“They say in the moment
before you die
you see your life,
a spat of film strip,
the bad and good,
nightmares and dreams,
unfolding before you.
Your first dog.
Your first cigarette.
Your first love.
A friend who became a stranger.
The tree you planted
when you were five.
These moments come up
and grab you.
Live and steady.
And then they let go.
Receding into the past.
Before parting ways,
your body is weightless,
hovering in place for what
feels like an eternity.
This is so you have
enough time to say goodbye.
But you don’t realize it.
Because it’s all of a moment.
A speck in time
in which you exist.
And then not.
Just a moment.
Before it’s all over.”
Justin Giallonardo, MaryKills People Season 2 Ep6
I guess if Mary Kills People has its fatal flaw as a show, then it’s a passionate, fool love for what makes life meaningful.
This season finale, astoundingly poignant, pulls the strings of both seasons’ tale, links by hand all characters encountered on the stage. Actors and extras of a higher story of which maybe they were unaware.
All gathered together like Brendan’s friends saying his goodbyes in the woods, each one with its verses, each one with its fragment of life lived, to build the message, the legacy of this wonderful show.
Why Mary Kills People is a show captivating for the audience, involving intimately things we do not know or want to talk about.
What we know is only something that has involved intensely in its genesis, can involve in turn.
What we rather want to highlight is how every single component, every single detail contributes to compose this valuable tapestry, the more precious, the more rare.
So let us stand up to applaud anyone who took part in this show. The 3 fantastic, surprising directors – the level to which Holly Dale had left the bar last year seemed unattainable – to the writers, poets of intimate feelings as ancient elegies rather than just simple screenwriters. To musicians, able to tell with notes and songs what could not be said with words. To photographers and editors leaving us speechless. To costumes, make-up, prop department, location scouts, who set them up, to the guy who brought them a cup of warm coffee in the cold of Ontario autumn…
All those who helped make this show true, above all others.
True but at the same time, poetic.
To the actors, all of them, generous interpreters of characters and personalities. Soul donors. Their talent second only to the devotion with which they have been committed to make Mary, Des, Ben, Nicole, Jess, and Olivia, Brendan, Germaine, Heather, Noemi , Betty …all true.
All of them: Caroline Dhavernas, Richard Short, Jay Ryan, Abigail Winter, Charlotte Sullivan, Rachelle Lefevre, Salvatore Antonio … All.
To those two brave women who have defied the custom, ignored the easiest way, choosing as the first project to link their name to a story so out of the box, challenging, revolutionary…
Thank You from the heart.
If Life were a person, Mary Kills People would be its epitaph.
The love verses telling the meaning of an existence.
The season finale did nothing but confirm feelings and emotions that kept us company throughout the whole season.
As in the procession in the woods, protagonists marched for us with their fragment of story as their legacy.
They marched for us and for Mary.
The entire season was designed as a path of awareness for each one of the characters, from Mary to Des, to Jess, Nicole and Ben.
The patients who we saw dying in the episodes made their farewell a testimony of values, leaving to Mary and Des but also to Nicole and Ben and finally to Jess, a message as a sort of responsibility, arousing not only emotions but deep reflections in each character’s inner being.
During this last day in the finale, we see all protagonists committed, in one way or another, voluntarily or involuntarily, to make life-changing choices, deciding how to fill, frame by frame, that footage that will flow before our eyes in the last moments, choosing how to give worth to life.
It is all in choices and awareness in the path that brings everyone together in the end, in a clearing in the woods, in the light of candles surrounded by marigolds.
Jess, with the delicate but intense touch of Abigail Winter’s talent, surprises us positively, confirming an esteem that is unlikely to be questioned.
She finds out the nature of Mary’s clandestine work. She finds out it in the most brutal way yet she does not bat an eyelid. Her acceptance, which reminds us once more that nature of love is to love, not necessarily to save or understand, is second only to Mary’s candor in opening up to her.
When the situation is desperate and you put a lot on scale, it is not worth wavering and holding back.
So Mary can be sincere and honest and true in confessing her daughter that there is all of herself in what she does and she does not know why nor can she be different – Bravo at the poignant artistic moment of Caroline Dhavernas that goes beyond stealing us a tear. Beyond acting, beyond awards, beyond TV or maybe giving a new definition of TV entertainment just as the whole show did.
Jess does not need anything else. Nothing more than to know who her mother is, to be able to love her completely, to understand that she is really loved in turn.
Jess and Mary choose without fear of being themselves and their choice leads them to stand side by side to face together what happens.
Nicole has not always understood Mary’s motivations. Quite the contrary.
Not just because Mary had kept them hidden at first. There, Nicole had been quick and ready to get a clear idea of her sister’s actions but why the reasons, she had not always been able to share.
Embracing enthusiastically Des’ project of the hospice, Nicole too takes her position beside Mary, choosing in turn.
If to be Mary’s sister, if to have the only family left in Mary means to be part of Mary’s life as much as you want her to be part of yours, Nicole is there, she does not hesitate anymore.
With enthusiasm, positive inclination, involvement and “vibes”, Nicole’s path leads her to look forward enriched by her experiences thanks to Mary.
Des … Des is the person who has changed more since the first season.
Eight months of reflection and rethink have given him a great advantage on the way to the awareness.
He has the clearest ideas and the deepest doubts.
He knows exactly, in every moment of his adventure with Mary, what he is doing and why he is doing it. His awareness gives each of his actions a more meaningful and deeper value.
We must bow to Richard Short, so extraordinarily the Master of this eclectic and multifaceted character, to give him nuances that in the writers’ room they dared not even imagine.
