Dispatches From Elsewhere season 1, episode 10 recap – a divisive, exceptionally meta farewell

April 28, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
4

Summary

Dispatches From Elsewhere bids farewell with a divisive and meta finale, cementing the show’s position as one of the weirdest and most unique we’ve seen in ages.

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4

Summary

Dispatches From Elsewhere bids farewell with a divisive and meta finale, cementing the show’s position as one of the weirdest and most unique we’ve seen in ages.

This recap of Dispatches From Elsewhere Season 1, Episode 10, “The Boy”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


After ten proudly inscrutable episodes, Jason Segel’s oddball AMC drama Dispatches From Elsewhere concluded with “The Boy”, which in many ways exemplified everything that has been great about the show since it began. It was sweet and earnest, strange, meta, and quite unlike anything else on television – all fitting for a show about broken outsiders finding themselves and each other in a game about two rivalrous made-up factions who were never as different as they pretended to be.

Jason Segel was never who he pretended to be either. The Dispatches From Elsewhere finale tells, at least in part, the story of the clown-faced boy who is really his character, Peter; but the essential reveal of Dispatches From Elsewhere Episode 10 is that Peter is Jason Segel playing a version of himself in recovery from alcohol addiction. The versions of Simone (Eve Lindley), Janice (Sally Field), and Fredwynn (André Benjamin) are slightly different from their counterparts that we’ve come to know over the last ten weeks, but not so much that you wouldn’t recognize them. When we return to Octavio’s (Richard E. Grant) insistence that each of these people could have been us, which it turns out was a lie since nobody but us can really be us, we take the point, even if we’re happy to still see ourselves in these diverse players of an elaborate game.

Our own individuality has always been central to Dispatches From Elsewhere; a reminder that our pain is genuine, our hopes and fears are all valid, and that we are special – Peter was brought to tears when Octavio told him that in the first episode, but it took him the entire season to believe it. As “The Boy” gradually reveals itself and the rest of the first season to have been more specifically about Segel’s life than we thought, it becomes even more relatable as an instruction to grow up and take responsibilities for ourselves and our lives. But the Dispatches From Elsewhere finale is also careful to assure us that we can do that without losing our connections, our aspirations, or our sense of wonder. We can be more; we don’t have to be less.

It’s an unsettling thing to be addressed directly by a television show. But it’s a powerful thing, too. So often as viewers we look for ourselves in the stories we consume, but so rarely we find them. Dispatches From Elsewhere Episode 10, despite insisting that its characters couldn’t be us, nonetheless allows us to recognize that the advice they give each other, the lessons they learn, are also applicable to our own lives. As it continues to shatter the fourth wall, it continues to blur the line between where fiction ends and reality begins. This is a story we all enjoyed together, but it’s also one that we told together. You are me, and I am you. Through its meta tinge, Dispatches From Elsewhere allowed us to find each other.

None of this should work. It should be insufferable. But the message of connection and understanding resonates because we know that Segel, and the show itself, believe it earnestly. For all its formal and aesthetic quirks, Dispatches From Elsewhere has always been sincere. It believes we can become the best of ourselves, and that we can do so together. In these trying times, perhaps that belief is what we need more than anything else.


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