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TV Review: Medium Ends Series Strangely

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***This article contains spoilers. If you have not watched “Me Without You” yet, I strongly recommend you do not read it, as there were some pretty neat twists.***

Last night was the series finale of CBS’s Medium. I used to watch the show religiously when it ran on NBC, but after the move to CBS last year, I thought quality went down. NBC wasn’t afraid to shake up the series and make major changes. CBS, on the other hand, toned it down to a common procedural, something very successful on their network, because their viewers don’t like to pay much attention apparently, but the reason I don’t bother with much of their programming. Boring! However, having viewed a handful of episodes this year, and they were better, with more focus Dubois family, the true heart of the show.

Last night’s series ender pretty much dispatched with the children all together. It was the love story of Allison (Patricia Arquette) and Joe (Jake Weber). In the first moments, Joe is killed in a plane crash. Flash forward seven years later, and Allison is working with the district attorney (Roger Bart, Desperate Housewives, The Producers) to bring down a major Mexican drug cartel. The DA is killed and Mayor Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) tasks Allison with finishing the case. But then Allison begins dreaming about Joe, convinced the accused has her husband stashed away down in Mexico. Joe has suffered from amnesia, and doesn’t remember her.

I thought that the plot up to that point was unrealistic, and it was stretching my enjoyment. I like the series, and sometimes there are some fantastical things that happen, but even so, it was going a little too far. Amnesia? Come on. Been done before. Don’t do such a hokey plot for your final episode! I kept trying to talk myself out of the disappointment and just enjoy the love story, but I was having a difficult time. When Allison blew the case on purpose to find Joe, it was really bothering me. Yes, she loves him, but she also cares about her job, and about putting away bad guys. Plus, I wasn’t crazy about the new, older Marie. And, let’s be honest, Arquette isn’t the most talented actress in the world.

And then came the big twist: Joe had died in the wreck, and sent her the dream of seven years later to show Allison that she would be fine without him. Allison’s only brain forced the Joe survived subplot into the story, and she took over the dream. Now we’re back to the night Joe died, and he’s telling her that he’s really gone.

I was on board, now. Cool idea, executed wonderfully. Unlike Arquette, Weber is a hell of an actor, and he sold the whole thing brilliantly. I didn’t see it coming, but it validated my doubts about the episode up until this point. Of course it seemed off, because it was! The whole Mexican case and amnesic Joe never happened! But with about ten minutes left in the show, I wondered what could possibly be done to top what the writers had just pulled off.

Sadly, instead of using that ten minutes, the series chose to only use a few of them, and then do another few minutes of goodbye montage to the main actors in the show. The music was a little hokey, but I can appreciate that after seven years, the series wanted to give credit to the people who brought the characters to life. The words revealing that the real Allison and Joe are still living happily together was nice, and surely appreciated by some viewers who had remained heavily invested straight through to the end.

Now, the last scene after Joe’s reveal and before the tribute may have been the most interesting. It was set forty-one years after Joe’s death, with Allison slipping quietly into, surrounded by pictures and memories of her family. Their three daughters were adults with children, and at least one great grandchild for Allison. Although she was alone at the time, it was clear that she was still loved by her family. And the aloneness worked out better, as just after Allison died, Joe appeared to take her into the after life.

My question is, did this scene happen? Or was it another dream sent by Joe to comfort her, and Allison didn’t take it over this time because she had her happy ending? Or Joe knew she’d take it over, but also knew that it would work anyway? Or did Allison make it up herself? It was a beautiful demonstration of their commitment together. Their marriage has always been a major cornerstone to the series, and I loved that the final moments of footage were an affirmation of their bond.

Thank you, Medium, for an uneven, but mostly interesting story of a fascinating and relatable family. Besides those mentioned above, Medium also starred David Cubitt as Lee, Sofia Vassilieva as Ariel, Maria Lark as Bridgette, and Madison and Miranda Carabello as Marie.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • gudsoul

    I am so saddened by the ending of this show. It is not often that you find an interesting and consistently good show that brings you back season after season. This show will truly be missed.

