I howled. The cold opening was last night’s and this year’s best cold open. I sure hope the character, Colleen Rafferty survives in film or even her own TV show. I will also miss her Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren impersonations (and Rudy Giuliani too) and was amazed at how she could always nail down any character’s body tics (Ellen DeGeneres.) SNL will not be the same without her.
The cold opening “Last Enounter” is embedded in this piece from The Atlantic:
Last night, SNL said goodbye to McKinnon, as well as the long-time cast members Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, and Kyle Mooney, in its season finale. Rather than make abundant space for McKinnon throughout the episode, the show mostly contained its farewell to the cold open. She returned as Colleen Rafferty, whose alien encounters came closer to tawdry sexcapades that made the host involved in each sketch break character. (Ryan Gosling started the trend in 2015.)
This time, Rafferty detailed her wildly unkempt pubic hair, which fascinated the “little gray aliens with the big dumb eyes” who’d abducted her. “I got more hair poking out the sides than a hipster’s beard stuffed into an N95,” she delightedly said. After sharing more lurid details, Rafferty agreed to help out the U.S. government by permanently leaving with the aliens. The sketch cut to a spaceship door; McKinnon made her way over to it, braced herself against the frame, and took a deep breath. “Well, Earth, I love ya. Thanks for letting me stay a while,” she said, before emotionally uttering “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night” on her own.
It was a stirring, special moment that recognized all that McKinnon had accomplished on—and contributed to—the series since she began as a feature player in 2012, when Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis, and Seth Meyers were still a part of the show. By the next season, they’d all depart for new opportunities (Meyers left halfway through the 39th season). It’s never easy when SNL loses such formidable talent in bulk, and McKinnon stepped in to carry a lot of that slack as a repertory player.