moving truck empire.” Cat does this thing again (as with the party last night), where she, in a flurry of guilt and feelings, tries to jump Sam’s bones on the kitchen counter.
Sam Looks Very Junior Varsity Today
Frankie copes in a similar manner, by which we mean whiskey in the middle of the day and making out with a guy in the bathroom (but stopping him when he gets too handsy).
Eye Makeup Appropriately Smudged? Check. Also look how much taller I am than this guy
In walks creepy, drug dealin’ Darren, which means we’re finally going to get to know the Super Secret Mystery of Frankie’s Past That Has Been Keeping Us On The Edge Of Our Seats. He takes her back to the boxing studio and gives her that photo album she’s been looking for. After some prying and ambiguous language, we find out Alma Carter is, in fact, Frankie’s mother, and Darren’s mother too.
Frankie spends a lot of time brooding and perusing the photos. Like most of us, Child Frankie was chubby and had a bizarre, how-did-anyone-think-this-was-cute-oh-my-gawd haircut. She finds a photo of her with Uncle Cam, where she is identified as ‘Eleanor’ instead of ‘Shane.’
It’s enough to confront the old man again.
Luke, I am your father
Turns out — and sorry for those who haven’t seen the episode and can’t handle the awesome power of this shocking twist — Uncle Cam is Frankie’s real dad. He hid the identity of her mother because of her criminal past, and used the death of his other relatives as a cover-up. Mystery solved. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for his meddling Shane.
Now totally distraught, Frankie’s flying back to New York. But before she goes, she has Jay, in a rather heated confrontation with Cat, deliver her a package. It’s the engraving of their initials, taken from the wall of their old school, and a card with the inscription “Some things weren’t meant to be destroyed.” Cat, propelled by the awesome power of feeeelings, rushes over to say goodbye to her lost love.
Some things don’t deserve to be destroyed like this piece of wood, and the rainforest
And finally — shocker — Frankie and Cat kiss. Someone cue the Paula Cole.
And Now Our Bodies Are the Guilty Ones
And because it’s this show, kissing leads to a whole lot more — including the Triumphant Return of Frankie’s Patented Leg-Sawing Motion — beautifully backlit and set to the all-too-fitting music of The XX (“After you/had you seen me with someone new/hanging so high for your return…”).
Revealed. Cat and Frankie are a couple because Frankie is a closet bottom and is only out to Cat
The passion in this scene is at once cinematic and weirdly believable (certainly more than any scene with Sadie). And it’s mega-hot. Frankie is in tears at the end. And so are we. She asks Cat if she loves Sam. She nods. She asks Cat if she still loves her. She nods again, and then leaves to meet Sam and that Ryder guy at the pub, where she just looks exhausted and guilty the whole time.
HERE CHECK IT OUT:
It’s now the next morning. Sam makes breakfast in bed. Cat is trying to keep it together, and it’s clear she’s going to stay with Sam, but you know the longing for her lost blonde love is still lingering.
Must make sure my hair is properly ruffled to meet my mother for the first time
The last scene of the finale involves Frankie, set to the sweet, sweet strains of Beth Orton, standing in the doorway greeting a woman we presume to be Alma Carter. They smile, knowingly, through tears. And for once, Frankie’s world is at a shaky peace.
Hello Mom, I’m your Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb
Tess begins the episode still bitter, embarrassed and unable to talk to Ed. Ed looks especially strange via fisheye lens, and furthermore, still has a penis. Not the kind you strap on, but the kind that you think with.
Look Me in the Eyes and Tell Me You Don’t Want my Bad Romance
Then a package arrives at the flat, clearly not for her, because it does not appear as though Tess has ever handled a power tool in her life. It’s obviously for Fin, her attractive, sorta-butch neighbor.
Still dejected but needing to get out of the house, she meets up with Jay and offers to accompany him to the pub before he goes and has a long talk with Becky. En route, she gets a call from her agent, saying she’s got a last-minute audition for a lead role in Uncle Vanya. And then, with perfect timing, the elevator gets stuck with her and Jay in it. We have now gone, in one fell swoop, from season finale to bottle episode.
I hope neither of us is a secret axe murderer
Luckily, in the name of deux ex machina, Ed comes along, but he refuses to help until he and Tess get that whole awkward last night thing sorted out. He comes in with the whole emotional “I still want to be friends, we can watch YouTube together and stuff” speech. They make up, he opens the elevator and everyone dashes toward their next objective.
