Being Erica recap, episode 11 (series finale): wherein Erica Strange cries a lot and says goodbye forever
Every show comes to an end, whether we like it or not: Friends ended with crying, Will and Grace ended with crying (NBC Thursdays tend to be big cry fests) and, yep, Being Erica ended with crying—lots of it. Erica begins the episode talking about endings, and how every beginning has an end. We’ve learned that Dr. Tom will be unable to see Erica once he retires from his practice, but he has yet to tell Erica, and in this final episode, titled “Dr. Erica,” we witness Dr. Tom battling between resuming his duties as super-doctor and living out his life with Amanda. Of course, this inner battle comes as a result of Erica’s sadness, who has a constipated look on her face for almost the entire episode (we get it, she’s sad—we’re sad, too). In a moment of epiphany, which arises from a Dr. Naadiah intervention, Erica realizes that “the only constant is change” and that convincing Dr. Tom to stick around is actually likely to hurt him. This episode is a whirlwind, as you can imagine, so look forward to the return of Leo, tears, Dr. Erica’s fabulously appointed office, more tears and an adorable pug (which is really just an excuse to include Brent and Julianne in the finale). Here, our recap of Erica’s final CBC-televised jaunt through the time-space continuum.
The show begins with Erica taking on her first fiction writer, who intends to tell the story of a 30-year-old woman who is never satisfied with life. Erica loves the idea, naturally, but quickly starts to feel strange when visions of a heroin addict’s imminent struggles pass through her mind. This prompts Dr. Tom to call Erica into his office, where he explains that this moment is the sign that she is ready to be a doctor—and, of course, that this heroin addict will be her first legit patient. She is Dr. Erica. Of course, this news comes with the even more troubling news that he, in fact, is retiring from being a magical time-travelling doctor because he’s in love with Amanda (a fact he shares through some form of telekinesis). But the real trauma doesn’t come until after Dr. Tom asks Dr. Erica to teleport to her office, which is absolutely beautiful. Seriously, who knew that buried beneath a series of magenta dresses and sequin tank tops is a lady with such refined (yet modern) tastes. Good job, Erica. When Tom drops the bomb that he’s not permitted to see her ever again, Erica becomes hysterical, drenching herself in tears and scrunching her face every which way to indicate maximum sadness, and then leaves, asking if she can have some time to regroup.
Tom is called in to Dr. Naadiah’s office, and he’s visibly panic-stricken by the idea of abandoning Erica (he likens it to his relationship with his daughter Sarah). Dr. Naadiah encourages Tom to move on to the next chapter of his life, but he can’t see past Erica’s sadness. A somewhat upset Naadiah calls Erica into her office next, because, unlike Erica, she actually works, and forces Erica to confront her deceased brother, Leo, in what can only be described as limbo (or season one’s intro). Leo is excited to show Erica how he can live from memory to memory without moving on to “the next step,” but after being taken back to her childhood and reminiscing fondly about a family trip to the Louvre, Erica tells Leo that his life is sad because he’s stuck. She tries to reason with herself and Dr. Naadiah that Leo and Dr. Tom’s situations are totally different, but with the smooth-talking guidance of Dr. N, she realizes that while Leo is delaying a new beginning and Erica and Tom are delaying an end, they’re all acting in a destructive manner (say it with them, every beginning has an end—you’ll hear this about 20 times, so it’s best you get used to it now). Erica finally lets go, and with the passing of Dr. Tom’s spiral notebook of Strangeisms (the file on her he kept when she was a patient), he—along with the contents of his rich mahogany office—vanishes in a flash of light, leaving Erica standing (and crying) alone where time doesn’t exist (a white box).
Although there were moments of sadness while viewing the final episode (we’re human), we felt like the secondary cast was poorly utilized. The only two characters who received endings were Erica and Dr. Tom, despite Adam, Jenny, Dave, Ivan, Julianne and Brent suffering through the Strange life for many seasons. Julianne and Brent fought over a pug, while Ray Ray (the new girl) claimed to have pet-only psychic abilities and Dave and Ivan fed a dog cookies (nary a bear joke to be heard, not even for the finale). Not even a cute pug can compete with Erica’s psychological trauma, because she’s the centre of the universe (of course, the program is called Being Erica). The show ends with a sequin-trimmed, blazer-wearing Dr. Erica handing her card to her first patient, Sarah Wexler (that’s Dr. Tom’s daughter, for the uninitiated), and as she walks away, a montage of life moments flash on the screen: Leo moves on to “the next step,” which is also explained with a flash of light (if you still can’t explain the science of time travel appropriately during the series finale, why bother discussing theoretical concepts of afterlife?); Adam and Erica pack boxes to move into an unrealistic mega-loft space; Sarah looks at Erica’s card thoughtfully; Sam and Barb hang with the baby; Dr. Tom and Amanda walk around like normal people; and, because it’s absolutely necessary, Erica walks in her typical bouncy fashion down a Toronto street (perhaps at the corner of Joy St. and Hope Ave.) saying, “My name is Erica Strange and today is the end of one chapter and the beginning of the rest of my life.” Do we smell a Godiva’s reunion?