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The Regime: Series Finale Review

Kate Winslet looks at herself in the mirror in the series finale of The Regime

With its final episode, HBO series The Regime concludes the narrative act of its characters this week, but is it a fitting season finale?

After six weeks, The Regime comes to its season finale this week. I would lie if I said I would miss the series, but I was definitely looking forward to seeing how it would end the plotlines and characters’ arcs that we have seen in the last few episodes. Admittedly, I have not been the biggest fan of the HBO show over the past few weeks, but I hoped the series would finally deliver on its fascinating premise in its last episode, just like it did in the first.

The season finale of The Regime, called “Don’t Yet Rejoice,” takes place after the revolution we caught a glimpse of last week. When the episode starts, Chancellor Elena Vernham (Kate Winslet, of Mare of Easttown) and her right-hand man Herbert Zubak (Matthias Schoenaerts, of A Bigger Splash) are running away from the Palace, attempting to hide in the countryside. The two are escaping from the new authorities that have taken over the country after the uprising that deposed Elena’s authoritarian regime: if they get caught, their very lives are at risk as the rebels want Elena to answer for her crimes.

Once again, the acting is the most impressive element of the whole series. While her character could have been written and explored better in The Regime, especially in the season finale, Kate Winslet steals the scene as Elena in this episode. She is undoubtedly a flawed character and not the hero of the story, but her performance makes us want to root for her in the end. Matthias Schoenaerts is just as convincing as Herbert Zubak, in all his contradictions and nuances. The supporting characters are not nearly as explored as Elena or Herbert, but the rest of the cast also delivers effective performances that kept me hooked to the screen.

Matthias Schoenaerts lies on top of Kate Winslet in the woods in the series finale of The Regime
Matthias Schoenaerts and Kate Winslet in the series finale of The Regime (Miya Mizuno/HBO)

The season finale of The Regime had the potential to be the strongest episode of the entire series, but its storytelling once again fails. Much like in the rest of the season, there is no real enemy. Sure, it is suggested multiple times in the constant threat of the rebels who are actively looking for Elena, but the audience never really sees them. The revolutionaries that are so important to the conflict of the show remain mostly faceless and are only mentioned regarding Elena’s troubles. At the end of episode 6, it felt like I was watching a resolution without having seen any actual conflict or journey of overcoming the hardship that the characters are meant to face.

For being such a high-stakes episode, where Elena’s life is constantly under threat, the pacing of the series also feels very odd: it’s incredibly slow for the majority of it, especially for a season finale, and yet it also feels too hurried at the same time. In the final twenty minutes of the episode, it feels very much like the entire plotline was rushed to tie up all the loose ends. However, the series does not succeed at that either, as there is too much left unsaid by the time the show ends.

Rather than answering our questions and giving us some much-needed answers, the season finale only creates more doubts over the narrative of The Regime. While I can easily understand what the show was trying to do by showing Elena as merely a meaningless figurehead in service of American interests, despite everything that happened during the series, this does not land due to the weird pacing and awkward storytelling. Ultimately, it is very sad to see the ending of a show where the characters are in the same place, and in the same circumstances we saw them in at the beginning of the season.

I had really high hopes for the finale of The Regime, and for the whole series overall, but week after week, I felt the show was becoming more and more disappointing. After all, it is very telling that I was almost happy to sit down and watch the season finale rather than sad to let these characters and this story go. If you are still unsure whether or not you want to sit through six episodes of The Regime, I am sure there are better shows – or even films – out there even for fans of the genre that are a lot better at portraying a political satire than this one.

The Series Finale of The Regime is now available to watch on Max.

The Regime: Episode 5 Review – Loud And Clear Reviews
Heading towards its season finale, The Regime heightens its stakes more than ever in episode 5. But does it really work? Read the review.
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