With only two episodes remaining, Jason Segel’s Dispatches from Elsewhere sat at an impasse. With the game (seemingly) in the past and its characters drifting apart, something needed to happen. That something turned out to be a jump one year into the future.
After the death of Janice’s (Sally Field) husband, Lev, and the one-date breakup of Peter (Jason Segel) and Simone (Eve Lindley), the team felt less like a team and more like four random strangers. With Fredwynn (André Benjamin) narrating instead of the usual Octavio (Richard E. Grant), the penultimate episode finds the group and the audience, as he says, “in the middle of our story.”
Clue 1: A Second Chance for the Couple
His year away from the game, and away from the group, has involved Peter going back to therapy and making an extensive list of his likes and dislikes. He realizes the problem is him and “at some point [he] got on some track without realizing it,” a feeling that many of us have felt at some point in our lives.
As Fredwynn continues talking about the stories we tell ourselves and then are told by others, Simone attends a balcony rooftop class, an odd location but fun nonetheless, and Peter begins taking magic classes. He invites her to his magic class graduation, which is a class full of children, and he attempts to escape from a glass case while in a straitjacket in front of Simone and Janice.
Peter gives Simone a well-rehearsed and syrupy sweet speech, which includes her reading a list of things he likes, including “kissing Simone” and “Simone’s laugh” and “talking to Simone”. They fall into bed together, literally in a bit of a dreamy sequence. A few days later, they meet up with Janice for their one-year Game-iversary. He gets her a book and she paints him a massive mural. Both sweet gifts, even if one is 250 times the size of the other.
Clue 2: Where’s Fredwynn?
Janice starts going to community college, and she’s crushing it, as she attempts to learn how to live life to the fullest once again. Her partner in the game, Fredwynn, hasn’t been heard from in several months, though. The team heads to his apartment, which is wide open, and they find him lying on the couch in a daze, in a state and a place called “elsewhere”.
The fourth member of the team has been struggling the past half-year, as he obsessed over Clara Torres’s death/disappearance/lack of a paper trail. After finding the urn filled with candy in the previous episode, he hasn’t been sleeping, becoming all-consumed with the truth about Clara and about the game. Fredwynn couldn’t function without knowing the truth, but more importantly to him, he couldn’t function with being wrong, misled, and confused.
Teamed up once again, the four of them head to Clara’s house to find Lee opening the door. A big reveal comes next: Lee is Clara Torres. She is the creator of the game and the creator of the Elsewhere Society. She had big dreams and visions, and they didn’t come true, so she made the game to try to make it up to herself, to remember who she was. Though the group doesn’t see this coming, an even larger surprise shows up at Clara’s doorstep in the form of the clown-faced boy from earlier in the season. He takes Peter by the hand, who follows the boy back into the world. The rest of the group decides to follow as the video begins to short out, turning fuzzy and unclear. Though the penultimate episode was far from consistent, it began the painstaking process of tying up loose ends, ones that need to be knotted by the end of this limited series. It set Dispatches from Elsewhere up for a finish full of magic, wonder, and hopeful answers to the many questions the series has been exploring. One thing can be sure though: the finale of Segel’s show will deal with these people and these relationships they’ve formed, and how connection might just be there, and our, saving grace.