Being Erica Recap – 4 x 11 “Dr. Erica” (Series Finale)

Courtesy of CBC via tvddl.com

It’s so hard to say good-bye isn’t it? Being Erica had what appears* to be its final episode last night, and true to how the rest of the season has gone, there were no huge reveals or mind-bending twists, but a focus on accepting endings and starting new beginnings.

Creator Jana Sinyor has stated:

Season 4 is the end. It’s important to Aaron and I to be able to finish the story in a way that is satisfying to our audience. This is going to be a big year for Erica, and by the end of it – she will have finished the journey she started…

Think this happened? Let’s see as we break it down…

*There are some rumblings going on about how this may not be the final season, as many of the episode descriptions define this as the “season” vs. “series” finale. Take a look at some of these articles featuring interviews with creator/executive producer Jana Sinyor and executive producer Aaron Martin and judge for yourself. It sounds to me like this was their last season, but I think CBC might want to leave the door open to season five. CBC’s renewals came out in February this year, so we have a couple of months of nail-biting to see if this will actually happen and Erica’s journey continues. Judging by this season (*cough Ford Focus, Tetley Infusions cough*) and this episode, I’m putting my money on this being last of the series.

I was a bit disappointed about how much the episode reiterated the concept of how everything that begins has to end. Yes, we get it- it’s hard to say goodbye but it’s necessary. Subtlety was not the strong suit in this episode. But all this talk of the necessity of moving on set the stage for Erica (Erin Karpluk) to finally part ways with Dr. Tom (Michael Riley). And, as if one tear-filled goodbye wasn’t enough, we get four emotionally charged “almost” goodbye scenes throughout the episode. If this isn’t the series finale, I don’t know what is.

But let’s start at the beginning. We open with an idyllic scene of Erica waking up to the sunshine in a plush bed with Adam (Adam Fergus) inundated with crisp white linens and about a dozen fluffy pillows. Yes, it’s a good morning for Erica. They share a romantic moment over coffee as Erica prepares to meet her first fiction author at 50/50 Press. But paradise is interrupted as a dirty old pipe bursts through the ceiling of the apartment. Adam suggests that it’s time to get a new place of their own. Random Aside: Has Erica been renting this fabulous apartment all this time? Lucky girl.

Cut to 50/50 where Erica meets up with aforementioned creator, Jana Sinyor and fellow executive producer Aaron Martin posing (with their real first names and everything!) as fictional writers pitching their story about the “transformation of a 30 year-old woman who felt unsatisfied and that life was just passing her by.” Sound familiar? My heart quickened ever so slightly as I thought this would be the trippy reveal that the entire series was just all in Sinyor’s mind. (akin to the whole St. Elsewhere finale)

Aside: Must be pretty crazy talking to a character that you’ve created. All while having a conversation where you’re pitching the story of the character, to that very character? Yeesh! Now I understand why they consciously steered clear of any trippy reveals in this finale. The self-referentiality is enough to send you into a tail spin. And I thought explaining the time travelling was going to be difficult.

Erica then experiences some painful and blurry visions of a young woman who looks to be in a prison cell, and has to excuse herself. She ends up in Dr. Tom’s office where he tells her that the visions are really just the emerging connection between her and first real patient. Congrats Erica, you’re officially a doctor!

But hold on, this happy news is bittersweet. Now that Erica has made it to doctor status, Tom thinks this is a good time to announce his retirement. But not before we get a horrible interlude with “Brulianne” (Reagan Pasternak and Morgan Kelly). The momentum killing comedy is surrounding Brent’s pug, Duchess (who I will admit, is pretty adorable) and how Julianne isn’t an animal person. Really?  THIS is what we’ve come to? But seeing Erica and Dr. Tom depart for good is a pretty hard pill to swallow especially in one sitting. Perhaps this interlude, no matter how lame, is necessary. Tom enters 50/50 Press (through the door!) and thankfully breaks up this sidebar as he adamantly requests to speak with Erica.

