Wednesday , October 21 2020
Life Unexpected ended with mostly happy endings, but I disagree strongly with one choice.

TV Review: Life Unexpected Ended Unexpectedly

It seems like not that long ago (last April 13th, actually) when I wrote a fond farewell to what I was sure would be Life Unexpected‘s series finale. Thrilled that the CW gave the little show a second season this year, though it was renewed well after last spring’s finale, so we were left hanging for quite awhile, I find myself with mixed feelings that the show is gone for good. Ok, it’s not officially canceled, but it might as well be. Kudos to the network for allowing a second chance, but the ending, while plenty tear inducing, also left me frustrated, more for what it didn’t show than what it did. As such, I will be focusing this review on the final moments of the show, rather than the whole series, whole season, or even the whole episode.

The big news, of course: Baze (Kristoffer Polaha) ended up with Cate (Shiri Appleby). How could you not cry when Lux (Brittany Robertson) interrupted their make-out session to call them (for the first time seen on screen) Mom and Dad? Of course it was the dream of every child who grew up without parents, or parents being together. This was also the dream of many fans of the show, not counting myself among them. Yes, I longed for that in season one. But Baze was moving on in season two, and Ryan (Kerr Smith) was so well fleshed out as a likable character… It seemed more realistic that Cate would stay with Ryan.

I praised the show the first time around for doing the unexpected, ending with Cate marrying Ryan. Cate and Ryan were just so invested in each other, that even after their marital problems this year, I was not happy to see them broken up. It seriously tainted the moment. Had the show been given another two seasons, as the final few moments were set two years in the future, I could easily see Ryan having left Cate to raise his baby with Julia (Jamie Ray Newman, Drop Dead Diva, Eureka) in a more natural way. Plus, it would have helped their radio careers to have them fight a lot and eventually divorce, but stay on the show. Or even not fight too much, as they seemed to still care for each other, and Ryan stayed in Lux’s life, as he should have. But as Julia had barely been seen up to this point, it bothered me immensely. It was just too abrupt.

Baze, like Cate, also had another love interest, in the form of Emma (Emma Caulfield, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gigantic). It broke my heart when he ended things with her. I totally understand. I knew finding out that she had had a four year affair with Baze’s father, Jack (Robin Thomas), would end things between them. How could it not? As such, I blame the writers for ruining such a perfect pairing with that twist. On the other hand, the couple got really serious, really quickly, and had the show continued, I guess it would have been a bit boring for Baze to settle down with a woman so quickly. Not for me, but for most viewers, who like the on again-off again stories. Still, I missed Emma in that ending.

Another option for Baze, and the one I thought was happening at first, was having him end up with Alice (Erin Karpluk), who was almost absent from this season entirely, but managed to be in the end. When I saw a pregnant Alice sitting next to Baze, I assumed she was his happy ending. It made sense. She was sweet, pretty, and recently divorced before the jump forward. Sure, since she wasn’t with Baze, I am glad she was with Math (Austin Basis). Math is the epitome of a nice guy, and his unluckiness in love has been disheartening. I don’t wish to take away from his happy ending by complaining. I’m just very unsettled by the whole last minute Cate – Ryan split, and that has influenced my whole opinion of the end.

The other thing I had hoped for was the return of Eric (Shaun Sipos). As someone in the teaching world, I was disgusted by the Lux dating a teacher arc. But I also saw how they came together, completely unaware that they were doing anything wrong, and it hurt my heart a bit, too. Eric was good for Lux, and I had hoped he might return after she became legal age. Unlike the other relationship jumps, I’m fine with Lux ending up with Jones (Austin Butler), even though he had been dating Tasha (Ksenia Solo). Jones was the ultimate symbol of how Lux had been healed emotionally.

I also wish for another season so I could see Lux fall in and out of love with Sam (Landon Liboiron) before she settled on Jones, as that was clearly being set up before the finale. She had some more healing to do, and Sam would have helped that process along, being a good choice for the damaged Lux, but on the road to healing himself from his parents’ broken home, he could have taken her with him. Sam’s continued presence would have kept Emma around long enough for Baze to try to get past her past, if he ever could, which is doubtful, but how I hoped it would go.

