Will & Grace Series Finale Recap: Was the Revival Able to Stick the Landing?

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Thursday’s Will & Grace. If you’d prefer to watch first, read later, make like Grace at a salad bar and turn away.

If nothing else, no one can say that Thursday’s conclusion of NBC’s Will & Grace revival didn’t go out on a cheerier note than the series’ original finale. Dreams both likely and un- came true, the dirty jokes flew fast and furious, and we got not one but two reunions. Read on, and before you grade the send-off, we’ll discuss the episode from beginning to, once again, end.

‘COMMENCE OPERATION BABY!’ | As “It’s Time” got underway, Grace announced that she was in labor, inadvertently revealing to Will the fact that neither she, Jack nor Karen had read his email detailing the birth plan. “Which email?” asked Grace. “What’s email?” asked Karen. And they were off… briefly; it had been a false alarm, something Jack knew all about thanks to Judith, who freaked anytime her DVR didn’t record Chicago Fire. If Grace wanted to induce labor, her doctor had said, all she had to do was go for a walk or get some exercise. “Well,” cracked Will, “then that baby is never getting born.” Just then, Estefan burst in with big news: The Broadway sailor for whom Jack was understudying couldn’t go on. Did that mean that Jack was taking his place in the chorus line? Er, no. He wasn’t the first understudy… or the second. Still, he noted optimistically, “My dream of taking a bow on a Broadway stage is only a car accident, a death in the family and a respiratory infection away from coming true.” (Ah, such simple times… back when a respiratory infection could still be a punchline.)

Soon, Karen received big news, too, and in the strangest way. “I just got a letter from Stan,” she said. “On my phone.” Doy, replied Will. “That’s email.” Anyway, her ex wanted her to meet him at the top of the Statue of Liberty at 5 o’clock. And she was going to go, too, but only to inform him that she was moving forward, not looking back. So the whole gang piled into a cab, Will and Grace to offer Karen moral support, Jack to distract himself from the opportunity that was so close at hand. Wait, couldn’t he distract himself with the bar that he now owned? Or his rec-center job? He had all but forgotten those pursuits. In fact, he wondered, was he still a nurse? Just then, he received a text: “The first two understudies have a bacterial parasite and cant stop throwing up!” He was now only a single chorus boy away from having his dream come true! Next, the gang spotted McCoy on Taxi TV: He was returning to New York and his old job. Well, so what? Will said. His former fiancé had bailed and hadn’t even called to say he was coming back to Manhattan.

‘THIS IS THE FILTHIEST EPISODE OF DOWNTON ABBEY I’VE EVER SEEN’ | As the ride went on, Karen protested, clearly too much, that she didn’t care whom Stan ended up with. Is that so? asked the cabby — Lorraine, who quickly explained that being a taxi driver wasn’t that different from her old career as a stripper. “You take people where they want to go, and sometimes you end up with a big mess on your back seat.” But that wasn’t why she was in this episode; she was in it to impart a bit of wisdom on Karen. As long as she’d known her ex-stepmother, only one thing had been constant about her. “Not your boobs or your head or your body” — Karen had always loved Stan. So was she really going to throw away this chance? Speaking of second chances, when Will and Grace reached the top of Lady Liberty first, he insisted that he didn’t want one with McCoy; he was only looking forward. Mm-hmm. Sure, ya are, Will.

When Karen and Jack made it to the top, she was disappointed that Stan wasn’t there. Maybe he’d meant the Empire State Building, she mused, and was off holding a lady and swatting away planes. Though Jack’s legs were jelly after climbing the stairs, he did a costume change worthy of Wonder Woman when he got the call that the last understudy had the measles. “Thank you, anti-vaxxers!” he cheered before marveling that this turn of events was “the first good thing to happen to me on top of a woman.” As he, Will and Grace headed to the theatre, Karen stayed behind. She’d be fine waiting for Stan alone. But “you’d better not make a fool of me,” she told her ex, at least in her head. After Jack’s show — miraculously, he’d managed to not only stand but dance his butt off — he collapsed, making for a memorable curtain call. “That seaman on the floor is my husband!” cried Estefan, proud as rum punch. Back at the Statue of Liberty, no sooner had Karen decided, “I’m putting my torch down, my arm’s getting tired” than Stan’s chopper arrived and dropped her a marriage proposal. Just like that, she was movin’ on up… the ladder to the helicopter.

‘HOW IS THAT GUY HOT EVEN THROUGH A FISH-EYE?’ | Waiting for Jack post-performance, Grace reported to Will that she’d seen McCoy in the men’s room (as if she was going to wait in the longer line for the ladies’!). “He was at the urinal when I walked in, and by the way, good for you.” Nonetheless, Will said that he wasn’t going to chase his ex… which he then did, literally, running after his Town Car and yelling McCoy! McCoy! “like a sad, gay crow.” Of course, by the time Will got home, McCoy was waiting for him in the hallway. He’d just gotten scared, he said. Marriage… a baby… it was a lot. Will understood; however, he’d made a commitment to Grace and wasn’t about to shirk it. OK, said McCoy. “But Will, the gay guy gets to have his Prince Charming, too.” Finally, Will admitted that, OK, “happily ever after would be nice.” Inside the apartment, Will found that everything was gone but the sofa, which wouldn’t fit through the door Grace hated and the portrait that, throughout the episode, everyone had said they thought was of Will (since, among other things, it was of a “gaunt, dead-eyed man who never changes and looks down on everyone”).

Will and Grace swore that they weren’t going to do any reminiscing, then couldn’t help themselves. How could they not? Everything in their lives was about to change. “We’ve always just been Will and Grace,” she noted. “Maybe,” he replied, “we’ve been Will and Grace long enough.” Sweet writing, that. In the hall, Jack and Karen put their own spin on their circumstances. “It’s like we won’t be the old Jack and Karen anymore,” he said, launching them into one less slapfest. Whew, he said afterwards. “We’re still us.” As if it didn’t go without saying, Karen added, “And we always will be.” When the slap-happy duo entered the apartment, Grace announced — and she meant it (we think) — that “it’s time.” Or, as Karen put it, “I think our girl’s getting ready to have her litter.” As Will and Grace left, she admitted that she was “100-percent” not ready. But it was gonna be all right, he assured her. Better than all right. “You’re gonna be great. We are gonna be great.”

One last thing… as quickly as the door slammed shut on apartment 9C, Will dashed back in to retrieve something — the painting that “my mother gave my father, but he didn’t like it because he thought it was too gay.” It deserved to move to a new home along with its subject, his bestie and their children. So, what did you think of the series finale of Will & Grace? What did you think of the revival overall? Grade ’em both in the polls below, then hit the comments.

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