"Final Countdown" was the 19th and final episode of the fifth season of Corner Gas, and the 88th in series' history. The episode premiered on the CTV Television Network on April 21, 2008. Surprisingly, the episode made its American premiere on WGN America, in its final month as "Superstation WGN," a couple of weeks later on May 6, even though the network still hadn't aired episodes from the season's Fall 2007 portion.
Synopsis: The episode takes place in real time, leading up to the stroke of midnight, which marks Brent's 40th birthday. Everyone has their own little way of celebrating. Wanda is planning a fireworks display at midnight, which Oscar helps out with, and Davis tries to stop, until he sees how pretty the fireworks are, leading him to waste the supply before the top of the hour. Emma and Lacey each bake a cake for Brent, arguing over whose is better. Karen can't seem to get anyone to sign Brent's card. As for the birthday boy himself, he can't find a bottle of now-40-year-old scotch he put away 20 years back, while Hank is convinced he drank that bottle of scotch at a party at the Leroy household, also 20 years ago.
"Final Countdown" is the first Corner Gas episode to be shot entirely at night, as shooting at night costs extra money. In fact, the first scene to be shot at night appeared in season three's "Telescope Trouble." It seems that in "Final Countdown," the crew battled the elements: the cast's breath can be seen due to the cold temperatures, and in the scene in which Oscar sets off a firework too close to his left ear, it is raining steadily.
Emmy Award-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland of the popular American drama 24, makes a cameo appearance. Though he stars in a prominent American show, and was born in London, England, Sutherland was raised primarily in Canada. His mother, legendary actress Shirley Douglas, has an off-camera, speaking cameo. Douglas most likely did not appear on-camera because she had previously played the character Peggy in season three's "Trees a Crowd."
Inside the Ruby Cafe, it's just past 11:30 PM. In less than a half-hour, Brent turns 40. Behind the counter, Wanda announces that this personal milestone in her boss's life is fast approaching, and that at midnight, she is to set off a fireworks display. She tries to get everyone to synchronize their watches so that the fireworks aren't set off too quickly or far too past the top of the hour. Unfortunately, everyone else's watches or cell phones are set far too ahead of Wanda's watch, whose time is set in accordance with the United States Naval Observatory's Master Atomic Clock. When she gives the command for everyone to synchronize their watches (a simple "Now!" is the signal), everyone is confused by what she means. When Karen asks Lacey, who is standing next to Wanda, what she means, Lacey remarks that she "stopped listening two 'nows' ago."
After the opening creditsEdit
Brent and Hank are in Brent's car, driving to the Leroy house, so that Brent can pick up the bottle of now-40-year-old scotch he had been saving just for this occasion. Hank realizes what Brent is talking about, and starts acting weird. He suddenly yells to Brent that there is a dog in the road, forcing his best friend to slam on the brakes. When his car comes to a stop, Brent sees that there is no dog, but he can't tell this to Hank, as Hank has already flung open the passenger side door, and is now dashing down the street, away from the stopped car.
Back at the Ruby, Fitzy is helping to put up some decorations for the party that will take place after the fireworks. He is halted, however, by his ringing cell phone. It's Davis, warning Fitzy about said fireworks, which Fitzy already knows about. Davis proclaims they are a fire hazard, and that a field team must stop the display. Fitzy tells him not to call a field hockey team again, even though they signed permission slips. Davis is also barred from calling the local football team, even though they have their own helmets. So the sergeant takes matters into his own hands, calling who he thinks is the baseball coach, but it's Shirley Douglas's house. Her son, Kiefer Sutherland, answers the call, only to have Davis make fun of him for being at his mother's house, and asking him how old he is. Sutherland hangs up on Davis, then is asked by Douglas, off-camera, who was on the phone. Kiefer responds, "Damn it, Mom, I told you to knock before you come in!"
In the Ruby, Karen tries to get Wanda to sign Brent's birthday card, but Wanda's too busy loading up a box of fireworks to take across the street. After she leaves, Hank rushes in to see Lacey, but is stopped by Karen. Hank takes the card and pen, opens it, and after much thought, doesn't sign the card, instead handing it off to Mertyl Runciman, who opens it, pretending it's a menu, and tells Karen that she'll have the meatloaf, then gets up and leaves. Hank approaches Lacey, telling her he needs 40-year-old scotch. Lacey informs Hank that she doesn't have any, but instead old cooking sherry she used to catch flies. Hank asks how old it is, prompting a disgusted Lacey to tell him, "It's got flies." Hank tells Lacey his dilemma, and a flashback to 20 years prior is seen, with Hank, sporting a mullet and no hat, coming downstairs at Oscar and Emma's with a bottle of then-20-year-old scotch for party guests. He pours it in a wastebasket, with everyone else dumping in their beer or other alcoholic beverages. In the present day, Wanda and Oscar are in the field across the street, testing the fireworks, while Emma walks into the Ruby with the cake she made for Brent. It's a two-layer, chocolate, double chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, the same cake Emma had been feeding Brent since he was one. Emma explains that it was the only way she and Oscar could get him to walk. Lacey unveils her cake, an exact replica of Corner Gas, complete with pumps, and a tiny Brent reading a comic book outside next to a toy car. It also has a talking candle. Emma's jealousy is immediate.