The choice of Des, therefore, with the greater awareness that the events had given him, is more a confirmation than a new choice.
A confirmation linked to a discovery.
The confirmation that he does not need a painful, intimate past to embrace with passion the choice to do what’s good, in a way perhaps still illegal, perhaps unconventional but with no shadow of doubt or fear, right, noble, appropriate.
Choosing what he believes is right inevitably means choosing Mary, is his own fatal flaw. Because Mary is not always aware. Mary is not always fearless. Mary does not always proceed with straight and understandable trajectories.
On the contrary…
Mary is a whirlwind of emotions. Her apparent coldness is just the garment she uses to cover, protecting herself, an unthinkable vulnerability that comes from an extraordinary emotionality.
Mary is passion, strong and generous in everything she does.
Getting rid of Olivia while staying with Ben, who she loves, seems like a possible goal rather than a mirage. Mary throws herself all without hesitation. She risks and is terrified, not by Olivia, but by what she herself put into play in that operation. However she does not hold back.
When in that car with Olivia’s words, the microphone records that Mary has let Grady bleed to death, it is not the failure of trying to indict Olivia without incriminating herself to tear Mary’s heart and to deliver the knowledge there is always a cost to be paid for the choices made. The bill comes when you least expect it.
Mary, in the car with Ben, is annihilated by pain with no hypocrisy of wanting or being able to justify, because when two people who have pretended and hidden so much from the beginning do decide to be sincere, they change and do it to a true and deep level with no limits.
There is no space, therefore, to drown the truth that brutally tears away what was between them, as the tape that holds the microphone is torn painfully and abruptly from Ben.
Could Mary have chosen differently?
It does not matter.
Planning with Ben in the woods, she chose knowing how much she was putting at risk, though trusting if the plan had worked, so many questions would have been silenced, so many shadows gone, maybe forever.
Wearing the wire in Olivia’s car, she realized at the highest price that the only way to dispel the shadows is to turn on the light, as she had done with Jess.
How she did not succeed with Ben.
If she was ready to pay the price for such a high risk. If she was ready to face such a loss, we believe not.
On the contrary, we believe that the story has still much to tell precisely because it’s Mary who has still so much to say, to understand and to achieve.
So generously committed to helping others give meaning to their life or death, whether one wants it, (fantastic how the two terms express the same concept when related to value and meaning), so taken by sublimating the meanings of others lives, as much as the right to choose how to die can be read as a compensation due for having to separate from affections, Mary unfailingly overlooks her own meanings, wishes and emotions that would enrich with softening tones, that final footage flowing in front of their eyes in the last moments.
Brendan’s farewell ceremony, his death, is almost a warning to Mary – we allow ourselves a standing ovation as deeply as Salvatore Antonio has let the character penetrate within himself to become so intense and extraordinarily touching – a standing ovation to Vlad Alexis too, for making his Germaine intense and truthful, so to highlight Brendan’s character details and nuances.
to remind Mary that death is not always or entirely serene. Not just about marigolds and candles. Sometimes it can be painful and unfair.
Betty’s death was fair and desired, her life had been full and in her eyes, done.
Brendan’s death is right and serene, since he cannot avoid it, he chooses how to live it, filling it with the richness of his affections and fullness of what he has experienced.
How fair, how serene, in comparison, Cho-cho San’s death, on the stage of Madame Butterfly which so surprisingly moved Mary?
Cho-cho San does not want to die. Cho-cho san should not die.
However when the girl’s life had emptied of what gave her meaning, she had no choice.
Because a life without meaning, it is not life.
Cho-cho san challenged her society, the conventions of her world and questioned her belief…
because of Love.
Lost her love, she can die.
She chooses love to give meaning to her life.
It is surprising that it’s Ben the bearer of the most important message for Mary.
Ben, who for so much time we had difficulty to place. Maybe, or maybe not.
Ben who was there in the shade, uncertain whether to jump to the middle of the stage.
Ben who pretends so well that you never know how much you can trust him.
Ben who does not seem to understand fully and then surprises you by accepting everything at once, redesigning everything because of Mary.
Because he loves her.
Love is worth it being on Mary’s side and we faint every time we see him telling her at that table between a mismatched cup and a doubtful Des, with an intensity that only Jay Ryan could put in that look, overwhelms words saying much, too much more.
Ben fell in love and love gave a different meaning to his life. Love for a woman, not just for what is right and fair
Love made him accept so much, indeed love made him understand so much, accepting was a consequence. Because of love he chose to live with little doubt that there is not necessarily white and black but also a little grey, as all the voices kept whispering on each side of this stage, Love is acceptance.
But in that car, from that cold wire, what Ben heard, went beyond doubt, stained grey of an indelible black.
Ben heard that he has been used. There is no other way to say it.
Used and betrayed.
Love that fills life is not a love that uses. It does not betray you.
On the squalid patio of his camper, Ben – he will understand us and excuse us, Jay Ryan – is Cho-cho San.
While in a clearing they celebrate love that makes peaceful the farewell from life, in the unreal silence of his own clearing, Ben shouts louder than words of Brendan’s poem: death makes no sense if you have not filled your life with meaning.
It matters very little that there is his bourbon or Olivia’s pento in that bottle.
Of course it counts for Mary. It will count a lot for her because the pento or the bourbon will decide the colors of many frames of her footage in her future.
There is no tomorrow if there is no love.
Pento or bourbon that it is, in that bottle Ben chooses to drown.
Edited by Lisa
“The tragedy of this life is not that it ends so soon … but that we wait so long to begin it.”
