When we finally said goodbye to Showtime’s comedy stalwart, Weeds, an indeterminate amount of time had passed since Nancy’s sojourn to Regrestic. Enough years had gone by that Stevie Ray Botwin—now Stevie Ray Bloom—had entered middle school, Nancy had been married and widowed yet again, having hooked up with that hot rabbi after all, Silas and Megan had tied the knot and popped out the aptly named baby Flora, and marijuana had been legalized, creating a sort of stoner utopia where Nancy’s weed bakeries flourish out in the open. Sucks to be Shane, who chose his cop career over the family business and soon found himself struggling for work in the world of legal weed.
While Weeds is no stranger to random time shifts, and it certainly would have felt rushed to neatly wrap up the explosive destruction of Andy and Nancy’s relationship after last week’s awkward sidewalk sex, the obvious problem with such a drastic jump is that suddenly, even stories that were at an acceptable “end” had new and interesting beginnings. Had we never seen Silas and Megan again, or only been given a glance of the duo on another date, I think we could have easily assumed that they would probably eventually live happily ever after—or whatever the Weeds equivalent of that is. By introducing their daughter, Flora, and the antagonistic relationship between Megan and Nancy, a new storyline was introduced that required investment. Weeds, seemingly aware of this problem, attempted to handwave the conflict while simultaneously closing Silas’s storyline once and for all when Nancy asked him to make his wife be nice to her and he essentially refused. His life no longer revolved around making sure Nancy was happy.
Season 8 seemed to lead with the idea that by the end of this journey, Nancy actually WOULD be happy. First through her determination to be a law-abiding citizen and mother-of-the-year candidate, and then through her acceptance of herself and what she excelled at: selling weed. And yet, by the time we got to the closing shot of our five original cast members contemplating life on the back porch while Rilo Kiley’s “With Arms Outstretched” (excellent song choice, Weeds!) played in the background, Nancy’s trip ended largely where it began. Despite being surrounded by friends and family, many of whom seemed reluctantly tethered to her by some invisible length of chain, she was alone. She made the decision to sell her chain of “Good Seed” cafes to Starbucks, eliminating her place in day-to-day operations. She was once again estranged from her sister Jill. Despite her supposed best efforts to be a good mother to Stevie, he was desperate to go to a boarding school halfway across the country so that he wouldn’t “learn to hate” his mother. Andy made a clean break after the sidewalk sex, returning to Ren Mar, reclaiming Bubbie’s house, opening a restaurant, and starting a family of his own. And Shane? It seemed that Shane would finally get to move to Pittsburgh... by agreeing to check into a mental health and drug rehab facility.
I spent a lot of the finale feeling really bad for Shane, actually. His mentally disturbed antics were largely played for naughty laughs during the course of the series’ run, but at no point during the finale was anything about Shane’s current life fun. Way to kill the good vibes, Weeds.
As frustrating as the uneven tone of the finale was, in a way it was a fitting exit for a series that was infamously uneven for a good portion of its run, especially anything after, say, after Season 5. That’s not to say that those latter seasons were terrible and we all wasted our time for sticking around. I don’t mean that at all. In a way, it’s like the The Godfather trilogy. The first two films were flawless, the third one, not so much; but you still need the third one to tell the entire Corleone story. Both Nancy Botwin and Michael Corleone end up alone with their empires and much like Michael’s temperamental relationship with Kay Adams, Nancy and Andy didn’t fully reconcile, either. And honestly, that's probably for the best.
Everything Nancy knew about Andy’s life in Ren Mar, she learned through Silas, the only Botwin who seemed to still be in contact with him. When Andy RSVP’d to Nancy’s Bar Mitzvah invitation, he did so through Silas. It was implied that Silas had been to Andy’s home in Ren Mar and knew his new family quite well. Maybe Stevie is onto something considering that the two characters who had the least contact with Nancy during the time between “God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise” and “It’s Time” were the two who seemed to have the most stable and fulfilling lives.
There’s the rub, right? Nancy’s series-long trip came full circle when her desperation to keep Andy in her life overshadowed the happiness he found without her... and Andy’s growth was finally confirmed when, despite her insane offers and pleas, he turned her down and went back to his family in California. It reflected Silas’s refusal to “make” Megan like Nancy and Stevie’s determination to go to school out of state. Perhaps even Nancy herself finally realized where her efforts had gone wrong, intervening in Shane’s messy life and pushing him toward rehab, but still removing her active presence by floating the idea of sending him to rehab in Pittsburgh. Control-freak Nancy has realized that there are certain things that, perhaps, grow better without her constant fussing, and we may have Josh Wilson, son of Guru Doug, to thank for that.
After repeated kidnappings by Doug’s cult in an effort to force a reconciliation between father and son, Doug and Josh eventually did reach an understanding, and while waiting for a taxi to rescue him from his latest abduction, Josh and Nancy caught up on each others’ lives. Despite his problematic teenage years, Josh turned out just fine: married to an artist, living in Brooklyn, thinking about having kids. An amazed Nancy asked him how he turned out so great and while Josh laid a lot of praise on his own mother, he concluded with, “Sometimes you just get lucky.”
Nancy and her brood could be in far worse shape than what we left them in, and frankly, the alternate future of legalized weed that Weeds presented us with probably had a lot to do with that, essentially turning Nancy’s business legitimate overnight. It was a very, VERY lucky break. But in her personal life, as isolated as she seemed in that final scene, Nancy has still had many lucky breaks. Theoretically, all three of her children should have ended up as massive headcases, but of the three, two of them are pretty stable, all things considered. Luck has been the thread that weaves through Nancy’s story for the past eight seasons, motivating the flight from Esteban when it appeared (even to her family) that it was starting to run out. Luck was often observed by her peers, like Conrad and Guillermo, and spoken of like it was just another one of Nancy’s traits, as obvious as her hair color. Luck has enabled Nancy to get away with quite a lot in the past and there’s no reason to think that it won’t continue to smile upon her in the future.
And even Nancy seems to be aware of this: Her posture in our final shot of her, surrounded by her scattered family, was one full of calm and acceptance. This is where Nancy’s parallel with Michael Corleone diverges and returns to a story that is all her own: Where his isolation is a symbol of his defeat, hers is one of victory. She may be alone, but she certainly isn’t lonely.
– Two words: Shane’s porn-stache.
– No Celia? Not even a mention? Boo.
– Stevie’s discovery of Esteban’s true career actually went a lot smoother than I thought it would, botched Bar Mitzvah and everything. How do we think his future will play out?
– Tim Scottson (yes, THAT Tim Scottson) ended up becoming Nancy’s personal assistant? Okay. I mean, I guess that works in a twisted sort of way. Any theories as to how THAT happened?