'The Big C' Postmortem: EP Talks Freedom, Season 4 Plans

The Big C Laura Linney - H 2012

The Big C Laura Linney - H 2012

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's Season 3 finale of The Big C.]

The Big C's Cathy Jamison has gone off the deep end.

During Sunday's Season 3 finale, Laura Linney's Cathy continued to explore her spiritual relationship with a non-English-speaking stranger and, after being stranded on a fishing boat, came to the realization that her family is better off without her.

Following her return to dry land, the unpredictable matriarch of the dysfunctional Jamison family decided the negativity of the world wasn't what she needed now that her tumors have started growing again and swam back to new friend Angel's boat.

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It's a decision, executive producer Jenny Bicks tells The Hollywood Reporter, that comes as she's "at the end of her rope" with her prognosis and family when she realizes that she's created a world for herself in which she no longer wants to live in.

"She's created a world for herself where there was nobody really there for her and that's her fault," Bicks says. "Then she thinks she only has a short period of time left and thinks, 'What am I coming back to?'"

It wouldn't be much after her husband Paul (Oliver Platt) revealed that he knew she created an alter ego named Alexis whose husband died after a heart attack -- and wants to separate since he no longer feels as if he can spend another 40 years with her.

"She experienced something very different on the boat, which was the idea of real freedom and like she could have peace and quiet," Bicks says. "She needed to run and couldn't be in this world anymore, there was so much unhappiness and it didn't make her feel fulfilled and she needed to escape, which is what she felt on the boat, this possibility."

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It's an ending that Bicks expects will divide viewers, with some hating Cathy for making the decision and others looking at it and seeing her realize that she's better off running than putting her family through the negativity -- and a season ender that the writers felt was a appropriate following the year of bargaining.

While the cancer dramedy awaits word on whether or not it will see a fourth season, Bicks notes that the episode wasn't approached as a series finale and that the Big C team has a very clear path for where the show goes from here.

With each season exploring a different stage of grief, a potential fourth season would see Cathy, Paul, Adam (Gabriel Basso), Sean (John Benjamin Hickey) and Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe) address depression.

"The next stage of grief is depression and it leads to acceptance; how we would play with those we have a good sense of but the fourth season would not entirely be depression," Bicks says. "We are going to move through depression fairly quickly. You're not going to necessarily see these things so literally."

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Among the early plans, Bicks notes, are to follow through on Andrea's desire to go to fashion school and Adam's faith being tested after his mother runs away from the family when he reveals he wants to live with Paul.

"We would not be happy if this is the ending; I think we owe our audience and ourselves the chance to see this through," she says. "We still have a lot more story to tell."

What did you think of the Season 3 finale of The Big C? Hit the comments with your thoughts.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit