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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Lights Out" series finale recap: "War"

Spoilers for the final episode of FX's "Lights Out" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

"Who won?"
-Lights Leary

When FX recently announced that it was canceling its critically acclaimed, but low-rated, drama "Lights Out," it wasn't quite as heartbreaking for me as the network's decision late last year to cancel the similarly low-rated "Terriers." "Terriers" was, overall, a stronger show, and one that I felt could have really grown and gotten better had it been renewed. Though I did really like "Lights Out," it had a story that probably was best-served by a single season. It was about a boxer plotting a rematch against his rival after a long absence from the ring.
The whole season lead up to that rematch, which took place in last night's finale. Patrick "Lights" Leary (Holt McCallany) took on Richard "Death Row" Reynolds and  won. It was a satisfying ending and I don't know how much I needed to see the aftermath of the fight played out over several seasons. The finale did give us plenty of places to go in future seasons (the growing tension between Lights and both Word and Brennan; the question of Lights's worsening health problems).
But, overall, I feel this season told a complete story, and I'm pleased with the conclusion. Those final moments of a disoriented Lights wandering through the arena were haunting, as were his words to his wife (quoted above). I'm fine with these being the last images we see of Lights.
However, there is one major reason that I'm sorry to see this show go -- Holt McCallany. Before "Lights Out," McCallany was a journeyman actor playing mostly forgettable thug and henchman roles (I vaguely remember seeing him as a villain on "Monk"; otherwise, I can't recall another memorable role). "Lights Out" showed what this talented, overlooked performer can do. He gave a magnificent performer throughout the season, and was particularly effective in this final episode. From the brutality of the fight scenes to the quiet introspection of the moments when he learns the truth about the Morales fight, McCallany was riveting. My fear is that, with the cancellation of "Lights Out," McCallany will fade back into quasi-obscurity, returning to playing cardboard goons. Now that we know what he can do, this is unacceptable. If nothing else, I hope someone finds a worthy vehicle for this fine performer.
What did you think of the "Lights Out" finale, and the cancellation of the show?

3 comments:

Dan said...

I've never seen the show, but now that it's over is it worth checking out on DVD?

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IScreen said...

Given the abysmally low ratings, a DVD release seems unlikely. DVDs are only produced if the show is deemed to have enough interest to result in decent sales. Lights Out, a show whose numbers were too low to keep it on FX (where the bar is much lower than for broadcast shows), might not be deemed a good choice. However, I believe it's available on iTunes if you want to check it out. It is worth a look.

Anonymous said...

you can also see Lights as one of Brad Pitt's henchmen in Fight Club. It's weird to see him have such a backseat role when you watch it.