Last night’s series finale of Weeds rushed to tie up loose ends with a massive flash forward that mirrored just how random and facile the show became in its terminal seasons. But don’t worry, they did it so that we, the fans, could have a satisfying ending to what has been, at best, a hilarious piece of social satire, and at worst an absurd clusterfuck of soap opera plots.
In keeping with the show’s “more is more” ethos with regards to plots, the finale crammed in an ending for nearly everyone we’ve ever met in the show’s universe (plus a few we haven’t even seen before), with certain glaring absences; Celia and Heylia, to name two big ones. It’s actually kind of fitting that C and H should both be gone, as they were two characters crucial to the biting and subversive class satire that originally made the show so great.
The special hour-long episode begins by flashing forward about seven years into the future, and lets fly a string of exposition so dense I had to pause it a few times just to get everything straight in my head. A precocious middle school aged Stevie is about to turn 13 and be bar mitzvah‘ed, not because he is technically Jewish but because his adopted father The Hot Rabbi was. (He’s dead now.) Weed has been legalized and Nancy owns a bunch of weed shops, which she opened with Silas after pocketing the huge tobacco company’s shady money. Speaking of Silas, he’s now married to Meghan and has a baby with her, which he presumably did not achieve by poking a hole in a condom this time. It’s moderately enraging that a strong, smart woman like Meghan would fall into his arms following such a horrible revelation, but Hunter Parrish is really hot, so I guess I believe it.
Less believable is the goofy scumbag-ification of Shane, whose stick-on porn ‘stache and trashy girlfriend (Natasha Lyonne) do little to advance past the apparent age of 18. He’s still hanging with Officer Walette, which is weird because Shane finally seemed to understand how scary and tragic the alcoholic crooked cop was in the last episode. He has picked up all his bad habits in the interim, and has the most unconvincing public breakdown ever that ends in him shooting an innocent cake. When Nancy asks him to check into rehab, he agrees in about ten seconds, because that is always how alcoholics behave!
Silas is doing as well as we always thought he would, with a wife and a baby he truly loves and an outlook on life that precludes resenting Nancy for ruining his adolescence. Like I said, it’s hard for me to swallow them as a couple after Silas did something so rapey and coercive to her (an act that permanently darkened him for me), but it’s TV, so we can chalk it up to “the follies of youth.”
Ever the bright glimmer of class parody in the midst of ridiculousness, Doug Wilson has started the cult he was always meant to lead, which provides him with nubile “helpmates,” cheap labor for Nancy’s weed stores, and the means to kidnap his gay son Josh, whom this episode produces just so Doug can deliver the line “I sucked a dick once” in an effort to make peace with him. As a vestigial glimmer of Agrestic’s oblivious excess, Doug has often been the best character on the show, if the worst person, and his behavior in this episode is no exception.
In true Botwin fashion, the seemingly studious Stevie has a bit of a meltdown when Guillermo (who has come to Nancy’s son’s bar mitzvah even though he was ready to kill her in the last episode) tells him in that scary whisper of his that his real dad was not, in fact, a politician framed for running drugs, but a terrifying kingpin of the highest order. The reverence with which this show has treated Judaism despite its skepticism of other institutions has been alternately charming and annoying, so it warmed my heart (as a bat mitzvah defector myself) to see Stevie reject the idea of a bar mitzvah in favor of seeking out more complicated truths. Then again, that might have been the most Jewish thing he could have done. D’oh!
The heart and soul of this episode, though (if it can be said to have one) has always been the tortured love story of Nancy and Andy, whose absence in the episode’s first half drives Nancy insane. Despite the show’s recent failings, the scene where Nancy and Andy fucked on Judah‘s fatal accident scene was incredible, and to their credit, the show’s writers didn’t let Andy give in to Nancy’s desperate attempts to make him forget about the past and become her lapdog. She’s so lonely we almost feel bad for her, until we remember how selfishly she’s behaved for most of the show’s run, and how Andy could never respect himself if he ended up with the woman who strung him along for years, using him for free catering, childcare and romantic attention. He’s strong enough to stand up to her now (which, ironically, is what finally turned her on about him) and resist the pull of his emotions, and that means walking away once more when she tries to get him to stay.
Ultimately, this show has been a sometimes great, sometimes just bizarre, mix of farce and heart, but Showtime is right that it’s time to put it out of its misery. Unlike her drug-selling compatriot Walter White, Nancy never really “broke bad”…she was always a slightly evil, slightly selfish, beautiful, wealthy, thrill seeking queen bee, intensely flawed but ultimately human. But even if she became a drug dealer primarily for kicks and not because she loved her children (which I hold that she did), that didn’t mean she didn’t still love her children, and her love for them has been her primary redeeming trait. Its fitting, then, that the series ends with the core family group (plus Doug) sharing a joint on the steps of Nancy’s house just as it’s beginning to snow. The plots might not always make sense, and the characters might not always act out of altruism, but this is one messed up family that sticks together. And Nancy, who’s now pushing 50 but hasn’t aged a day since she turned 36, and who has always preferred the jolt of iced coffee to mellow buzz of her own product, is finally learning to let go.