Los Angeles, CA – The much-anticipated season finale of HBO’s “Winning Time” has left fans and critics alike divided, as the show took an unexpected turn in its conclusion. The basketball drama, which delves into the fierce rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics during the 1980s, wrapped up its second season with a surprising twist that left viewers with mixed feelings.
- ‘Suits’ Best Villain Loomed Large Over the Show
- Canal+ Group Chair and CEO Maxime Saada to Receive Variety Vanguard Award at Mipcom
- Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton on Why They Continue Talking About Alleged Assaults on ‘One Tree Hill’ and ‘Chicago P.D.’: ‘Face Some F—ing Accountability’
- ‘9-1-1’ Star Oliver Stark on Buck’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Coma Dream Twists, All Those Easter Eggs and What Comes Next
- ‘Gilded Age’ Season 2 Sets Premiere Date at HBO, Drops First Trailer
In Sunday’s Season 2 finale, titled “What Is and What Should Not Be,” the series revisited the historic seven-game duel between the Lakers and the Celtics in the 1984 NBA Finals. The Celtics emerged as champions, dealing a devastating blow to the Lakers, who were immediately faced with celebrating Celtics fans storming the court. The episode poignantly captured the emotional aftermath of this loss, with Magic Johnson, portrayed by Quincy Isaiah, experiencing a personal low as Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Not Be” played in the background.
However, it was the final moments of the episode that left many scratching their heads. In an unexpected tonal pivot, an additional scene was introduced that was not part of the originally screened version of the finale. In this scene, Lakers owner Jerry Buss, played by John C. Reilly, and his daughter Jeanie, portrayed by Hadley Robinson, are seen sharing a moment center-court at the Forum. The two crack open a bottle of whiskey, and Jerry reassures his daughter, saying, “You know it’s going to be alright, kid. All of it. And you know how I know? Because we f***ing own this.” The scene concludes with both characters laughing maniacally.
To further complicate matters, the finale includes closing title cards that provide viewers with information about the future of the show’s principal characters, a feature absent in the previous version of the Season 2 finale.
The unexpected ending has generated a wide range of reactions, with some viewers finding it abrupt and awkward, given that it concludes the series with one of the most significant losses in Lakers history. The contrasting fates of Jerry Buss, who revels in his empire’s success, and Magic Johnson, who appears defeated, have left some questioning the alignment of the ending with the show’s earlier themes.
The fate of “Winning Time” had been uncertain even before the controversial finale. The show, known for its dazzling period detail and a sprawling ensemble cast, was considered a costly production amid an entertainment industry engaged in cost-cutting measures. Author Jeff Pearlman, whose book served as the source material for the series, had called on fans to support the show’s continuation.
While opinions on the conclusion of “Winning Time” vary, the show did have its moments of brilliance throughout its run. It particularly shone in its depiction of the 1984 Finals, with visually striking sequences and a commitment to period authenticity. The series also sparked discussions and reactions from some of the real-life figures portrayed in it, garnering mixed opinions from those who were part of the events.
In the wake of this controversial finale, the future of “Winning Time” remains uncertain. The show’s creators and producers have expressed hope for its continuation, but as of now, fans are left pondering the unexpected conclusion of a series that had captured the essence of a pivotal era in basketball history.
As “Winning Time” concludes, viewers are reminded that in the world of television, just as in basketball, sometimes the game doesn’t end as expected, and cliffhangers can linger long after the final buzzer.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of HBO or the creators of ‘Winning Time.’