Flowers Season 1, Episode 6 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe
There is no fade to black happy ending moment with depression. You keep carrying on, hoping things get better, but with no guarantees. Shun’s story about discovering The Grubbs Family books reflects the one thing that can bolster a person suffering in seemingly unending depression: This is how the world can be, and there are others who feel like you, you are not alone. All we can do in the end is be there for each other, making sure that even someone a million miles away knows you are there for them and you feel the way do as well.
Shun is alone when this final episode of the season opens. He’s drinking Sapporo and driving the family car back through the woods the Flowers’ cottage. However, he isn’t alone as he becomes the first person to glimpse the specter of Nana, other than Maurice. She leads him to a glade where the spirits of his family appear to him, reminding Shun that he must help take care of the broken Flowers. He seems to truly gain strength through seeing them and knows he must return to help.
Maurice returns home to find that Donald is at the hospital with Amy. He gets reamed out by Donald who acts as a reminder that there are more souls at stake than Maurice’s. After arriving at the hospital, he’s approached by Barry, the builder who leads Maurice to the hospital roof. Here is where Barry relates the circumstances of his wife’s suicide, sneaking away from her hospital room and stabbing herself to death. She was found hours later, her insides spread out over the roof, gone. Barry carries the knife with him still as a reminder of how painful it was to process her death and to remind him that he made it through that. For such a dark and highly emotional scene, Sharpe still manages to find places for humor. Barry rambles on about trying to make his wife eggnog but getting the proportions wrong, so he ended up with gallons of it. Sharpe has such a deft sense for knowing where a joke will enhance and not detract from the emotion of a scene.
Deborah is spending the day at the country hotel, going on nature tours with other guests. She eventually comes upon Maurice’s cassettes, typically used when he dictates his books. Inside the bag, there are recordings he’s made over the course of their family’s life. Deborah quietly reminisces over a trip to the beach while listening to the sounds of the waves while Amy and Donald argued in the background. Then she stumbles across a recording Maurice made where he admits to attempting suicide and lying about Nan. Olivia Coleman’s acting in this scene in absolutely stellar coupled with Julian Barrat’s reading. Even when they aren’t in the same room together, you can feel the strong connection they have forged with these characters. And once again, Sharpe can pin the scene on a joke that doesn’t undercut the pathos.
The season ends with Maurice heading home with Amy and Donald from the hospital. Deborah is driving the same way from the hotel. We don’t see them together by the end of the episode, and it’s ambiguous as to what Deborah’s final decision will be. The sun is rising in the background, Amy smiles as she piggybacks rides on her father. This time the Grubbs reading is done by both Maurice and Deborah, symbolizing a shifting in the lines of communication, telling a story about Father Grubb not wanting his heart ever to stop beating. The family is headed toward a more hopeful day, but maybe not a happy one. And that is okay.