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Fairly Legal takes the easy way to the end

'Fairly Legal' closes out season two with a scandal as Kate chooses the obvious.

- Season 2, Episode 13 - "Finale"

Season Two of Fairly Legal  closes tonight with the episode titled “Finale.” While it is the season finale, it seems an oddly final name for a show that has not yet had its official announcement of cancellation or renewal. It’s going to be a bit awkward if there’s a renewal, at least. It certainly makes me wonder if the show knows something we don’t. Or  maybe they just enjoy messing with us.

There was pretty much nothing ‘shocking’ in the finale. Kate and Justin breaking up again has been telegraphed for at least six episodes now, so that’s done. The end of season two looks a lot like the end of season one as far as they’re concerned: Kate and Justin are splittsville after being Friends-With-Benefits and Trying-for-More, and Kate has her own place and seems to be on track to maybe grow up a little. Though since this season forgot the previous season existed, maybe we’ll see season three begin with the new D.A. in the hospital, Kate will hurry to tell him she loves him, and everyone will forget that they’d ended it.

It was also not shocking that Davidson was a dirty scumbag and it finally caught up to him. Though it was disappointing that Justin apparently will win by default and the actions of others, rather than defeating Davidson himself. For what was supposed to be Justin’s major plotline this season, it fizzled more often than not.

I think the only thing that was shocking was that Kate didn’t kiss Ben at the end, which I expected, given the heavy-handed “risk it all for love” message. Instead she finds out he’s living next door which — seriously? Did he just move in there (creepy)? Or did she not know he already lives there, which makes her an idiot? Either way it’s ridiculous, and not in a good way.

I’d like Ben a lot better if he wasn’t around all the time, and the thought of him living next door to her and being in the office is not something I will watch with delight. I know they’re trying for an Odd Couple vibe, but it doesn’t work for me. He usually comes off as a smug know-it-all and does things like advise the senior trial lawyer how to do trials, the corporate lawyer how to negotiate, and the Expert Mediator how to mediate. Show, I realize you need your chunk of the residuals by adding a new character, but Ben is not all that and a bag of chips. I’ve got nothing against Ryan Johnson and I’m sure Ben is great fun to play, but I still have no idea what Kate is supposed to see in him. Sure, he’s less of a dick than he seemed to be at first, but other than an expectation that his puppy infatuation be returned, there’s nothing there.

But apparently the writers have a thing for women who give in (oh, sorry, “take a risk”) to men who stare at them forlornly long enough. Because it seemed to hit Lauren, too. Robin does a couple of nice things and calls her a coward, and so she does go with him, despite the fact that he’s also a manipulative jerk with a side company involved in political payouts and media suppression.  Lauren was the only character who actually grew this season from the last and I’m sad that the writers took that away in the name of some teenage fantasy of romance.

I want to go with them on the idea that Kate’s going her separate ways from Justin to take some time to grow up, but how can she with Ben next door? She lost her job and Justin at the end of last season and it changed nothing; I doubt she’ll change after this either. So I find myself in the awkward position of wanting the best for the cast, who have truly done good work with what they’ve had to work with, and dreading season three if this awkward hybrid of Fairly Legal and Dawson’s Creek continues.

I want this show to be so much better than it is, I do. I certainly wanted this season to take the weak seeds of the first season and grow them into something better. It’s had some good moments, the cast is uniformly great, and it can be funny. Lauren (Virginia Williams) has especially had a good season, showing so much more vivaciousness it’s been fun to watch her. However, my overall impression has been one of disappointment, especially that the writers could find nothing better than a love triangle to bring “conflict” and regressing the rest of the characters to serve this dubious plotline and to prop up a new character. They could have taken the less tired route of the difficulties of adult romance, but they chose the easy way and didn’t even do it very well.

So there’s my bitter grapes. If you love it, by all means, sound off and tell me why!  I’d much rather wait for a third season announcement with excitement than resignation.

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13 Responses to “Fairly Legal takes the easy way to the end”

June 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Very nicely said. I’m among those who thinks that Ben gets far too much screen time, and I just don’t get his appeal to Kate or the writers. I’ll only follow next season if there’s less focus on him, and more focus on the Kate/Lauren relationship, which is something I actually find interesting.

June 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM

You wrote: I want this show to be so much better than it is, I do. I certainly wanted this season to take the weak seeds of the first season and grow them into something better

I so very much agree with what you wrote. I was such a HUGE fan of the show after season one and I only wanted them to improve in season two. But after a few episodes I realized that it wasn’t going to be a better season. For some reason they got stuck in that soap opera love triangle with Kate, Ben & Justin and with that for me the show lost its direction. And those forlorn stares by Ben at Kate got so old very quickly.

The story lines were obvious and there were few surprises. I got bored, started changing the channel off & on during the show, or not watching at all.

I really like the cast, and only want the best for them as actors. But even if there is a season three, I probably won’t be one of those tuning in each week unless they make improvements.

Your review was not sour grapes – it was the truth.

June 17, 2012 at 12:15 AM

Honestly, I’d have to disagree; I loved it and am waiting with bated breath for a third season. But then I haven’t seen Season One yet.

June 17, 2012 at 11:23 AM

I also totally agree. They built the season on a thin love triangle and flying anvils everywhere.

I also thought that there was a great framework from season 1, which needed to be built on. There were a lot of flaws to be sure, but apparently they decided to hide the flaws by bringing in a flashy new character rather than fixing them.

If there is a season 3, my wish list would be more Justin and Leo. Less Ben. And yes, allow Kate to have some time without being in a relationship.

Also, those last 10 seconds – turned out to be kind of creepy.

