From the start, Kevin Can F—k Himself has begged a question about where this is all headed. The show unabashedly began with a desperate woman plotting to kill her husband—no punches pulled there. That plot drove the first season, but despite the frankness with which the show deals with this reality, it never allowed it to become cavalier. This all played out to an anxious fever pitch in the penultimate episode, “Broken,” where Allison began to feel the full weight of what she set into motion. She secured a killer, and a time, and then spiraled out. She made it a little clearer why she was ever with Kevin to begin with, and what it was that made her go through with marrying him. And then, in the episode’s final moments, things moved faster than she planned. “This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening…” she repeated, lost in fear and doubt as the appointed “burglar” entered her home to kill her husband. But Kevin found a gun and—hopped up on Red Bull and the idea of becoming a father—took matters into his own hands.
The episode wasn’t clear about whether or not it was Kevin who was killed, but the finale, “Fixed,” dispatched with any confusion immediately. Kevin was fine, and had even managed to shoot Nick the would-be assailant, who was in a coma. He was lauded for his actions, and Allison had a non-reaction to the events—except to try and later plant the drugs in Nick’s apartment so Patty, at least, would be safe.
In terms up wrapping anything up, “Fixed” was not a good finale. Laden with loose ends and cliffhangers, it was an unsatisfying conclusion after the emotional fervor that was built up in “Broken.” There was a shred of hope, for a moment, when Allison finally called Kevin out for being a dick, Sam said he left his wife and wanted to move on with Allison, and Patty and Allison’s friendship was cemented. Things could have ended there, with us knowing that hopes would likely be dashed in episodes to come. But then Allison, in fact, became the dick. She confusingly said being with Sam was “giving up,” she guilted Patty into checking Tammy’s police notes to see if she was onto Allison’s plot, and she couldn’t seem to decide whether she was coming or going in general.
But there was a really interesting moment right in the end that I only wish we had more time to explore. Neil, hiding in the kitchen pantry while Allison and Patty yelled accusations at each other, now knows everything about Allison’s (thwarted) plans to kill Kevin, and confronts her with it—along with a recording he made on his phone. While she tries to wrestle that phone away from him, Neil calmly starts choking Allison. But when Patty smashes him over the head to stop him, he’s snapped out of the sitcom world for the first time. Now he’s in the reality we’ve seen Allison and later Patty occupy. Will he stay there?
Throughout its first season, Kevin Can F—k Himself augmented its dark premise through its unique formatting. Kevin’s world is bright, sunny, full of studio laughter; Allison’s is dark, more desperate, and lit like a cable drama. And yet, the gag-filled (and truly gag-worthy) sitcom moments were used to horrific effect, allowing Kevin’s manipulations, gaslighting, and emotional abuse towards his wife to be played for laughs. Allison’s world may have had less light, but it was real and ultimately hopeful. She and Patty found true friendship there, and now there’s a question of whether Neil might also “wake up” once detached from Kevin’s bubble. It seems unlikely that Allison will try to kill Kevin again, but she’s learned some things from him. Is it possible that she would seek to isolate him the way he isolated her, bringing everyone else, one by one, into reality until he’s left all alone in the lights with a laugh track? A chilling fate, but deserved.
But let’s go back to the moment Neil tried to kill Allison. There was an opportunity there for the show to have it’s “Brody should have detonated the bomb” moment from Homeland. To have Neil kill Allison, so cruelly and casually, would prove her point that the world is made for men like him, and why Kevin always wins. That would have been a truly nihilistic statement about not only the “disposable” treatment of sitcom wives, but of a suffocating patriarchy that keeps the deck stacked against everyone else. God that would have been an all-time TV finale.
And yet, that is not what happened. Allison and Patty won’t kill Neil to keep him quiet, because that’s Patty’s own brother. Still, he might have that moment of reckoning where he’s able to grow up and be true to himself outside of Kevin’s orbit, like what happened with Patty.
Or not. “Fixed” didn’t really give us much of a sense of the stakes moving forward or where the show is headed, only that it can’t end here. As I noted in my initial review of the series, Kevin Can F—k Himself’s premise is a finite one. If the show devolves into a melodrama about Patty and Allison trying to evade the cops, that’s old news as far as crime shows go. Where this show really shines is in its unique format, and in how it uses the sitcom scenes to really impose an uncanny sense of horror. It gives Allison’s life a claustrophobic feeling, so much so that her desperation to kill Kevin (rather than, say, seeking therapy or divorce) was believable—to a point.
“Fixed” didn’t quite give us the chaotic crescendo of sitcom and drama coming together in the way “Broken” set up, or that Neil’s actions hinted at. Instead it saw Allison even more adrift and confused about her own feelings than ever. If Season 1 was about Allison plotting to kill Kevin, which failed, where do things go from here? It’s a question Season 2 will need to answer swiftly and decisively after this wishy-washy ending.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
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