The following recap contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Somebody Somewhere, S2E7, “To Ed” (written by Hannah Bos & Paul Thureen and directed by Jay Duplass)
Somebody Somewhere S2E7 features a wedding and a funeral, with touching moments throughout. We begin with Sam (Bridget Everett) attending the service for Darlene (Barbara E. Robertson), which ends up including a number of her students singing Schubert’s “An Die Musik” together, so we’re already tearing up pretty early on in the episode. It’s an ode to music, so fitting for this music teacher who touched so many lives through her work. And if anyone might question the value of that work, we know how Darlene would reply: “Imagine a life without music.”
The memorial service also provides the opportunity for Sam and Joel (Jeff Hiller) to reconnect, apologize to one another, and prepare to move forward, though their more meaningul conversation comes afterwards, when they meet to help each other prepare for the wedding. I leaned in a bit on taking Sam’s perspective as I wrote on the previous two episodes of Somebody Somewhere, but it’s totally fitting that she apologizes to Joel, as well as forgiving him.
Sam says that she creates rules and sets unfair expectations for people, because she thinks it keeps her safe, but she wants to stop doing that. And when she says it’s Joel’s fault, I think that’s true. He’s been the one who, over the course of the entire series, has led Sam to see that she can bring down her wall and still be safe. Or even if she’s not completely safe, maybe it’s worth it.
So it’s a joyous culmination to the season to see Sam singing at Fred (Murray Hill) and Susan’s (Jennifer Mudge) wedding. First, when it’s “Ave Maria,” which we know she worried she didn’t have the chops for, but which she performs beautifully. But even more so the climax of Season 2’s arc is in Sam taking a shot at singing Laura Branigan’s “Gloria”—a song she outright told Joel in a previous episode was beyond her, and beyond anyone but Branigan herself.
What we see here is Sam letting go of the part of herself that cares about that. She doesn’t worry about whether she’s singing the song well enough, as if anyone were standing in judgment of that. She just goes for it, much like we saw Brad (Tim Bagley) do early in the season, whether Sam makes that mental connection or not. And, of course, she pulls the song off very well, but it’s that spirit that makes the moment feel transcendent. It’s exemplified in how she rubs Joel’s face in her breasts, and gets Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison) to hop onto her back.
Sam may hesitate to believe in love like Tricia says she does, but this is all in the same nexus of secular spirituality that Somebody Somewhere has played in since the beginning: love, joy, forgiveness, friendship without judgment…
Joel gives his speech at the wedding, telling us that through change can come miraculous growth, and indeed we’ve seen that growth in Sam, and in Tricia, over the course of the series.
Fred raises a glass to toast their absent host, and it’s reflected in the episode title of S2E7: “To Ed.” Fred says he felt a deep connection to Ed from the moment they met, which wasn’t about Ed accepting Fred or being nice, but just seeing him as who he is. And that’s rare.
Surely we have to take this toast to a meta level and think about the actor who portrayed Ed, Mike Hagerty. About his death, and its effect on the show, Bridget Everett told TVLine:
He was the [one with] the most credits, for sure. He’s been on a lot of sets, but he had so much gratitude to be on the show, and he was so good on it. He was a very special person… warm, funny, the kind of person that talks to everybody on the crew. You really feel like he just wanted to connect with everybody there. So him leaving left a huge, huge hole for us personally and then also the show. But I think that we did the best we could to sort of bring him along with us for Season 2.
Usually when the actor portraying a character dies, the character dies too. And that makes sense. It’s certainly tidier than sending them to Mandyville. But Somebody Somewhere found a third way, and it works. They brought Ed along with them, and made Season 2 as a whole feel like a tribute to this man who couldn’t be there.
S2E7 ends with Sam coming home from the wedding, and trying to rouse Drew (Brian King) so she can make good on that reason she shaved her legs. But he seems to be asleep, and she breaks his window with her shoe. It’s a funny moment, and one that sets up the possibility of a Season 3 beginning right here. I hope they get to make it.
In the meantime, cue Kansas.