After ten episodes, a fair share of Rocky Johnson dropkicks, and a whole lot of insight into the birth of a lot of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s signature catchphrases and actions, Young Rock season 1 finished off with the episode titled “Election Day.” As the 2032 Election Day draws closer, Dwayne Johnson once again reflects on the three stages of his life that audiences have followed, and he explains how the consistent ups and downs of life have prepared him for this very moment. The season finale truly brings everything full circle by not only beautifully putting a bow on these chapters of his life while ensuring there’s room to explore for season 2, but the episode’s structure also draws back to the style of episode 1 by bouncing from each phase of Johnson’s life.
Fittingly episode 11 kicks off the same way we started the series with the duo of Randall Park and Johnson sitting down for an interview. Park provides the information that Johnson is leading the presidential race by only four points, along with a comedic clip of him singing, which creates a feeling of significance for their final interview. Fortunately, the opening doesn’t waste a lot of time before diving into the days of 10-year-old Johnson. However, in order to shift from the different phases of “Dewey,” Johnson and Park are a much more consistent presence in this episode. Allowing them to still showcase their chemistry and Park’s hilariously awkward responses, as well as giving audiences that feeling of finality and realisation that this entertaining journey is wrapping up.
The consistent and most important theme of Young Rock season 1 has been the love of family, as it’s what inspires Johnson to pursue greatness in everything he does. Family is also the common thread of how each chapter in this episode comes to a close and how each phase of Johnson’s young life leaves us with a larger and larger lump in our throats. Whether it’s 10-year-old “Dewey” realising his mother’s sacrifices, high school “Dewey” making the promise to buy his parents a house, or the NFL dreamer experiencing a moment of heartbreak because he’s let his parents down. The closing moments of each chapter are incredibly relatable and beautifully brought to life by the wonderful cast. They also intelligently link the story together by setting up the next part of Johnson’s life.
Due to “Election Day” exploring the highs and lows of the former WWE Champion’s life, it appropriately packs an emotional punch with various family scenes. However, as with all the best Young Rock episodes, it incorporates the show’s light-hearted side well. This comes through in the exaggerated and comedic manner in which the episode shows some low points in Johnson’s life, such as his reaction to a horrific event at his family’s apartment building. Instead of focusing on the event itself, young Johnson simply highlights the fact that he is only now discovering they have a pool nearby.
Last week, Young Rock ended on such an inspirational and emotional note that it was hard to see how the team could leave us with a better finale. However, Nahnatchka Khan and co. conclude the series with easily the best and most heart-warming scene of the entire series. One that poetically ties all the elements of this season together and blurs the line between fact and fiction, much like Johnson’s former world of wrestling does, and it’s all encapsulated by Johnson’s line: “I wish Dad could’ve been here to see where we’re at right now.” It’s a pleasantly surprising conclusion that wins your heart with beautiful visuals and lines that you know come from the heart of Dwayne Johnson.
Admittedly, for those who are very knowledgeable of Johnson’s life and career, there are moments that lack impact because you know exactly where the story is going. However, the team does show these moments in a way that you perhaps don’t expect, so it keeps your attention. Overall, Young Rock season 1 most certainly ended on a high by providing an entertaining and surprisingly emotional finale that’s enhanced by its final few minutes. Also, if you can smell what Young Rock is cooking, you know they’ve got plenty of stories ready for us in season 2!
Young Rock will return for season 2 on NBC!