[Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for “Mrs. Fletcher,” including the ending.]
“Mrs. Fletcher” has reached its end, but there’s reason to hold out hope for Season 2. Though HBO developed Tom Perrotta’s adaptation as a limited series, both the creator and star, Kathryn Hahn, are game to continue Eve’s story in future seasons.
“This ending is an ending of an arc, not an ending of a life,” Perrotta told IndieWire. “So, yes, I think there’s more room. One thing I learned from ‘The Leftovers’ was to just treat every season as if it were the last. But yes, there’s more to tell if that opportunity arises.”
After seven charming, illuminating, half-hour episodes, the series finale closed with a three-way Sunday night — a jarring but fitting conclusion to two coming-of-age stories.
To quickly recap the finale, Brendan (Jackson White) returns home after bottoming out at college, and immediately walks in on his mother, Eve (Kathryn Hahn), at the apex of her awakening. Once each get their bearings and Eve’s partners leave, mother and son meet on their front stoop, sharing an awkward silence before the scene cuts to black, and that’s how “Mrs. Fletcher” ends — for now.
“Oh my God, of course,” Hahn said in a separate interview when asked if she would return for more seasons. “Of course, of course, of course. I think there’s clearly so much more story to be told. I also feel that this is a beautiful piece on its own […] and I love this cast madly, so who knows? Clearly, there is so much more story to be told.”
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To her point, Perrotta’s book ends in a far different place than the series. The novel goes beyond Eve and Brendan’s awkward encounter, seeing the son move back home to take up an apprenticeship as a plumber (and consider going back to school later in life), while Eve ends up dismissing an unhealthy attraction in favor of a more reliable and real romance. Perrotta didn’t want to get into specifics — just read the book, people — in part because the series’ wouldn’t necessarily be tied to those events.
In comparison, the series’ ending is sudden, but a perfect close to the two leads’ parallel journeys. Brendan spent the season struggling to mature, in part because he wasn’t really trying. He was a popular kid in high school, doted on by his mother and supported by immature friends. But once Brendan left the nest and had to be responsible for himself, things started to fall apart. He didn’t understand the consequences of his actions, whether it was skirting homework or objectifying women. For that, he paid an aptly stiff penalty: being dumped (and punched in the balls) by his would-be girlfriend and seeing his mother in bed with a high school friend he used to bully.
Eve’s ending, meanwhile, was triumphant. After struggling, at first, to find purpose after her only child left the house, Eve took active measures to expand her horizons. She signed up for a class, she sought out the company of her friends and classmates, and, yes, she looked for self-satisfaction through the wide world of internet porn. All of this self-improvement was hard for a woman who always put others first, and Eve’s reward was a fun party that culminated with her classroom and workplace crushes going to bed with her, just for the fun of it.
This, to be clear, is a very good ending. It makes you think, ends on a high, and closes plenty of narrative loops at the same time. In addition to the above overall arcs, the season starts with Eve and Brendan having an awkward encounter that goes unaddressed — she hears him having sex in his room, and disrespecting his partner in the process, but she doesn’t say anything to him about it. That silence functions as an unintended endorsement of Brendan’s bad behavior and only perpetuates his inappropriate conduct; he’s a kid who did something wrong, and no one punishes him for it.
But it also exposes Eve’s own issues with sex; she can’t even talk about it with her son because she’s too embarrassed. While Eve recognizes the issue on her own, Brendon doesn’t — leading to him bursting in on his mother’s three-way, much to his chagrin and her casual shrug. She wouldn’t open the door to sex, to herself, to openness in general, but she learned how over these seven episodes. He hid behind doors and then opened this one without thinking, having never learned to change his self-centered attitude.
Again, this is a great ending — for this season. As Perrotta said, “Mrs. Fletcher” wrapped up its initial arc with Episode 7, “Welcome Back,” but his characters’ lives go on. Just as importantly, this ending leaves you wanting more. One of the magical qualities of this brief first season is how invested you become in the whole ensemble. While Eve and Brendan still have room to grow, so too do Margo (Jen Richards), Julian (Owen Teague), Curtis (Ifádansi Rashad), and Amanda (Katie Kershaw). In just three-and-a-half hours, Perrotta and his writing team have established an enticing ensemble that’s already fleshed out enough to make parting now too painful.
In an era where television shows never really end and plenty of successful limited series snag unexpected renewals, “Mrs. Fletcher” is already prepped for continuation. HBO, it’s your move. Don’t let us down.
“Mrs. Fletcher” is streaming now on HBO. Season 2 has not been picked up, as the first seven episodes were originally made as a limited series.