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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Netflix’s ‘Grace & Frankie’ Review: Season Five

Netflix’s Golden Girls are back. Not those, though. Hulu has the Golden Girls, which means Netflix never will for as long as they have those girls, anyway. Season five of “Grace & Frankie” continues with the same theme as its previous four seasons, but eventually starts digressing into a few twists of its own near the end. But it still has a few life lessons to teach us as it did in those.
One of the life lessons this season teaches us in the first few episodes is that you can continue to have firsts no matter how old you are. Grace (Jane Fonda) has her first slumber party with Frankie (Lily Tomlin), and we learn some tidbits about her past that only make sense regarding who she is today.
We also have a beautiful return appearance of Nick (Peter Gallagher), the lover that kept chasing after Grace for her love only to be shunned from shock and insecurity that anyone could just love her for the sake of loving her. Of course, Nick eventually gets the idea and leaves her alone, after getting shunned enough times. But Frankie’s insistence for her to win him back by letting loose a little eventually claims him back.
As for Frankie, we finally get a taste of her as the hippie vegan she is. An episode at a monk retreat revisiting a couple of old friends brings back a friend to teach Grace a moral she, apparently, needed help to hear.
During that first handful of episodes we also get to see her embrace her inner old-person activist. Of course, this activism only goes so far. Frankie doesn’t get her prescriptions at the never-ending pharmacy line just because she tried to con customer service any faster, but the old people of the area get to their buffet a few seconds more quickly because of her.
Meanwhile, speaking of boys, Sol (Sam Waterston) and Robert (Martin Sheen) are back to their usual stuff. They’ve given up on their activism for gay rights and moved on, accepting themselves as the old and washed-up, not-so-fun gay men compared to their theater friends, that they are.
Sol also continues to attempt to keep being a lawyer at his age, and while he wins a case without too much hassle, he realizes it’s not the same as he used to be. So he gets a dog.
In the meantime, both play host to their theater company manager. He and his lover just can’t seem to figure things out for themselves without fighting. And getting everyone else involved, even their poor dog. This was a bit of an annoying arc to the season to watch, but seeing Sam end up with a dog made it the strange gay guy drama that came with it worth it.
And the family are just as strange through all this. Remember that family drama that came with tracing himself back to his mom for no apparent good result? Well, that caused a stir for her family. Hiding him on the sidelines of her life only stirred up some stuff for another son of hers. For part of this season it had me almost hoping they had used Coyote’s (Ethan Embry) dark days in drug and alcohol abuse to result in something that had come back to haunt him. This still ends up for something for Coyote to live for, but that wouldn’t be an all too horrible twist to try to exploit later. But the above is only another life lesson the show has to offer us. Family will always come back to you no matter what you try to do with your life.
Speaking of twists, don’t give up on these guys just because of how they end up with the last episode of this season. Ending with a branch off to what things might be like if Grace and Frankie had not been friends with each other such as they had been for the past three years, this last episode got a little confusing, if not strange to watch. But in a fun way that makes you glad the previous four seasons ended up as they had.
Which is a good thing, considering Grace is a scary enough presence in and of herself that she didn’t need the face they gave her in that last episode. And Frankie’s already just weird enough she didn’t need that mid-life crisis punk getup. The New Age hippie look she rocks is just enough as is.