As we wind down the series (check out the previous episode here) with only one episode remaining after this one we get a good strong dose of what this series has been about. Each performance here sums up the psyche of each character. As is reflected in the episode’s title this is our opportunity to remember the passing of not only a character, but the entire series. Maybe, the loyal followers of this series will think of this show every time they partake of an orange in the future. As is the fashion with reviewing GETTING ON it is easiest to look at them all one by one after a brief setup.
A few days have passed since we last were at the Billy Barnes Unit. It was enough time for Jenna to take a few days off to go to Mexico and DiDi to orchestrate a memorial observance for Birdy Lamb and for another guest patient to be admitted. It has always featured rotating patients and their various dilemmas and this week we have a returning favorite in Varla, played by June Squibb. Share in the presence in this tough broad.
Also in a guest spot is Kristen Johnston on the other end of that choke hold. She plays Marla the grown up daughter of Varla who gave her up at birth. Such have been the difficult yet funny turns many a guest have played on this show. It was nice to give Varla one more go. Which leads us to talking about DiDi Ortley.
She has always been the one who seems to care the most for those in her care. Oh, Dawn Forchette deals with them, but it seems she never comes across as sincere because she is always thinking about herself more. But, that is not DiDi. She is in there dealing with Varla when the fight breaks out and she is the one making the eulogy for Birdy. She is also the one snooping around on behalf of her union in an attempt to save their jobs. You don’t see anyone else stepping up, especially in that last effort? She has been so focused in all her duties that she even started bending the rules to achieve her ends. Case in point this episode was the ransacking of stored files to get to the truth. But it just might be too late.
Dawn gets caught up in the moment much more often than DiDi. She is self-absorbed in her situation and it is one that certainly needs her attention but she overdoes it. She over-indulges on food binging to damage her dialysis treatment because she is obsessed with the sympathy and attention she will garner if she needs a kidney transplant. And if that’s not enough she then hi-jacks the memorial service so she is the center of attention. The poor gal is vulnerable enough when she is happy let alone when she is weakened and ill.
And poor Patsy de la Serda is, well just ineffective. Even when he is authoritative it seems to not matter. He is often in the way, including being jabbed by a syringe in this episode, and he is on the brink of stalking Dawn as he tries to gain her attention and affections to no avail. Patsy has been ineffective all season unfortunately, but that sums up who he is for me. And then there is Dr. Jenna James. She has been a whirlwind of rambling comedic genius. Who in this episode is called out, by her
husband Richard (Daniel Stern) no less, for having ‘no soul.’ That cuts her to the quick.
Jenna too is a character who just doesn’t take the time to think and that is great for us as it is what often facilitates the comedy found here, and not just from her. Her husband was left in the dark on all that was going on with Jenna. She never went to Mexico, she never told him of the hospice scandal or of Dawn’s condition. And to top it off Richard deduces she had an affair with Dr. Rudd (Grant Bowler) and that just crashes her. That is what happens in Jenna’s life. She is mile-a-minute on her agenda until something slaps her in the face and gives her a moment of clarity. This latest one is a whopper.
But all the personal and professional angst this staff has endured is nothing compared to the moment when it all stops. They return back to the ward only to discover that it is closed down and patients are to be relocated. How will this final blow affect our staff? Just how they will go about GETTING ON with life is left to the final episode on Sunday, 12.13 entitled “Reduced to Eating Boiled Magazines and Book Paste.”