Hit show-time drama The Big C came to an end last year after four seasons. Following the story of cancer patient Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney), The Big C was an unusually funny take on a serious and heartbreaking subject. In the first season of the show Cathy discovered that she had skin cancer and for the first three seasons we saw her do everything she could to fight off the disease. In this fourth and final season, titled Hereafter, Cathy realises that her treatment isn’t working any more and makes the decision to stop fighting and allow nature to take its course.
The Big C: The Final Season sees a slight shift in format with each episode running to around 53 minutes rather than 30-minute format of the previous seasons. The season comprises only four episodes as Cathy enters the last stage of her battle and does everything she can to ensure her family are able to cope once she’s gone.
As always with The Big C the show doesn’t spend too much time dwelling on its subject matter instead injecting humour throughout keeping a smile on your face as Cathy’s condition worsens. In the first episode we see Cathy tell her son Adam (Gabriel Basso) and husband Paul (Oliver Platt) that she is no longer going to have treatment for her cancer and the following three episodes explore how the family copes with that revelation and the reality that Cathy is coming to the end of her life.
There is some focus on the other characters too though including Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe) who is trying to pursue a career in fashion whilst being there Cathy whilst Cathy’s brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey) deals with his grief by signing up to a donor programme to help others by donating one of his kidneys. The sub-plots involving these characters give a bit of relief to the overall subject matter, which is heartbreaking and very emotional.
At the centre of it all is Laura Linney as Cathy. She’s been nominated for and won awards for her performance in this show and it’s no wonder. She brings such humanity and warmth to Cathy that it’s impossible not to care about what happens to the character. Even though the outlook is bleak, you still feel hope and root for Cathy to get the ending she wants. Linney’s performance is nothing short of extra-ordinary and she sure knows how to make you chuckly one minute and bawl your eyes out the next.
The Big C: The Final Season is a fitting end to a much-loved and unique show. We’re going to miss Cathy’s adventures but we feel the show did the right thing by bringing closure to her story whilst it was still believable. Packed with strong performances, The Big C is one of the best shows to come out of Showtime in years and it’s going to be sorely missed. Just take our advice and make sure you have plenty of tissues on hand.