”Weeds” season-finale recap: Nancy’s reboot
A gray ocean of smoke cast a pall over the Agrestic-Majestic sprawl by episode’s end this week. That could double as a manifestation of the weightiness that hung over much of this mixed bag of a season. The kooky, sunny dramedy about entrepreneurialism somehow became a socio-psychological study in survival instincts, exploring acts of self-preservation and abuse of power previously uncharacteristic of the breezy show (like U-Turn pushing Nancy into the heroin trade or Nancy’s ”knife attack” on Celia). But then came this season finale. Ultimately quiet and thoughtful, it managed in 20-some minutes to overcome this year’s dark missteps.
Can I say what we’re all thinking? This most exquisite installment — satisfying in the way it peacefully addressed each catastrophe without too clean a resolution — would’ve made a damn fine series end. Don’t get me wrong: Even at its worst, Weeds is more nuanced and inventive and winky than most programs on TV. This has plenty to do with its presence on the risk-taking cabler Showtime, its effortless cast, and its promising, if occasionally misguided, scripting staff. (Kera Bolonik, an EW freelancer and author of the series companion book In the Weeds, noted that a new crop of writers joined the show this season — bringing with them, I’d add, some obvious shortcomings.) Still, Showtime’s not ready to stub out its pot series just yet; the channel has greenlighted 13 more episodes to air next summer, contingent on the writers’ strike, of course. What then to make of the seeming closure that we’ve witnessed?
Last week was about Nancy looking to that higher power (or, more accurately, a more powerful power), Guillermo, to solve her problems. This week, as the Botwins were forced to evacuate their home with the fires inching nearer, she went a bit agnostic, then took destiny into her own hands. First, however, we had to wade through all that doomsday mumbo-jumbo. And subtle clues these were not: The local news referred to the Guillermo-ignited blaze as the Majestic Inferno, while Conrad, in turn, referred to the Tres Seis kingpin as the devil. Then Nancy quoted a Grateful Dead song. I much preferred the musical stylings of Doug (”Jesus freaks are singin’?”), who, donning camo shorts and armed with a banjo, wandered around the posh evacuation center like a modern-day Woody Guthrie, documenting the travails of Dust Bowl-era Okies. Okay, maybe he was more like that twee troubadour guy from Gilmore Girls. Doug’s Superdome references notwithstanding, no one was really suffering. They were just freaking out! Andy & Co. were on hand to sell their product alongside some enterprising Girl Scouts. (Come to think of it, their businesses nicely complemented each other, since you’d have to have the munchies to pay eight bucks for a box of freakin’ cookies.) But neither THC nor sugar played a part in stoking the hysterics. That was a side effect of good old-fashioned religious fervor, which ended with the devotees making a pilgrimage to the grow house to retrieve their newly discovered electric ganja-growing cross.
Tangent: Anytime I think of all those abandoned plants potentially going up in smoke in that grow house, I’m reminded of that massive spliff Gregory Hines and Mel Brooks lit in the Roman Empire chapter of History of the World: Part I. After that joint was fired up, any bad guy pursuing them totally succumbed to the high, man. Interestingly (or perhaps not), Brooks’ character went on to become a waiter immortalized in the Last Supper painting. You see? Weed and Christianity? It all comes together, people.
NEXT: Home improvement
Back to the grow house, where all things came full circle. It’s at that locale that we learned of Heylia’s plan to open a pot club rather brilliantly called Heylia’s Compassionate Care. (This from a woman who, in almost the same breath, referred to Nancy as Conrad’s ”c— charming f— buddy.”) Later, Nancy returned to the casa to pick up Silas’ seedlings, because apparently the kid has finally found a vocation to which he can fully devote himself. There she ran into Conrad, and they indulged in a loaded conversation about Thanksgiving and deep-fried turkey that ultimately yielded this humbling truth: All they truly have in common is weed. They thankfully reached this conclusion well before the firemen evacuating the house discovered the forest of cannabis — and managed to give Peckers of the Caribbean a shout-out. Majestic’s bravest, indeed.
The fallout? Sullivan ratted out Celia. Celia ratted out Nancy. And Nancy met with Guillermo. Surveying the blazes and in a contemplative mood, the gangster was proud of his work: circle of life, nature, survival of the fittest, that sort of stuff. He told her to embrace the change, then offered her a smuggling gig. But our Nancy reacted by pulling her own Guillermo: After nixing the offer, she sealed her fate by dousing her house in gasoline. (Go on: Insert your own phoenix/rebirth insight here.)
Finally, a sensible move from a frustrating woman. And therein lies the beauty of this finale. It didn’t attempt to gussy up its severely flawed protagonist; it just reminded us of why we still like her. Nope, Nancy never noticed that — for one full year — Shane had pet turtles, and she never did accept responsibility for the fires. But when she uttered those two words to her late husband, Judah, before leaving her home — ”I tried” — you just melted. And, c’mon, who wouldn’t cheer on a fallen heroine riding off into an ash-obscured sunset on a freakin’ Segway?
This week, the theme song, ”Little Boxes,” popped up twice. The late Malvina Reynolds, who wrote the 1962 tune, performed the opening-credits version, and folk legend Pete Seeger, who famously covered the song that same year, performed the end-credits version.
What did you think of the season finale? What is Nancy going to do next?