Across the street in the field, Oscar brings Wanda a box of the brand of fireworks he sold when he owned Corner Gas, all of which were manufactured in China. He lights one called "Flaming Monkey," and sticks in soil in a wheelbarrow. Oscar lights the fuse, and he and Wanda quickly step back...but nothing happens. He lights another one, called "Sky Cricket," and it, too, proves to be a dud. By then, Davis has shown up in his car, telling Wanda and Oscar that the fireworks display is being shut down.
Inside the Ruby, it's 11:42, with Karen unable to get the microwave to work. Brent walks in, asking Lacey if she's seen Hank. She tells him about Hank's recent visit, and his confession that he drank Brent's scotch. But Brent tells Lacey that Hank only thinks he drank the scotch. A flashback shows Brent putting a bottle of scotch behind an old photo at the Leroy household. When he turns around, however, he knocks the picture into the scotch, sending them both crashing to the floor. So he puts another bottle of scotch behind the picture, noticing Hank peeking around the doorway. He then puts the real bottle of scotch in a cabinet in the basement. Lacey says that Brent could've saved himself some money by merely putting tea in one bottle, and storing the other one as planned. Brent realizes his error, but quickly turns back to a great birthday present for himself: watching Hank squirm while he drinks his scotch. Lacey suggests that a better present would be a car or a rare comic book.
Back in the field, Davis orders Wanda to put the fireworks in the trunk of the police cruiser, since she doesn't have a permit. Davis, however, moves in front of the hood, seeming to back away from the fireworks. Oscar teases him, saying in a sing-song voice, "Davis is a-scared, Davis is a-scared." He grabs one of Wanda's fireworks, and lights it. Wanda runs to Davis. The fireworks take off into the sky and explode. Oscar is stunned, and his green hat is now somewhat sideways. Davis changes his mind about the display, and tells Oscar to set off another firework. Oscar can only say, "What?!" as he had the first firework right next to his left ear when it went off, meaning he's gone temporarily deaf. When Wanda tells a small group of three people that the first firework was only a test, Oscar responds by accusing his doctor of stealing a pair of his socks.
Back at the Ruby, Karen and Emma are looking at Lacey's cake for Brent. Karen tries to get Emma and Lacey to sign the card, but they've begun arguing about the cakes. At the bar, Hank asks Phil if he has a 40-year-old bottle of scotch. Phil says he has three bottles of one-year-old scotch, so Hank asks if he has a bottle of 37-year-old scotch. Phil says no, but that he has 10 bottles of four-year-old scotch. Hank asks if that is cheaper, but Phil tells Hank he's only kidding, that he thought they were adding stuff up to 40. Hank tells Phil just give him a bottle of whatever he has. Brent arrives, telling Hank he's been looking everywhere for him. Phil brings the scotch to Hank, who tries to pretend that he didn't ask for any scotch, and Hank and Brent leave for his place to get the real bottle of scotch.
In the field, Wanda sets off more test fireworks with a now-amazed Davis. Oscar approaches, telling Davis that his phone is ringing, even though nothing is ringing. Wanda tells him to be quiet, since Davis is almost on-board with the display, but Oscar thinks Wanda is asking him if he wants a coffee, prompting him to respond, "One cream, two sugars." Karen walks up with the card, but again, she is rejected. By this time, Davis is lighting fireworks himself, causing Wanda to ask him to stop.
Across the street at the Ruby, Emma is now decorating her cake for Brent, attempting to draw her son using decorative icing. Davis comes in, asking for matches. He sees both cakes, telling Lacey that hers is a bit over-the-top for his tastes, preferring Emma's simple cake, though he thinks that Emma is drawing a tree, not Brent. Davis leaves with the matches.
12 minutes before he turns 40, Brent and Hank arrive at Oscar and Emma's. They get downstairs to the basement, and Hank confesses about drinking the scotch, but Brent tells him he didn't. They go to the cabinet for the bottle of scotch, but they can't find it. Brent looks at one clock, but it's broken. He then turns to a radio clock with no hands. He turns on a lamp with no shade over it, and looks at his watch, seeing that midnight is approaching fast. They go to the Ruby, where Emma is still decorating her cake. Brent asks his mother where his scotch is, so she tells him that she threw it out, because it was old and tasted like old wood.
