It’s an odd place for this season of [[Being Erica (TV Series)|Being Erica]] to end – with a Christmas theme. There was no big ending like Erica bending the rules of therapy by saving Leo in Season 1 or her making the enormous decision to dump Ethan and go into business with Julianne at the end of Season 2.
Word is that last week’s episode, Erica, Interrupted was intended as the season finale. Which would have made a lot more sense. After discovering that Erica was to become a therapist herself, it was weird to watch her flounder with Adam’s dislike of the festive season.
Yes, because of Adam’s dysfunctional family life, he’s got a deep seated aversion to Christmassy things. Erica wants to turn this around for him and give him a special Christmas to remember. Except he’s not a willing participant.
And so Dr. Tom sends Erica on a trip into the past. Except this time, it’s Julianne’s past, to experience Christmas as Julianne did growing up. It’s fraught affair, with a perfectionist mother driving up the tension among the lesser family members. But it’s nice for once to gain an insight into one of the other characters’ past lives. And yes, it was a bit of a stretch to believe that Erica didn’t know the tune to Silent Night.
The Julianne sequence was oddly brilliant – seeing all those little quirks and neuroses that were the ingredients for Miss Giacomelli. Even better when you realise that those quirks were reverse engineered into the family! Special mention to the gorgeous Reagan Pasternak for a warm, jazzy, delightful version of Winter Wonderland that played out the episode.
All in all though, Fa La Episode was a mixed bag of themes, dragging in more of Adam’s backstory, but also touching on religious issues. We see this when Erica’s father has a freak-out about his Jewish children doing things that celebrate Christmas. He tries to make an effort to educate the younger Strange children about Jewish traditions, but an already skeptical Leo isn’t interested in pretend lions. I thought this was a topic that could have been center-stage in the episode.
If anything, Fa La Erica felt like the Christmas panto episode, drawing out all of the main players (minus Brent, sadly) from Season 3 for a last bow. Did you notice Judith turning up without her husband? I’m such a gossip queen sometimes, but I sniff a split on the horizon! Sad to say, it was a bit of a muddle.
The biggest concern being that there was no big cliffhanger to lead into a possible fourth season. You have no idea how upset that would make me. I’m a massive champion of this programme, its ideas, its characters and its amazing heart. Being Erica’s executive producers will forever talk about its ‘universality’, and they’re right. They’ve created stories where it seems like they’ve picked situations out of your own life and helped you to reprocess them and view them in a more positive light. Like a learning experience.
I’ve heard there’s now going to be an American remake of the series. Cold comfort, ABC. It’s these characters I want, that I’ve fallen in love with. Being Erica without Erin Karpluk? Never. Ditto Michael Riley. These two have such a wonderful chemistry. I don’t want a remake, I want a fourth season. Are you listening, CBC?
Let’s go out on a high though – most touching moment of the episode was Dr. Tom giving a homeless man one of his cards to the tune of Winter Wonderland. What a present! It may have seemed strange to the man receiving it, but the viewers know what that card represents – the start of an adventure, of reassessing his life, of changing his fortunes. Hope, I suppose. It really was one of the most touching TV moments I’ve seen all year.