Now I Gotcha Right Where I Wantcha
Tess makes her audition, with a ride and a pep talk from Ed. She makes up some totally bollocks story about going to L.A. for pilot season, using the premise for Ed’s book as the pilot. I personally thought her delivery was a little flat, but she made it through an audition without crying or screaming at the casting director, so that’s an improvement.
Somehow, she gets the lead. And does the stereotypical rom-com girly freakout when she gets the news.
And O, the blessings keep rolling in. Fin arrives, looking for her missing drill. She blames the missing drill on her “cousin.” Fin has a long night of fixing electrical problems ahead of her, so Tess offers to come with her on what will totes obvs be the most romantic first date ever.
Speaking of Drilling, These Are My Fingers
Turns out, it is. We find out Fin went to art school (jewelry and silversmithing, with a minor in being totally rad), and she even gives Tess a sample of her work, which we would actually wear, unlike most “crafty” things made by characters on the teevee. They talk, and talking leads to touching out on a snowy balcony, and touching leads to cuddling the next morning. Awww.
Baby You Can Light My Electrical Fire
It is Tess, our bumbling, charming Tess, who gets the neatest, tied-in-a-bow happy ending. She has a leading role and a new leading lady. She’s come the farthest in terms of circumstances, from lonely, jilted and perpetually unemployed to happily in love and doing what she loves. Remember, dear readers, good things come to those who wait.
HAHA I WIN
The last time I held you in my arms was way more fun
Not that anyone really cares about what happens to Jay, but he spends most of the episode either moping because he self-sabotaged or getting chewed out by his lady-friends. His confrontation with Becky doesn’t go much better. Alas, he will have trouble letting go of his horndog ways. It’s an uphill battle, Jay, but someday, you will triumph.
Ed gets the book deal for his Epic Space Pirate Love Affair Drama or whatever, and the suit he lunches with is already talking about film rights and the possibilities of banging sci-fi fans, HELLO COSPLAY!
Nice Novel, Wanna Bang?
He’s ecstatic, but he wants to tell Tess first. After counsel from Big Sis about how Tess needs to be “weird and angry” for a while and how falling in love with your best friend is TOTALLY NORMAL EXCEPT IT MESSES YOU UP FOR A WHILE, he finds her in an elevator, they make up, and all is well.
Well, our lovely Glaswegian drama is over. Some of you might have loved it, others hated it, others watched it merely for the lulz (or the boobs). There were definitely some things to admire about Lip Service, and we’re not just talking about Ruta Gedmintas. Sure, it was overwrought and some of the characters were written more as plot devices than as complex people (Jay never really leaves behind his Horndog-With-A-Heart-of-Gold-Sort-of shtick, for example). And yes, there were a lot of stereotypes/obvious cultural signifiers (but there’s truth to some of them — we’ve all creeped on exes on Facebook and gotten indignant when they use photos we’ve taken as their profile pictures, or, you know, not).
I agree with our dear friend Dorothy Snarker, who makes a really good point that, despite all the clichés, what sets Lip Service apart and makes it admirable is the fact that it’s a show about relationships first and the characters just happen to be gay, as opposed to constantly reminding viewers that it’s about gay relationships. Sure, there was the clandestine relationship with Lou and Ed’s little Chasing Amy moment, but you take the Frankie-Cat-Sam story arc and develop those same characters but give them different (or no!) genders, and it would still have the same effect. A relationship is a relationship is a relationship. And people can talk about it, calmly, without prefacing who it’s with.
In my last post on the subject, I noted that the characters on the show are too busy being gay to talk about being gay. I think that might be the natural result of social and legal validation: in the UK, gay people are people. They can carry on doing people-y things without feeling like second-class citizens. When you’re able to form a legal union, have full access to the courts, and can even consider (as I hope Cat’s considering) filing a harassment complaint against your heterophobic boss, you feel like you matter. You see yourself as equal. Normal. Real.
Plus, if nothing else, it was entertaining. There was the whole photo album MacGuffin thing going on, lots of relationship drama, friendship drama, sex involving strap-ons, everything a painfully addictive show needs.
So, who’s ready for a trip to Glasgow?