I don’t think there was anyone that had high expectations South Park’s season 20 finale. I know I didn’t. The entire season has been a jumbled, inconsistent mess. Whether it was the Mr. Garrison/Hillary Clinton election, the feud between the boys and girls, Member Berries, or trolling, nothing this season was fluid or focused. There was no reason to believe things would change for the final episode.
The central (and only) focus of this episode was to resolve the problems surrounding Troll Trace. It did, but wasn’t very satisfying. The plan was to literally break the internet, so Kyle enlisted the help of all his friends to troll and spam any and all sites on the internet. Kyle channeled his inner “Skankhunt”, and with Boston playing in the background, he successfully kept Troll Trace from corrupting the world (he also had some help from Elon Musk and SpaceX). This montage was by far the best part of the episode and really the only thing that deserved a laugh. It was great seeing Kyle reach out to people like Token to see how to best “piss off black people”. In case you were wondering, his response was to say, “Beyoncè ain’t nothing but a Taylor Swift rip-off.” The whole scene was great and reminded me of the gang talking to each other using Teamspeak on “Make Love Not Warcraft”.
Other than that, though, the episode didn’t have anything going for it. Gerald’s final faceoff with the Danish prime minister (who wasn’t actually the prime minister) didn’t feel like proper closer to a season long joke. Mr. Garrison didn’t do a thing this episode, and Cartman, who I thought would break out of his funk, proved to be the most useless character of the season. For arguably the show’s most popular and recognizable character, the real Cartman was completely absent from this season. And even the role he did play offered nothing to the season.
No matter how poor the jokes were this episode and how shaky the plot was, the real tragedy was what was left out the finale. I knew there was no way Trey Parker and Matt Stone could possibly give a proper and satisfying end to everything they introduced this season. There was no Hillary Clinton or the two Bills. J.J. Abrams didn’t make an appearance. The feud between the boys and girls at South Park Elementary was all but forgotten. And for the most mysterious and strange characters, the Member Berries didn’t say a word this episode. How can these be such major plot points throughout the season and not even get acknowledge in the finale? Nothing, besides Troll Trace, was resolved. Parker and Stone love to be both shocking and topical. They like to satire anything that is relevant which is why we saw so much this season, but it just didn’t work in serialized season.
It’s hard to say I was disappointed with this episode because I didn’t have any expectations. Even the overall social commentary South Park made this season was weak. Chalking up the election to “Trevor’s Axiom was a bit strange (even if a bit true, maybe?) and the broad trolling theme was a bit too obvious. We all know people on the internet suck, we’ve all seen it. There was nothing Parker or Stone could say involving the internet that would feel like satire. Let’s just hope the title of this week’s episode, “The End of Serialization as we Know it” is a hint at what’s to come in 2017.