  • Vilma

    I cried like a baby for the last 20 minutes of the show. I thought they had a great marrage and family. I am sorryy to see the show end.

  • Debbie

    So disappointed this is the end for Medium. This is the only show I watch on TV. I am truly saddened by this, I could only hope this is only a “bad dream”.

  • Jane

    I am devastated by the cancellation of Medium. It was the best show I have watched in years. Can we not reconsider continuing the show? My Friday nights will never be the same.

  • dang

    the most devastating ending ever. i cried for so many hours when joe died in medium. i will truly miss this show!

  • El Bicho

    I have no idea how anyone could read that first paragraph and not notice all the words missing

  • Daniella Singh

    WHAT THE F.UCK! Are you kidding me! This finale was absolute bullshit, I cant imagine what kind of sick person was behind the script for this one. The whole idea of medium was destroyed in one hour flat. Medium is all about family, how does CBS get off killing off Joe! Only a master psychologist could pull at every one of peoples fears like this in just one hour, and then say oh but I ended it happy! Horseshit! The story was an absolute perversion of everything Medium represented! Just another existentialist trying to shove their ideals down the throats of people that have hope. Another “sh.it happens, and dont for get” snuck into a show that never even had a hint of that. Well CBS you can take your ideals and shove it up your ass! I will always remember Medium as an incredible example of the strength of the family as an institution. As far as I’m concerned this final is just a nightmare dreamt up by a very twisted individual.

  • Rex

    I suppose the reviews by shocked and disappointed viewers are understandable, but in the TV world of pap, product placement and predictability, it’s nice to see some hard edge writing for a change; some risk taking.

    It’s particularly refreshing when the series premise is something that does not and cannot happen in the real world. (The lingering irony is that the show is based on real people!)

    I, for one, respect the decision to end the series in a way that evokes the reality of death and uncertain futures. This show is supposed to stir up strong emotions. A lot of hard work went into the final episode and I congratulate them for it.

  • Carmen

    I know the show had to end someday, it will be miss. Perhaps there will be a spin off.

  • ROSANNA

    i WANT IT BACK.. HOW COULD IT BE GONE, ITS GREAT. MAKE IT A DREAM LIKE DALLAS AND PUT IT BACK ON THE AIR, PLEASE

  • gloria smith

    I loved this episode and to those of you who have never seen “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney, the ending was wonderful! Some love lasts forever…even if it is only on T.V…

  • Rachel

    Allison and Joe’s marriage was beautiful. That poor man never got a decent night’s sleep due to his wife’s constant dreaming—–and he remained in love with her to the end.

    It was heartbreaking to discover he was really dead. I had convinced myself that the whole episode was a terrible nightmare, which isn’t too far fetched, given the nature of the show. When the end came, and it was clear he was really dead………so sad.

    How can the death of a character upset me so much? Joe was so loveable, and so obviously the glue that held the family together.

    I think the thing is, I really don’t think that there is an Allison without Joe.

  • tina

    the person above just summed it up: there isn’t an Allison without Joe.

    I always loved Joe, but I didn’t realize how much the character meant to me till I saw him die in the episode. It was a lovely end, but horrific and heartbreaking as well.

    I would have liked to see more of the girls, their lives, and their gifts taking action (spin-off?) and just a simple happy ending with Joe and Allison growing old together.

  • Barrbara

    Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one who thinks Patricia A cannot act. She’s the most monotone actress and I can’t bear to watch her.

  • Jody

    I agree, Barrbara. I can’t say that any of her crying scenes throughout the series really drew me in, but all of the other elements in the show made up for it.
    I love this series and am heartbroken to see it gone. I was expecting something way different than how it ended, and I’m undecided on whether or not I enjoyed it. As has been previously mentioned, there is no Allison when she doesn’t have Joe, and in that regard I’m glad that they reunited in the end. To leave it as Allison lives the rest of her life without Joe would have been completely unsatisfying and wouldn’t have remained true to the show at all. I guess I’m undecided because I’m in denial and don’t want to admit to myself that the show could actually be done!!
    I’ve been a watcher from day 1, and congratulate the writers and cast for continuing a series for seven years that never managed to jump the shark. Well done :)

  • Ron

    There was no easy way to end a beloved 7 years series like “Medium”. I personally think that they did a great job with the final episode. But really, those of us who wanted the series to continue forever would have found fault with any way that the series ended. A good job. I recommend that loyal viewers watch the closing episode a second time… it is really brilliantly done.

