The last ever ‘Pushing Daisies’, then. Perhaps too quirky and too whimsical ever to find long-running success, but nonetheless suffused with a unique vision. And this episode, ‘Kerplunk’, was a satisfying way to round things off.
The plot revolved around a sort of aquatic circus, the Aquacade; as ever stunningly realised by the production designers, who clearly took the opportunity to blow pretty much all of the remaining budget on it (keeping a bit back for Olive’s restaurant, ‘The Intrepid Cow’, seen fleetingly at the end). Among the regular performers are the Aquadolls, long-time rivals of Lily and Vivian’s Darling Mermaid Darlings. One of the Aquadolls is killed by a shark while performing. This creates a vacancy at the Aquacade which brings Lily and Vivian out of retirement, and sends the owner of the shark to Emerson Cod’s door hoping that Emerson can prove that he wasn’t responsible.
And from there on it’s pretty much ‘Pushing Daisies’ business as normal: Emerson, Itty Bitty, Ned and Chuck get on the case. There’s tension between Ned and Chuck because it looks as if Lily and Vivian are going to tour Europe, which would take them even further away from Chuck. Not that the sisters know she’s alive, of course.
And with five minutes or so left, we’re taken into what looks like a hastily-written ending. In fairness, it follows on quite nicely from some of the themes of the episodes, and it requires everyone to behave in character, so it could have been a lot worse. It’s a more or less happy ending all round for Chuck, Lily, Vivian, Emerson, and Olive. And if they’re all happy, likely Ned will be too. A show unusually in thrall to love ending on a positive note: I wouldn’t have liked it to go out any other way.
“Endings”, announces Jim Dale as a parting shot, “are where we begin”. Part-acknowledgement that it was open-ended enough to enable the viewer to imagine the cast living their lives into an infinite future, and partly (perhaps) a hint that ‘Pushing Daisies’ itself might live on in another format. I’ll be surprised if the mooted film gets off the ground, and I’m not sure where the proposed comic books can take us: so much of this show was about how it looked. It looked fabulous, from first to last. It was fabulous.