Simon Rich’s Miracle Workers has proven to be an extremely enjoyable watch over the past seven episodes, as Daniel Radcliffe, Geraldine Viswanathan and their fellow angels have done their best to save the Earth after Steve Buscemi’s rather petty and childish God decided he couldn’t be arsed with the planet anymore (and who can blame him?) and intended to destroy it. However in the last episode he changed his mind after visiting his family and being mocked by them, only to discover that he couldn’t – and the only possibility of our continued existence was for Daniel and co to get Sam (Jon Bass) and Laura (Sasha Compère), a rather socially inept couple, to fall in love.
The final episode was a slightly frustrating beast though (like a cute kitten with dysentery, then) as while there were some great moments and funny gags it felt a bit predictable, and a couple of things didn’t quite add up. Starting with all of the employees of Heaven going through their exit interviews and generally grumbling about their jobs being shit (nipples were supposed to squirt orange juice for instance, which they never got to work), all are happy it’s coming to an end, bar our miracle workers who are still hoping they can get Sam and Laura to kiss. Unfortunately no one’s on hand to help as they’re all at an end of the world party and having the time of their deaths, until Lolly Adofope’s Rosie threatens them with the removal of their severance packages so they all head back to help out. What doesn’t really make sense is that despite their early behaviour they’re happy to try and save the planet, and most do everything they can to support people they’ve previously had no interaction with.
The way they get to Sam and Laura to kiss is initially funny as they pull out all the stops to get the couple to reconnect, including freak weather, electrical damage, broken sewer pipes, falling flower pots, and Craig finally steps up and risks his life by using a dangerous device to control bees and use them to attack Sam. And when they finally do meet the angels step back, having learnt their lesson in previous episodes that sometimes things can’t be forced and should just happen naturally. It’s a sweet ending even if it’s perhaps a little hard to understand why this was an impossible prayer, it was only a kiss after all and there’s no guarantee that love will inevitably follow.
There’s also a few funny scenes with God (Steve Buscemi) who wants to help out but by constantly smashing the lightening button is only making things worse, as he tends to do. So Sanjay (Karan Soni) manages to get rid of him by dumping in the department of Mammoths and due to his illiteracy he falls for it, at least until he discovers that the new device he’s supposed to repeatedly touch is unplugged and nearly screws everything up. This scene contains an especially great moment when Sanjay finally snaps and screams at him “You’re an idiot. You’re a moron. You made a stupid, crazy planet and now it’s going to blow up. It’s all your fault, it’s all because of you” and when God tries to leave he even manages to fuck that up.
Given the unpredictable nature of the show I had no idea if we were going to get a happy ending, which is definitely a positive thing, and I have to admit that I hoped that they’d fail, or perhaps succeed but then the doomsday device would malfunction and destroyed the planet anyway. This is an oh so slightly nihilistic view it’s true, but I can’t help but feel it would have been funnier than what we actually got, which was everyone getting their happy ending, and a very pat and contrived one at that. Suddenly everyone’s partying again but this time it’s because they’re happy the Earth’s still there, completely contradicting everything we’ve seen in this episode and the previous ones. Sanjay even tells God he loves him, Eliza and Craig flirt and dance, and the newsreader the show has featured throughout announces he’s taking some time out and suggests to everyone “You’ve got to seize the day”, which is rather on the nose and just a bit much, some subtlety was definitely needed here.
Despite my issues with the ending I’m aware many may disagree, and enjoy this very happy piece of denouement, and it certainly didn’t spoil the series as a whole for me. Whether or not it comes back for a second season is unknown, the ratings are middling but not disastrous, but I really do hope it does, it’s been an endearing and very funny series, the angel’s often brutal resolutions to problems have been hilarious to watch and it would be a real shame if we didn’t get to see more of this world.
Miracle Workers Season 1 Episodes 1 & 2