  • mwa

    Wonderful, wonderfully done final episode to a wonderful series. Patricia, as usual, nailed it, and her talent will be missed on the small screen.

  • Kirstin

    I agree that there really isn’t any Allison without Joe. I would far and away have preferred an upbeat ending (their afterlife reunion was not enough to satisfy me on that note). It was not necessary to kill Joe, and I think it was just a slap in the viewers’ faces. So, I prefer to forget the finale episode ever happened. As far as I’m concerned Joe is still alive and he and Allison and their family are going on with their lives.

  • Cheryl

    I was shocked by the ending because I never knew it was coming. My family loved this show as it was a great show. Please bring it back

  • Ruth

    So it ends, sad isn’t, when a really good series ends.
    I loved the concept, casting and writers of the show.
    I have always enjoyed Patrica and my husband and I look forward to all her work. …”can’t act” ??? Have you SEEN True Romance? She was phenomenal!!
    [ For those that haven’t, from this show’s demography,.. warning it’s violent.]

    I thought all the actors did a fine job, Joe’s charter was a breath of fresh air. The show will sure be missed. I wish they would make more like this one.

  • Jerre

    I have loved this show and watched every episode with admiration for its plot and storyline and the constant twisting and turning. I think Joe, Allison and family were well cast and believable and I have loved watching them and having them in my home each week. I was so sad to know it was going to end and will miss it greatly! I want to thank everyone who produced the show, wrote for and acted in the series. It has been my pleasure to be brought into their world. I didn’t know until last week that their was a real Allison–and it didn’t really make a difference. It was a great run…

  • Kimo.

    The finale missed an opportunity to be engaging by totally stretching credulity for most of the hour. The acting and writing were sophomoric.

  • kimberly

    I have nothing to watch on TV any more. Tonight I watched Medium on demand as I always do. To my shock and tears, I found out the aweful news. I had no idea I was watching the finale. Imagine how confused I was. My 3 favorite all time shows…ER – canceled, Lost- canceled, Medium- Canceled. What will I watch now. These were shows my Kids could watch with me. I once liked Greys but too much sex and controversy to watch with my 11 year old daughter. Medium managed to be gory and clean at the same time. I will miss this show more than any other. To make it worse I no longer get the reruns!!!!! This stinks big time…. somebody tell me I dreaming. Bring them back… I don’t see dead people.

  • Kimberly

    Can somebody please make them come back. PLEASE! There is nothing good to watch anymore.

  • Dee

    The writers couldn’t think of anything better than to copy the ending of Lost?? Very Disappointing.

  • Janie

    I loved Medium and will truly miss the show and the actors. I never missed an episode and was very surprise it cancelled. I’m still in shock and don’t understand. Every episode was wonderful and never let me down. The endings were always great! Let this be a real dream! Please come back on ABC!
    he

  • Fran

    Thank you Patricia Arquette and Jake Weber for giving so much to all of us!
    CBS: PLEASE bring back the show! I do not agree that Patricia is not a good actress, she is able to evoke feelings from her audience many episodes brought tears!
    Jake, thank you for being so great in this role!
    The both of you pulled my heartstrings, loved you and was taken by surprise by the abrupt ending!
    I cannot talk about it without crying!!
    Those of you that have criticized them…..that is the mark of good acting!
    I feel I have lost dear friends!!
    Again, PLEASE bring back my friends?

  • mrb

    Ditto on “The Ghost and Mrs Muir” so sad most people don’t know that great movie

  • pendit1

    I’m so sorry this show is canceled. I thought that eveyone, including Ms. Arquette, made the characters totally believeable….not at all pretentious. For the most part, very interesting storylines.
    I’ll miss this show alot.

