Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weeds reaches the "Threshold"

Showtime's Weeds is in its finale season, so one might think that the plot arcs would begin to develop towards final, happy endings for the characters. For the last few weeks, that's exactly what the show appeared to be doing. Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) has a good job and is dating a respectable rabbi named David (David Julian Hirsh, Hawthorne). Andy (Justin Kirk) longs for kids, and when he meets a hot, young woman, Joanna (Aubrey Dollar, Women's Murder Club), who is willing to marry him, he thinks he has it made. Silas (Hunter Parrish) is offered a lucrative deal to grow marijuana. Shane (Alexander Gould) has completed the police academy and landed a cushy job until he's old enough to officially join the force, and has a great girlfriend, Angela (Daniele Watts). Even Doug (Kevin Nealon) is finding purpose in making his fake charity a real effort.

But this week's installment, "Threshold," in true Weeds fashion, screws everything up. Nancy dumps David when she learns that he is still mourning his wife, and quits her job. She also decides that Silas's deal isn't what he should be doing. Shane and Angela get in trouble with the law, Andy's new wife would rather wait eight to ten years to bear children, and Doug deals with noise complaints when he brings his homeless charges to a hotel.

Is it folly to hope that Weeds will end with something nice for these people, who always seem to jump from one mess right into another? Yes, most of their problems are brought on by themselves, or at least by Nancy's self-destructive tendencies. But that doesn't mean that loyal viewers who have been watching for nearly a decade don't want to see them find some sort of peace.

The thing is, the title has always had a double meaning, beyond the fact that the Botwins are in the pot business. The central characters are weeds in the world, and deserve to be pulled out of it, unless they can find a way to turn themselves into something useful or pretty. This is the challenge, and with only three half hours left, despite some early promising signs, it seems like a long shot.

Would it even make sense for this show to have a happy ending, given everything that has come before it? I don't know. Writers can deliver the most satisfying finales for even spiteful characters (see: House), so I don't want to say no. And yet, everything that has led up to this moment points to utter tradgedy.

The delight of the final season of Weeds is in how it revists the past. This is about to ramp up in a big way, as the Botwins will spend their last moments back in Agrestic, the neighborhood where it all began. Look for more familiar faces, like Conrad (Romany Malco), Guillermo (Guillermo Diaz), Lapita (Renee Victor), and even Yael (Meital Dohan) to pop up. Though the lack of Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins) in the wake of the rest is completely unacceptable, and will probably end up being this year's biggest mistake.

The last three episodes of Weeds will air Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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