‘Come to Jesus’ is the perfect title for the day that this fifth episode of the season of Mary Kills People tells us of.
Certainly a total revelation for Ben and in many respects for Des but for Mary more than anyone else.
Just as though they had been given the opportunity to look at a different perspective of their lives, during a single, hectic, intense day, we see our characters experience and show us, unexpected versions of themselves.
Ben smoking, barefoot on Mary’s terrace. Ben thinking about the day before at Joshua’s and talking openly. Ben disarming when confessing to be ready to protect Mary as far as he can, even if it will cost him his job.
He no longer hides. No longer does he pretend anymore. He has chosen resolutely that he wants Mary in his life.
With Mary he is himself and he has never been himself before.
Mary offers the life that he never thought he could live when work took all his dedication.
His parents, idyllically close-knit, is a tough comparison to live up to. How extremely rare and difficult it would be to meet that person, the only one who lights up your eyes, who snatches a smile and steals your thoughts. Always.
Then Mary came.
She, who was so ironically wrong so must necessarily be the right one. The one that gives meaning to every single thing, to have removed sense from everything.
The one with which it is nice to start and finish each day, no matter how difficult it could be.
Des ends up saving Olivia’s life and reflects on how good Mary and he do when they manage to stay out of trouble, when the death they bring into patients’ stories is as good as their salvation, just as for Larissa’s grandmother. Probably for Mary’s mother, Joy, too.
In the name of what he believes in, in the name of what is pure and right at his eyes, Des feels ready to look confidently to the future.
Maybe for the first time he is not afraid to get involved, he is not afraid of relying on his abilities. He had become aware that he has “wasted” himself in the past, on too many occasions.
This time his project is too right to be afraid of failing.
Then there is Mary.
When you are strong, counting only on yourself, you have set the rules that help you to be who you are.
If suddenly these rules are turned to dust and you find yourself pleasantly upset by the events, a man next to you in the morning when you had just said to have messed up everything, making it impossible, being open and honest with each other when both of you were sure it could not happen, the love and trust to seize a place that you had promised to never leave them.
When these are the promises, even the worst day leaves you with a smile because everything has become so beautiful, it must turn right and fine.
Looking at the facts, Mary’s situation is not simple at all of course. Police totally in her tracks. Olivia who is likely to be a threat worse when she is at their side than when they had her against them, plus an open investigation on Betty’s death, at the hospital.
What’s more, Jess has chosen this moment to grow and learn that those you care about the most, you must love them because you want it, just because you care, without trying to understand them at all costs.
In the same way you must understand that the love others feel for you in turn can be so strongly protective, seeming difficult to understand and share.
Mary who would like to help her understand, starts sharing, does not have time, events are faster, once again, and dictate different need for her actions.
So, in a hurry to Olivia’s place, to save her, of course, because Mary and Des are the good guys, perfectly aware of what is worth to make their line mobile and what is not.
Then, almost as well as running into Ben’s arms, because something on that day was too good to think that it could not be repeated.
However risky it may be and how high the stakes are, Mary must believe that a solution exists.
She must be determined to believe for her, Ben and Des, there is a chance to fix the unhopeful routine which has came along with them for too long.
Mary needs to ask more to life. To have more.
She experienced the reassuring peace of not being alone in the morning, the strength that comes from sharing. She was moved by grandmother’s exhortation of Larissa – Remember to always love as deeply as you can – and frightened not to have done it in time on her turn, terrified thinking that with Jess it might be too late to repair, to keep her close.
Strong in her new awareness, Mary can no longer ignore it.
To open to emotions is to expose oneself, obviously. With Jess, with Ben. But without exposing herself, not giving them the opportunity to get close, to be touched by them, get warmed up by them, what else counts?!
This is why this time, in her thoughts, it is really worth risking.
Eight months ago, with Grady on one side and the police on the other, risk had been very high, the stake so high as to make the plan itself terrifying, kind of make it or break it. Mary’s cold calculation and Ben’s feelings, rewarded her boldness.
Today the situation suggests that it is not too simple.
Stakes are exponentially higher, with Des who has already been in jail and Ben putting his job and integrity at risk.
Yet the greatest risk of failure in the plan Mary will explain to Ben and Des, is neither prison nor work.
The three of them are betting something that would change meaning of their lives.
Once they get which things really matter, – how many facets to Come to Jesus, to this title! How many meanings to every little gesture, every expression and every word on this day! – After they taste how beautiful a life worth living can be – even Larissa’s belly throws a message of awareness and expectation about the future! – After they have displaced this veil of discontent and resignation and to have tried what it means to hope and trust, neither Mary nor even Ben and Des, can think of giving it up.
Des has his project, the means to finally be proud of himself. Ben has Mary, his redemption from such loneliness, the warmth of finally being himself. Mary has broken walls and barriers and wants to fight for the contact, too long denied. With Ben, with daughters.
We’ll know in the season finale if the plan to defeat Olivia and mislead police will be successful.
What will happen next? It’s just another beautiful ride to share.
What will be the price to pay? Will it be a price worth paying?
Nicole’s word of warning to Mary, in the opening of the episode, sound now with deep, meaningful nuances
“You just have to decide at some point, how much are you willing to lose for all this”
Edited by Lisa
Talking about Mary Kills People Greg Bryk brilliantly said: “This show is special. Heart so naked. We are all alone, together “.
We have already said it and today, after the tenth episode, the fourth of this wonderful second season, we feel like saying it again. Greg could not have chosen better words to define this show capable of telling feelings, emotions and conflicts so deep and intense. So true.
