This past week, as I sat casually riding my stationary bike, one of my favorite shows went bye bye in front of my very eyes.
Mr Inbetween has had a weird place in my heart. Maybe it’s because show creator and star Scott Ryan’s lead character, Ray Shoesmith, feels so honest to me. Maybe there’s a piece of him, his military background, his core of knucklehead friends, his weekly missions, that somehow harkens back to my years of watching Magnum P.I. as a kid. Maybe it’s that I have friends like him, sort of on the fringe of society, constantly trying to figure out why life has left them in the dust, and usually stumbling into exactly the wrong answers. Maybe it’s that his M.O. is so calm and businesslike when all the world around him is freaking out. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to pinpoint what I most loved about Mr Inbetween, but I know that I watched the series finale the other night and had no idea.
First of all, I urge you to watch the show. It’s on Hulu, three seasons. There aren’t many shows where I’ll count the days until I see the next episode, but this was one of the few.
I’ve steered friends to it before and some of them couldn’t get into it, which is a shame because as you get to know Ray and his family and the quiet way he faces his demons, it just gets better and better.
Season One is just sort of an appetizer. Six episodes. In and out. You get to know Ray and his work and his brother Bruce and some of his friends.
Season Two is when the show starts to really take off and get nominated for awards and where people start to realize that they have a tiger by the tail. Eleven episodes. Just a tour de force. A dark character study where the cracks begin to show. The season finale kicked my ass.
Season Three is like Ray turning — or at least trying to turn — the page of a new chapter in his life. There’s sort of a Michael Corleone vibe to it a la “every time I think I’m out they pull me back in,” but “in” is where Ray does his best work. Nine episodes.
So I’ve been refreshing Hulu and trying not to google anything because I hate spoilers. I’m just looking at this page thinking there’s room for one more right there!
Finally, I google MR INBETWEEN SEASON 4 and the first response is
THERE WILL NOT BE A MR INBETWEEN SEASON 4
But just below that it says:
WHY HULU KILLED OFF-
And I just X out of the whole thing. Just kill my browser. Because oh my god are they going to kill off Ray in the finale? I’m still reeling, thinking of all the loose ends and all of the shit I was invested in, and they’re just going to waste him in episode 10?
So I wait two more days. Mr Inbetween usually drops new episodes on Tuesdays so I’m biding my time and hoping that headline was just about Hulu killing the show and not the character.
Tuesday comes. Nothing.
Finally I Wikipedia how many episodes in season 3 and the answer comes up. Nine. That’s it. I seen ’em all. This show’s wrapped.
Sometimes, that’s the way it goes. In an effort to insulate yourself from spoilers, you end up missing the trade news about your show. It’s happened to me once before, when watching my all-time favorite show, Rome, on HBO. Watching the second season finale and some shit goes down and I look at my DVR recording for some reason and it says SERIES FINALE instead of SEASON FINALE. I was dumbstruck.
In both cases, I’m happy I was able to experience the excellence of the show without knowing the end was coming. In both cases, the shows built memorable, complex characters who could have sustained many more seasons of quality television, but it was not to be. I suppose it’s better to end early rather than to outrun your coverage, but it can be a bitter pill to swallow.
I hope there are folks out there who love Mr Inbetween as much as I do. The subtlety of the character and the quiet beats and the sudden and sweeping action. His love for his brother and daughter, his devastating moments of lost love and the times when the world needed a sheriff who wore black. Bravo to Scott Ryan for creating a powerhouse of an antihero, and to Nash Edgerton for outstanding direction, and the thousands of hours dolloped onto the screen by the rest of the cast and the crew. It’s a notable show and never let us down.