Arguably the comedian’s finest work, Ricky Gervais made the third season of After Life tear-jerkingly beautiful as his character, Tony Johnson, grapples with the death of his wife, Lisa- played by Kerry Godliman- who succumbs to cancer. It was the perfect way to end this emotional and existential journey.
Filled with the comedian’s zany humour and dry, borderline offensive jokes, the show was a phenomenal portrait of the moving catharsis Gervais’ character, Tony Johnson, undergoes while battling grief, depression and addiction.
Starring Gervais, Penelope Wilton, Kerry Godliman, David Bradley, Ashley Jensen, Diane Morgan and others, the show released its third and final season on January 14th, 2022, and has received an overwhelmingly warm reception ever since. Recently, Gervais revealed that one scene makes him tear up, even after watching it “70 times”.
In the sixth and final episode, Lisa is seen reciting a poem as Tony finally comes to terms with himself his suffering and manages to be the man Lisa had fallen in love with and was seen talking about in all her videos. Although the authorship of the poem is quite disputed, ‘Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep’ is devastatingly sentimental yet realistic as it gives comfort to the ones in bereavement. Gervais found the poem admittedly “devastating” and “always wanted to use it”.
Talking about Godliman’s phenomenal delivery of the lines in a poignant and profound manner with the instrumental music in the background, Gervais said, “It was one take, and I looked around, and everyone was quiet, so yeah, it’s that one for me.”
Even Diane Morgan, who plays Kath, Tony’s co-worker, praised Godliman’s performance, lauding her for doing it “honestly” and not dwelling on the “sentimentality of it”.
While fans have wondered if this would be the end to the show, Gervais, while saying that it was admittedly tempting, has talked about how it was the best creative decision to end on a high. The finale was absolutely beautiful and deserves a watch.
Watch After Life on Netflix now.