FX's Feud: Bette and Joan is about to come to an end. The show has explored all the intricacies of why Bette Davis and Joan Crawford couldn't stand each other while remaining sympathetic to both women, and also painted a clear picture of the struggles aging actresses face in Hollywood. Viewers watched things come together and fall apart during the filming of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?; they saw Crawford ruin Davis' last chance at an Oscar; they saw both women try and fail to bury the hatchet for Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte. What more is there to say? How does Feud: Bette and Joan end?
The penultimate episode, "Abandoned!", finished with Crawford distraught and Davis triumphant. Crawford had just been kicked off the production of Sweet Charlotte and replaced by Davis' good friend Olivia de Havilland; she also lost her dedicated servant Mamacita after one too many tantrums. Davis, meanwhile, seemed to have gotten everything she wanted: Crawford was gone, and Davis was prepared to embark on filming with even more creative control than before. So how could their story possibly continue?
The finale takes its title from the very last line of Baby Jane: "You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?" may provide some hint about the tone and content of the last episode. It will likely deal with the latter days of both Davis and Crawford's careers, as well as the lingering resentment between them.
After the disaster of Sweet Charlotte, Crawford continued to appear in horror movies and on television, doing a guest spot on I Love Lucy and even taking over for her daughter Christina on the soap opera The Secret Storm when Christina was ill, playing the same character despite a thirty year age difference. However, as Crawford's health deteriorated, she began to retreat from the public eye and passed away in 1977. Public interest in her revived when Christina published her memoir Mommie Dearest, but it wasn't positive press.
Things went a little differently for Davis. Though her career never quite reached the same heights as it had in her youth, she continued to work steadily and receive acclaim. A Lifetime Achievement Award in 1977 gave her a career boost, and she went on to win an Emmy for 1979's Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter. She was the subject of Kim Carnes' song "Bette Davis Eyes." Though she also had a very public falling out with her daughter B.D. and health issues of her own, she worked and made appearances right up until her death in 1989.
The final episode of Feud may deal with some of these events as it seeks to bring closure to Davis and Crawford's stories. However, something Ryan Murphy said to Vanity Fair might indicate a possible reconciliation for the two leading ladies at the end. Murphy had interviewed Bette Davis shortly before her death and according to him:
She had great regret that she and Joan had never made it work, and she realized much later that people and other forces had sort of conspired against them. [...] She actually said to me, 'I regretted that I didn't make it work, and I regretted that I didn't make peace with it.' ...So [Feud] was just a way to give them the closure that, selfishly, I wanted to give them.
It may not be entirely accurate to how things really played out, but Feud might end with Davis and Crawford realizing that all this time they really could have been friends.