After 8 years and one hundred episodes, The Botwins (Doug included) have learned nothing from the mistakes they continually made and the danger they were put in time and time again. I thought back over the last eight years and everything that happened. And I smiled. Because I love the Botwins, my wonderful dysfunctional, drug dealing family. The rest of this review will contain spoilers.
When the episode started with Nancy at a PTA meeting, I was happy to see the throwback to the first episode. I was even happier to hear that most recent husband (The rather annoying rabbi) bit the dust like the three before him (Sorry, dude. If Jeffrey Dean Morgan can't survive, you definitely weren't going to). But then, I was suddenly thrown for a loop when the formally 6 year old Stevie appeared all grown up and ready to attend his Bar Mitzvah. The show made no indication that it was taking place a good way into the future.
While jarring, this was a future that didn't seem that unlikely. There were no flying cars and no robots maids. Instead, smart phones were now paper thin and see through. And, of course, weed had been legalized, turning a nice sized profit for Nancy, Silas, Andy, Conrad, and Guillermo. On top of creating the top selling MJ cigarette, Nancy has 50 weed lounge stores that Starbucks are looking to buy.
While this deal is happening, characters from across the series are returning for Stevie's Bar Mitzvah. This leads to laughs as we see old faces from the early seasons, filling in the gaps. The viewer sees that Sanjay and that hooker ended up together and that Isabelle Hodes got a sex change. The high point of the returning faces was Doug's gay son that only appeared in the first episode as his Dad(now a sex crazed cult leader. Awesome) attempts to make amends. The low point was that there was not a single mention or allusion to Celia. I wonder if there was bad blood spilled when Elizabeth Perkins left the show?
While a shooting gallery of former supporting characters is nice for a finale, it's not what makes or breaks a finale. A series finale is suppose to put the show into perspective and prove that the past few years that you've dedicated to a show were worth something. I thought hard about what Weeds has been all about. At first, I thought it was about family. But then I decided it really wasn't. There are other shows about that. This show has been about a Mother protecting her children/family.
No matter how selfish Nancy may seem at times, everything she has done has always been to protect her children and their lifestyle. She took up selling weed, she burned down a town, she took her family on the run across the continent, and, finally, got herself thrown in jail just so her kids could safely escape to Denmark. Time and time again, Nancy has done all that she can to protect Silas, Shane, Andy, Stevie, and even Doug. Even though her plans to keep her children's lives normal failed again and again(Shane became a murderer and Silas joined her in the family business), Nancy never gave up trying to make things better.
Here at the end, it's paid off but not in the way you'd expect. Silas is a happily married Dad, Doug is making amends with those he has wronged, Stevie is going off to boarding school, and Andy finally has a restaurant and a child of his own. The notable sour note is Shane's alcoholism but even that is resolved with optimism as he and Nancy agree to check him into rehab (In Pittsburgh. Of course). In a final conversation between Andy and Nancy(absolutely beautifully acted and brought a few tears to me), Andy really puts it into perspective; in all the years since Judah died, Nancy has been working to give her children everything they need. No matter what, she has been locked into a life lived for her sons. With them all grown up(for the most part), Andy tells Nancy that she is free to be who she wants to be and can finally do what she wants because her job is done and finished. And for the most part, she did a good job.
Sure, the viewer doesn't get the happily ever after ending with Andy and Nancy running off to tie the knot (Thankfully. I don't want him to die too). Instead, Andy is realistic. He admits that he loves Nancy but he knows that she is toxic for him. He is happy and urges her to find her own happiness too.
The show ends the way it should. In a dialogue less scene, Nancy, Silas, Shane, Andy, and Doug share a joint as they watch the snow fall. Despite all the pain and anguish that has intertwined this family throughout the series, there's laughter and jokes. It feels optimistic. And that's a good note to go out on.