After months of anticipation, Atypical season 4 has finally been released on Netflix. Upon the show’s renewal, it was also announced that this would be the finale season. Fans were eagerly awaiting what would be in store for the Gardner family and their friends. Season 4 follows Sam (Keir Gilchrist) as he decides to take a semester off in hopes of making a trip to Antarctica to study penguins up close and personal. Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Doug (Michael Rapaport) are moving forward in making amends to fix their marriage after Elsa’s affair. Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) and Izzie (Fivel Stewart) grow closer as a couple, but all the pressure of school and the UCLA recruiter increases Casey’s stress. Paige (Jenna Boyd) continues her work at the fast-food restaurant, becoming contempt when she becomes manager. Zahid (Nik Dodani) adjusts to having Sam as a roommate while dealing with a personal medical crisis.
Sam’s journey throughout Atypical season 4 of wanting to go to Antarctica was an interesting move made by the show. On one part, the trip to Antarctica makes sense since it’s been well established that Sam has a personal connection and love of penguins. On the other, it begs the question as to whether or not the show would be able to have him pull off the trip and if any part of it would be shown. That’s not to say that it would be impossible to shoot Sam on his trip, but there it was hard to imagine how much of it would be shown in a 10-episode final season. However, the true importance was in the buildup to the trip and Sam doing everything he could to follow his passion. The eventual support that he gets from his friends and family reminds viewers of the progress that Sam has made throughout the series and also that he’s never truly alone during important events in his life.
Aside from Sam, Casey’s arc throughout Atypical season 4 is one that many fans could relate to. At the beginning of the season, Casey seems to be on track with her goal of possibly attending UCLA and joining the track team. However, as the series progresses, immense pressure starts to get to her. There’s a particular scene where she’s shown running early in the morning, drinking an energy drink before her first class, and falling asleep throughout the day. Viewers get to see that the pressure to impress the recruiter while also maintaining her life in balance as before is difficult. It’s a storyline that many could relate to in terms of finding balance with responsibilities and how that can affect one’s personal and mental health. This is an interesting story for Atypical as it hasn’t taken this sort of topic on before.
Casey and Izzie continue to be the “it” couple throughout Atypical season 4. Most of their arc as a couple revolves around them becoming closer to one another and the difficulties that come with discovering who they are as individuals. One of the big dilemmas established towards the beginning of the season is the vastly different lives that they have gone through and how the world sees them. Casey’s life has been much more stable than Izzie’s, which leads Izzie to perceive Casey as someone who could get away with anything. That sort of revelation isn’t something that either one of them takes lightly, especially with all the ramifications that it causes as the series progresses. Fans of the couple will surely be excited with all the attention their relationship gets while also being a bit worried as to what role all this drama plays in the stress she deals with.
The rest of the cast throughout Atypical season 4 given various storylines, with some working better than others. Doug deals with a personal loss but doesn’t deal with his emotions. As someone who’s been established as closed-off and unwilling to deal with major drama, it fits well with Doug’s character. It makes it that much more rewarding when he begins to deal with his feelings with his personal loss. Elsa starts off completely being unsupportive of Sam’s journey but slowly learns to trust her son. It’s an incredible contrast to where her character started at the beginning of the series and wanting to protect her son from everything and everyone.
Zahid’s medical crisis was very surprising and could have been handled better. It felt as if the writers had to give his character something to do this season just for the sake of the plot rather than something that would make an impact. The same could be said about Paige, who also hasn’t had anything memorable to do since her decision to leave college. The show attempts to make these characters blend with the main storylines but falls short of trying to give them their own things to do.
Ultimately, Atypical season 4 proves to be a good conclusion to the series but could have found ways to make it more impactful. The journey that Sam goes through to meet his goal of going to Antarctica is incredible to watch. It could have made a bigger mark on the show had the season focused one episode directly on his trip or possibly have more episodes to show how the trip impacted Sam. Casey’s arc throughout the season is powerful and something that fans will surely pay close attention to. Her relationship with Izzie is given a bigger focus with the various hurdles that they go through. The rest of Sam’s family and friends are given their own arcs while also being included in the main storylines but seem to fall short. However, this is a series that many fans, including myself, will surely go back and watch some time in the future.
Atypical season 4 is streaming now exclusively on Netflix.
Atypical Season 4
- Rating - 8.5/108.5/10
Ultimately, Atypical season 4 proves to be a good conclusion to the series but could have found ways to make it more impactful. However, this is a series that many fans, including myself, will surely go back and watch some time in the future.