By Aprille Hanson
One of TV’s classics “Will & Grace” ended it’s reboot run on Thursday, April 23 with “It’s Time,” it’s 246th episode since the show first aired on Sept. 21, 1998. When the show ended the first time in 2006, it had a two-part finale, which is something I would have loved to see here.
“It’s Time” was much more satisfying than the previous two-part finale that aired in 2006. The original finale included Will and Grace reconciling because of their children, who they had with their respective partners, years after a falling out. Karen divorces Stan and Jack marries Karen’s archenemy to inherit a fortune.
As a fan, that initial finale was a mess. Thankfully, when NBC rebooted the show in 2017, with the premiere episode “11 Years Later,” viewers learn that the previous finale was a weird dream of Karen’s -- no divorce, no kids, no Jack getting rich. Ironically, the current finale dealt, in some ways, with all of those themes.
The 30-minute finale centered around major themes for the four main characters. Grace (Debra Messing) is about to give birth to her baby boy; Will (Eric McCormack) has to decide whether or not to reconnect with former love McCoy Whitman (Matt Bomer); Karen (Megan Mullally) finally accepts that she’s still in love with Stan and the two reconcile; and Jack (Sean Hayes) finally gets to fulfill his dream of acting on Broadway, when multiple understudy’s to a non-speaking sailor role wind up ill. The writing was spot-on, particularly the running joke with Jack trying to remember if he actually still works at various places -- as a nurse, acting coach at a rec center, bar owner, etc. -- or if he can in fact drop everything to make the Broadway appearance. Either way, he does it and in a way, that’s all the riches that character needed.
“It’s Time” ended in a way that worked for fans. Was it the best episode? No. The show easily could have made it a two-part, hour-long finale because it honestly felt rushed. However, every storyline wrapped up for the most part -- we assume Will gets back with McCoy, but it’s not entirely confirmed. It was a sweet moment when McCoy says to Will that he too deserves the prince charming, fairytale ending and he’s not coming back to interfere with Will and Grace’s plan to raise their children together. For a show that has been so important for gay representation, it was almost a way to say, yes, everyone should get their forever love in life.
I would have liked to see them actually get back together. It would have been neat to finally see Stan, though I understand the choice not to reveal him. And I would have liked to see Grace finally hold her son, and maybe more of a mention regarding Will’s soon-to-be child as well. It’s where a flash forward could have made a difference, showing everyone in their new lives.
That being said, I laughed throughout the episode and smiled at the sweet moments. My main complaint overall was that the reboot didn’t last beyond three seasons. I really would have loved to see the next chapter of their lives play out, but as Will and Grace realized in the finale, it’s not going to just be about them anymore. So could you continue “Will & Grace” when their lives are changing so much? Realistically, it wouldn’t have been the same, but I still think the writers could have made it work. Even the name of the episode was a not-so-subtle reminder to fans that it was likely time to let the characters move on.
I’m grateful that this wrapped up in a more satisfying way than the first go-around, allowing fans to say goodbye to some of the greatest friendships on television.