Mission Accomplished? - The Orca

Mission Accomplished?

Rob Shaw 2

Rob Shaw: The last regularly scheduled ‘Bonnie and Adrian Show’ marks the end of one ongoing series – and with an ill-considered remark from the Premier, the continuation of another.

Longtime viewers witnessed the finale Tuesday of what has been British Columbia’s most popular streaming series the past 15 months – the twice-weekly Bonnie and Adrian Show.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix signed off their last regularly-scheduled appearance by announcing the province would move into stage three of its re-opening plan, a return to near-normal for most people.

That means you can take off your masks, travel to visit family, and gather again with friends in larger groups indoor and outdoors starting July 1.

“The future is ours to shape,” said Dix, in a direct-to-camera monologue where he offered thanks on behalf of a “truly grateful province” to Dr. Henry.

“Everything is possible. After all we’ve been through, those possibilities are of course breathtaking, everything is possible. Our efforts to stop the spread have made it so, as has our kindness, our calmness, our generosity to one another.”

It’s not quite the end of the pandemic.

B.C. still has to reach second-dose vaccination levels that will allow it to return to complete normal by Sept. 1. But it’s such a big step toward normalcy this summer, you can forgive the show for going on indefinite hiatus.

The end of the briefings are a bittersweet moment for many British Columbians, who voraciously consumed the show several times a week during the crisis and who came to rely on the duo as a direct source of calm, trusted information during frightening and unprecedented times.

For many, the briefings were the most important time of the day – broadcast live on daytime television, interrupting regularly-scheduled radio programs and streamed live on the internet via YouTube or Twitter – where the public would learn new details about the previously-unknown COVID virus, as well as hear the latest restrictions that were about to land in real time.

The briefings were so popular, at times it felt like more people were watching the press conferences than the media reports that later summarized them.

It was not uncommon for reporters to have people tell them, “I heard your question at the Dr. Henry briefing” as if it was a badge of honour to have made a brief cameo on the top-watched show in the province.

Tuesday’s finale was a good-news episode, filled with declining case counts, hospitalizations and death rates.

It also featured a guest appearance by Premier John Horgan, who in trademark fashion stopped by the set to say hello and then quickly got up to some hijinks by inserting his own foot into his mouth.

The premier has performed this role with increasing frequency in recent months, turning up for no real purpose and then stumbling into disastrous scenarios of his own making.

Tuesday’s arc saw him start by declaring victory on COVID-19 and concluded with him saying that “fatalities are a part of life” when asked if B.C. could have done more to prevent the deaths of 223 people due to the record-breaking heat wave.

“The public was acutely aware that we had a heat problem,” he said, during a rambling answer in which you could almost hear his staffers begin to cry off-camera.

“We were doing our best to break through all of the other noise to encourage people to take steps to protect themselves. But it was apparent to anyone who walked outdoors that we were in an unprecedented heat wave. Again, there’s a level of personal responsibility.”

Predictably, the premier received an online drubbing for his misspeak.

Still, it would be a shame to have a supporting character (with a growing tendency to shoot himself in the foot) have the last word on a successful series that has gone uninterrupted for almost a year and a half.

The final scene should belong to Dr. Henry, as our steady and calming guide through an unimaginable crisis.

Henry did not deliver her trademark “be kind, be calm and be safe” to close out her final appearance, but instead tried to put our return to near-normalcy into context, after such a staggering global event.

“This is a positive step forward for us all, but it’s going to take us some time to adjust and to get there,” she said.

“It is all of our responsibility to do this well. And having been through this last 18 months, I know that we can do this too. And we can do it with kindness, with the compassion, the diligence and commitment that got us here and got us through this last 18 months.

“We’re turning up the dial slowly, but things are a lot brighter today. Thank you.”