June 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM

“All that and a bag of chips”? It usually takes awhile for me to warm to a new character on an established show. Yet Ben instantly seemed interesting to me. Then again I don’t go around dropping cool phrases from ten years ago.

“Fairly Legal” is a fun series. I don’t expect Shakespeare.

August 5, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I like Ben character. I love to see Kate and Ben relationship. Ben come out with a good points. Ben’s ideas and comments are true and practical. I hope Ben and Kate will fall for each other.

June 18, 2012 at 9:06 PM

I am not expecting that much from this show. It’s just fun to watch. I enjoy the characters and their interactions with each other. It’s light, easy going and I don’t have to think too much. There are plenty of thought provoking shows out there. And those are fun, too. Fairly Legal is a nice break from that. As a side note, I am really beginning to like Lauren a great deal.

June 19, 2012 at 6:14 PM

I could not agree with you more on your comments. After such a great first season where the concept was new and a breath of fresh air, it was disappointing to watch the second season unfold into a tired and predictable story line. In fact I still haven’t watched the season finale for 2 reasons: 1. I was not excited to see the next and last episode & really didn’t want to see her hook up with Ben. It is interesting to me the amount of people that like the Kate-Ben coupling vs. Kate-Justin but many Kate-Ben fans seem to either be young or have not watched the first season. I think what I was most disappointed about was Kate’s lack of growth as a character and a kind of rewriting of the deep feelings & relationship she had with Justin to accomodate a possible relationship with Ben. The Kate from first season would have never seen Ben as a love interest, more as a fun friend to hang with. Also I feel like they had her acting a little more immature rather than a grown woman in her 30s. Ben is nice but he still essentially comes off as a little boy with a crush. I LOVE the development of Lauren’s character and the relationship between her and Kate, but that was the highlight of the season for me. Besides Kate’s character the only other disappointment for me was Leo’s character. He is hilarious but seriously under utilized. I would love for there to be a storyline incorporating him or around him.

June 23, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Leo needs much more face time. Great and funny character. Maybe the most grounded on the show. Ben a lot less facetime. Like put him on a different show. Lauren is beautiful, sexy, sensual and so uptight and played well. Like her a lot. Kate is annoying but sexy. I think they need to redefine her character next season if there is a next season. Writing this year was amateurish. Get better or get cancelled. Sexy women and guys can carry a show just so far. Go watch the Glades….much better. Or even better, JUSTIFIED. The best show on TV since the Sopranos.

June 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Very poorly written show in season two. Had high hopes but there is absolutely no sexual tension that draws Sarah’s character to Ben. This show had a chance to develop and threw it away by adding Ben. I would have no regrets if the show is cancelled. Too many other really good shows and especially like Justified as an example.

Too often we are subjected to poor writing skills that use tired predictable plots and fail to develop characters that are appealing. Come on! Surprise me. The “Ben” character started off bad and never improved. He was a very poor addition to a show that had potential. I believe that potential has expired.

July 2, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I had my problems with season one, but thought the show had potential–I tuned in for season two (with some misgivings, because of the promos), and saw all the potential was going to be thrown away, so I tuned out again, and I won’t come back for season 3 if Ben is going to be there, which he is, unless they cancel it, which they really should.

Ben is the type of character who always ends up wrecking good shows. And yet they keep introducing variations of him. Over and over and over.

Honestly, I was done when he got away with treating Leo like a dishrag, and Kate said absolutely nothing about it.

When did the writers forget this was a show about a mediator? I’m guessing when they saw the ratings for “Suits” (a show I can’t stand) and figured they had to get them some of that. Doesn’t work that way, guys. Sorry.

July 12, 2012 at 5:38 PM

I was disappointed that Season 1 did not cause Kate to mature in Season 2, especially in her relationship with Justin. What I resent the most about her fear of “growing up” is the way she uses her beauty and charm to manipulate her love interests. Regardless of the divorce, she knows that Justin loves her, and yet she continues to insert herself into his life by using and manupulating him to win a case–all in the name of “justice.” When she should be taking a more professional relationship with Justin–in an event to keep things casual and not to lead Justin on–she kisses him the cheek in one episode and drops off at his apartment uninvited in another . . . not to mention that she toys with Justin’s feelings by having sex with him all because she was afraid to go on a date with Ben! Grow the H– up!!!! (For someone who is SO passionate about caring for complete STRANGERS, she cannot even demonstrate compassion when it comes to FRIENDS–in her case, an ex-husband. Justin was right in Season 1 when he said that she puts the feelings of others before his!) Needless to say, she hurts Ben in the process–who also made it clear that he had feelings for her. Ms. Compassionate Kate hurts two men who actually care about her and who play a more active role in her life than the STRANGERS she mediates. It is one thing to have a brain, outer beauty, and charm, but it is another to use these gifts as a way to manipulate the feelings of others . . . because that just makes you an ugly B#*$#!

A Member of the Grow the H– Up Club!

August 30, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I started watching the show mainly because I really loved Sarah Shahi when she was on “Life.” Kate Reed’s positive qualities (fighting for the underdog, being quirky and unpredictable but smart and well-informed, living on the edge [literally, on a boat, no less], seeing the good in others no matter how deeply hidden away, etc) far exceeded her negative ones (immaturity, capriciousness, self-absorption, etc.). However, in Season 2, her negative qualities began to far exceed her positive ones, and as she selfishly attended to her own needs and pleasures while hurting those around her, it began to be less charming and more annoying. It became harder to watch. I guess I would give Season 3 a shot if USA brings it back, but if they don’t, I won’t miss it.