Greek | “Legacy”

The series finale of Greek aired last night, and I have my review of it after the jump.

So this is it. After four seasons and 74 episodes, Greek has come to an end, and what a fitting end it was. Most shows — especially those that struggle in the ratings — don’t get the luxury of ending on their own terms, but after some uncertainty regarding its future at the end of the third season, Greek was able to do just that, joining the ranks of such TV greats Lost, 24, and Friday Night Lights in getting to plan out the perfect ending to a multi-year run.

Now, I’m in no way suggesting that Greek is or ever was on the level of those other series. Those shows redefined Internet fandom, spawned the revolutionary real-time format, and brought us one of the most realistic and gripping portrayals of small-town America that television has ever seen. Greek, on the other hand, brought us some fun characters and a look into college Greek life that was more than parties (although there were plenty of those, too). All in all, it won’t be joining the pantheon of all-time TV greats, but it was still a fun ride and a very enjoyable four years.

“Legacy,” the series finale, did about all it could in a normal-length episode. It stayed true to the show’s tone, providing payoff for the season and the series’ major arcs, but remained open-ended enough to let us imagine a future for the various characters.

I want to get the stuff I didn’t like as much out of the way first. The whole “Villain X” thing didn’t really work for me, and was another example of Greek having difficulty executing serialized plot elements. Lasker Parkes as the big villain didn’t make a lot of sense when compared to his past behavior at the ΚΤ house, and while the Spidey misdirection was somewhat clever, it leaned too heavily on his daddy issues that sprung up out of nowhere. Granted, I didn’t really like Lasker as a deus ex machina, either, and having him be behind the plot to tear down ΚΤ was probably a better solution than him miraculously stepping in to save it, but it still seemed like the show was trying too hard to bring in an external antagonist.

Besides that, most of my complaints are nitpicky, and ones I can easily brush away based on their emotional resonance and the actors’ performances. Ashleigh and Rusty don’t make a lot of sense in the context of the show’s history, as Rusty’s long-term feelings for her seemed like more of a retcon than an organic character beat, but Jacob Zachar and Amber Stevens sold it. Similarly, Evan giving up his alliance with Professor Segal and reconciling with Cappie was all too easy, but, again, Jake McDorman made us buy it. Greek will usually succeed when it tries silly stuff if it grounds it in the characters we know and love.

And the most important character resolution grounding “Legacy” was Cappie’s. All series long, Cappie has been a wanderer without direction, preferring to stay in college and party forever rather than “grow up,” as the saying seemed to go. But as we’ve seen this season, and as the finale made clear, “all children grow up” (a nice callback to the season three finale). Cappie inadvertently graduated, finally felt ready to pass the ΚΤ presidency to a more-than-capable Rusty, and moved to Washington, D.C., with Casey. While having no plans for the future may not be the most grown-up thing to do, it did show that Cappie had evolved from his perpetual party boy persona , and if there was a single resolution that resonated most strongly, it was Captain John Paul Jones’.

Casey also got a fitting send-off, as she realized she would rather do what’s right than become a heartless lawyer who works for The Man. (Of course, there are many avenues within the law that she could have pursued while still staying true to her ideals, but then she couldn’t have ridden off into the sunset in her Prius with Cappie. Also, I believe conflicts of interest are actually compelling reasons why one should recuse oneself from a case, so Prof. Segal pushing Casey into taking seemed unethical, if anything.) Ultimately, though, the episode wasn’t about Casey taking a case or not — it was about her coming to a fundamental resolution about who she was and who she is meant to be with, and on those notes, everything worked. I particularly liked the Casey and Rusty scenes, reminding us of their strong sibling bond that often got lost amidst the rest of the action. And, of course, seeing her and Cappie together, once and for all, surely pleased all the ‘shippers out there.

Rusty’s story was probably next in terms of importance. He had to deal with leading, and potentially losing, ΚΤ, as well as wooing Ashleigh, and he handled both wonderfully. His bond with Cappie has been one of the through lines of the whole series, and the passing of the torch was one of the most earned moments in the whole episode. Rusty giving up the interim presidency so easily at the beginning was a bit strange, but when we saw how much ΚΤ had come to mean to him, it made us that much more invested when he finally accepted his leadership position. It was also very rewarding to see him happy with Ashleigh (happy Rusty is always better than sulking Rusty), however brief their relationship had been to that point, and to see Ashleigh making some real moves toward establishing her own life, as opposed to playing a supporting role to Casey.

I liked the note of ambiguity that Evan and Rebecca ended on. As I said above, I didn’t quite buy Evan’s reversal to good guy so quickly, but after his visit with his parents, it made more sense that he would do some soul-searching and realize he was mostly to blame for their relationship failing. And Rebecca, though her role was small, proved she has changed just as much as anyone, still keeping up her cold facade, but not afraid to let down her guard, either. Dilshad Vadsaria has done a great job toeing that line, and Rebecca’s interactions with Casey in “Legacy” especially showcased that.

