Before moving on to the greatest time-travel series of all…er, time this weeked – a little series called DOCTOR WHO — I would like to close the book on the most recent season of the best time-travel series currently on the air that is not called…well, you know.
The second season saw humungous changes for Erica Strange (the adorable Erin Karpluk). She went from a bewildered patient undergoing time therapy she barely understood, to essentially a therapist-in-training when she was enlisted to help Kai understand the limits of this line of treatment. Along the way, Erica’s relationship with Ethan blossomed and then withered, as she grew to understand that they were simply not right for each. Erin and Ethan experienced everything from a foray into a sex club to arguments over her career – and they locked horns every step of the way. Ethan’s lack of support for Erica’s business aspirations devastated her – almost as much as his vision of the future, in which they are married with kids and a dog. “We are in completely different places,” Erica sniffled, her eyes welling up. “I don’t think that we’re right for each other. And there’s no amount of talking that will fix it. I think we should break up.”
Speaking of fixing stuff, Dr. Fred taught us that not all therapists are as good as Dr. Tom – even if they tend to share his sense of power. In fact, Dr. Fred annoyed me greatly, because he apparently thought he was Gandalf or somebody, always talking o Kai in riddles. For example, he told Kai, “This therapy is not about changing the past. It never was.” But instead of telling what the purpose really is, Dr. Fred noted that Kai must “figure it out for himself.” No wonder that when Kai realized he could not save Travis,he felt like he was only making things worse.
Far from making BEING ERICA worse, the-powers-that-be (okay, creator Jana Sinyor) should be applauded for not going the obvious route and pairing up Erica with Kai. I think a lot of viewers thought they were seeing the writing on the wall as soon as Erica met Kai and then went home to develop relationship problems. But no. With Erica’s help, he completed the song that was constituted his regret (not Travis’ death), and returned to his own time – which was the future from Erica’s perspective. I loved that little storyline sleight-of-hand, which expanded the perceptions of what is possible with therapy.
The possibilities of her therapy (and time travel) were at the heart of the season finale, in which saw Erica presented by Dr. Tom with an array of strange doors, and told to choose one. At the beginning of the story she was too baffled and insecure to make a choice. By the end, she had gained the confidence to just pick a door and go through it. What is on the other side? Hopefully, a third season.
The possibilities for Erica next season seem boundless – but the ending could also serve as a suitable series finale. The fate of BEING ERICA is still up in the air, but that’s a lot like life itself. Nobody gets any guarantees, so we all need to just pick a door and take the plunge.