South Park: “PC Principal Final Justice” Season 19 Finale Review

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I’m not sure there’s a way this episode couldn’t have been a letdown. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s definitely more simplistic than the rest of the season.

Something felt off from the moment everyone in South Park started carrying guns. It’s timely, especially with the shooting in San Bernardino last week, and it fits relatively well with the season’s themes and motives without going over the top in being topical (Mr. Garrison as Donald Trump was handled similarly). It also gives way for the showdown that ends the season, which was handled pretty well.

But frankly, there’s also a feeling that the writers don’t have all the answers to the questions they raised in this stellar comeback season. They’re masking that fact with a bunch of timely gun control jokes. It works to some degree, mostly because if this were any other episode but the season finale to South Park‘s first serialized season ever, it would be a great takedown of our country’s insane gun laws. It’s embodied perfectly with Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, and Butters wondering aloud how they’re going to get guns, only for it to cut directly to them loading their new weapons. It’s hilarious and gets the point across.

The standoffs between families work well too. Especially with Randy admiring how smoothly his fights with his wife and kids get resolved once they all have guns pointed at each other.

“PC Principal Final Justice” still manages to continue and partially conclude the three-part advertising arc. It doesn’t say a whole lot about advertising or society. The biggest point of “drama” just ends up being that Leslie has warped Kyle’s mind. That is, until PC Principal puts his fist through her head.

So Leslie is dead, but her leaders are not. It makes sense, advertising is an industry that will never die. But the whole thing is a little unsatisfying. PC Principal’s final speech, where he tells everyone how to fix society, was a little too simplistic, hence Stan’s “This is going to be hard.” Whole Foods is gone, flying off somewhere into space after Randy yells at it. It’s an overall easy ending to a season that had a lot on its mind. Don’t get me wrong, this is a perfectly enjoyable episode of South Park. But this isn’t the finale viewers deserved for all that was raised in the nine episodes preceding it. Finale Grade: B/Season Grade: A-

Some Other Notes:

  • South Park tends to drive jokes into the ground. No pun intended, the one recurring one that worked best for me all season was Caitlyn Jenner violently running people over with her car. I think I laughed at every single occurrence.
  • I like the point this finale made about PC talk just being verbal gentrification.
  • So wraps season 19, which was a redemption of sorts for South Park. While the finale may have been underwhelming, most of what came before it was so surprising and so awesome. This was a season full of classic episodes. “The City Part of Town,” “Safe Space,” “Tweek x Craig,” and “Sponsored Content” were all outstanding, and everything that came between them was pretty great as well. The guys have a lot to be proud of with this season. With an overarching theme that spans so many current issues, South Park masterfully showed us what a serialized version of itself would look like. With results like these, the show can go on for a lot longer. Season 20 will air around the presidential election most likely. I can’t wait.

By Matt Dougherty

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