I love that Kevin Can F**K Himself‘s series finale is called “Allison’s House.” Ironically, Allison doesn’t have a home by the end of the show’s last episode. The Worcester one she stayed in with her husband for the past decade—full of unpleasant, depressing, horrible memories—has burned down. She’s seemingly given up the apartment she lived in alone as Gertrude Fronch. So, yes, technically, she doesn’t have a roof over her head. Yet, Allison has found her home in the truest sense by the time credits roll forever on KCFH. She’s finally embraced her town and those who make it worthwhile to stay there. Kevin isn’t part of the equation anymore. It’s Allison’s house, Allison’s rules.
KCFH doesn’t boast a “happy ending,” per se, like Annie Murphy’s other TV series that ended two years ago. It can’t because Allison still has a lifetime’s worth of trauma to face head-on. But the show wraps up with an indication that Allison is at least ready to confront her experiences with honesty and not by, you know, committing murder or changing her identity. She’s about to embark on a fresh start, this time with an evolved mindset, and minus a terrible spouse she decidedly didn’t kill (even though she actively tried to end her marriage that way). Being away from Kevin allowed Allison to meditate on her previous plans. She isn’t thriving as Gertrude, but she briefly lives out her dream of reading peacefully in a cafe (even if it’s not by a water body). However, those six months only make her realize that running from her problems is not a solution.
Granted, Allison believed getting out of town was the only way to save Patty from Tammy’s investigation, so all the blame would fall on her. That’s why she hurriedly left Worcester at the end of last week’s episode. It’s ultimately Tammy paying a now-brunette Allison a visit that gives her the freedom to return. With Nick (Robin Lord Taylor) dead, Tammy is ready to put this case to bed. (Who else sighed with relief when she said as much?). Allison doesn’t waste much time and rushes back to reunite with Sam. It’s nice that they don’t fall into a relationship by the end. Both of them are at peace with their newfound friendship, and I especially appreciated Sam and Patty’s bond during Allison’s absence. It’s realistic and also very sweet.
Sam informs Allison about everything that went down after her “death.” Kevin held an elaborate funeral at a bowling alley, which feels less like a time to mourn and more like he wanted to throw a party. It’s where he meets his current girlfriend, Molly, who works there. Casting none other than Erinn Hayes as Kevin’s “replacement” girlfriend is a top-tier nudge to her work in Kevin Can Wait, even if it went unappreciated by the makers of the CBS sitcom. She is perfect in her multi-cam appearance here.
Molly and Kevin have been dating for four months, and it’s clear that in his mind, she’s inevitably slipped into Allison’s shoes. No, not the “love of my life” shoes, but the “she’s essentially my caretaker” shoes. Molly cheerfully brings him beers, helps him when his arm gets stuck in the refrigerator, and is a pleasant human being overall. If she’d stayed with him, those parts of her personality would surely chip off. Thankfully, she doesn’t stick around for too long once Allison shows up at her workplace after learning about Molly and Kevin. We don’t get to see their conversation, and we don’t need to. We’ve seen a version of it for the past 16 episodes. No one stepped in to save Allison (Patty regretfully brushed off the chance, as we saw in episode three), but she could warn Molly in time. It leads to the confrontation everyone’s been waiting for.
Kevin is completely abandoned by the time he reunites with Allison in the finale. His father, Pete (Brian Howe), has moved with his girlfriend to Florida. Pete doesn’t even give Kevin his new address before departing; that’s how eager he is to leave his son after six months of washing his dishes for him. Neil finally stands up for himself after Kevin catches him and Diane makes out. His reaction of laughing cruelly out loud is vastly different from Allison and Patty’s more receptive approach. For some reason, Kevin then demands an apology from Neil. In turn, he calls Kevin out for being a jerk. (Alex Bonifer’s performance is wrenching this entire hour, but especially when Neil leaves the McRoberts’ home in a sitcom setting. His laugh switches from being over-the-top to straight-up heartbreaking in the single cam. Excellent, nuanced work).
So when Molly dumps Kevin, he’s elated to see Allison standing in the living room, right next to a wall with a yellow paper stuck to it saying “Allison In Memoriam.” Clearly, he put so much thought into a shrine for her, said no one ever. He calls Allison’s return “a miracle,” but it’s mainly because he won’t be alone anymore and has someone to clean up after him again. Allison doesn’t hold back and demands a divorce. All this is still in multi-cam, so her request is followed by a round of applause from the “live audience.” If it helps, I also clapped when she spoke her truth. As soon as reality hits Kevin, we bid goodbye to the sitcom world. That’s it for KCFH‘s canned laugh track and blinding lights.
