LOS ANGELES — Thursday night’s final episode of “Two and a Half Men” marked the end of 12 turbulent seasons, and the show immediately addressed the elephant in the room: Would Charlie Sheen return? For the past four years, his character, Charlie Harper, has been dead as a doornail, but the finale showed us that Charlie’s “widow,” Rose, had been keeping him in a pit in her basement all this time. That is, until Charlie escaped.
As the hour unfolded, Alan (Jon Cryer) and Walden (Ashton Kutcher) discovered that Charlie was alive and coming for them to get revenge. Rose (Melanie Lynskey) explained (in a bizarre animated sequence) that Charlie’s life had been saved at the last minute by a goat who jumped in front of the train meant for him, and she took him back to hold him hostage.
Seemingly every character in the show’s history — and many exes, including one who was sleeping with John Stamos — showed up as Alan and Walden tried to make amends on what they thought might be their last day alive. The pair tried to get help from a police detective played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who captured Charlie (though it turned out to be Christian Slater he’d caught).
The two even got a visit from Alan’s son, Jake, now married and living in Japan. Angus T. Jones, who played Jake, denounced the show a few years ago before leaving but returned for the finale.
With a minute remaining in the show, Alan and Walden spotted a helicopter in the distance, carrying a piano belonging to Charlie. From behind, we saw Charlie come up to the front door, only to be crushed by the piano. Cut to the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, saying “Winning!” (Sheen’s catchphrase during his troubled times) before he was crushed by a piano himself.
It was a bizarre finale to say the least, almost reaching “Newhart” proportions. The fourth wall was broken so many times, it was demolished.
Lorre anticipated that people would be disappointed by the lack of Sheen and explained in his vanity card that the actor was offered the chance to appear in the final scene to deliver a few lines before being crushed by the piano but refused. Sheen tweeted earlier that he was appearing on “The Goldbergs” but would never appear on “Two and a Half Men” again.
Some fans were mightily disappointed, as the show had built up to an appearance by the character of Charlie but failed to deliver.
Many said on Twitter that the show was good up until that final scene, though others thought it lived up to its reputation.