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Colin From Accounts Honors Its Supporting Characters as the Romance Reaches Its Climax

The Season 1 finale defies expectations by advancing the stories of the people in Ashley and Gordon's orbit.
  • Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall in Colin From Accounts (Photo: Lisa Tomasetti/Paramount+)
    Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall in Colin From Accounts (Photo: Lisa Tomasetti/Paramount+)

    As with any romantic comedy, there's an implicit question at the heart of Colin From Accounts: Will Ashley (Harriet Dyer) and Gordon (Patrick Brammall), two people brought together by a near-fatal dog accident, end up together? Season 1 builds toward an answer as Ashley and Gordon address their own issues and work up the courage to take their relationship to the next level. By Episode 6, "The Good Room," they've moved past their early awkwardness, including a hookup that's abruptly halted due to Gordon's recent cystoscopy, and become a legitimate couple — they're even serious enough that Gordon is willing to suffer through an evening with Ashley's overbearing mother Lynelle (Helen Thomson) and her creepy partner Lee (Darren Gilshenan).

    But in the final two episodes of the season, "Bandit" and "High Needs People," co-creators Dyer and Brammall throw a wrench into Ashley and Gordon's newfound happiness. Desperate to prove he can hang with his girlfriend's millennial friends, Gordon plans a birthday party for her at his brewery, but his efforts are met with overt contempt from the drunken, entitled group. (What's worse, they write off the Gen X Gordon as a "boomer.") After he's finally kicked everyone out of Echo Park, Gordon accuses Ashley of treating him like a "warm prop" in front of her ex-boyfriend and suggests that their age difference is too great to overcome. In his hurt, Gordon even says that taking in Colin was a mistake: "We shouldn't have kept the dog," he spits, after making a nasty crack about Ashley's father not being in her life. "Because this isn't working."

    The penultimate episode ends on a cliffhanger as Ashley walks away from the conversation and sees a poster advertising a lost dog — Colin, previously known as Bandit. The revelation that Colin is a family pet, not a stray Gordon accidentally hit while distracted by Ashley's naked breast, sets up the events of the finale, in which Ashley and Gordon reunite to return Colin to his original owner. When the man in question proves uninterested in caring for a disabled dog, they resolve to find Colin a suitable home far, far away from the chaos that's become their relationship.

    Of course, letting go of Colin means letting go of each other, and despite breaking up after her birthday party, Ashley and Gordon aren't ready to call it quits. After they drop Colin off with a loving family (though perhaps one that's too loving) Gordon breaks down, revealing that he's crying for both the dog and the relationship he's just lost. "I think I accidentally opened my heart to a crippled dog, and then you slipped through the opening at the same time," he says. "If this is falling in love, I really don't like it. I'm not a fan. Because it's exhausting."

    Ashley admits that she feels the same, as falling in love with Gordon is like "going insane." They kiss, and the episode ends with them firing up the engine to take back Colin, the third and final member of their messed up, "high-needs" family.

    Given all that happens between Gordon and Ashley in the final two episodes of Season 1, Colin From Accounts could be forgiven for going all-in on its main romance and relegating its supporting characters to the back burner. But the Australian comedy, which began with an "anti-meet-cute," defies expectations yet again by looking beyond its central relationship to advance the stories of the people in their orbit, particularly those of Lynelle and Echo Park employees Chiara (Genevieve Hegney) and Brett (Michael Logo).

    Lynelle appears in just four episodes throughout the season, but her presence looms large over the show, as so many of Ashley's problems stem from her complicated relationship with her mother. In "The Good Room," Gordon confronts Lynelle about her tendency to dismiss Ashley's feelings and her persistent cruelty, explaining that by only speaking positively about Ashley in private, Lynelle has broken her daughter's spirit and destroyed her self-confidence. Two episodes later, the storyline comes full circle when Lynelle, after realizing that Lee has been sending money to a 21-year-old girl in Korea, apologizes for not listening to Ashley when she voiced concerns about the off-putting professor. "I'm sorry that I believed him and not you. You're my family," Lynelle says through tears. "I love you so much, Ashley Marie."

    To be sure, Ashley and Lynelle still have a lot to work on — their conflict over the trauma Ashley suffered on a previous birthday is too painful to solve in just one conversation — and Lynelle's apology doesn't cover the many ways she's been unkind to her daughter over the past three decades. But the emotional moment is a step in the right direction for both women, and it opens up interesting possibilities for Season 2 (which is currently in production) as Ashley navigates her first real relationship without her mother's nagging voice in her ear.

    Colin From Accounts' later episodes also expand the roles of Chiara and Brett, who begin the season as sounding boards for Gordon — as the clip above demonstrates, they're the ones who advise him on a millennial-appropriate outfit for Ashley's birthday party — but develop into interesting characters in their own right. Chiara is often depicted as the pragmatic "straight man" who keeps Brett and Gordon in check, but "Bandit" complicates that characterization when she develops an unexpected crush on Ashley's best friend Megan (Emma Harvie). The storyline isn't explicitly a coming-out arc, as Chiara has dated women in the past, but it does lead her to question her identity as a wife and mother, making for an interesting commentary about the things we discover (or rediscover) about ourselves later in life.

    And though Brett could easily have been typecast as a zany, idealistic employee who's more concerned with drinking beer than selling it (as was the case with Seth Rogen's brewery gang in Platonic) the writers and Logo depict him as an enterprising and devoted team player. Brett also connects with Megan at Ashley's birthday party, but when he realizes that Chiara's feelings are real, he bows out, understanding that it's more important for Chiara to find herself than it is for him to pursue something with Megan. "If this is a big, you know, moment for you, then I won't call her," he promises. "I think she's a really cool chick, but it's alright."

    These B-plots don't directly affect Ashley and Gordon's journey toward reconciliation. Lynelle and Ashley's issues began long before Gordon entered the picture, just as Chiara and Brett's brief conflict over Megan is about their friendship, above all else. (And if one of them does end up dating Megan, it will be a while before the matter filters down to Ashley and Gordon.) But even though they stand on their own, the show's supporting storylines are hardly an afterthought — they're just as essential to Colin From Accounts' central romance as Ashley and Gordon's big moment in the car. After all, these are the people who have made Ashley and Gordon who they are, for better and for worse, and their charming love story wouldn't be the same without them.

    Colin From Accounts Season 1 is streaming on Paramount+. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Colin From Accounts, Paramount+, Genevieve Hegney, Harriet Dyer, Helen Thomson, Michael Logo, Patrick Brammall