On Saturday, May 9th, 1992, NBC aired the last episode of The Golden Girls entitled “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Dorothy was set to marry Blanche’s Uncle Lucas and Dorothy & Sophia prepared to leave Miami. Would the marriage go through? We started the synopsis yesterday. Here’s how the episode and The Golden Girls came to an end…
The next day, all of the housemates are dressed and ready for the wedding. They all look lovely, particularly the bride. A limousine unexpectedly arrives to take Dorothy (Bea Arthur) to the church. She assumes that Lucas has sent it, but it turns out that it’s being driven by her ex-husband Stanley Zbornak (Herb Edelman). It seems like he’s kidnapping her on her wedding day but it’s actually his wedding gift to the one woman he will always love.
Dorothy arrives at the church on time and walks down the aisle escorted by her her mother, Sophia (Estelle Getty). Along the way, we get to hear each the characters’ private thoughts. The wedding goes well and Dorothy is happily married to Lucas (guest Leslie Nielson), the man she truly loves.
Later, as Dorothy does some final packing in her room, Sophia tells her that she’s decided to stay with Rose (Betty White) and Blanche (Rue McClanahan). She feels that she was in the way during Dorothy’s first marriage and that the newlyweds need their time alone together. Sophia tells Dorothy that its been a privilege to be able to be her friend as an adult and that she wants to stay because she’s needed with Blanche and Rose.
Lucas comes to put Dorothy’s last suitcase in the car and the four women prepare to say their farewells. It’s an awkward moment and no one quite knows what to say. They’re all very upset. As Rose says, “What can you say about seven years of fights and laughter, secrets, cheesecake…” They break down and hug each other in a big group hug. Dorothy walks to the door and Rose asks, “Dorothy, is this goodbye?” Dorothy nods, turns to them all and says “I love you, always.” She walks out the door and is gone.
Until she bursts back through the door and embraces them all again. She leaves again saying, “You’re angels, all of you.” The girls stare at the door waiting and hoping she’ll come back through it again. She doesn’t.
The three wait for Dorothy to come back again, looking around in nervous anticipation. But it doesn’t happen. They realize that Dorothy’s gone for good and embrace each other in tears. The familiar theme music rises as the screen fades to black. End of series.
Side note: It’s been rumored that the episode ended with a montage of scenes and images from past episodes. Actually, the credits simply flashed over a photo of the wedding (pictured) with the traditional Golden Girls credits theme music.