Daisy Jones and The Six Tracks 9–10 are a wild ride to the end of this rockin’ mini-series. Although, I do peeve with how Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber break their precedented structure for Tracks 9 and 10. Neither episode would be able to stand on its own without the other, and even then, the lacklustre weave of vital narrative points leading to the finale’s breaking point at times felt as dazed and confused as their characters.
So much happens in these two episodes it’s almost overwhelming to try and pinpoint where things went right or wrong. It feels like everything is just chaos leading up to these significant moments for each character to reach their limit as part of Daisy Jones and The Six.
“Track 9: Feels Like The First Time,” in particular, felt like it was flailing in the wind, searching for a climax or a pinnacle moment to call its core. The entire time while watching, it felt like a middle episode, like I was trudging through it to get to the finale. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy moments in it. It was a fun ride, almost like a highlight reel with some hope sprinkled in for the future, but simultaneously leaves us waiting for the other shoe to drop. However, Track 9 is and always will be a companion to Track 10, the finale, because it doesn’t have enough of its own story arc to stand alone.
I’ve been interested from the start to see how developers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber adapted Daisy Jones and The Six, the novel, into the TV show. I’ve been keenly keeping an eye out for differences and similarities. It seems I haven’t always got it right, but I can for sure say that Karen’s (Suki Waterhouse) and Graham’s (Will Harrison) storyline in these two episodes feels like it was ripped from the pages of the novel. It was a faithful dramatisation of the book’s narrative for these two, right down to Camille (Camila Morrone) taking Karen to the clinic and Graham’s twisted expectations of her.
At the same time that I felt well done, I also felt bored because it was exactly as I had read it before. I don’t know how I would have spiced up the plot here, but I do know that I already felt the storyline was overplayed by the time Karen and Graham were arguing backstage. There was nothing more to offer there; the message, the undertones already played out, and the characters fully realised.
Teddy Price’s (Tom Wright) heart attack felt like nothing more than a blip in the rest of the narrative. It solely brought Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) and Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) together in that hospital chapel and little else. The eventual reveal of his death in ’83 did little for the story as well; it didn’t seem to take a number on Billy the way it had in the novel. Also, without Teddy’s girlfriend from the book at his side, it felt like Teddy’s life was nothing outside of producing, which goes against everything he preached to Billy during his spiral on The Six’s first tour.
I felt like we missed the middle bit in Simone’s (Nabiyah Be) story with Bernie (Ayesha Harris); one minute, she’s leaving to pursue this record contract, and the next, she’s not. Perhaps it was meant to be a misdirect, but I think in the end, it ended up feeling like whiplash hearing what Simone says to Daisy after the last conversation we see between Simone and Bernie. I also felt that Bernie did not have nearly enough agency in the situation or consideration for her version of events, not even in the talking heads. After the spotlight they got in Episode 7, I’m a little disappointed about how their arcs are written in the finale.
However, I liked how they directed Billy and Daisy’s arcs in a slightly different direction; I liked how Eddie (Josh Whitehouse) left and the confrontation in Billy’s hotel room. I loved how Rod (Timothy Olyphant) could tell throughout these final two episodes that something big would happen; that his world was about to fall apart.
Nicky (Gavin Drea) still being in the hotel room when Daisy wakes up was a wild decision; I guess it puts more agency in Daisy’s hands to tell him to leave, but I also felt like we’d seen him pack his bag; his time with Daisy already felt over to me. I think I like how they played it at the top of Track 9, but I can’t shake the feeling that it was also a little bit redundant. The time passing with Daisy more in control and Billy by her side was the highlight reel I’m talking about. There’s a little bit of hope, and it’s fun to watch, but you’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
In the finale, Daisy, Camille, and Billy is the true event. Even if I’m not keen on how they structured the episode, their character arcs are ecstatic. I was taken aback by the switch from Daisy revealing the interviewer as Jules to Billy being the one to do it, but I thought it was a clever way to do it. What kid doesn’t remember a night when they were young and woke up or walked in on her parents fighting? Although that’s what made the moment in the book so unique, it wasn’t a night every kid experiences.
Camille and Daisy’s understanding is held back in this show. They were given a moment alone, but it wasn’t nearly as powerful as it could have been. Although, that left the issue in Camille and Billy’s marriage to be more about the two of them rather than framing Daisy as the root cause of it all. Instead of Camille telling Daisy to leave, get help, etc., we see a couple solve their issues together, see Billy take accountability, and see the third party take care of themselves for themselves. And I liked how it all came together with Billy hitting rock bottom and Daisy seeing herself in his mess and wanting to change. It was also more realistic that Billy relapsed in such a disastrous way rather than the careful slip he took in the book. I liked how this rendition of events framed Billy as the centre of this mess rather than Daisy. As much as she created chaos, it’s not all on her mistakes that things started to fall apart; Billy’s ego had a lot to do with it.
Overall, I like Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s changes to Daisy Jones and The Six. I enjoyed Sam Claflin’s performance; I audibly laughed out loud when he told Josh Whitehouse to go fuck himself at the concert’s end. I think Riley Keough pulled Daisy together too quickly; just because she’d decided on rehab doesn’t mean all the drugs and alcohol disappeared from her system. Camila Morrone was less of a standout in these last two episodes, but I think she already showed her chops when she nailed It in Episode 3.
I’m sure I missed some excellent things, but as I said, so much happened in these last two episodes of Daisy Jones and The Six it’s hard to gather my thoughts on all of it. Although I think in a year or so, I might revisit the series with a rewatch and see if I can pick up anything else. I mean, the fantastic thing about Daisy Jones and The Six is how much character study went into it. It’s a classic human-hurt-human, hurt-themselves kind of narrative that is constantly critiquing humanity and weaving motifs into the actions of its characters.