When I first tuned to This Life, I imagined a series much like a homegrown version of The Big C. Natalie Lawson would find out her cancer was back and then make a Bucket List of items she’d plow through as tumours ravaged her body. It would be entertaining, I thought, but not groundbreaking in the least.
How wrong I was. Not only was This Life totally different from what I’d assumed, but it’s held me in thrall every week. And while Natalie’s journey has certainly been front and centre every week, This Life has been as much about the supporting characters as it has about its lead. As I’d hoped/expected, Natalie decided to join the drug trial in the belief the cocktail she’ll take will perform better than what she’s currently on. By announcing her decision to Romy and Emma over cupcakes on the front steps, Natalie was showing her conviction and including the girls in her all-important next steps. This wasn’t exactly closure in Natalie’s tale, but it was a satisfying conclusion.
Also satisfying as heck? Emma crossing the finish line of her first triathlon. She didn’t come in last, and her whole family (save Caleb) was there to embrace Emma at the end.
Aside from that, the rest of the Lawson clan are still battling. And, frankly, that’s OK with me. There are too many series that spend time neatly wrapping up storylines for the end of a season, and I respect showrunner Joseph Kay for not doing it. Instead, everyone has balls in the air and are fallible. Maggie wants to take over as the kids’ legal guardian, but Natalie fears her sister will become bored of that task and want to move on. David refuses to sign off on having the kids become anyone’s responsibility, so there’s no closure there. Oliver is adapting to life back in Montreal and is plotting a business deal (which I’m sure is an art gallery) and Romy seems to be responding to Natalie’s honesty. (Her “It all just looks broken to me,” comment at the hospital broke my heart.)
Meanwhile, Matthew—who was so strong at the beginning of the season—has suffered a major fall from grace. The dude who appeared to be the most stable of the Lawson brood aside from Natalie saw his world crumble after Julian’s existence was brought to light. Any chance of saving his marriage was blown to smithereens, and I can’t imagine there’s an easy way back from this.
Again, that’s OK. Life isn’t easy, and I like and admire television shows that portray that in a realistic manner. Like This Life has done all season.
What did you think of Season 1 of This Life? Comment below.