Same here. I don't think I've ever been so affected by a series and so sad to see it end! I keep hoping beyond hope that Scott and Alex will do some special releases at some point in the future. No matter how things end for Dorian tomorrow, the nice thing about supernatural themes is that endings don't have to STAY endings forever.
Perhaps I should elaborate. I understand what Scott meant when he said that it was going to be a controversial end to the series, and that some listeners may not like how the series concludes. Here's what I think, bearing in mind these are my initial thoughts based on only listening to the story once:
At first I really wasn't sure what to make of the whole "Was Dorian Gray's life a deluded dream, or genuinely real and this is the dream" premise. That idea in general has always irked me as most of the time it is handled quite poorly.
Either because its supposed to be played as a mystery, but we already know the answer before we go into it, which is slightly self-defeating (e.g. Smallville: Labyrinth) or its entirely illogical and is just designed to act as a twist ending to the series (e.g. The Brittas Empire)
When I went into the story realising this premise, I expected the standard big reveal at the end with Dorian breaking free from Lucifer's dream, defeating him and getting Toby back (and admittedly, the sentimental side of me was half hoping for that ending). But thankfully, Mr Handcock was cleverer than that, and the story subverted my expectations in the way that this series does. Even though part of me wanted an answer, I realised that what I may have wanted might not have been what was beneficial for the story, and enjoyed the experience a lot more for that fact.
It uses those troupes that have been established time and time again (people in the 'real' world having familiar faces to those in the 'dream' world), all as a means of making you think the story is progressing to an expected conclusion. But when it doesn't, it knocks you for six when you realise that there not going to give you the answer. You have to make your own answer!
And I think that makes perfect sense for the final episode of Dorian. As a series, Dorian Gray means different things to different people. Some appreciate it more for the horror aspects of the series, some more for the romantic aspects, or as a vehicle to tell small supernatural stories. Even the character of Dorian himself can have multiple interpretations by audience members regarding his motivations and feelings. So its only logical that the final story would be one where the audience themselves have to interpret their conclusions about the ending.
In my mind, this is Scott Handcock saying "This is your series as much as it's mine. You can decide your ending for your Dorian Gray." And to be given that level of involvement from an audience point of view is the reason why being a fan of this series has been such a rewarding experience since the series began back in 2012. You feel like when you experience it, you own a small part of it. Its for that reason why I think The Confessions of Dorian Gray is the single best standalone series to come out of Big Finish, and this conclusion has proven a very satisfying final chapter to this series I have been committed to since it was first released.
Particularly bookending this series with a quote from the first episode that has resonance throughout the series was a beautiful touch!
Wow. Just wow. I'm going to need to process that. Overall it's been a very unconventional set of stories, but that's The Confessions of Dorian Gray all over.
Yes definitely not what was I was expecting at all. I'm heartbroken but I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I do think the ending is still open to interpretation but the actual ending of what seems to be happening is gut wrenching I'm not going to say more right now I will after I had some time to gather my thoughts
Just want to say this has become my absolute favorite Big Finish series (if that much wasn't already obvious). I love it & will miss it so so much but I am so glad for all the wonderful stories I experienced on the Dorian journey. I am also happy at least we have another project of Scott & Alex's to look forward to in the future...they make an incredible team.
I’m going to be pretty negative here, so I apologize ahead of time.
I know this ending is going to be lauded for being a complex and ambiguous story, but it just left me cold and feeling rather miserable.
The worst part of this season is that I knew it wasn’t going to work for me, because I already intensely disliked the Spirits of Christmas set. I knew that any resolution beyond that ending was going to be disappointing, and that it might have been better to leave this set alone.
But of course, I couldn’t do that. I had to know. It’s who I am.
To note, I hate the ‘is it real’ story in any series, because it’s a story that’s intended to disappoint the audience. We are going to be left questioning whether Dorian or Charles are the right person and if the whole series has been thrown under the bus or if the devil is playing a game that Dorian inevitably loses. Both possibilities are unsatisfying, probably intentionally, and from the beginning this led me to realize that I wouldn’t enjoy this one. By the end I was counting the time to the ending, waiting for the inevitable vague-but-possibly-downbeat-in-any-situation scenario. I knew early on this wasn't going to be clear-cut, and that we as an audience would be left to find our own answers, but I also saw it coming, and it made the whole experience a misery to listen to.