Happy endings were also given to Jack, who was at the graduation sitting behind Baze, presumably with their relationship once again on the mend, and Jamie (Reggie Austin), who had almost disappeared from the show in season two. I felt like Kelly (Amy Price-Francis), similar to Sam, lost a good ending because of the pressures of wrapping up the show. Paige (Arielle Kebbel) was even more cheated, as she had been worked fairly prominently into this second season, just to go missing in the final couple of episodes.

Life Unexpected wasn’t always consistently top notch, often (especially in its sophomore year) falling to cheese or what seemed like too much drama. However, it was also often heart warming, and I will miss it.

About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome is the creator and writer of It's All Been Done Radio Hour, a modern scripted live comedy show and podcast in the style of old-timey radio serials, and the founder of the Columbus-based entertainment network, IABDPresents. He is also the Chief Television Critic for Seat42F.com and a long-time contributor for Blogcritics. Plus, he works fiction into his space time. Visit http://iabdpresents.com for more of his work.

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13 comments

  1. What I don’t get though is LUX being the valedictorian. Wasn’t she failing her sophomore year?

  2. I agree with the fact that some characters got cheated. Sam for example I mean we never find out what happened to him. If he and Lux ever became friends. Its like he just left seeing as he missed out on the last couple of episodes. This just annoys me. I dont think they should have made it 2 years forward because there were too many things we wanted know and see. And seeing what happened after 2 years wasnt the best idea. Because i would’ve liked to see what had happened to everyone.

  3. For some reason I feel cheated by how this show ended. I just found it on Netflix and watched all 26 episodes over the weekend and was really enjoying it only to have it end the way it did. I found that it left a lot of things unanswered and even though they ended it with it being 2 years forward, I would love to have seen what became of Paige, Eric and how Baze got back on his feet with the bar; oh, and WOW, to know exactly what happened after Cate let Ryan know about Julia and the baby. Like I said, it left too many unanswered questions.

  4. I just found this on Netflix and em hear broken its over!! Any way to get the show back?? I love this show!

  5. I want another season!! Any way to get it back??

  6. Life Unexpected i Found It On Netflix and I Watched It And Loved It. You Should BriNg It Back And Do It With Lux In ColLege and Falling In Love To Get Married.

  7. I hated the ending HATED it. Why couldnt ryan and cate stay together and cate and ryan just pay someone to carry their child? Ugh. I loved the show was soooo addicted to it. Just wish it didnt end so abruptly or like that. I hate that chick for sleeping with ryan and then finding out she was pregnant and two years later ryan and her together?!?!?! Seriously. I am so upset. Lol sorry but I am glad someone agrees

  8. SassyNexieakins Olufunto

    I literally fell in love with this comment

  9. SassyNexieakins Olufunto

    I don’t think they were expecting the network to cancel the show….and when, they cancelled it; they gave us the idea of how the show ended…. I kinda like the closure they gave us. There are shows that we’re cancelled but leaves us “hey, what finally happened”… As Dirty,sexy,money.

  10. I mean its like I invested so much time into this program and it wasn’t even that good and I know it wasn’t even that good but I kept watching it anyway.. and then it got to the end and everything suddenly changed and I just ended up sitting on my bedroom floor shouting at my laptop and crying into my knees. I never expected to get so attached to the characters. it wasn’t even a good program anyway so why are my eyes literally still watering?!
    I need answers…

  11. I completely agree. Well Math should have been with someone the viewers dont know to make it more realistic. But everything else especially cate with ryan I agree with. Also lux should have been single so she could meet someone new in college or maybe end up later with erick since they built up his and lux’s relationship and just threw it away in the last 2 episodes.

  12. It annoyed me how often the characters lied. They lied in every single episode and then they would blow it up in their own faces and act surprised and blame another person. But I did like the show, I liked the plot of the show and the characters even with its flaws. Most if the time I will admit I did not like cate.

  13. THE ENDING HAS PISSED ME OFF SO MUCH! cate and ryan belonged together and that girl with the kid, omg, I cannot stress enough how annoyed I am