  • http://www.bornforgeekdom.com Audrey Brown

    LOVED the show, hated the ending. It felt like such an obvious choice, but one that didn’t serve the show at all. As a writer, if you have to jump forty-one years into the future (and a fake seven) to wrap up an arc, you’re doing it wrong and punishing your loyal viewers.

  • Judy

    Why is it when we finally have a show to look forward to, they go and cancel it. This was the best entertainment on T V in a long time. Please bring it back. friday nights will never be the same. was it cancelled because of Kelsey Grammer divorce from his wife they did both have something to do with this show. And I have to say I can understand why Kelsey Grammer left his wife she is a backstabbing bitch, she loves conflict and acts like everyone is doing things to her, she is the route of her own troubles. Please bring back Medium.

  • Bonnie Jo Davis

    The finale gave me nightmares and it wasn’t true to the real life story of the Dubois family. I’ve decided it was a nightmare Allison had and that she woke up and Joe was there next to her!

  • kadybeth

    Crappy finale. This is the thanks we get for being devoted to this show?

  • Linda

    I think I am going to miss Joe more then anyone. You know that look on his face when Alison gets up after a dream and wakes him up!! He has the best face ever with the expressions that are so outstanding and he I believe is just a fantastic Actor. Then Bridget, now she is just full of Talent I must say with a mouth on her she could become an Attorney for sure..I will miss them all. But those two the most.

  • Dawn

    I will miss this show so much. I didn’t know the show was ending before I watched it. I kept waiting for something to change everything back. I was shocked and cried that Joe was really dead. If it had to end, I wish it could have been happier.

  • Shirley

    I also cannot believe they cancelled this fantastic show and the finale felt like they were in a hurry to close it up and was the only show I didn’t like. This show was so creative and different from anything else that is on tv that I cannot begin to believe why it was cancelled. WE WANT IT BACK!!!

  • Paulette

    The Finale was very sad and disturbing. Why did it have to end so tragically? And why was it canceled? Shame on you CBS…I loved this show so much… I really hope another network picks it up and brings it back. Make this just a really bad dream and have Alison wake up with Joe next to her.

  • Fran

    Shame on you CBS indeed! This was a dreadful ending to an excellent series. I’m going to pretend I never saw it.

  • Susan

    A little warning would have been nice!!!!
    Loyal viewers deserved better. I will miss this show and the girls growing up. Talk about pulling the rug out from under us!!!!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    It was announced a few months in advance, but I don’t think CBS did much to advertise the announcement.

  • Heidi

    I wish I could pretend that I never saw that ending and make up my own where Joe got to live with his family and they didn’t have to grow old without him. I cried and cried and cried!! Thanks for at least TRYING to make it happy at the end when they are reunited, but no – they still had to live without him for 41 years so I’m not ok with that. I thought it was terrible, I loved the show and really wanted a happy ending – why did they have to screw it all up? :(

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    I actually liked the ending. It had a Time Traveler’s Wife vibe, that Allison and Joe’s love was everlasting.

  • Theresa Rose

    First of all, Medium was the only TV show I looked forward to seeing each week. You never knew from episode to episode where they were going to take you. I felt like a good friend to Allison and was always rooting for her when the drama came alive and in her romance with Joe. He was such a strong part of what made the show. They were so beautiful as a couple. The show ending was well written because I did not see it coming at all. When the end came it felt like I had been wrenched through the gut. My tears flowed as if I lost a good friend. Today, weeks later I am still finding moments that I mourn the loss of Joe and feel sorrow over the life that Allison would have to live alone.
    Ok, reality check, they are were not real people. (well, you know what I mean) Except, they became a part of my life to the point that my brain will not accept that this tragedy did not really occur. So in my future I foresee a yearly mourning of poor Joe and Allison’s love story coming to a tragic end. *wipes away tears*
    Can’t wait to see both Patricia and Jake somewhere again. Perhaps together? (suggestion to the TV gods)
    I would also like to say that I will miss the girls. Great acting! You will be missed!

