This post contains spoilers from United States of Tara’s
third and final season.
And another one bites the dust. The last episode of United States of Tara aired almost a month ago, but the hauntingly perfect season-turned-series finale is still running rabid in my mind.
Over the last three seasons, we’ve seen Tara Gregson (Toni Collette) struggle between balancing a normal family life for her husband and two kids, while trying to survive a debilitating bout of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). As her chaotic existence unfolded in front of our very eyes, we got to know her many alters – separate characters of the show, all beautifully performed by Collette. There’s the elegant 50’s housewife Alice, impulsive southern macho man Buck, and the raging and hormonal teenager, T. Although Tara’s life was turned upside down, we watched these four characters, Tara included, co-habitate one life, one body…one family. The strange part was – most of the time, it worked!
Starting from the beginning of the series, the Gregsons pulled off the most normal family life possible. As we peered into their daily lives, son and daughter Marshall and Kate (Keir Gilchrist and Brie Larson) had good heads on their shoulders – kids wise beyond their years – while husband Max (John Corbett) was ultra support-guy. Shit got weird, but the Gregsons kept their heads up and held strong.
In its final season, we saw Tara became a real danger to herself and those around her. An alter kidnaps her sister’s newborn, she feeds crab to her very-allergic professor, and another alter violently accosts her son. New alters sprouted up unexpectedly, intensifying the drama and stress level for all involved. And then at the height of the show’s prime, Showtime pulled the plug. No season 4 for us. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
Thankfully for viewers, the final episode left us with a nice, yet chilling ending – one that provided us with enough answers to part ways with, and one that reminded us just how far we had come and how special this fictional family actually is. We caught a glimpse of support-guy Max breaking down and learned why he would never abandon his family. We saw lost-in-life Kate find her way, at least for now. We witnessed Marshall overcome the loss of his ex-boyfriend.
In the series’ last few moments, it was decided that Tara must flee to Boston to seek the help of specialist for a few months. As Tara is saying goodbye to her family, Marshall tells her: “When you get to Boston, don’t let them pull out all the good parts.” Tara replies, “You guys are my good parts.” As Tara and Max drive down the highway, Max assures her that he turned the child-proof locks on, which Tara admits is probably a good idea. She sticks her head out, feels the rush of the wind, and smiles onward toward new beginnings.
For a show that didn’t know its time was up, Diablo Cody and her team of writers ended the season beautifully. In life, there never is “an ending,” really. No nice, neat packages; no bows on top. We should all learn to be a little more like the Gregsons – keeping our heads high, while laughing through the tougher times. And when times are tough, we look forward to the hope for a better tomorrow as our ongoing sagas and dramas continue to roll on.
And I can’t explain how devastating it is that we won’t get to see Tara’s tomorrow.