They are all alone, exposed and wounded, in this Ride or Die.
Des has to deal with the awareness of having made dirty, without remedy, something that he considered pure and ennobling.
The hand that destroys the line of good and evil perfectly knows all that has broken cannot be repaired neither on the table, nor in life.
Moral integrity was swept away in one stroke, like sugar.
You cannot free yourself of your actions by stripping as you do with clothes, nor by destroying the poison after the bad use has been made of it.
There seems to be no consolation to Des’ sorrow.
Ben is tender in his need to know that Mary is not as bad as he tells her, that she is not lost forever. He is too upright, too pure even to think of being in love with a person who is perverse and immoral. He struggles from within to slam the door to Mary, even if you see in his eyes he believes her when she claims not to have killed Travis. However, he cannot allow her to make his life murky, he moves in the right and the line Des has swept away has been for too long everything he referred to, what he has devoted his life to and he does not feel ready to wipe it away without a reason.
Always moving in a world filled by pretence and lies, the certainty of what was right was his compass which allowed him not to feel perverse in turn to deceive so openly to others.
Mary’s vulnerability touches the deepest chords of his being and he must be force himself, telling her “Go”, driven by the need not to know himself lost in turn.
Mary’s compass has never been the law, what is written on paper. Yet what she has done has always been motivated by a deep-rooted sense of right.
“We did what we had to do” are her favorite words, as Des tells her, because what they have done to patients has always been, without a shadow of a doubt, for the good of the patients themselves.
With Travis’ death Mary’s certainties crumble like the glass of pentobarbital on Des’ chopping board, shattered by the awareness of not having acted for the good.
It is obvious that she always thought she acted for the best but not even the need to protect her daughters is to mitigate the guilt of having made a mistake.
Even just not to trust, maybe, because the alternative offered by Ben could be valid.
Mary acted following her only known rule, never trusting and the price to pay was very high this time.
Coping with the immorality of the accomplished gesture is not enough.
Losing Ben without appeal, renouncing the only, maybe selfish, source of happiness, the only breach open in years of solitude, is perhaps the worst joke.
She, who had always felt for the others a bit like Germaine’s giraffe, capable of “achieve things out of reach”, now does not recognize herself, she does not know if the game was worth it.
They are all broken, our protagonists, victims of the acts that they were forced to perform.
The turbulence experienced by Jess and Naomi, the difficulty of obtaining from the reciprocal relationship what they seek to make, it creates a picture of greater despair and distrust.
Then comes Joshua.
“Joshua Yang, 21, dying of bowel cancer” is all he has to say about himself.
Des even accuses him of not being up to the other “patients” met so far:
“No, no, no, no, no. You know what, Josh? .I’ve met a lot of people in my time, and they’re largely inspirational and spiritual. They face the end with fortitude. They cherish the time that remains. “
Yet it is Joshua, for whom despair had made him not able to fight for what it is worth, the one who seems cannot suck the little bit of marrow left to live.
Joshua dies and with his death saves everyone.
Mary and Des come back to deal with the raw awareness that saving others is concrete in loving them. In making the gestures needed to give meaning and dignity to other’s life, and death.
At the bedside of Joshua, where on one side parents rips our hearts, especially this mother with that painful image of a modern “Pietà”, gives account and honors the pain of the loss of those we love, Mary and Des find themselves back, returning to be true to themselves – Thank You Brendan –
They find the main way back, maybe not always straight, maybe will not cross only legality territories but it is certainly the right path, the only one worth travelling.
“He is why we do this“
They are not alone, this time.
Courage, determination and the pain of Joshua don’t save only Mary and Des. In the most unexpected moment and way, they save Ben’s life and feelings, giving him all the answers he had not been able to find by himself.
Instinct pushed him to Mary, ethics to pursue her and Joshua’s death silences any doubt, frees him from any hesitation.
It is not only Joshua’s pain and despair that heals our character’s wounds. These are the gestures with which Joshua, before dying, gives meaning to his short life, makes it complete and happy, making it impossible for Mary, Des and Ben to ignore the boy’s legacy.
With no more discouragement, the meeting with Kaley gives Joshua the strength to say goodbye aware he had not lived in vain. What a great, noble, generous service Des makes him, as providentially Cupid, despite the grip of pain around his own heart.
Joshua opening his heart to Kaley, being true to his feelings no matter what because, as Racine wrote honoring tragedies’protagonists “Qui n’a plus qu’un moment à vivre, n’a plus rien à dissimuler,” he rekindles in Mary and Des the awareness of the solemnity of their task. No matter that their commitment is renewed on the ground, in a bathroom, rather.
For Ben, now that he has truly understood, now that he has made a choice he cannot ignore, all that remains is to give value to this choice, honoring Joshua’s message of hope.
The words Mary and Ben exchange sitting on the steps in Mary’s backyard, are the most passionate declaration of love which we have been allowed to be witnesses to in a really long time.
“I just watched you kill someone”
“I’m never gonna stop”
To say it with the words of another postcard quote: Love is Not “If” or “Because”. Love is “Anyway” and “Even Though” and “In Spite of”
Priceless the whole moment is sweetly commented by the wonderful You by Kyson:
No man’s an island when he’s had this conversation
No man’s in forest even if he tried to be one
I’ve seen your insights, it’s colorful
But you’re not an island if you try to be one with me
Edited by Lisa
“So you’re just gonna swoop in and save me?”
“I guess so.”
“Des, no one can save her from herself but from you.”
This episode of Mary Kills People essentially revolves around Mary’s need to be saved or, at least, around those who love her more and their wish of saving her.
