Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The ashes of Weeds

Weeds is done. Last night, Showtime aired the final hour of the popular series, entitled "It's Time." Rather than an action-packed, dangerous climax, leaving the characters in disarray, as most of the show's season finale have done, instead what is presented is a calmer, more introspective examination of the characters. No earth-shattering events happen, but fans check in with the Botwins years later and see how they end up, as well as the legacy they are leaving behind.

"It's Time" takes place the week of Stevie's (Mateus Ward) Bar Mitzvah. Friends and family have gathered at Nancy's (Mary-Louise Parker) mansion to celebrate. While there are many familiar faces we haven't seen in awhile, such as Dean (Andy Milder), Guillermo (Guillermo Diaz), Sanjay (Maulik Pancholy), Clinique (Julanne Chidi Hill), and Marvin (Fatso-Fasano), it isn't a who's who gallery, but rather a random sampling of guest stars who mostly did not appear earlier in the final season, who just happen to be available for the party, making for a natural feel, rather than a forced look back.

A main theme is the legacy one leaves behind, especially as it pertains to sons. Guillermo talks to Stevie about his birth father, revealing some truths that Stevie did not know. This sparks a self-examination in the boy, who doesn't look very Mexican, nor speak Spanish, even though his father was mayor of Tijuana and a gangster.

Stevie blows off the Bar Mitzvah portion of the event as a reaction against this new information, not sure who he is now, given his different daddy influences. But then a strange thing happens. He talks about how proud he is of his mom, and how supportive she has been. It is a very different parent-child bond then we're used to seeing with Nancy, who screwed up with Shane (Alexander Gould) and Silas (Hunter Parrish) royally, repeatedly.

So Nancy has finally done it! She has settled down enough to act like a real mother. She has raised a son right, who loves and respects her, rather than resents or worships her in inappropriate ways. It's an unexpected, and very sweet ending. Viewers have seen Nancy try to grow in this final season, after being in prison and getting shot. It's very rewarding to see it pay off in the end, even if Nancy herself isn't sure it has.

Nancy hasn't completely changed. She runs a pot empire. But in this future, that's a legal career, and her company is about to be bought by Starbucks, setting up her and her loved ones for life. This is the peace and stability she has longed for. And she can't believe she has it, as insecure as ever, and worried about the men that once loved her who no longer hang around. When Stevie leaves for boarding school soon, she will be all alone.

Yet, Nancy is not alone. What she fails to see is, no matter how many mistakes she makes, those men still love her. Stevie proclaims it publicly, and the others do it more subtlety. Silas has a good life, and even though his wife, Megan (Shoshannah Stern), hates Nancy for everything she did to Silas, he doesn't hold a grudge. Shane is on the wrong track, but when his mother intervenes, he agrees to go to rehab. The final scene, where Shane, Silas, Doug (Kevin Nealon), and Andy (Justin Kirk) gather around Nancy on the porch makes it clear. She did good, and not just for Stevie.

Ah, Andy. He finally grew a pair and left Nancy. When he did, he found his joy, raising a daughter in Renmar. It's interesting that, in the end, Nancy is the one trying to win Andy, and he resists. Does Nancy really want him, or is she just trying to hang on to someone, feeling like her world is slipping away? It doesn't matter, because this is what Nancy has always done, so her emotions are real, whether she's stick with him romantically for life or not. It's too bad that Andy is the only one that realizes that love isn't enough, and that they are better off apart than together.

Doug, the lone main character who isn't a Botwin who stays for the length of the series, has his own legacy to worry about in "It's Time." He is happily succeeding in his latest scam, a cult-like religion that he runs. It will fall apart eventually, as it always does, but at least this time Doug has a family. He makes up with his son, Josh (Justin Chatwin, not seen since the Weeds "Pilot"). Doug has his biological family and his adopted one, the Botwins, meaning that no matter what happens, he will be fine.

Weeds can be crazy, and a couple of those outrageous elements are present in "It's Time" in Stevie's speech and the cool new cell phones. But it chooses to focus on the heart in the end, and while that's not been the obvious tone of the show up til now, it's always been an underlying theme. At the end of the day, it's not drug kingpins and burning suburbs that will define Weeds, but rather the rich characters it follows. These people were a bunch of weeds, but they're finally blossoming into something better, especially Andy and Silas. Nancy helped them get to that point, and they're grateful. So Weeds goes out on a very touching moment, not with the world perfect, as no world is, but with it realistically working out.Awesome.

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