At long last, the third season of Apple TV+ family comedy Trying comes to a conclusion this week. Nikki and Jason must fight for their adopted kids in court — but first they’ve got a wedding to plan. Indeed, the whole gang comes together to help them plan their last-minute nuptials.
The fate of their happiness hangs in the balance. And, against all odds, the Trying cast and writers overcome their worst tendencies to put together the only good episode of this show that has yet aired. Mind you, I still don’t want any more of this. Trying will come back for its fourth season, which puts a knot in my stomach but at least season three went out with a bang.
Trying recap: ‘The End of the Beginning’
Season 3, episode 8: In the season finale, entitled “The End of the Beginning,” Nikki (played by Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall) have gotten a look at what Bev (Clare Higgins) — Princess (Eden Togwell) and Tyler’s (Mickey McAnulty) weirdo grandmother — is going to say about them in court: that they’re unfit parents.
So they’re moping at the kitchen table when Nikki says her life seemed like it was going to be different. She thought by this time, she’d be married with kids in a house they owned. And it looks like none of that’s going to happen. Suddenly it occurs to Jason … why don’t they just get married right now? Today, before the 3:30 p.m. hearing. That gives them only about an hour or two to plan everything.
They run out to a flower shop, and Trying’s best joke of the season happens. For some reason, Nikki tells the florist that they’re shopping for a funeral and need flowers in a hurry. Then the florist asks Jason about the deceased for whom they’re apparently having the funeral.
“Was it sudden?” the florist asks.
“Yeah, just about an hour ago?” he replies.
“Was it peaceful?”
“Not really, the kids were screaming, but we’d been thinking about it for a while now, felt good to finally pull the trigger!” Jason says. Then he aims a fake gun at the florist and makes a gunshot noise. That’s good! Why isn’t the show always at least that funny?
We’ve got a wedding to plan
Karen (Sian Brooke) tries to help Nikki prepare for the wedding by giving her something borrowed — a pair of earrings.
“These are mine!” Nikki screams. “How long have you had these!”
That’s also kind of funny. Evidently the writers have been saving all the good jokes for last.
Some other good ones: Jen (Robyn Cara) tells Nikki she’s gotten a new job since Nikki fired her — on-site roofing material delivery for construction companies. Nikki says she’s nervous (about the wedding), and Jen says, “Don’t be … we’re outsourcing recruitment at first and building up slowly depending on the funding streams.”
When Jason and Freddy (Oliver Chris) go ring shopping, Freddy says he always loved doing stuff like this.
“Big gestures, I was good at,” he says. “Little ones not so much.”
“Like not having an affair?” counters Jason.
Meanwhile, Vic (Phil Davis) takes the kids home to get clothes for the wedding with the directive that they get to pick what their parents will wear. They grab a wizard costume for Vic, a knight’s outfit for Jason and a princess costume (complete with pointy hat) for Nikki.
Time for a hearing
After the whirlwind wedding, it’s time for the custody hearing. Bev starts in on Nikki and Jason pretty fiercely, but then they realize her attitude is just because she loves the grandkids and wants what’s best for them. So, they promise to make her part of the kid’s lives. She relents, and Jason and Nikki get to keep Princess and Tyler.
It’s all well and good … and then Freddy buys their house. Scott (Darren Boyd) wins some money back on the market for Jason, and he makes sure that the publishing house that made fun of him goes out of business forever by shorting them on the futures market or something.
It’s all extremely tidy and proof, once again, that on Trying, if you’ve got wealthy friends there’s nothing you can’t do. If you’re poor, though, woe betide you, scumbag! The writers of this show hate you.
Applause! Laughter! Ideas!
I was in such a nice place during the bulk of this episode I kept thinking, “Well, this is good, how are they going to blow it?” And then the last bit happens where Freddy miraculously buys their home, solving all of Nikki and Jason’s problems! How about that!
What compelling storytelling. Boy, how lovely is that? A hardscrabble family up against real problems … suddenly aren’t up against anything. How nice. How aspirational.
And then they go the extra mile by having Scott get revenge on the publishing house. The final image is of Dennis O’Hare’s crooked publisher leaving the house with his box full of personal effects, turning off the sign in the front of the building that says, in neon, “Applause! Laughter! Ideas!”
I can think of no better metaphor for this show than turning off the “Laughter” and “Ideas” sign at the end of the workday. Trying on Apple TV+! Where it’s bye-bye laughter and ideas!
Watch Trying on Apple TV+
You can now watch the first three seasons of Trying on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.