Weeds is not a show I wanted to keep watching. I tried multiple times to quit. The farthest I ever made it was 3 or 4 episodes before checking Wikipedia summaries and returning to the Botwins. Now that it’s all over I’m glad I was unable to kick the habit. The finale provided a representation of the series as whole. Like the 101 preceding episodes, it was flawed but also full of emotion and humor. Most importantly, it fundamentally changed the perception of the main characters instead of just relying on their old tendencies.
Opening with Nancy arguing for her child at PTA meeting, like the pilot, there were hints that we had jumped ahead in the timeline. Nancy’s hair was highlighted. There was mention of her marriage to and the subsequent death of Rabbi Dave – who, in another pilot reference, died swerving to avoid a bear. The continuation of all of Nancy’s husbands dying seemed forced, especially so early on. Next, an adolescent Stevie provided a rough indicator of how far ahead we jumped, still for no apparent reason. Instead of rejoining right after the tension of Andy running away, we are forced to pick up pieces of how events played out directly following that moment. Silas and Megan have a child. Shane is an alcoholic cop. Andy doesn’t talk to Nancy anymore. Doug is the leader of a cult and has concubines.
Each the five mainstays were given their own obstacle to overcome in 60 minutes and though this is an elementary tactic, seeing actual growth out of them was satisfying. Silas finally told his mom “no” by of refusing to make Megan placate her. The smallest of the challenges, it still resonated as a victory and showed that Nancy’s eldest is finally happy and free from her influence. Shane, clearly a product of Ouellette’s influence, needed to reconnect and accept his mother as a parental figure. He spent so long aspiring to be a man and protect his mother that he refused to give her the respect a parent deserves. Doug, man-child himself, realized that ignoring his son, who was last seen in the pilot, was no longer an option. Although his plot might have been contrived considering Josh was such a small part of the overall show, I was glad they actually gave him a fair amount of screen time.
Andy also succeeded, for the second time now, nt denying Nancy, which brings us to the centerpiece of the whole show, Mrs. Botwin, or Bloom now. Nancy’s character matured more in this double episode than the whole two seasons since she turned herself into the police. Allowing Stevie to attend boarding school was forced. His major motivator of not wanting to wear a helmet while playing soccer might seem weak but 13 year olds have freaked out over smaller things. Begging Andy to come back and being denied really showcased Nancy’s vulnerability. As someone who has largely resented her for most the series, I felt genuine sympathy for Nancy, now widowed for a third time and realizing she ruined her chance with the man who would have given her the love she now wants. Biggest of all was Nancy finally getting out of the game, legal or otherwise.
Now obviously this episode raised some issues, like why so much of season eight had to consist of plotlines that ultimately didn’t go anywhere. Or why the central plot of the finale involved Stevie. But, this one actually makes sense because it gave an excuse for a lot of guest stars to assemble. The guest stars were a nice touch and seeing so many them provided a strong feeling of closure without encroaching on the main characters. I also would have liked to actually see Andy and Silas enjoying their new lives out in California. But ultimately, after considering the episode as a whole, these gripes are minor.
One of the biggest criticisms of the shows latter years was that it just wasn’t about weed anymore and I think the final scene addressed this without pandering to it. One by one, the five central characters wander outside to share a joint. Initially, as that Rilo Kiley song started, I thought it was a bit unnatural. Then I realized how often potheads sneak away from a party to smoke up together. Nancy refusing Doug’s pass and then later accepting Andy’s was a nice final nod to the change in their power dynamic. For a show that was so often overt, ending in such a simple and subtle way really made me realize how much I cared about these characters for eight seasons. That final imagine was one of a family, in which each member has supported all the others, sharing a moment where they were all finally appreciating what they had done for each other simultaneously. I was right there with them.- Farsideoff