  • April

    I have just finished the show 2 days ago when i had a flu at home – i didn’t expect it ended that way!!!! I love Joe so much, how can he just died like that???How can Allison not see it coming in her dream???I was so sad when I imagine Allison wake up in the middle of the night with no one speaks with her, and she has to take the girls to school, eat breakfast and dinner only with the girls…etc.why do the writer do this?

  • JDMa

    I will really miss this show. I was disappointed in the ending. Like a lot of others, I feel the amnesia thing has been done. Although I felt relief when Joe had “come back” but then I quickly was re-disappointed when it wasn’t true. I can’t believe they would kill Joe. He was Alison’s rock, her strength. Although this series was one of my favorites ever, the Series Finale was definitely one of the worst. I think Alison and the devoted watchers of the show deserved much better.

  • Valerie

    So many of us are upset by this tragic ending to a show we were truly involved with for 7 seasons. As you said, we deserved better. For every comment that is posted, there are probably 25 fans who either don’t have the technology to post or they have just given in to the powers that be and there is nothing we can do to change it. At the very least, the ending could be edited or reworked to give this treasure of a series a happier conclusion. That would allow some reunion shows. I keep hoping that all of these comments on numerous websites will get the attention of Glenn Gordon Caron, Medium’s creator, or some network executive who has the power and expertise to remedy this on behalf of all faithful fans. We can’t give up yet!

  • Omega_Factor

    Don’t worry, this ending is BS, I’ll create one from re-edits that fans deserve, the same way fans removed Jaja Binks from SW!

  • Ana

    I just HATE the finale!!! Joe dies for real – this is horrible! why did anyone have to die? why would they destroy this perfect tv family? especially since the story is inspired by real world characters, who are fine and still alive?! and besides, what kind of medium was Allison if she could not even forsee Joe’s death and (consequently) prevent it somehow?! this finale is not only awful & sinister, but stupid too!

  • Amanda

    Medium I miss you!! Joe and Allison, I will always love your happy family!!!

  • Teri Brewer

    Thanks Medium for an awesome show. Unlike many of you i had never seen a Medium episode until this year! Thanks to Netflix I was able to watch all seven seasons in a short time. I love all the actors especially Bridget, Ariel, Allison, and Joe! I too was not happy they decided to kill Joe at the end, but thought the finale was well done!

  • jean

    The real Allison Dubois appeared at a dinner party on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She was arrogant, unlikeable, and nothing like she is on the show. I missed the last episode and didn’t know Medium was being cancelled so when I looked for it the next week and it wasn’t there, I thought they cancelled it after seeing the real “medium”.

  • richard sikes

    I don;t care what anyone says the lady can act,try it sometime if you think your talented enough,just saying

  • lisa

    i still miss this show so much Great actors, great relationshipS AND LOOK AT ALL THE J SPRINGER TYPE JUNK THAT IS ON
    is there no hope?

  • Luciano

    I’m an Italian in Italy, Tuscany, and i’m a great estimator of this serial…
    I’ve just seen the last episode… what sadness, thinking that we can’t see it any more, heart me strongly…
    Hope forgive, my english…
    Best regards from Tuscany.
    Luciano.

  • david smith

    Are all tv execs brain dead the total crap they give us now, what a great show someone somewhere bring it back

  • Michelle

    I loved Medium and the actors. I loved their life style which wasn’t unreachable way to live-simple and true. Also the actors all showed that even though life brought it’s quirks, some very disturbing like Alison’s brain tumor, they faced them all with dignity and moral purpose. The show had allot to offer and it was based on the real mediums experiences. I can’t stand most of the crime series grap they have on t.v. today which doesn’t have anything to do with interpersonal relationships but mostly greed, money and sex not to forget the overwhelming violence and agressiveness. I live in Italy and most of us miss the show. Bring it back please.

  • Marcus

    I loved this show, it was something different, it had me hooked all the way through. Such a shame they went with this ending, this show deserved better!