Ben, to be honest, has already saved her. We have already written it and are redrafting the concept.
He has never saved her because Mary’s life is in danger as the risk, for Mary, was always calculated.
Whenever Ben’s path crosses Mary’s, one chance opens up to have a way out of the spiral of ambiguity and danger from which she seems instead. Inevitably she is drawn and sucked.
“You do not have to do it anymore, case is closed.”
This he told her on the beach in the finale of the first season when, showing her the damaging picture he did not attach to the proof, as much he hadn’t attached all their conversations, he proved to have perfectly understood the truth about the nature of her activities and the connections between Mary, Des, Grady and the terminally ill.
He made a choice.
Something in Mary struck him so much that he chose to believe there were something good and right in what she was doing, so much that it worth it protecting her. Saving her from Grady, from an indictment, no matter what.
Mary deserved to be saved.
Eight months have passed and Ben has not changed one iota.
He finds her out on the subject as he investigates a house, seeing her stealthily sneaking a very suspicious bottle of rum in her house. She asks him to throw the man out which he obeys not battering an eyelid.
When the reason for everything is unveiled, his reaction is one of those that makes his armour shine, the Knight that he is.
“I will deal with Olivia…It’s what I do… Go home. Live your life”
Had the mould to have a person like Ben been broken and if he was not so hooked by Mary, there would be a line out of that camper. Granted.
Because Ben does not reproach, he does not criticize, he does not judge. Her goals understood or not, he simply accepts Mary and is aware, perhaps more than her, of how the situation is really messed up and dangerous. He has the means of saving her, pull her out of the mess she has slipped into.
By asking her to follow him to the station, once again he gives more profound facets than the obvious ones to the meaning of rescue her.
Not only trying to protect her from Olivia but the chance of taking another path, doing the right thing, crossing that line back.
How strong is Mary’s temptation to surrender to the way offered by Ben? How intense is the desire to trust him?
“Maybe I ran into him for an option”
She tells Des with the need to be true deep in her voice.
The story, for now, takes another turn when the episode ends with Travis dead in the back seat of Mary’s car.
Travis died because Des poisoned him.
Des, who Annie catches dashing off. Des, who with his strong ethics, has never had a doubt or a perplexity about what is moral and what is not, about when to break the law is not to do something wrong and what limit instead does not go wrong … He poisons Travis so that Mary can’t kill him by herself..
Another rescue, certainly different in the dynamics, but totally identical in the ultimate goal to save Mary, Not only from an imminent danger, but more and more from the impossibility of being saved.
There is a common urgency in Ben and Des’ attitude towards Mary. The will to protect her from the thought of being alone to face what she has to face.
Two really different personalities, two forms of love that are not really comparable, yet, at the showdown, both do not hesitate to question their beliefs, to expose themselves, to keep her safe from that feeling of never recovering, with which she seems to inevitably dance like someone, fascinated by the flames. She stops, instead, in place of fleeing.
Mary is safe. For now.
Ben has to deal with the ruinous course of his investigation.
Des has to face demons that his conscience won’t allow him to hide from himself.
But Mary is safe.
Thanks to Des and Ben she returns home and hugs Jess because nothing is worthier than family in her heart.
We don’t know for certain if Mary is or not aware of the value of her friends actions, of why they put so much at risk.
We do not know how much she realizes that all the care and the courage and determination, have been for her.
Simply because in their eyes she deserves it. In their thoughts she has a right to her chance of happiness.
There is such a tenderness and a vulnerability in Ben and Des, when Mary is involved, which, while in the story it amplifies her own vulnerability, in our eyes it gives credit to Jay Ryan and Richard Short of an intensity a depth and a balance of interpretation that only the ones most capable of empathy can find within themselves.
As for Mary … Mary has never been saved before. From noone. Ever.
She had to help her mother to commit suicide to stop her suffering.
She had to raise her sister because without a father and with that mother, who else could’ve taught Nicole to live?!
She was so motherly with Kevin who maybe filled her dinner table, but certainly did not clear her mind of worries.
She is so used to not letting go, not counting on anyone, only trusting her strength and options. She does not even know how to handle either Des’ generosity or Ben’s momentum.
She has always been alone. To think she has to get by herself has always been natural to her.
Loneliness has been her strength.
Words are not enough here to tell how Caroline Dhavernas is masterful in making this woman alive and true from within, so incredibly concealed but multifaceted.
Everything about her palpitates Mary’s pulse and there will be no recognition for which she will not be proudly deserved for one of the most beautiful tv characters we’ve seen in a while..
Mary is alone which she thinks is the only way to go.
This is why Brendan and Germaine upset her so much by undermining her certainties.
“We were each other’s twin flame.”
It does not matter that they are no longer together in a romantic sense. It does not matter that they were not perfect for each other. There are neither perfect people nor perfect relationships.
What exists, in this season even more than in the previous all the characters seem to whisper it insistently to Mary, what exists is the consoling force that comes from bonds, the cathartic power that comes from not feeling alone.
One of those quotes printed on posters and postcards which says that
‘You Cannot Save People. You Can Only Love Them.’
It’s all in Ben and Des’ choices. In Brendan and Germaine’s, all in loving without guarantees but still loving, the message of salvation that everybody wishes Mary to get and to treasure, to give meaning to the pain around her which sometimes seems too much for her too.
Pain, like mess, cannot be avoided.
However it can be shared because you are not alone.
“There are certain people that just keep coming back into your life no matter what happens.”
We must be good at choosing when to give them a chance to stay.
Edited by Lisa
“You must have lived to be able to die”
The first season of Mary Kills People had already taught us so much about life by pretending to talk about death.
