Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Tuesday’s episode of The Conners…
Darlene is finally happy — which means it was just about time for David to come back into her life.
On The Conners season finale, Darlene (Sara Gilbert) excitedly begins to tell her family that Ben has asked her and her kids to move to Chicago with him. She does feel a little guilty, seeing as she promised to stay and help Becky (Lecy Goranson) raise her baby, but her pregnant sister is fully supportive of the move, as is her dad, Dan (John Goodman), who’s pretty thrilled about the idea of having some peace and quiet — before Becky inevitably becomes the next Conner child to move back in. Darlene’s kids, Harris (Emma Kenny) and Mark (Ames McNamara) are just as stoked about the idea of getting out of Lanford, where Harris especially feels she’s been tortured in suburban hell for the past couple of years, so the move seems like a no brainer for Darlene, who is finally happy and in what seems like a solid relationship with Ben, a small miracle after divorcing her childhood sweetheart, David (Johnny Galecki).
Naturally, this is about the time David comes knocking on the door of the Conner home. He reveals to Darlene that he’s finally broken up with his girlfriend, Blue, because she wanted kids and “the whole package” — a fun fact she revealed to Darlene at Becky’s baby shower in the last episode — which David just couldn’t give her. His family, after all, had always been with Darlene. It’s a completely unfair move on his part, especially when he tells Darlene to say no to Ben’s Chicago request, which included one hell of a guilt trip from David: “Are you really going to bail on me to move in with some stranger?” Darlene makes sure to let him know how crappy that is, especially since that’s exactly what he did to her with Blue, but she’s obviously thrown by the confrontation — which would happen to anyone who’s grappling with a major relationship move just as an ex decides to re-declare their love for you.
Before they can discuss their status any further, Dan enlists Darlene’s help because Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is at a Chinese restaurant, drunkenly attempting to waitress, despite the fact that she doesn’t work there. The building used to be where Jackie and the late Roseanne ran the Lunch Box, and it’s where she’s gone to make sense of her breakup with Peter (Matthew Broderick), who she’s kicked out after learning he’s been having an affair. The former Lunch Box is fitting, as Jackie still hasn’t fully dealt with all of her feelings after Roseanne’s death, and leaving Peter was now the catalyst to figure out where everything has gone wrong in her life. Luckily, Dan and Darlene were there to pick her up.
After both incidents go down, Darlene seems to have second thoughts about moving to Chicago. Ben comes over to find out if he’ll soon have a live-in girlfriend. She doesn’t mention the life-changing conversation with David, instead using her dad as an excuse to stay in Lanford. “I definitely want to move in with you,” she explains, “but I just can’t leave my dad alone right now. He’s too vulnerable.” Ben is disappointed, but Darlene claims it’ll be too tough to move away just to come back in a couple of months if Dan needs her help, plus it’ll help him get used to the idea of her leaving Lanford. It’s hard to blame Ben for being a bit confused, but oh so easy to blame David.
Meanwhile, Becky has finally given Emilio (Rene Rosado) a real chance, even apologizing to him for taking so long to come around as they sweetly enjoying a meal — and a kiss! — together in the park. It seems like these two crazy kids might just be able to turn their unexpected pregnancy journey into a romance until Becky and Dan’s biggest fear comes true. ICE has raided all of the restaurants in downtown Lanford, and Emilio ends up being deported back to Chihuahua, Mexico.
The season finale leaves us with plenty of questions: Will Darlene and Ben be able to make long-distance work, for both their jobs and love? Will David end up preventing Darlene from moving on with someone new? Will Emilio be able to get back into the States? Will Jackie finally find a healthy relationship? How on earth will Harris recover from burning every bridge with her “I hate Lanford” tirade in the local paper?
Considering there’s more left unanswered than answered with this finale, there better be another season of The Conners — which, luckily, Metcalfe has promised ET there will be.