We see Kevin unfiltered for the first and last time. Without the sitcom glare, his physical intrusion into Allison’s space is even more daunting. His gaslighting words, spoken by Petersen with a slight menace instead of over-the-top villainy, hit hard. His reaction to Allison provides a snapshot of his rigidity, narcissism, and inability to take criticism. How dare Allison leave him? “This isn’t happening to me, not from my wife,” he yells before cornering her into the wall after she calls him a “cancer.” Again, it’s only a tiny glimpse into why Allison was afraid of him for all these years. “Do you worst,” she tells him when he says he’ll destroy her. Annie Murphy is terrific in this scene, shuddering whenever Kevin speaks to her but finding the strength in Allison to keep going anyway.
It’s a pivotal flicker of insight into Allison’s life. I know several people would’ve preferred seeing more of it; more of Kevin’s terrible attitude was stripped away from the sitcom. I’m personally glad we saw Kevin like this for a short amount of time because of the gimmick KCFH would’ve unraveled otherwise—but even for me, it was a little too shorts. It’s why the series finale feels a little rushed. Perhaps devoting at least one whole episode instead of the final 15 minutes would have provided more closure than we received. I mean, I haven’t even gotten to the Patty and Allison portion because there’s barely any of it in “Allison’s House.” They’re the central relationship but reunite in the closing moments.
Patty and Allison’s final scene appropriately takes place on the patio steps of the McRoberts’ home. Except, only charred remains stand behind them now. In his quest for revenge against Allison, Kevin accidentally burns down the entire house while trying to set her passport ablaze. His buffoonery fittingly ends his own life. He’s an established arsonist, as we know from the earlier events this season. (As I said during my early season one recaps, Allison didn’t need to try so hard to kill him, his stupidity would get him there all on his own. And it did). We don’t see a body, but it’s safe to assume Kevin McRoberts is toast.
It means when Allison and Patty hug it out, they’re free of the men who took over their lives. Patty has thrown Neil out of the house, and Allison has no one to answer to anymore. It’s just both of them against the world, without any lies or past crimes haunting them. Yes, Tammy’s packed up and gone, too. Allison and Patty are free to pick up where they left off. “Let’s die alone together,” they decide, in a very Jack from Lost-type of way. And as The Boswell Sisters’ “Shout, Sister, Shout,” plays, KCFH fades to black.
The AMC series took a huge swing by attempting to unravel sitcom stereotypes from the perspective of the often-humiliated, burdened, forgiving wife who decides to be none of those things anymore. The multi-cam to single-cam concept allowed KCFH to dig into various narratives in innovative ways, and I’ll be glad that it went out on its terms. There are still lots of blanks to fill in on how Allison and Patty’s life will turn out, but maybe that’s the best part. We can individually use our takeaways from the show to decide how we want their journey to go. Me? I hope they spend the next few decades doing normal Worcester things: Eating Dunkin’ Donuts, watching lots of movies, exploring new places, and finding happiness together, whether as friends or something more (throw Sam in there for some spicy times even. Or the three of them will be friends forever.). The point is: KCFH was never about Kevin; it was always about Allison, and her story is finally beginning.
- Let’s start with the obvious. Everyone on KCFH‘s cast knocked it out of the park in season two. Annie Murphy and Mary Hollis Inboden got to sink into Allison and Patty, and I need them to do another project together again. But here’s to Eric Petersen, Alex Bonifer, and Jamie Denbo for their striking performances.
- Here is my interview with Eric Petersen about finally giving us a glimpse of Kevin in the “real world” and his experiences filming KCFH.
- Neil’s casual confession to Molly, “Kevin would’ve died without you? Maybe you should go home sometimes,” followed by that horrendously loud laugh, showing how torn and lonely he still is.
- Diane gives Neil an ultimatum if he wants to be with her. It has to be worth it to leave Chuck because we all know what he’s capable of. She tells him to get sober, and that it’s not her job to help him figure it out. She is correct.
- Another great detail: Diane has been sober for just over six months, probably motivated by Allison’s death. I would’ve loved to see her reaction when she found out her niece is, in fact, alive.
- In case anyone was wondering, Patty charges $85 for a haircut. Now is it me, or is it too expensive for Worcester? It does explain why no one else seems to work at that salon, at least from what I can remember. No wonder her rate is this high!
- No offense to Tammy fans, but I’m relieved Patty didn’t end up with her. I didn’t want Allison to bring Tammy down in the last episode because of general decency, but I also don’t think she’s the right partner for Patty. “I can’t uproot my life just to make you happy” is a gut-punch dialogue.
- How does everyone feel about the queer-coded bond between Allison and Patty? Was it never platonic, or are fans reading too much into their connection? FYI, Patty is reading Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend in the finale.
- On a scale of 10, how satisfied are you with the conclusion? I’m at a solid 8.
- Thank you for following along with my recaps of Kevin Can F**K Himself. It wasn’t always easy to write about, but I adore the show for the big swings it took, and for the insightful messaging throughout.
- I’m also thrilled to say: Kevin Can (and did) Fuck Himself. No asterisks allowed anymore, and that’s a fucking relief!