After the first two episodes of this second series, it is affirmed, without fear of being denied, that it’s life that is the true protagonist of this brave series, properly ambitious in teaching is what living really is through showing us the thousand aspects of dying.
All of Mary and Des’ patients love life intensely.
If they did not love it so deeply, it would not count as much the way they choose to leave it.
Each of them, instead, gives extreme value to their last moments as a seal to the way they lived.
It is powerful and significant that Cho Cho-San is entrusted with the task of moving Mary into her first experience at the Opera.
The woman who renounces to live when what gives meaning to her life fails…
Because you must have lived to be able to die.
You must have allowed the ink of emotions to fill the pages of memory. You must have left indelible imprints in others lives. For the eternity.
There is no “Finale” if there has not been the story.
Des and Joshua meeting is intense and suggestive. One of those meetings which left their mark and you have to watch it again and again. Even if Richard Short and André Dae Kim steal a tear from you every single time or maybe because of it.
We are in awe of Des’ deep wisdom when he encourages the boy to live life. Death, after all, does not have to be an escape from life.
“There’s still time for you to learn and grow”.
Time does not count, but intensity does.
It’s never too late, as Joshua believes, to live, or better, to share love.
“Tell your parents. Tell Kaley-Christin-whatever-her-name-is that you like her …. Just go and live a little more. “
Here’s what life is.
Here’s what Mary Kills People wants to tell us about with Estelle’s farewell to life or the one of the Opera lover who knowingly tells Mary: “Love does not kill. It’s life itself “.
Time does not count, events do not count. Only people count. Just being “connected”, bound to each other (Ah Morgan, Morgan, how much you taught us!)
To understand that you are not alone is the key which gives fullness and meaning to life. The sense of happiness ultimately.
Everything that happens has a different value if shared. Who is able to be happy alone? The richness of the past is in the memory of those with whom we lived it.
Estelle teaches this to Mary and Nicole, telling them how she shared with her sister her entire life, making it incomparably precious.
The moment the woman gives to Mary and Nicole is unique and precious too.
Estelle, like other patients of Mary, entrusts her the last message, the last word of the story.
And it is almost a warning, very strong. It reaches Nicole clear and direct. Nicole cannot ignore it, can do nothing but to live it. Immediately.
Estelle’s last moment touched Nicole. Baton has been passed. Neither her life nor her death have been in vain.
Nicole cannot disregard Estelle’s legacy, it cannot be ignored.
Rather, she honors her by trying to get to know the inner Mary, to understand her even.
Wishing to be able to help her sister very strongly because in the end everyone, even the strongest, needs someone to help us.
“But at the end of the day who’s helping you?”
It’s not easy however to help Mary.
Her mother’s inability to get help in life, left her as the best chance to help her to be in death. This feeling has maybe killed in Mary what shakes Jess, enliven Nicole and enlighten Des.
To trust and be trusted.
Acting like the lone wolf that Nicole scolds her for and to refuse at all costs to show her vulnerability, is what makes Mary the most vulnerable, exposed to risks and fears that are too big to be faced alone.
After removing Des and keeping Nicole at a distance, it’s Ben, met in the most difficult and dangerous moment, to embody a warning perhaps even stronger than the message of Estelle herself.
At Mary’s side in the uncertainty of the situation is emerging the wish that it is not too late for her to understand. It is never too late to learn. To live. To stop thinking she must be so inevitably alone.
“Why did you ask me here, Mary?”
“I did not want to be alone.” Ben & Mary, Mary Kills People, Season 1, Wave the White Flag
Edited by Lisa
The first season of Mary Kills People sensitized the audience, for better or for worse, on the “end of life” conflicting themes, rights and choices of terminally ill people, emphasising the inevitability and the imminence of the departure and the opportunity to face it with dignity.
The second season takes those conflicts generated during the first one and pulverizes them within the opening minutes of its premiere.
The strong perception that we had during the previous season, strengthens into certainty in this one.
Mary Kills People stands as one of the most original and valid products in the current TV productions landscape, for its contents which force a new definition of the word entertainment and how such contents are narrated for, with a combination of literary and directorial qualities and the acting talents so hard to match.
“A friend once told me that life can make you strong or it can break you. There is not much in between. “
Mary knows something about how you must be strong not to be broken by life.
Just eight months after having extraordinarily unraveled the complex affair that saw her at the centre of the police investigation, close to being indicted and a victim of the threat that Grady represented, we find her intent on her usual business.
Intent but alone.
She has to be. She needs to be for her trip to Mexico to get her Pentobarbital, facing all the risks, from contacts with underworld to customs controls.
Alone she is ready to face one of the most complicated cases she ever faced.
Des is back and he wants and needs to get back on with their business, though it’s soon crystal clear for our Mary that she is once again, unfailingly, alone.
The Des who has returned to Mary’s life after 8 months is not a new or different Des. It was obvious in the first season that there were signs that showed us a Des animated by solid moral sense. Solitude, silence and prison, have rather given way to enlighten those aspects of his personality which he so lovingly and brilliantly managed to hide through his sarcasm and irony.
Bravo to Richard Short who knows how to permeate the character of Des with a number of nuances impossible to find in any script.
This time, however, there is no space either for irony or for sarcasm. Des’s moral qualities are forced to show themselves, roaring, at the first opportunity.
Victor is a terminally ill man, though, Mary warns him:
“Betty and Victor want to die together.”
It is all here, disruptive and overbearing, Mary’s revolution.