Back outside, Davis tells Oscar that he's going to light a firework with another firework. Wanda runs up, telling Davis to stop, believing he's going to kill all three of them. Davis chants, "Wanda is a-scared, Wanda is a-scared." A still-deaf Oscar bizarrely responds, "Walter has a beard, Walter has a beard!" Davis sets off another firework, which Hank and Brent see downtown. Wanda tells Davis that her reputation as a perfectionist is on the line, because they won't stop playing with the fireworks. She asks where the rest of them are, but Davis says they used all of them up "testing" them. As he talks, Oscar turns to him, meaning his hearing is back. Wanda loudly tells Oscar that she needs his fireworks, with Oscar responding that he can hear again. She again orders him to dry out his fireworks, with Oscar again telling her he can hear, but Wanda responds that yelling at Oscar makes her feel better, so he quickly sets off to dry his fireworks out.
Inside the Ruby, Emma is still working on her cake, and Karen still can't get her to sign Brent's card. Lacey is just about to, when Emma notices an odd smell coming from the kitchen. Lacey, Emma and Karen run back to find Oscar standing in front of the oven. He's put the fireworks in there to dry them out. Lacey tells him to pull them out, just as the timer dings. As Oscar walks out, the fireworks let off a little steam.
Across town, Hank and Brent are at the insurance agency/liquor store. Brent had to call Wes ahead of time to get him to wake up. Hank had thought that Wes had died or moved to Winnipeg, but Wes laments that Hank and Brent just didn't call him. Brent tells Wes that he wants a 40-year-old bottle of scotch, or that he stops calling again. Wes pulls out a bottle he had on special for Doc Russell, but lets Brent have it under the circumstances. The cost of $450CDN has Brent backing away, so Hank volunteers to pay for it by giving Wes his truck. Knowing how old and beat up Hank's truck is, Wes asks for the other $400. Brent gives Hank his keys back, and pulls out a credit card.
Back at the Ruby, Fitzy unwittingly throws fire onto Lacey and Emma's cake showdown, saying that one cake was a real cake and the other was a joke cake, though he didn't specify which one was which, leaving Lacey and Emma to argue again. However, the two decide to let the birthday boy say which cake he liked best.
It's 20 seconds until midnight, and Oscar is now lighting all of his fireworks. The clock strikes midnight, but the fireworks don't go off right away. Everyone in the Ruby has now gathered outside to watch the show. Wanda asks Davis if she can borrow his gun for a second, but there's no need. Just 20 seconds past midnight, the fireworks finally go off. Wanda, Davis and Oscar join the others, receiving a cup of the scotch as they come in. Brent calls for a toast, to which all of his closest friends contribute:
- Lacey: To Brent. Good guy, good friend.
- Hank: Yeah. You know, if it weren't for you, Brent, I probably wouldn't be here right now.
- Lacey: (to Hank) I didn't know Brent saved your life.
- Hank: No, I just mean I'd be at home sleepin'.
- Davis: Congratulations, buddy. Turnin' 40 ain't so bad. I turned 40 recently.
- Karen: (to Davis) That was, like, five years ago.
- Wanda: I thought it was six.
- Davis: Ooh, look, fireworks!
- Oscar: Here's to you, son. And I don't say this enough, but you're a good kid. In fact, I'm seeing more of myself in you every day.
- Brent: Had to add that last part.
- Wanda: And you're a pretty good boss, too. Well, maybe not a good boss, but you're always there to...well, you're often there. And you like cartoons. That's all I got.
- Lacey: Well, if I'd known everybody was going to be making speeches, I would've say something more than, you know, the "good guy, good friend" thing.
- Karen: (talking about Davis) I wanna say thanks for all your guidance and advice over the years. Wait, who are we toasting again?
- Hank: Brent.
- Karen: Oh. Good guy, good friend.
- Emma: Brent, as you're blowing out the candles on your birthday cakes, remember: try mine first.
- Lacey: Unbelievable.
- Hank: To Brent!
- Everyone: (in unison) To Brent! (far off in the distance, in another part of town, another group can be heard yelling, "To Brent!")
They all taste the scotch, but quickly spit it out. Wanda heads into the Ruby to get some root beer for mix. Hank follows to get the bucket. Brent happily sticks with his scotch. As the fireworks continue, a snippet of The Tragically Hip's 1998 hit, "Fireworks," plays.
Afterwards, everyone is gathered in the Ruby. Brent looks at Karen's card, and asks where everyone else's cards are. Davis says that Karen speaks for all of them, but Karen bluntly states she doesn't. Brent accepts her explanation, then is handed a piece of cake from Emma, and a piece from Lacey. Instead of tasting both pieces separately, he smashes them together, to Lacey and Emma's surprise. He takes a bite, with Wanda calling his actions "gross." Brent ends both the episode and season by stating, "Nope, that's delicious. At least half of it is." As he takes another bite, Emma and Lacey stare at each other.