“Saving Grace,” a show that oddly combined the spiritual journey of a very flawed, yet heroic police detective living in Oklahoma City with police procedure stories, has come to the finale of its run. The end came with a bang, then a whimper.
Spoilers surely follow.
The character of Grace Hanadarko was perhaps one of the most complex characters ever created by Holly Hunter, an experienced actress with a large number of movies in her resume. Grace was at once a sinner of epic appetites and a hero of epic courage. She was also a lost soul, until the very end of the series, for a number of reasons. Hard experiences, in her childhood at the hands of a perverted Catholic priest, and later in the rubble of the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing, had caused Grace to not so much doubt the existence of God, but to become enraged at him.
One of the charming aspects of “Saving Grace” was the respectful and realistic way it depicted religious faith. Naturally, it had to, since the premise was that a red neck angel named Earl has started appearing to Grace, attempting to divert her from a dark path of debauchery and aimlessness to something more akin to what God had intended.
It is not that “Saving Grace” was sectarian by any means. Earl could try to comfort an angry Muslim man on Death Row with as much alacrity as the lapsed Catholic detective who had put him there. There are many paths to God, at least in the “Saving Grace” way of looking at things. Or, as Earl once said, “You humans are so stuck on labels.”
The supreme crisis of faith occurs to Grace when she accidentally runs down a little girl, a senseless accident that has her once again doubting the ultimate mercy of God. That is the problem of pain wrestled with by theologians and philosophers for centuries. If God is infinitely merciful and just, why does he permit things like that?
The answer is free will, of course, and perhaps an admonishment for human beings to fix such things themselves.
It is the need for that latter that brings Grace back from the brink. There is a man, not really a man, perhaps the being from the old Rolling Stones song, who feeds off evil:
“Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith.”
Can you guess his name?
It is perhaps oddly comforting that humankind’s capacity to create misery for itself is at least encouraged by a supernatural enemy. So it is in “Saving Grace,” that someone has returned to Oklahoma City, ready for mischief and mayhem.
“Saving Grace,” though it was popular in the United States, did not do so well in foreign markets, and thus was canceled. It was, therefore, not Grace Hanadarko’s fate to return to a life of crime fighting and fending off the temptations of the flesh. She confronted Evil incarnate and, though a sinner and a fragile human, beat it, through giving the last full measure of devotion.
One last thought. One wonders what the sharp-tongued Grace Hanadarko will now say to God, now that she will apparently look upon Him in the face. That would have been something to witness.
Saving Grace, I’m Gonna Need a Big Night Light, TV.Com
Sympathy for the Devil, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Lyrics Freak