This brilliant storyline immediately shows us the villain of the moment – such a villain! Rachelle Lefrevre is so at ease in Olivia’s shoes that she seems to have always been there in the shadows.
The clash between Mary and Olivia promises to be one of those not to be forgotten. The preview on Olivia’s doorstep is a captivating taste of what history will reserve and we are all intrigued.
However, what makes Mary Kills People a provocative and revealing series, undoubtedly raising the bar with respect to the first season, is not on Olivia’s threshold but rather at Victor and Betty’s.
Listening to Mary and Des debate the issue, we are all, inevitably and very strongly, with Des. What he says is true because he evidence shows that he is right, when he expresses his moral scruples for example, reflecting on Betty’s situation and when he lays risks for them.
He is right because it is simple; Betty is not dying therefore Betty must not die.
So, does Mary really think and act like a criminal?
Was Frank right on the phone with Ben and she’s just a psychopath who enjoys others’ death?
We know this is not the answer. We know there is more.
Dark, difficult to understand and perhaps even more difficult to justify but we know there is more.
“Maybe one day, scientists will find a cure for dying and we can live forever.”
Cambie’s words are singular. Intuitive even if unaware. Revelatory for those who want to pry Mary’s intimate thoughts and find a reason for her choices, her decisions, her actions.
Betty is not a suicidal aspirant. She has lived a happy life next to her Victor and does not want to live without him.
Des called her a “Perfectly healthy individual who happens to be a bit sad.”
“We should not be the ones to decide that Betty’s suffering is any less than Victor’s.” Replies Mary
“But he’s dying! She’s not. “
“Suffering is not always physical.”
This exchange between Mary and Des at Victor and Betty’s house redefines meaning and value that Mary gives to what she does.
“I have no interest in any life without my husband.”
Betty’s statement is simple, decisive, has no hesitation nor, as we know, second thoughts. This wonderful characterisation is given to us by Karen Robinson and thank you to her for making us cry, for reminding us so much that Betty’s life was happy. A life less than happy would now be unacceptable to her.
For Mary it is the memory of that girl, the daughter of a sick woman who is sick of unhappiness.
“Suffering is not always physical.”
We always knew her thoughts, she never hid it, never.
Mary is a doctor but she wants to be more. She wants to be for her patients what she felt she has not been for her mother, able to make her happy.
Death is not only the means to accelerate the end of those who have remained in nothing but physical pain.
Mary accepts death as an instrument to give meaning to life when life no longer has one.
After all, to be called Life, it must make sense.
Sometimes it seems an unrealisable utopia, a life in which everything is perfect.
Sometimes you struggle, as Mary does everyday, to give value to what you have.
Sometimes it has been so much that anything else would debase what has been.
For Betty the choice redefines dignity, in living, not only in dying.
“Maybe one day, scientists will find a cure for suffering and we can all live happily.”
So champagne and pentobarbital become a modern hemlock that heals Mary’s patients from the illness of life.
It’s right? It’s wrong? Is it shareable? It does not matter for now.
We are not in a hurry to understand, nor right to judge.
We are here with Mary, ready to take her by the hand and go where she will lead us.
“In 100 years, they’ll look back to now and say that the most popular form of torture was refusing to let people die.” (Morgan, from Mary Kills People, Season 1 Episode 5.)
Edited by Lisa
The Judas Cradle – Morning Glory
We are all alone, together.
“This show is special. Heart so naked. We are all alone, together “.
Honestly, we know that he is a poet, it is true, though Greg Bryk must have felt really inspired by this wonderful show, to define it so beautifully with so few but incisive words.
He made them all stand in a tweet. Great poet. Inspired.
Like all of us.
How can you not feel inspired by a show that under the pretext to perform death, tells so much truth about life?
It whispers it. Gently, with notes in the background and precious words.
It paints it. Barely visible with light strokes, in lights and reflections, in looks and details.
These two hours of the season finale pass truly fast on the screen and pass within you. They invest and caress you at the same time. In the end, we all stand as Mary, eyes staring at the boat going away, brightly, blinding.
We feel alive.
It happens rarely that in an entertainment production such as a television series, there is enough to nourish the soul and heart with true feelings with deep emotions. Something indeed capable of overcoming the television screen barrier and touch us. Really touch us.
It’s rare but it happens.
As for Mary Kills People.
All alone, together.
They strive so much to get along alone, all the characters.
They do their best, work hard with a mixture of awareness and cynicism, which they have in common, paradoxically
Trust, loyalty, connections.
Throughout the story during previous episodes, it seemed clear to each of them that trust is painful, too much. Better to give up, do not open yourselves, do not rely on anyone. Even the ones who love you hurt you just as those who may not know you either.
Des and Mary. Mary and Ben. Ben and Frank and Jess and Naomi.
Each of them retain fragments of truth, hidden. Everyone feels alone.
In the first part of this Final Act, Mary embodies more than anyone else the paradigm of this disrupting, unnatural solitude.
Hats off, a deep bow, kudos, and a permanent sense of gratitude for the skill with which Caroline Dhavernas breaks into the soul’s hidden aspects of this complicated woman, making her poignant, passionate, so inherently human.
Mary did not trust Ben, Des wanted to betray her, her family is unable to approach her, Annie leaves her.
Fabulous, fantastic, admirable, Morgan, who has no need for too many bows to fathom her, in that detatched hotel room, Mary more lonely than him who is going to die.
From his abyss of despair, now that finally he can feel peace, Morgan reads Mary’s pain and understands.
The comforter becomes comforted and that pain that tears apart, hidden in the inner, finds solace in being narrated.
