Sunday, September 30, 2018

What I’m Watching: Casual (Series Finale)

Casual: Season 4, Episode 8 “Finale”

Here we are, at the end of a great show that pretty much flew under the radar for its entire four seasons. That was always its nature, opening quietly and unassumingly with a scroll through the many different relationship options selectable on a dating app, ultimately settling on “casual” as the choice. Technology was always at its center, whether it was Alex trying to pitch his algorithm and then stay relevant in an increasingly younger world or Leon constantly editing his videos with his headphones blocking out the world, and this fourth-season flash-forward to things like driverless Ubers was a cool way of acknowledging, yet again subtly, the minor but momentous changes ahead to how daily life goes on. Alex giving Val Ova was significant, if only because its first act was to recreate him by playing his playlist for those left behind in Los Angeles. The best callback to the pilot that this finale could have provided was Alex and Val once again going on dates together and then monitoring each other, but this time, even though it appeared to be going south, it actually worked out and they both had a wonderful time ending in satisfaction. Alex wanting to stay after that nearly created disaster, but I think that it’s meaningful that Rae didn’t appear in this final installment, just Carrie, because Alex is going there to start his life over, not chase someone who doesn’t necessarily feel the same way about him. They might end up getting together, but Alex and Val sleeping with random people meant that they’re still on their journey, and finding their true matches wouldn’t have felt right. Laura, on the other hand, might finally be maturing, and it looks like she’s in a good place with Tathiana after all. And Leon and Leah got a dog, which is sweet, and a sign of their resilience. I’ve very much enjoyed this show over the course of its time on the air, and I’ll enthusiastically recommend it to anyone looking for an underrated hit.

Series finale: A-
Series grade: B+
Season MVP: Tara Lynne Barr as Laura
Season grade: A-
Series MVP: Michaela Watkins as Val
Best Season: Season 1
Best Episode: “Bottles

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