That's all, folks. "Luck" proved itself to be a sustainable miniseries by closing off its first (and now only) season with an emotionally gratifying finale that tied up most of the loose ends while still keeping the door open for further development had it been able to continue. "Luck" was like a postcard from the race track: "Wish you were here!" (unless you're trying to kill me, in which case, buzz off).
I was nervous the series might end on a major cliffhanger (much like "Battlestar Galactica" did each season) such as a mid-race freeze frame that would leave the story lamentably incomplete. Sure, the battle between Mike and Ace will rage on, but what we did get to see of it in this final episode was like a spy thriller that stumbled onto another set, with Ace ending up with the slight upper hand. Israel's story and the return of Ace's grandson Brent (both of which were set up by Mike) would have no doubt continued to goad Ace into seeing his Count of Monte Cristo-esque revenge through a second season. And because Ace has Gus, my money lies with them on eventually defeating Mike. After all, the goat came back, right? And Brent says he's feelin' lucky.
In fact, the finale of "Luck" may be the most happy-go-lucky and positive project that David Milch has ever created. Predicting disaster at every turn, I was stunned to see almost everyone come out on top. Rosie, Mon Gateaux and Foray Stables won their race. Leon tells Joey he has plans to go to Portland, and speaks well of Rosie despite her taking his ride. Later, in reward for his positive karma, Jerry gives Leon the ticket for the bet he made on his behalf before the race. Joey gets to see his jockeys prosper, and Naomi gets to have sex in a bed of money.
Regarding Jo and Escalante, I still saw a lot of positives coming from their interactions. Though Jo lost her baby (just as Escalante seemed to be coming around to the idea), the two deeply bonded over the experience. Escalante calling her all day and bringing her part of the Pint of Plain's winning bouquet would most certainly not have happened earlier in the season, and in those last moments where Escalante comforted her after she broke the news, I felt strongly that the pair would remain together.
The real question of the episode was: who were you pulling for in the final race, Gettin' Up Morning or Pint of Plain?
The race itself was spellbinding, especially since for once we had an investment in two of the horses vying for the win. The photo finish was the only way to end such a race between two legends in the making, and I particularly liked the final scene between Walter and Escalante, both respectful and appreciative of the other's horse, jokingly saying they hope all of their races would be like that (I have little doubt they would be). The two bonded over the vultures (or "cockroaches") soon to be or already swooping down to get a piece of the horses' glory. And as for the race itself, it may not have been Ronnie's comeback win, but did he really deserve it anyway? This was an episode that rewarded the deserving, and Ronnie still has a ways to go.
It's a testament to "Luck's" storytelling that even though we only met the fabled grandson in this one episode, it was still very moving in the closing moments to see Ace recommit himself to his family. We don't know what happened to Ace's deceased son, or why Brent's mother is not in the picture, but Ace assured him that didn't matter now. Family is family, and the goat is back. Damnit if that goat didn't nearly bring a tear to my eye at that point.
Though it never gained much traction with the HBO viewership, "Luck" was a worthy investment that gave fans a peek into the lives of people whose existence revolves around racing. It never shied away from showing the dirt and pitfalls of the business, but every week it gave beautiful visual examples as to why people love and are so drawn to horses. It's regrettable that filming couldn't be done (or wasn't done) in a way to prevent the deaths of several of the featured racehorses, but at the same time, the series should not in any way be seen as a misstep for HBO. I remember Bill Simmons of ESPN saying that if "Friday Night Lights" had ended after just one season, it would have been perfect. The show went on to many great things, but it never fully recaptured the magic of our first introduction to Dillon, Texas. Though I lament "Luck" will not be able to continue telling its story, the stories it did tell were also pretty darn near perfect in the time it had.
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I knew that body would float back up!!
— I loved the the little shots during Mon Gateaux's race of the chewed up form book and Renzo's mother slapping his shoulder. I needed some of Marcus' oxygen, myself.
— "Pocahontas is calling you. She's sayin, 'Jerry, come poke my hontus!'" - Marcus
— Did anyone else find it hypocritical that Walter allowed Ronnie to keep his crop? He even suggested he could use it if need be. I suppose he thought Rosie didn't really know when to use hers, but he wasn't opposed to the idea completely in the right hands.
— Ace's grandson is rather good looking. Even though Ace thinks he "looks like a fucking baboon."
— "Best fucking country in the world!" - Gus
— How amazing would it be if a race track actually gave a horse away every month, and all you had to do was show up to see it run?
— Renzo's Mom: "Why don't you take her out?" Marcus: "A rip tide wouldn't take her out." Renzo's Mom: "Well excuse me, Ryan Seacrest, just a suggestion!"
— So what will happen to Foray Stables? Marcus wisely says, "long run, story is we all go broke." (hah)
— Predictions for what might have been with this series? Would you recommend it to others?
Yeah this is a head-scratcher but it kind of made my day.
so palin graduated from moscow, idaho's finest institute of higher learning? a partial explanation for…
Please take a look at http://www.SaveTheTed.org
@ kiteless "carter's problem is that the man is a saint." That my be Carter's…
It's thrilling to see Broch bend over backwards to defend the academic pedigree of GWB…
"No revisionism, just facts." ________________________ Broch's World: "Carter was not deemed by the Navy as…