The Wonder Years

Season 6 Episode 22

Independence Day (2)

3
Aired Unknown May 12, 1993 on ABC
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
117 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Independence Day (2)
AIRED:
After Kevin loses all his money and his car in a poker game, he decides he has to leave the resort - there's nothing to keep him there now. The next day he says goodbye to Winnie, punches Eric and storms out. Hitchhiking out of town, he runs into Winnie who has been fired from her job. They begin to argue and lose the ride they had flagged down. Later, sheltering in a barn they talk about how much has changed between them.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • 'Coming of Age' is a tale that must end.

    9.9
    I have to preface this by saying that I am the exact same age 'Kevin'. I started 7th grade the same year the show debuted. I followed this series right to the end. Some have criticized the fact that Kevin and Winnie didn't end up married. Well, of course they didn't. That's real life. Holding a crush as long as Kevin did will eventually result in the oft harsh realization that the object of affection is indeed human. Beautiful, flawed, perhaps even cruel at times, and entirely believable; Winnie Cooper showed a complexity rarely present in female teenage roles (see 'My So Called Life' for another rare exception). The final barn scene and epilogue alone make this episode a television classic. They had a (let's face it) perfect encounter in the barn. The loss of virginity is a potent moment in life and it was handled here with grace and dignity. Even if they didn't expressly acknowledge the event, anyone with heartbeat and love of these characters knows it happened. If it hadn't there would be an overly huge "what if" lingering over the lives if these two that would make any closure for the fans impossible to come by. The lanterns glow, the storm raging outside, a pile of hay, both soaking wet, you can only script this stuff. Most times virginity and the loss thereof are handled one of three ways. With the crude humor of "teen-sex-romps" and the "girl was taken advantage of" scenario being the first two. The last and perhaps most common, is that the event is horribly regretted by at least one person involved. In the finale we see an all too often forgotten fourth possibility; that this was consensual, beautiful, and eternally bonding. The finale sequence begins showing K&W heading to the 4th of July parade hand in hand, and obviously happy. That was a subtle touch that I think was lost on most viewers. Sure the show had long since hit its peak, but it still had the ability to touch the heart, and we all were treated to a fantastic ending. The music and settings were perfect. I would have been very upset at a "clip show" or some other hackneyed TV cliché (slow motion and epic music not withstanding). This episode will always put a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye *sigh*.moreless
  • It was hard to believe this is how the series ended--with Kevin and Winnie ending their romance. I think they realized their friendship meant everything. It was a sad ending and especially sad when Kevin said, "Things don't always work out like you plan."moreless

    8.2
    I thought this episode was sort of sad. Maybe I just wanted them to have a happy ending--that they would marry each other. I think when they were in the barn and Winnie said she never wanted it to end, they both knew this was the end. I really don't understand why Winnie cheated with the lifeguard and then pushed Kevin in the pool when he confronted her about it. What amazed me the most was when Kevin said that while Winnie was gone to design school in France, they corresponded weekly and Kevin and his wife and son met Winnie at the airport when she returned.moreless
  • Kevin faces the reality of his life ahead of himself as he works with his dad and older brother, his relationship with his new friends and most importantly deciding what to do about Winnie.moreless

    4.0
    Most successful television shows always seem to have problems with ending thier shows on a good note. This has happened to Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, Mary tyler Moore and many others. The Wonder Years is yet another example of a bad script and ending. Now Im not saying that just because Kevin and Winnie dont end up marrying makes it a bad script or ending, not the case at all: Its just this episode is badly done. First of all, Kevin has turned into a whiny, selfish kid. His friends are jerks (What happened to some of his great friends in school?), and Winnie isnt the nicest person in the world. Throughout the episode Kevin is nothing more than a total jerk and if not for all the history of us knowing what a great kid he once was, I would of changed the channel right away instead of watching this. Even once Kevin and Winnie are together, they dont work well together. One minute Winnie likes him, then she doesnt, then they hate each other. Its ridiculous to say the least.



    The final blow to me is the ending, which makes no sense at all. What was this show about? Kevin's love for Winnie. Why all of the sudden do you end the show saying that Kevin marries another girl while Winnie is waiting for him? This makes no sense to me. Most of the episodes are surrounding Kevin's love for Winnie and its obvious to me that the writer (The older Kevin Arnold who is telling us the story)still feels love for her today. It seems to me that the writers of this show wanted an uncoventional ending.....thats fine, but why this way? Wouldnt it of made more sense to have Kevin waiting for Winnie at the airport, after years at school, and then having Winnie arrive with her new husband then the other way around? Isnt this the exact opposite of what this show was about for many years? Its about Kevin growing up in the 1960's and 70's, but more importantly, his love for Winnie and most likely marrying her in the future. The ending was a total flop. I also wasnt thrilled at how the show spent a total of exactly 2 minutes explaining what happened to the rest of the Arnold Family. I wanted more. In conclusion I just dont recommend this episode unless you have to see what happens to all of the characters. Its best to remember the way they were before this terrible ending.moreless
  • I think the conclusion could have been better. It just seemed like they crammed all the last bits into 20 minutes and thats a lot of years they crammed.

