Coping with the end of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and other series finales

The time has come. Your favorite show is coming to an end. You’re not sure how to process this, how to deal with the impending sadness. Believe me, it was hard to say goodbye to Walter White. I wanted to jump through my TV and befriend Thad Castle when I was at the end of Blue Mountain State. I didn’t know what to do once I no longer knew all about Tami and Coach Taylor. How was I supposed to keep up with the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s Elite if there was no Gossip Girl? Who was going to say “Tell me what you don’t like about yourself” when Nip/Tuck reached its end?

Now, during the Final Ride of my beloved Sons of Anarchy, I’m starting to feel the panic of that final episode (it’s tonight) and how it’s all going to end. I’ve been immersed in the outlaw world for six years (I came in during season two) and have been obsessed from the very first moment. The complexities of the city of Charming have had me screaming, laughing and in the case of someone’s death in season five, weeping uncontrollably at my TV. I’ve become so attached to this mythology and don’t know what I’m going to do once it’s over.  I wait all year for the new season and now it’s here. The end of the most compelling and enthralling television show I’ve ever watched.

The problem is, none of us know how to watch those episodes.

But have no fear, my friends! I am here to give you a few tips that I have collected over my time as a TV addict and chronic season-in-a-day, whole-series-in-a-month binge watcher who has gone through many series finales, both bad and good.

The Buddy System Is Crucial: When watching your favorite show, it’s always important to have someone with you or available to talk to before, during and immediately after. If you don’t have someone to discuss your feelings with, you might not be able to process the end properly and you may spontaneously combust. You also need someone to talk to or watch with simply to share the experience of the story and characters you have become so emotionally invested in finally coming to an end.

Always Have Tissues Handy: This is important. Most finales will aim to make you cry either out of deep sadness, sentimentality or pure anger that that was how it ended. I mean, I wasn’t even a week to week Friends watcher when the show ended, but I sobbed like a little girl during the series finale. A box of tissues should be handy to wipe away the tears.

Fresh Faced Is Always Best: If you wear makeup daily, now is not the time to be in full makeup. If you are employing the aforementioned buddy system (highly suggested) and you’re worried about being seen without makeup, don’t be. Everyone is going to be engrossed by the show and won’t be paying attention to your smoky eye. This also cuts down on clean up time. You won’t have to wash away the eye shadow you smudge towards your temples or the streaks of mascara running down your face should you cry. (Highly likely.)

Avoid Alcohol: Recently, a friend of mine was watching the series finale of Lost Girl and told me she was crying uncontrollably. I asked her if it was because the show was ending or was it something else. She said, “Well, it’s because it’s the finale, but I’ve also had two bottles of wine, so that might have helped.” You don’t want to increase the chances of crying by adding in alcohol. Even if you really feel like you need a drink after the final credits rolls.

Don’t Watch Before Bed: This is something I find very important. When I was watching the finale of Breaking Bad, I watched it around two or three in the morning. When it ended, I was fuming. I looked at my boyfriend and said, “That’s how it ended?!” I sat there staring at the TV like Walter White had personally done me wrong. When we went to bed, I literally could not sleep. I laid there thinking about the whole episode and playing the pros and cons game about it with my arms crossed. If you don’t want to lose sleep stewing over how it ended (seriously, Sookie Stackhouse, look at your choices), I would suggest watching this at a more appropriate time. Like, when sunlight is available.

Snacks: This one can go either way. You may want to have snacks available so that you can have something available throughout the episode to comfort you. On the flipside, having snacks available can cause you to stress eat and then eat your feelings once the series has come to an end. For me, I firmly believe a table full of snacks is crucial. It makes everyone more comfortable and softens their sadness. Dips are always the best option in your time of need.

Accept What Is: It’s easy for us to have expectations about how our favorite show should end. We may have our theories, but most often, we are in fact wrong. Don’t get upset about this, readers. Accept that that was how the creator or writers felt that world should come to a close and that most of your questions will probably go unanswered. (Remember, you have dips to help you cope with this.)

I hope that I have helped you in your heartbreaking time of series finale need, my friends. It’s a rough time that none of us are prepared for. We become emotionally invested and feel our favorite shows should go on forever, but they cannot. Even now, I wish I could stay in the tumultuous world of Kurt Sutter’s biker gang from Charming, but all good things must come to an end.

Besides, there’s always box sets and Netflix to help soothe our souls and provide new shows to take away our sorrows. Oh, wait. That starts the whole process over again, doesn’t it? Crap. Refer back to this when the next series ends.

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