Well, this is it! This is the last episode. I\'ve heard that it was never meant to be the last episode, just the end of the season & then the creators got the news of cancellation. But I am sometimes curious about where the show could have gone from this point? Sure, it could have told us what happens next with the Steadman\'s or maybe there were more stories to tell if Elliot & Nancy came back from California or Ellyn adjusting to married life, but I don\'t know how it would have worked out. We already knew that Elliot & Nancy were together, happy in California. Ellyn was married, Dead Gary told us at Ellyn\'s wedding that Melissa & Lee were going to be married. All the loose ends were tied up. Except, of course, Hope & Michael.
Hope & Michael had troubles. The entire season (and portions of the season before) seemed to be a portrait of a marriage falling apart. Even in the moments when they seemed to be getting along, somethings was amiss. Michael got eaten up by corporate America, Hope struggled (basically from the pilot) with where her life was supposed to be going and this is where it all came to a head.
Michael has quit DAA. He has removed the slimy fingers of Miles Drentell from around his neck and is the same old Michael we all knew and loved from season 1, right? He\'s playing with his daughter, talking to his wife and friends, everything is fine. As Michael tells Melissa, \"There\'s just so much time.\"
But less time than he thinks. He gets a call from a big California advertising agency, wanting him to fly our for an interview. He assures Hope he wants nothing to do with it, but she knows better and pretty soon, he\'s packing to go.
He\'s in California, walking around the big agency, getting schmoozed, reconnecting with Elliot and reconciling, while Hope is in Philadelphia, getting drunk and telling Ellyn how her life has been on hold for so long and even though she loves the work she\'s doing at the homeless shelter, she\'s doing things for other people and nothing for herself. She says that sounds weird and selfish (and it kinda does!) but that\'s how she feels.
Michael comes back & to Hope\'s relief tells her he his not going with the big ad agency in California, but then he tells her he is thining of opening a company with Elliot, making commercials. Hope seems stunned, but more than that, she hates the idea. (A few episodes back when Melissa told Hope that Nancy & Elliot were moving to California, Hope said she hated California.)
Then next day, Michael is off to a meeting with Miles to get backing for the new company, but he does stop off to have a fight with Hope. At first it\'s civil and tight lipped (\"How long have we been talking to each other like this?\" Hope wants to know. \"Like lawyers.\")
Hope feels betrayed because she just got Michael back & their lives are their, Janey\'s school, Hope\'s work. Michael hits her with a rare low blow \"There are schools in California, not to mention homeless people.\" and Hope walks out.
WHile Michael is talking to Miles, crawling back into bed with everything he walked away from, Hope is writing a letter to the foundation John Dunaway had put her in touch with in Washington DC about working with them. She asks Ellyn to proof read it and Ellyn is stunned to read it. She asks Hope if she would really just move there. Hope says yes, \"...with my children...\" nad when Ellyn asks about Michael\'s thoughts, Hope stars hemming and hawing and Ellyn realizes that something is not right. She asks Hope if they had a fight adn insists that Hope & Michale can\'t break up, because \"...if YOU GUYS can break up...\" Hope says it\'s not about a fight, it\'s suddenly just very cold \"Like if someone pulls the covers off, and there you are.\"
Cut to Hope & Michael at dinner in their dining room, he asks some mundane questions, Hope answers with curt single words.
Then Michael is packing while Hope arranges the pictures on teh fridge, family pictures, her heart breaking, but she isn\'t going to let Michael win, no matter what. Then th ephone rings and there\'s this great moment where neither answers. A very true to life moment. Both are busy with a task, both are hating the other, both want to keep the upper hand.Hope answers it & it\'s the foundation offering her a job. Her call is interrupted by a knock at the door where she finds a cab driver to take Michael to the airport. Hope goes up to tell Michael his cab is there, but he can\'t find his wallet and when he does, he has no cash so Hope has to give him all hers, counting it out as grudgingly as she can. All these little mundane details only heighten their levels of frustration and add to the realism. There are times in a marriage where if your spouse looks at you and says \"Hi,\" you wish you had a gun to blow his head off.
Hope says he\'s just going backwards, Michael says he\'s trying to make life better for their family, \"The family you are trying to rip apart & I\'m not gonna let that happen!\" Hope yells, while Michael screams over her \"You\'re setting me up!\" and finally he leaves down the steps. Hope stops him to tell him the people in Washington still want her and that she contacted them and he has to know she won\'t go to California. At this point, Michael just says \"To hell with you...\" and Hope yells back the same thing & he slams the door behind him.
Michael\'s in California and he & Elliot meet with prospective clients and it all goes great, but Michael\'s head is somewhere else. Back in Philadelphia, Elliot and Michael both meet with Miles where everyone seems buddy buddy again, but Michael is on edge & seems to want to sabotage the meetin by provoking Miles.
Later Michael goes home to talk to Hope. Hope says she can\'t be there for him the way he wants her to & she can\'t do \"the wife thing\" anymore, but she only wants the best for him. Michael says all he\'s ever wanted was Hope & their family, that he can\'t go back to work right now & maybe they could live their lives in Washington or maybe even in Philadelphia for a little while. \"Just until I decide what I want to be when I grow up\". He tells Hope he\'s home and he doesn\'t want her to go away from him now and begs her to not leave him. She starts crying and they end up hugging in their livingroom. The interesting thing is that the last scene of the pilot also ended with Hope & Michael hugging in their livingroom. Four years have passed, their house is still being renovated, Hope still isn\'t sure where her life is going, Michael is still neurotic and needy. Four years after the pilot aired, all Michael and Hope have to show for their lives is 1 more kid. But as I\'ve mentioned before, this is the beauty of this show. Sometimes people don\'t change and sometimes your life is exactly where you started years before.
Thinking back , I really wonder if thirtysomething would have continued to be as great if it had gone into a fifth season, because honestly, Hope and Michael, still hugging in their livingroom, still together but no more sure of the future than they ever were, scared but never alone, is the kind of ending we should all be so lucky to have.