    4.0
    Loved the show but not so crazy about this episode. I really wish the show could have lasted longer. It would have been really nice if it could have ended when Kevin finished high school atleast. When I first saw the new credits and they showed Kevin, Paul, and Winnie in their cap & gowns I really thought we'd all recieve a proper ending with them graduating. Maybe producers planned on it but beyond their control, that wouldn't happen? I don't know. It was kinda upsetting when they started going through the future for all the characters. I felt it was really rushed and it was a shame we couldn't see it. It actually sounded like storyline, no longer believable as it should be. I don't know, I just wish it could have had a longer run and better ending...and I was so mad when Winnie cheated on him again!! Jeeez!!!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Narrator: Once upon a time there was a girl I knew, who lived across the street. Brown hair, brown eyes. When she smiled, I smiled; when she cried, I cried. Every single thing that ever happened to me that mattered, in some way had to do with her. That day we promised each other that, no matter what, we would always be together. It was a promise full of passion, and truth, and wisdom. It was the kind of promise that can only come from the hearts of the very young.

    • Howie: Kevin, something's wrong?
      Kevin: Beat it!
      Mr. Dexter: Young man, where's your uniform?
      Kevin: Stick it!

    • Kevin: Winnie?
      (Eric stands up.)
      Eric: Hey.
      Narrator: I had all night to decide what to do.
      Kevin: I just want you to know...
      (Kevin punches Eric. Winnie stands up quickly as Eric falls back on the table.)
      Kevin: I'll be leaving now.
      Narrator: Not that I was down or anything. It was the Fourth of July - so call it macaroni. I'd set out to find myself, and ended up losing everything.

    • Narrator: By that evening I'd come up with a plan - win enough money to buy out the resort, and fire all the life-guards. After that - suicide.

    • (the last lines; in voice-over)
      Young Boy: Hey Dad? Wanna play catch?
      Dad: I'll be right there.

    • Narrator: Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house like a lot of other houses, a yard like a lot of other yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back, with wonder.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Originally, the ending was written so the viewers could actually know that Kevin lost his virginity. However, ABC producers didn't like this ending, so they decided to change the ending by letting the viewers use their imagination for the end.

    • Featured Music:
      "Brothers" from "The Mission" original soundtrack by Ennio Morricone
      Excerpts from "The Natural" original soundtrack by Randy Newman

    • ABC did not cancel the series until just after this episode had been filmed, so modifications were made to the final narration to make a satisfying closing for the series. It is odd, however, that the producers had gone to the extent of making "makeshift" series finales for the two seasons prior to this (Season Four-"Clip Show"; Season Five-"Broken Hearts and Hamburgers"), but did not prepare a final clipshow for the true end of the series.

    • Peter Billingsley, who plays Micky Spiegel in this episode, is best known for his starring role in Jean Shepherd's infamous holiday film, A Christmas Story. The Wonder Years was loosely modeled on that film (the use of running first person narration, looking back on childhood from an adult's vantage point, etc.), so it seems fitting that Billingsley--who has only made a few TV guest appearances in his adulthood--appeared in its series finale.

    • Fred Savage (Kevin Arnold) is the only actor to appear in every episode of the series. Daniel Stern (Narrator/Adult Kevin Arnold) narrated every episode, but was credited only in one episode, "Pottery Will Get You Nowhere," from season 2.

    • The final narration by Daniel Stern and the fireworks scene from this episode was used to close "ABC's 50th Anniversary Special" in May of 2003. The narration (and song) were played over small clips from the final episodes of "Barney Miller," "Roseanne," and "Growing Pains," prior to closing in on the (abbreviated) fireworks scene.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • The songs that were used in the last few minutes of this series finale were originally used in two popular 1980s movies. The music in the final kissing scene between Kevin and Winnie in the barn is Ennio Morricone's "Brothers" from the 1987 movie "The Mission", and the song that was used in the parade scene and closing fireworks scene is from the 1984 Robert Redford film "The Natural" and was composed and performed by Randy Newman. It is interesting to know that the last two songs ever used on "The Wonder Years"-a show that did an extremely good job (though not perfect) at using music only from its set era (or before)-were from two 1980s movies ("The Natural" and "The Mission"), which were released more than a decade after the final episode supposedly took place. Both soundtracks are still widely available at most music stores in the United States today.

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