TV Recap

''Tell Me You Love Me'': Reunited, and It Feels So Ambiguous

Jamie and Hugo suddenly get married; Palek leaves Carolyn, then returns when she miscarries; and Katie and Dave achieve a form of physical intimacy

A TOUCHING ENDING Dave and Katie may manage to pull it off
Image credit: Alan Fraser
A TOUCHING ENDING Dave and Katie may manage to pull it off

''Tell Me You Love Me'' recap: The season finale

Well, it was worth it. All the awkward sex, the dry spells, the rough patches, the things about them that I liked at first and then quickly started to drive me crazy. All those times when I just thought, ''Is this it?'' But after 10 episodes of thoroughly strange TV, I can honestly say I'd do it all over again.

There wasn't a minute wasted in the finale, and I'm even including scenes with Jamie. I've griped throughout the season that she is a waste of screen time, and that even if she did embody some of the smug obliviousness of one's 20s, her character was, as she put it, a blob. But at least her plot finally kicked up a notch in this last episode. As misguided as you might have found her and Hugo's reunion, as ill conceived as their giggling decision to pool all their cash and get hitched at the justice of the peace was, at least there were some stakes finally involved. The writers made a big mistake by shedding Hugo for so much of the season and leaving Jamie's mush character to hold up the story line alone.

May, mirroring distracted, vaguely disdainful viewers everywhere, looked as if she wanted to slide out of her chair in protest when faced with a final private session with Jamie. Reeling from the news that her former flame had died of a heart attack, the good doc wobbled into the office to tend to her broken flock. But then Jamie started chirping out fortune-cookie pronouncements about the sheer miraculousness of running into Hugo again at the very gas station where they had broken up. In May's first passive-aggressive moment of the season, she sharply wondered if bumping into each other at your neighborhood filling station is truly a sign of destiny or just the glowing sign of your Saturn's gas gauge hitting empty. ''More like fate,'' snapped Jamie, uninterested in having May shake up her snow-globe version of romance.

Insisting that she was a stronger, bolder, better person after, what, two weeks alone, she shrugged off May's shrewd observation that ''if you're so sure, I don't think you'd be sitting here selling me so hard.'' Therapists just don't understand! Undeterred, Jamie left a scrawled marriage proposal to Hugo under his windshield. We left them snuggling and giggling on a justice of the peace pew, looking like a couple of small-town teenagers high on hormones and visions of picket fences and happily ever after. I've had more faith in couples from MTV's Engaged & Underage.

Oh, but there was a season's worth of rage and pathos in Carolyn and Palek's scenes tonight. She started off the evening roaring like a wounded lion, begging him not to walk out of their relationship and then plunging in the dagger that he's just like his worm father. (A minor criticism, but Walger's British accent was waving its flag throughout this scene.) The mean streak that runs through her is fast and furious, but surely even Carolyn's biggest critics melted at the ocean of tears that pooled in her eyes as she blocked the door. Palek, who seemed destroyed by his own unhappiness and willful insistence on following in his father's footsteps, had a brilliant interaction with Dave that artfully summed up his season of frustration. Furious about a botched supply of steel, he cruelly took it out on Dave in his Paddington Bear jacket. ''What do you want?'' yelled Dave. ''I want what I ordered!'' Palek spat back. ''You don't know what you ordered!'' screamed the older and wiser man. Palek is lost, and all his money and style hasn't made the adult demands of marriage any more manageable. He doesn't know what he wants or how to go about getting it. So he acted like a d--- and took it out on Dave's poor Volvo.

Later, with a mile of couch between them, Carolyn brought out the big guns in May's office, announcing that Palek would never see their baby, he'd never have a relationship with their child, and he was going to end up a more hated father than even his own. But she slunk over to his ma's house later — the irony! — and apologized for her brutality. She loves him, he loves her. But, Palek wrongly summed up, love has nothing to do with this. Love does matter though, if only because it got him to the hospital after he learned of Carolyn's miscarriage. She tried to slap him away, insisting that she didn't need him as she shrugged back into her sad clothes. But in his first good move in weeks, he was impervious to her protestations and remained by her side. She got into bed looking like a lost little girl, and he insisted on curling up next to her. Both of them ended up broken, but at least they were finally partners in their grief and confusion.

NEXT: Katie and Dave have a breakthrough

1 2