Schmigadoon! Season 2 Finale Recap: “Over and Done” — A Happy Beginning

Josh and Melissa looking at each other and holding hands as the rest of the cast looks on behind them in the Schmigadoon! Season 2 finale
Screenshot/Apple TV+

The following recap contains spoilers for the Schmigadoon! Season 2 finale, “Over and Done” (written by Cinco Paul and directed by Robert Luketic)

The Schmigadoon! Season 2 finale (“Over and Done”) ends with Josh and Melissa (Kegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong) returning to the “real” world once again, singing their joy that they can start on a “Happy Beginning.” As the camera pans back we see that the blue-tinted filter that had been over their reality is being replaced by a pure colorful burst. Their time in both the cities of Schmigadoon and Schmicago has followed them back to their regular lives and changed the reality for not only them, but everyone.

But, considering even this world is not actually “real” what does it mean to change that reality? A great deal of effort tends to be made to make some fictional realities feel real. The world that Josh and Melissa inhabit in New York has those elements, even that dreary blue overlay (that is so drastically overused) is somehow supposed to impart a sense in the viewer that what is happening means more. That it is closer to our reality. That the stakes are higher and things are more real for the characters.

A city shot half in the filter and half in vivid color
Screenshot/Apple TV+

But none of this is true. The heightened reality of Schmigadoon!, with the simply sketched characters, in-universe musical numbers, and cartoonish deaths, is actually created and presented in the same way as any show that seems more grounded (at least in theory). The experiences of the characters in Schmigadoon! Season 2 are layered even further by the fact that the reality they experienced was created for Josh and Melissa, though that remove shouldn’t make their experiences less real to us, because every story is constructed.

The primary goal of the Schmigadoon! creative team has always been the musical numbers, but just as the music of Season 1 had a removed quality, a sense of the unreal that was matched by the sets and performances, the stories, sets, and performances of Season 2 took on those elements of reality too. Nothing is fundamentally different between Dove Cameron’s Betsy and her Jenny, except the way we can relate to the later. This makes her feel more real. No matter how silly her decisions or her cute dances, Jenny feels more real, even though she is just as constructed as Betsy. But then, so is Melissa. And Sally Bowles. And Shiv Roy. Television is a a constructed creation, an art of mirrors and mirroring. But sometimes the joys and pains can seep out into our own constructed realities too. The world is not as tinted with darkness as we sometimes see it; it can be helpful to let a little musical color into our lives as well.

The lyrics to the final song of the Schmigadoon! Season 2 finale sum it all up, “Happy endings don’t exist, but every day can be a happy beginning.” Martin Short’s Leprechaun returned to show that everything in Season 2 was about teaching Josh and Melissa this lesson (and so did his “more traditional” brother who was the impetus behind the town of Schmigadoon). All of the players in this tale work for the Leprechaun, and everything was set to lead to this beautiful moment. If Schmigadoon! returns for a third season, that would be amazing, but as it is the two seasons we have worked as a perfect set, and give the characters a great send off.

Arianna DeBose on stage in full Dreamgirls mode with background singers
Screenshot/Apple TV+

The Schmigadoon! Season 2 finale opens with an extended performance by Ariana DeBose channeling the “Jennifers” (Holiday and Hudson) with her own extended Dreamgirls style highlight number, “Over and Done.” It isn’t quite up to the heights of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” but DeBose is still fantastic. It was unfortunate that she clearly could only join the show for a day or two, and because of that her Emcee character didn’t get to interact in any meaningful way with the rest of the cast, but it was still worth it just for the fantastic performances DeBose puts into every song. The Oscar winner and Tony host has an incredibly full calendar, but if there is a Season 3, I hope she can be a bigger part of it.

Everyone else gets to play a huge part in the events of “Over and Done” though. Picking right up where “Famous as Hell” ended, the tribe find Topher and Jenny and convince them to help save Josh. (Michael’s “I see you are still getting naked” comment on finding them in bed being a final perfect moment from his really fun side character.) Dooley and Ms. Codwell also realize they need to help Josh. So everyone winds up in the Power Plant basement. Rivera comes clean and frees Josh, Dooley and Jenny reunite, and everyone runs to save Melissa.

The big final confrontation has all the characters at the forced wedding between Melissa and Kratt. Josh, Rivera, and Dooley all try and fail to save the day, but ultimately it is Ms. Codwell with a chandelier that takes out the dastardly dud, Kratt. The sequence with the chandelier seems to be clearly evoking The Phantom of the Opera, but unfortunately this whole section resolving all the plot threads is non-musical until the cast launches into the “Kaput” reprise.

The stage of the wedding with Kratt crushed by the chandelier
Screenshot Apple TV+

In the end though, everyone gets their happy beginnings and another season of Schmigadoon! ends with everyone in a far better, though less certain, place than they were before. And we can all see that the reality at the center of even the silliest of shows and premises can be incredibly emotionally affecting.

A Few Of My Favorite Things

To close out these musings each week I thought it would be fun to list a few of my favorite specific references to other musicals. There are many many more and I encourage anyone who would like to play along to post their favorites in the comments!

  • Jamie Camil looks great in Frankenfurter garb. I wish we would have been able to see more of his performance, but the idea that the straight-laced cop has a Rocky Horror Show side hidden within him was a fun moment.
  • The whole cast joining in for “Kaput” after Ms. Codwell finished off Kratt was also great. There were surprisingly few songs in the finale, and it moved a little fast overall, but the best moments of the show were absolutely enough to make up for any slower moments.
  • I’ve said it before, but the same as at the end of last season, I hope Cinco Paul and the team decide to give us more of this show. Now more than ever I think everyone involved, both the cast and the people behind the scenes, knows what they have with this show and they can take it even further. Bring on Miss Schmigon!

Kratt looking up into the chandelier as it falls on him, from the perspective the chandelier
Screenshot/Apple TV+

Written by Clay Dockery

Clay Dockery is an actor, author, and impresario extraordinaire. They are the co-editor of Why I Geek: An Anthology of Fandom Origin Stories and was the co-head organizer and creative director of MISTI-Con, Coal Hill Con, and The West Wing Weekend fandom conventions. They live in New York City with their girlfriend and their two chonky cats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *