Will he or won't he?
CBS has been tight-lipped about the actor's possible return, which would come four years after his cataclysmic meltdown and firing. But ever the tease, the network has revealed the episode title ("Of Course He's Dead - Part One and Part Two") and description ("Charlie Harper is alive. Or is he?"). The guest cast? It's a "Surprise!"
"I think we're going to have a finale you're going to be very pleased with and that's all I'm going to say about it," creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre said at the Television Critics Association winter previews last month.
While many would not be pleased with Sheen's return, his appearance — some way, somehow — wouldn't be the worst idea ever. Here are five reasons why Sheen ought to be on the series finale.
1. Let bygones be bygones
Given the way Sheen left and his comments about Lorre and the show — like how it's a "steaming pile of ass" — a return seemed completely out of the question four years ago. But the tiger blood has since thinned and Sheen's been trying to make amends with producers. He's even been discussing an appearance with them since the beginning of the season, so anyone against it would have time to come around. "I've reached out to them and they've reached back," he told TV Guide Magazine in September. "We're trying to figure out what makes the most sense. If they figure it out like I've presented it to them and they want to include me in some final send-off, I'm available and I'm showing up early. If not, it's on them." Asked if time heals all wounds, Lorre, who revealed at TCA that he has not spoken to the actor since he was fired, said, "There are no wounds." Prove it.
2. He never really went away
Charlie Harper's spirit haunts Alan (Jon Cryer) the same way Sheen has the show. In addition to introducing his long-lost daughter Jenny (Amber Tamblyn), the series has resurrected Charlie not once, but twice already in different incarnations: Alan lost it and thought he was his dead bro, and Kathy Bates won an Emmy for channeling Charlie's ghost after Alan had a minor heart attack. Might as well just bring back the real thing.
3. Charlie + Ashton = ?
The show has never been the most high-brow of comedies, but it does what it does well and part of its early success was due to Sheen's and Cryer's hedonistic vs. hapless dynamic. Kutcher saved the day after Sheen's dismissal with his then-suicidal billionaire Walden, ushering in Two and a Half Men 2.0. Lorre has said he wants to "honor both" eras of the sitcom, so why not unite your two leading men? Plus, after Sheen and Kutcher's mild war of words last year, there might be a bit of an edge to the proceedings.
4. They can actually kill him off!
Charlie died off-screen after being hit by a train in France, but we all know the first rule of TV is no one's really dead unless you see a body. If Charlie is alive, as the title suggests, and producers still have an ax to grind, it'd be delightfully perverse and full circle for them to carry out the deed on screen.
5. You know you wanna see him
Just admit it. It's OK. The show has also been fanning the flames of a possible Sheen appearance since Kutcher, instead of pleading the fifth, cheekily clammed up, squirmed, flailed his arms and giggled uncontrollably when Ellen DeGeneres asked him about it in December. "If you're working on the Warner Bros. lot, if there's sirens, come save me," he said. "So Charlie comes back," DeGeneres said. "I didn't say that. Did I say that?" Kutcher stammered. "If you smell something, I wasn't smoking it."
Between that, the episode title and logline, and Lorre noting that "it would be inappropriate to not acknowledge the extraordinary success we had with Charlie and how grateful I am — we all are — to his contributions," we've moved from playfully teasing to outright baiting. And if he doesn't come back, then it's just epic trolling.
Two and a Half Men's series finale airs Thursday at 9/8c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)