I thought this was the weakest season so far, but I still cried my eyes out.
I think it's difficult to watch this show if you think it's a murder mystery, or a detective show, or anything other than a study in grief and love. I was surprised by the ending, and had to rewatch it a couple of times (the first time, I was both staring and cringing a little bit). But I so wanted Sarah to be happy and to find her Eden at last, and it makes sense to me even though it's nothing I would have predicted ever, at all.
The mayor, and the whole world, says, "You have a history of mental illness, Sarah." Nobody will ever believe you, Sarah. You are trapped in this cage forever, Sarah. You are the only woman in this department and don't you forget it, Sarah. But Holder has never left Sarah, has never abandoned her or betrayed her (except for that time he faked a picture but he really thought he was helping her, so that doesn't really count.) Even when he had his doubts, even when he and Sarah said the nastiest things to each other, they circled back with a cigarette and a joke and a rueful smile. The whole show has been a love story all along, just not the kind of love story that usually comes to mind. Holder's face when he sees her come out of her car, and her rare smile right before the screen blacks out, were just beautiful. I'm totally okay with the show ending on that note of grace and hope and love (although does this show really have to end?).
It was also reminiscent to me of the end of the show Life (with Damien Lewis and Sarah Shahi). Charlie has given himself up for Dani, but kills the shit out of Roman like a badass. The show closes on them smiling at each other in a brighter way than ever before, and it's wonderful because these detectives were never paired up romantically either, but at the end, there's just a sort of spark that works.
-I loved seeing Joan Allen and Mireille Enos play off of each other as the only women in their respective environments. I wished there had been more of that.
-I figured halfway through that Kyle would be Joan Allen's son, which, fine. The mystery and resolution were pretty straightforward and simple, which is actually pretty new for this show, and was executed so well acting-wise that I don't really have complaints about it, I guess. I think if we'd gotten more of how deeply unloved Kyle felt, it would have packed a more emotional punch (although I was crying anyway), but that's tough to do in six episodes.
-The resolution of the Skinner storyline was all over the place. Bringing in the mayor at the end was a master stroke (especially as he hasn't forgiven Sarah at all), but there was no way the department was going to let anyone know Skinner was a serial rapist and murderer, so it felt a bit just like going through the motions. All the parts with Sarah were spot on, though, and deeply painful to watch as she spirals into a total breakdown of guilt, of still missing someone she loved, of the horror that someone she loved was a monster, of panic in her situation, of disgust at herself and everything that has happened. One thing I liked was that I never got the sense she ever regretted shooting Skinner in the head.
-I loved that Holder was crystal clear that an older tennis instructor having "inappropriate relations" with a 16-year-old boy is sexual assault. None of the "he knew what he was doing" bullshit that Lincoln's mom was pulling.
-That military cadet hazing is seriously fucked up.
-Again, Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman are both incredible. They can do no wrong. Also, Mireille Enos embodies Sarah so completely and physically, and I love that her lips are cracked and chapped throughout the whole season until that last scene years later when she almost kind of has her shit together and apparently has invested in lip balm and a water bottle.
-I loved that Sarah's drive replicated the credits in an introspective, lovely, non-gimmicky way.
-A propos of where we are, I liked that the ending song was by a group called The Jezabels.