Captain Phil’s curtain call

Posted by · 9:43 am · July 16th, 2010

I don’t know if anyone here is a “Deadliest Catch” fan. I picked the series up sometime around Season 3, I think, and was hooked. It’s always been a great touchstone for my father and I, something we could kind of share our delights in when I call home, even if mom didn’t fully get it.

So of coursethe last two episodes have been particularly affecting for obvious reasons. But as I caught up with the final episode to feature Captain Phil Harris, I was struck not just by the emotion of the assemblage, but the masterful storytelling on display.

Truly, I would say this season, with its various dramatic strings forming a brilliant sort of structure, has quickly evolved as one of the most precise and graceful examples of documentary filmmaking I’ve ever seen. Unfortunate circumstances are largely responsible, but I couldn’t be more happy with the delicacy and vision the crew has brought to this series, right now, in this moment.

I was struck by this even more watching Tuesday’s post-show special “After the Catch” with Mike Rowe. They brought one of the show’s cameramen on, the one who was with Harris the longest — up until the end. He talked about how he would explain to Harris that a story needs a beginning, a middle and an end. Without one of them, you have nothing.

The cameraman was hesitant to film what seemed to be Harris’s demise, but the cranky captain Harris, snapped his documentarian to work, scribbling on a piece of paper, “You have to have an ending.”

And in the finale, as we get the news we all knew was coming at the end of the episode, Johnny Cash’s final croon hits on the soundtrack — “Freedom.” — and it’s leveling. Just leveling.

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4 responses so far

  • 1 7-16-2010 at 9:46 am

    CinematicallyCorrect said...

    It was as moving as anything I had ever watched. It’s already technically amazing that this show is even put together, but this season, with its huge drama, has been almost too hard to watch.

  • 2 7-16-2010 at 2:36 pm

    j said...

    I know the death ep was up 60% in ratings over the previous episode, which already was significantly higher vs. last season’s episodes. 2nd week in a row that the top-rated program on all of TV is cable, after Lebron’s press conference.

  • 3 7-16-2010 at 6:36 pm

    Amanda said...

    I have loved this show since it started. The last two episodes have been great tv, and very hard to watch.

  • 4 7-17-2010 at 1:23 pm

    austin111 said...

    I know it sounds awful, but I kept waiting for the moment when Captain Phil would keel over from a heart attack, cancer, stroke…god knows the man smoked like a chimney, drank coffee like there was no tomorrow, and drove himself mercilously.