Dale and Calvin got a bit lost in everything else that was going on (surprisingly, Calvin more so than Dale — Clark Duke’s role really got beefed up this season), but they, too, went out on a strong note. Dale confronted Laura about their failed “relationship,”  and all of a sudden they were making out in the kitchen. They had a subtle, slow-burning chemistry, and it was nice to see Dale end up with at least a potential Mrs. Dale Kettlewell that wasn’t his landlady. And Calvin finally declared a major (in accounting?) and announced his plans to go abroad to India with Heath next semester.

Really, everyone ended up more or less where we expected them to, but the predictability didn’t damper the effectiveness of the various conclusions. If anything, they worked because they were predictable — because the show had spent so much time building up its characters that any other endings would have felt, well, out-of-character. As light and fun as Greek was, it always took its characters seriously, and that trait really paid off in the end.

It wasn’t all romance and emotional resolutions, though. “Legacy” had its fill of goofiness, too (see: the entire ridiculous sequence at Laskerplex, Katherine’s speech about losing her virginity), as any good episode of Greek does, and we got a nice dose of guest stars from past (Wade! Jen K.!) and present to help us say goodbye. As much as Greek was about its core characters, it also built up a nice world at CRU (at least within the Greek system), and it was good to get a sense that we were sending off the whole Greek universe as much as Rusty, Casey, Cappie, Rebecca, Evan, Ashleigh, Calvin, and Dale.

So while it wasn’t a perfect series finale, “Legacy” did pretty well for what it had to do. A few more episodes this season could have helped with some pacing problems, especially for the longer plot arcs, and a little more time in this episode could have allowed us to see a little more of the newly-established relationships, but overall, “Legacy” left me happy and glad that I invested four years with these characters and this world.

It didn’t rewrite history, but “Legacy” accomplished what it set out to do. Like Greek as a whole, it is a solid piece of television that may not be one of the all-time greats, but that I’ll still remember fondly for years to come.

Bits & Pieces

  • The opening recap montage, set to Jack’s Mannequin’s “Spinning,” set a great tone for the rest of the episode.
  • As far as reveals go, the reason for Evan’s broken hand was pretty weak. Punching the wall because he was upset about breaking up with Rebecca didn’t live up to the set-up provided by his repeated “It’s nothing” response to every question about it.
  • Never doubt Greek‘s ability to make a dated pop-culture joke funny: When Rebecca asks Dale to name that terrible Matthew McConaughey movie, Dale lists practically his whole filmography.
  • As goofy as the break-in at Laskerplex was (if they’re really that worried about corporate espionage, they have the worst security ever), it was fun to see everyone working together, even those with no real investment in the future of ΚΤ.
  • ΖΒΖ won the Golden Lily!
  • Dale finally got to kiss Casey. Luckily, Cappie was cool with it.
  • “That’s definitely the same girl who I’ve never met before.”
  • “She was an 8th grader…”

And thus concludes my final review of Greek. Thanks for reading, and I hope people will come back and read my continuing reviews of Glee and Modern Family. As always, share your thoughts on “Legacy” and Greek‘s, well, legacy, in the comments section below!

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5 responses to “Greek | “Legacy”

  1. I am 50/50 on this episode.

    I am happy it ended happy but as a shipper as you say I wanted more Cappie and Casey. I wanted that scene to watch over and over again but it just didn’t happen.

    Someone in anotehr article said that kiss between Dale and Casey looked ad libbed and it just might have been. I read some where in an interview where Scott Michael Foster said the kid who played Dale ad libbed a lot so it is possible. Cappie looked shocked.lol

    I have lots of comments on my blog and I will have lots more as I am on my way to watch it again after Glee.

    Thanks for your blogging. I found you late in the game but I enjoyed what I read:)

    http://www.greektv101.wordpress.com

    • It didn’t occur to me that Dale’s kiss could have been improvised, but it would make sense if it was. Cappie’s reaction was great.

      Thanks for reading and for consistently commenting each week. I’m glad to see there was really a fan community built around “Greek” and it was fun to be a part of it.

  2. Pingback: Greek Finale reviews | greektv101

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  4. I really hope this leads to a spin-off series! Ugh this finale was really good. I even teared up at the beginning, when they were showing the previous stuff that happened and “Spinning” by Jack’s Mannequin was playing ( you can watch @ http://vimeo.com/21051145 )

    Maybe it’s wishful thinking that the open-ended finale is proof a spin-off and everyone is just playing it close to the vest…but I still can hope

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