I’m still trying to process this episode, still trying to take it everything that happened, still trying to accept that it may well have been the series finale of the show. If it is in a way it is fitting.
We saw the once rookie cop Ben finally show his true colours to his partner, that he is an asshole and is to a certain extent corrupt.
We saw the former Gangs detective Sammy who went back on the beat to try and make a different realise that isn’t possible, you can help some people but not everyone.
We saw the once really irresponsible douche Dewey do all he could to track down the killers who dared to hurt his long time friend on the force Cooper.
The two characters they got some kind of happy ending were Ruben and Lydia. After years of Lydia finding it hard to accept help and people into her live this season she finally opened up more to Ruben and then reconnected with her former partner Russell. Ruben also got a moment to shine at the press conference and it was good to see that because what follows was brutal.
Southland has never really had a main character in theory at least but its been clear for the past couple of seasons that John Cooper is the lead of the show. He has the most interesting storylines and due to the acting of Michael Cudlitz every scene he is in has been mesmerizing. John Cooper has been a man on the edge for some time now, he has had a lot of bullshit to handle over the years but lately things have just been reaching tipping point. He had to deal with his former training officer’s alcoholism , he messed his back up again, oh his boyfriend left him at the start of the season, did I mention he was kidnapped last week and watched his partner get killed? Yeah life is horrible and brutal for Cooper but he has always soldiered on. Until now.
I guess seeing Cooper on the ground with a couple of bullets in him as the final shot of the season (and possible series) shouldn’t really be a shock when you look back at it. He has been looking for a way out and thought he had a chance with his ex-wife and a possible baby or maybe even through retirement. But his plans for a child is rejected and Cooper is too embedded in the force to ever quit. Do I see his final actions in this episode as a way for him to get out? I think it can be read that way, as soon as the cops turned up he should have shouted out who he was and dropped the gun but he didn’t. I think he wanted a way out. I think he had not only reached his breaking point but the end of the road completely.
What Southland has taught us is being a cop becomes who you are, it changes you for better or for worse and unless you make the decision to just get the hell out you will reach that breaking point and you will fall.
If this is how the show ends then its a brutal way to go but if it isn’t and we get another season then maybe just maybe Cooper can find a life outside of the force. Maybe he can realise that the job will kill you if you let it. So don’t let it win.