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A climactic and nuanced final season...
on November 9, 2012
For reasons that I don't understand, fans of the long-running Showtime series "Weeds" are divided, when it comes to the final season. I gave Season Seven of Weeds 5 stars, because I didn't want to admit that the quality had dipped drastically. If S7 were the last, I truly would have been upset. In season eight, Jenji Kohan and crew know from the beginning that it's the last season. It started out as a show primarily about family. So we get more moments with our core characters. We aren't introduced to any new cartoonish bad guys - drug dealers or gangsters. We learn to love the characters that we used to love again.
And as a longtime fan who has been here since the beginning, I think it's the best way they could have ended things. For the first time in years, we get genuine character development, most of the characters redeem themselves, and we're left with a quiet and nuanced series finale that reminded me that there is some hope in the cynical world of "Weeds".
The start of season eight shows our favorite antiheroine Nancy Botwin recovering from a possibly fatal shot to the head. Not one member of her family sheds a tear, and we're reminded how cynical and broken they are. We have yet another new location - fictitious Connecticut suburb Old Sandwich. It's a lot like Agrestic. It's interesting that the show had this big multi-location journey over eight years, to ultimately end up where they began.
After a three-month recovery, Nancy vows to be a better person, after finally realizing that she's been a pretty terrible person. Stevie is back in her life, and she's trying to allow him as much of a normal life as possible. She gets out of the drug game (at least for a while), and gets a legit job, where she is still around drugs, ironically. Silas is still growing and selling pot, while Shane is preparing to be a cop in the NYPD, allowing for a new interesting dynamic between the two. Jill and her daughters have moved in with the family, and Jill almost automatically restarts her sordid romance with Andy. Even a character as despicable as Jill ultimately becomes likable in the end.
The show's characters are grappling with real issues this season. Nancy, who still has a bullet lodged in her head, is wondering why she was given a second chance. She befriends a rabbi who spoke with Andy when Nancy was coma-ridden in the hospital. Andy's also wondering what the point of his life is. They're realizing that death is closer, and they contemplate religion pretty heavily, which is interesting, since religion had always been something to point and laugh at on this show. While events aren't necessarily as exciting as previous seasons may have been, we see all of the Botwins moving forward in their own lives, as they slowly drift apart from one another, into more permanent jobs and lives.
While I don't want to give away too much, there are many other high points of this season. The landmark 100th episode is a return to Agrestic (now called Regrestic), where many old characters are revisited, and old wounds are opened again, and the relationship and unsaid dynamic between Andy and Nancy is finally resolved.
The series finale feels very much like a reunion show, set many years in the future, where many old characters from both Agrestic and Ren Mar show up. The hour-long finale is quiet and nuanced, and not big and exciting like one would think. We see where each character is, and it's interesting to see. The ending is something that satisfied me. It isn't a happily-ever-after ending, but it's not terribly sad either. For someone who has followed this show for years, I couldn't have wanted a better ending. I thought it was beautiful, emotional and redemptive. I'm truly going to miss this show. Forever live the Botwins.