Performances were excellent as always, and the direction was fine in this one, but... it just feels like this entire series ends with an infuriating shrug, leaving me feeling disappointing and unsatisfied. I was intending to start over with This World Our Hell tomorrow, but I need some time away from this series after this. I undoubtedly will come back to it eventually, re-listen to my favorites (particularly the first two seasons), but I feel I need to get to a point where I can let these ill feelings go before I do so.
I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ in posting this. Hell, I barely post, so I feel bad taking this opportunity to vent, but... I feel like I need to type something out, just to process my negative feelings. I wouldn’t begrudge those who love this ending (and I feel pretty certain I’ll be the odd-one-out on this story), and I give credit for trying something so different, but this last season mostly just left me cold.
On another note, if you look at it in a certain way, Dorian Gray never actually appears in this final set. Three stories are vague remembrances, while the last leaves so much room to debate that there’s no ‘official’ appearance of a definite Dorian. So the series ends without its title character ever truly appearing.
(And on the note of owning one’s own ending, I still consider the Bernice Summerfield story Shades of Gray canon. So there! )
literatedead summed up my feelings well (although I enjoyed The Spirits of Christmas).
To note, I hate the ‘is it real’ story in any series, because it’s a story that’s intended to disappoint the audience. We are going to be left questioning whether Dorian or Charles are the right person and if the whole series has been thrown under the bus or if the devil is playing a game that Dorian inevitably loses.
Thanks, literatedead. After listening I wasn't sure how to articulate why I dislike "is it real?" episodes. Now I realise why: the throwing the series under the bus element. The subtext is always "all that time you spent following that series? Well, you may have wasted* it because none of it [may have] happened, even in-universe. Gotcha!"
I can handle a few stories being rendered out of existence because they will influence how a character acts (usually because the character remembers the ex-timeline) in following episodes. However, not only will there be no following episodes here, but it was also five years. Not only five years, but the entire range.
I was intending to start over with This World Our Hell tomorrow, but I need some time away from this series after this. I undoubtedly will come back to it eventually, re-listen to my favourites, but I feel I need to get to a point where I can let these ill feelings go before I do so.
I am also disappointed because I prefer endings that leave open the possibility of future adventures to happen off-screen. Seasons 1 and 3 fit that better. I also liked Season 2's ending because it mirrored the book's ending (but flipped the underlying emotion around).
* I realise that time spent following entertainment can be seen as always time wasted (or never time wasted) depending on your perspective.
If there was one thing that tied the entire boxset together it was the ambiguity of all stories including the final one. In the first story we never find out who did the killings, in the second we never find out if Dorian recognized James, and in the 3rd story we don't know if the second adventure happened with Dottie or if Dorothy was just relating a story because she missed her friend, etc.
And yes in this last story Charles could have died or this could have just been an elaborate scheme the devil is playing on Dorian & he will wake up again after that death scene. We don't see what happens after so we make our own end. I understand people are upset by the ending but I actually think that is how we are supposed to feel unsettled, uncomfortable, etc. This was horror in its purest form for me as I was right there with Dorian terrified as he tried to prove his existence. After being alone losing all the people he loved he was now also losing the one thing he had left his sense of self. The last scene with the painting felt symbolic to me in this sense. And I feel what makes this work is we also have to feel the same doubt that Dorian does.
The ending is absolutely shocking and gut wrenching and yes perhaps you want an answer but I think giving an answer would have sacrificed the impact of the ending. I personally think the ending was brilliant in the way it makes me feel and in the way it leaves room open for discussion and interpretation.
However, the ending doesn't prove that Dorian isn't real not at all. In fact as my friend philomina pointed out the first 3 stories of this boxset almost do prove his existence because we have 3 other characters that aren't Dorian talking about their experiences with Dorian Gray. In the end it's up to us. I choose to believe in Dorian's existence and that he woke up after he flatlined. Perhaps Satan will continue to make Dorian's life miserable for awhile in 2016 but by 2017 Dorian will find a way to overcome him and continue on his journey, maybe a way to get Toby back because I'm a romantic at heart. But either way the journey may end for us but I don't believe it's the end for Dorian. He's probably still not at peace but will live on and accumulate more regrets.