[EDIT: Ok, now I feel guilty. It's ok! I wasn't really offended! And I exaggerated the responses I was getting for comic effect. Everything's fine! But thank you for all the lovely comments - I'm really glad you liked it, and I hope the resolution justifies your trust… ]
…What? Why are you looking at me like that? Has something happened to annoy you in some way?
Tell you what, this week, let's do Notes and Queries first:
'Finnemore, you evil bastard, I hope you rot in hell.'
...Ok. Well, I appreciate your plain-speaking.
'What kind of an ending do you call that?'
I call it a cliffhanger ending. Do you like it? I sense somehow that you do not.
'Did you forget this is supposed to be a comedy?'
Ouch. But, no. Hence the jokes.
'Why would you break my heart like that? I have wept solidly for the past 48 hours, and now there is no water left in my body and my tear ducts look like peeled grapes. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?'
Ok, this is the reaction that's really taken me by surprise. I predicted a certain amount of frustration about ending on a cliff-hanger, but I'm completely taken aback by the amount of crying I've apparently caused. Look, I don't mean to be an insensitive bastard, but… what's so sad? I mean… Martin got the job! He got 100% in the tech exam, and everyone at MJN gave him a great reference, and he got Oskar to stay in the room, and he did a big ol' hero's speech, and he got the job! Yes, now he has a big decision to make, and that decision has potentially sad consequences… but he hasn't made it yet, so we don't even know which potentially sad consequences to be potentially sad about. God help me, I actually thought it was quite a warm fuzzy episode. But apparently I've accidentally written King Lear.
Now then, for what it's worth, here are my rules about cliffhanger endings.
1) They're very powerful, but very annoying, so they should be used very sparingly, and only when there's a good reason. This is the first cliffhanger I've done in CP, and it seemed to me that the question of how Martin could manage to get a job offer from a major airline, given his particular strengths and weaknesses; and the question of what he would do if he got such an offer were both too big to be dealt with in a single episode. Plus, the issue of Martin's need to be paid to do the job he loves versus Carolyn and Douglas needing him to go on being unpaid in order to make MJN viable has become the central dilemma of the whole show (It didn't use to be, but the show has changed). It seemed like the question of whether and how that is resolved was worthy of a cliffhanger.
2) You can't use a cliff-hanger instead of an ending. Some shows do, but I think it's cheating. Any episode that ends with a cliffhanger must also have a satisfying conclusion in itself. Ideally, the main question of the episode should be answered - but the answer should then throw up an unexpected larger question, which provides the cliff-hanger. So, for me, the question of this episode is 'Will Martin get the job, and if so, how?', and it's only when that's resolved that we're reminded that the bigger question is whether he takes it or not.
3) The cliffhanger has to be an emotional one, or at least a direct dilemma for a central character or characters, not a physical or external one. The question left unanswered must always be 'What will he or she do now?' not 'What will happen to him or her now?' To take an example completely at random, a bad cliff-hanger would be 'The hero's been forced to jump off a roof! Will he survive?', but a good cliff-hanger is 'He DID survive! But how? And why's he hiding from his friend?' (Oh, but by the way, Steven Moffat is a terrific writer, and it's an honour to be compared to him. But he did not invent the idea of a cliffhanger ending. Writers have been doing it for really quite some time.) So, in this case, it would have been totally unfair to make the cliff-hanger 'Will they offer Martin the job or not?' firstly because it would break rule 3 above, but also because by then it's out of Martin's control. But 'He gets it! Does he take it or not?' seems to me fair game. Your mileage, of course, may vary...
And most importantly of all:
4) A cliff-hanger is a promise to the audience. It's implicitly saying 'I'm withholding the gratification of giving you the answer now, but trust me, when you get it, you'll think it was worth the wait.' And if you're going to make a promise like that, you'd better be able to back it up, or at least think you can. So, although I'm afraid I can't comment on the future of the show at the moment, partly because it's not only up to me, I will say this much, because to be honest I thought it was totally obvious, and I'm amazed there's any ambiguity over it:
It is not and never was my intention that Yverdon should be the last ever episode of Cabin Pressure.
I mean, come on guys, give me some credit. A to Y?
Cut purely for reasons of time, from just before 'Can you think of a time you were in conflict with someone professionally?'
DEROCHE Alright. Let’s talk about your experiences as a pilot. Can you give me an example of a time when it was necessary to break the rules?
MARTIN Er… Er… [BEAT] Er… No. I don’t think I can.
DEROCHE Well, bend the rules, let’s say.
MARTIN …still no. I would if I could, I just literally, can’t think of one.
DEROCHE …Fine. Can you give me an example of a time when you successfully handled issues of cultural diversity in the work place?
MARTIN Right. Um… I think Arthur, I think our steward, a member of our cabin crew is half Australian, but, not in a way that’s caused any major cultural… I mean, it’s not like he celebrates different holidays or anyth- well, I say that, actually he does: Birling Day, and Birthday Eve, and Gerti’s Birthday, and Summer Christmas, but I don’t think that’s to do with his… Australian heritage, as such.