Courtesy of CBC

She’s concerned (he entered through the DOOR!) that’s he’s come to get her in this fashion. He’s not quite sure how to calm her down but suggests that she sit down and shut up so he can get this out. But he can’t find the words. He asks that she just look into his eyes, and apparently doctor powers allow you to inhabit the mind of well, anyone who lets you, and ‘download’ all of their experiences. Within a few seconds, Erica is moved to tears as she sees that Tom has fallen (back) in love with Amanda (Suzy Joachim). Funny how she doesn’t see that Tom wants to retire…

Tom chokes back some tears telling Erica that he’s choosing love and retiring, and that means that he can’t ever see her again. She’s understandably upset, starts to ball, but apologizes as she recognizes that she’s making this harder on Tom. She thinks it’s best if she leaves for a bit to compose herself. Good on Erica. After she leaves, Tom sheds a single tear. Beautiful. The sheer magnitude of their bond is conveyed to us through this tear. Bravo Michael Riley – you truly are a master at your craft. The end starts to seem palpable doesn’t it?

Erica sits in her new office (another doctor power, your subconscious can make you a swank office space instantly) upset about losing Tom. She even brings in Adam who admits that he already knew that Tom was retiring and tries to convince Erica to let him go and live his life. (Again, sound familiar?) Distraught, Erica goes to Dr. Naadiah (Joanne Vannicola who has been a handful of awesome in this supporting role amiright?) and asks for her help in convincing Tom to stay with it until Dr. Erica is “ready.” Naadiah reveals that Tom has already been her office and asked for the same thing. Naadiah tells Erica that she needs to convince Tom to move on, and of course, Erica refuses and gives a rather selfish argument about how she’s not ready to let him go. Naadiah sends Erica off on one last lesson, to hopefully knock some sense into her.

The final lesson gives us the reappearance of Erica’s deceased brother Leo (Devon Bostick) which just had to happen. How could the series end without him? Apparently he’s stuck in some sort of purgatory-hallway of doors (a repeated trope of the show). Each door goes out to happy memory, but the one door at the end of the hallway represents “moving on”. If you didn’t get it yet folks, moving on is a GOOD thing.

Erica sees how incredibly sad it is to stay stuck in the same place, no matter how happy the memories are. Remember, “There is not constant but change,” and we have to accept it. I couldn’t help but feel this was all a huge red flag to us Being Erica fans: the show is ending and we gotta say goodbye and move on.

Courtesy of CBC via tvddl.com

So now Erica knows that she has to let Tom go, and we get the final goodbye between these two. Get the hankies out because it’s chalked full of bittersweet goodness. I managed to keep it together during their goodbye (because I have a heart of stone)  but Tom’s line almost got me:

I’ve had many patients but none are as special to me as you.

I hear Gemini and Emmy calling! No wonder future Erica couldn’t keep it together a few episodes ago. Say what you will about the show – I kept coming back week after week because of these two. Dr. Tom leaves for good this time and his office starts to slowly disappear with him. Sorry folks, but this reads as super dunzo finale to me. Would we really want a show without Dr. Tom?

So that’s pretty much it. I mean, we also find out that Erica’s first patient is Dr. Tom’s daughter Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) which I suppose is there as an attempt to find some ties back to Tom should Being Erica return for a fifth season, or a one-off TV movie (ala Degrassi before its “Next Generation” reboot) but I didn’t find it to be a particularly interesting or shocking reveal.

With the exception of a couple of moments, overall, the series finale was just “okay” for me. I definitely think it was the strongest episode of the season, but really doesn’t measure up against, say the second season finale, or some of Being Erica‘s other best moments.

I will say that it was a satisfying finale overall. I didn’t get all the answers I wanted, but about half way into this season, I knew I probably wouldn’t get them anyway. Rather than going into the complexity of the “whys”, I think the creative team did right by the show to keep the finale plain and simple by keeping the focus on Dr. Tom and Erica’s relationship. Aaron Martin said as much in a recent EW interview: “The theme of the final season is…coming full circle, fulfilling your purpose, and finding joy.”

Courtesy of CBC via tvddl.com

Some other observations:

  • We finally get a glimpse of Erica’s nephew as Sam (Joanna Douglas) and Barb (Kathleen Laskey) make their appearance via final montage. Alas, no Gary (John Boylan). Could we not have just stuck him in the montage scene with Sam and Barb? But hey, Cassidy (Anna Silk) got a mention and an earnest sigh!
  • Erica and Adam decide to buy what HAS to be at least a $1M condo/loft in downtown Toronto. I’m sorry, where was this small fortune that they’ve been sitting on all this time?
  • Jenny (Paula Brancati) cleans up nice as a real estate agent – but, in what has to be the Being Erica drinking game question of the year, “Where the heck is Judith (Vinessa Antoine)?”
  • I feel bad for ‘Brulianne’. It’s the finale and they’ve been given a “chose me or the dog” story. Sad.

What did you think viewers? Were you satisfied? So what’s next for you? I suggest another Canadian gem Lost Girl starring Anna Silk (aka Cassidy). Will you be watching the Being Erica remakes? Chime in down in the comments section below and don’t forget to check out our Bitch Awards for best films and television shows, debuting Monday!

Also, now that Being Erica is over (sniff), what show would you most like the blog to cover? We’re open to suggestions!

About tvangie

Angie is a TV addict currently pursuing a PhD in media studies. A freelance researcher and writer on the side – she really misses talking about her favourite shows because none of her friends watch them. Help her out.

5 thoughts on “Being Erica Recap – 4 x 11 “Dr. Erica” (Series Finale)

  1. I was satisfied with this finale. Some of my “whys” were left unanswered (like why Erica had to progress from being a patient to becoming a doctor, and why Dr. Tom could never see or speak to his patients after retiring). But the finale’s theme of new beginnings and “moving on” sort of made me realize that some things just ARE, and we have to accept the responsibilities that life throws at us. We must all grow-up, get a job and support ourselves and our families, we must take care of ourselves and find happiness, we must survive our parents and endure the death of loved ones, and eventually our own lives must end. And there really is no point in asking “why”.

    I have to say I found it particularly interesting that Erica’s first real patient is Sarah, Dr. Tom’s long lost daughter. It was like she had a chance to give something back to the man who helped her “grow-up” and become the doctor she was now. I felt it kept her connected to Dr. Tom, who she could never ever see again, but who’s child she could now love and care for, and hopefully one day Eric would help this girl find her own happiness, and become a doctor herself.

    I’m sad it’s over. But I want this to be the end of the series. Anything beyond this would just be repetitive…

    • Dr . Tom issue was he was always using his work to avoid dealing with his life. Staying for Erica would have been the sliding back to that same issue.

      He need to let go of the Dr job completely, the beauty of the story is that by doing that he finally got to truly help his daughter because Erica could give his daughter the same type of help that he gave Erica.

  2. I agree that this really should be the end of the series. I would be open to a one-off made-for-tv movie or something, but that’s mostly because I think that IF that were to happen there would be significant thought put into it – the plotline(s) would be succinct and contained. Stretching things over many episodes takes a lot of thought, patience and reflection.

    But I do disagree with you when you say “there really is not point to asking why.” If we adhered to that logic we would be watching “American Horror Story.” The appeal of a show like this the getting invested in the characters and their narratives and that requires some sort of cohesiveness and believabilty. Yes, things in life are inevitable- but we have to make thoughtful choices on how we end up within those inevitabilities.

    I don’t envy the writers – I don’t think they were given a definitive end date. They were likely told to write as if it were the last season, but put in some elements that would allow for a continuation. Deciding what you’re going to do with your characters is really tricky under this framework.

    I never thought of Sarah as the potential for giving back, but I like that sentiment. I admit I took a much more cynical approach in thinking it was some sort of ‘hook’ to keep Tom in the loop should the series continue.

  3. In S3 Dr. Heal Thyself, Dr Tom asks Dr Arthur to help Sarah by assigning her a therapist before its too late . and that he hate himself for not being able to save Sarah. Dr Arthur states that’s not how it works. Dr Arthur comments that Tom couldn’t save his daughter’s life so he deprived himself of a life and now works endlessly and tirelessly to save others. Maybe Sarah had to hit bottom first( ” her metaphorical death”) and that maybe Dr Tom could not save his daughter but they never said someone else couldn’t . By having that someone else be Dr Tom’s protege, again another example of things coming full circle.

Leave a Reply