Staying with Morgan in quiet rest, Mary realizes that loneliness hurt her, much more than the people around her.
The thought of being always alone facing life, choices, events.
Lonely and therefore defeated.
Mutual comfort that Morgan and her are able to share in the most dramatic moment which gives Mary the awareness to admitting that there is no future, no hope, alone.
In the solitude that terrifies and surrounds death, Mary gets in a flash that the way out exists but the path must be ridden together.
When Mary leaves Morgan’s hotel room, she is no longer willing to give up.
She is ready to fight because living is hard, perhaps more so than dying.
When you do, when your “right” is what is wrong for everyone else, surely it is even harder.
Though there is no doubt, no more hesitation in Mary’s actions, once she understands which is the road that can be walked, but not by yourself.
Life is chaos and chaos must be ridden, not controlled, though alone you’re defeated on the outset.
In one shot Mary saves Des, saving trusting him. She recovers Annie, keeps Jess back close, opens to Nicole, trusts Ben.
She relies on Ben.
When she puts in Grady’s hands the needle with which he will inject her with pentobarbital, Mary puts her life in Ben’s hands.
Before trusting him, she decides to trust feelings he has for her.
Because love is true. Love does not lie and Mary felt something with Ben and she doesn’t want to believe it was only the “great sex”, counting on something that no one can ever guarantee but that exists if you feel it and believe it.
Mary does not fall, she remains standing, holding on to those thousands of fibres that connect us with each other, in Hermann Melville’s words.
She wins her battle triumphantly and with her, everyone understanding that you are alive if we open ourselves to others, win. That trust is not madness, it’s courage. Sometimes it is worth it…. “Or else the monsters win”.
Des, Annie, Jess, Ben, Nicole. All of them win with Mary.
Grady is the loser.
Grady who had stigmatized the power coming from emotional detachment, the strength coming from rational lucidity – only Greg Bryk could make him with that admirable expressive versatility – He dies.
The lone invincible fails in the same moment in which emotional distance is not enough to be in control and going further, he succumbs in an unfamiliar battleground.
So narcissistically obsessed, not to be underestimated and yet he ends up allowing Mary’s courage to surprise him, stunned just enough to change the story.
Of course we have already said it and all our heroes have experienced it: trust is risky, dangerous.
Yet, sometimes it is better to risk to be hurt than to hurt.
Des understands it immediately and shares his painful awareness with Ben in an unforgettable dramatic moment, both so tormented by their inner conflict, so torn by the battle going on in their hearts, against themselves, not to be really able to confront one another.
Unreachable and memorable, Richard Short and Jay Ryan in the opening moments of Des’ place.
Priceless is Ben’s tenderness in deciding how to live with his conflict and save Mary.
Of course, when he find out she is in danger, he rushes to save her.
“And then you were there,” she whispers in relief.
Maybe she had not realized how much Ben protected her even before, and perhaps she does not realize it fully even on the beach, when with a smile that would make anyone succumb, recommends Ben to not fall in love with his next target.
Ben, close to her, to protect and save her, because he failed to attach his private conversations with Mary to the investigation. He could not confide to Frank how close he’s come to the real Mary.
He told Des he did not know her at all, only because he felt betrayed by discovering the truth from Frank rather than from her.
He knew, in his heart, he felt something deep, something beyond sex, just as Mary did, and her confession to Des, in the car, gives him reason to his instinct.
Ben is all conflict in the season finale, torn by what he should do and what he would do. Everything got worse by what he got.
Thank you, thank Jay Ryan for dedicating all of himself to Ben and for doing it with such a generosity to give him to the audience so true.
There isn’t much of Ben’s conflict in his words, it’s all in facial expressions and looks, in sighs, jaw shrinks, arching eyebrows… A riveting show of rough and real humanity in a fictional character.
Everything: nervousness, indecisiveness, guilt, hope.
Sweetness and love, no, he does not conceal them all.
He pours them all in his goodbye – momentary – heart melting kiss.
He is not a man of many words, Ben. Rather one of few significant gestures.
He calls and meets her to give back the compromising photos found at Grady’s.
One more proof of how much he wanted to protect and save her even from herself if needed.
A serious pretext, just as his expression while waiting on the sand.
However, she reaches him, she smiles, and he can do nothing but tell her he cannot think of his life without her being a part of it.
Not a bad cop because of his behaviour toward Mary.
Far from it.
He knows how to give high value to his work, so much strength to his ethics, he has no doubts to distinguish what is right from what is legal, what is wrong from what is illegal.
Just like Mary does.
He makes his choices doing it with a firmness that is maybe his most beautiful surprise, often disguised by weakness.
Though, on that beach, in the strange light of an uncertain sunset, he knows he has been right.
To bet on the others is risky.
When the reward is a smile and a hidden promise …worth it.
Ben’s desire to a connection, his tender happiness understanding that he reached his goal, that it was not wrong to count on it, are a fantastic assistance to give a real meaning to Des’ words.
Wonderfully, he pulls the strings of the tale, whispering the moral of this story that had the ambition to tell the life, as it pretended to show us the death.
“No man is an island. We are all connected ”
Mary Kills People is all in these words.
Mary,Des and Annie goals. Ben, Jess, Nicole, wishes, and why not, Kevin and Louise’s too.
To find, to give, to share. Comfort, emotions, moments.
Each patient with stories and experiences, beautifully add meaning to the tale.
Not least Morgan, whose friends celebrating the farewell, united on the beach, remember what it means to be part of someone else’s life.
All alone you lose.
Together you win.
It takes courage.
Not to be just a burning boat astray.
Edited by Lisa