"If You Work For a Living, Then Why Do You Kill Yourself Working?" S4 / E13
- B Community Grade
One thing you have to give Weeds, even as what could be its weakest season so far comes to a close, is that the writers do know their way around a cliffhanger. Before tonight, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be coming back to the show next season–and I'm still not sure that I'll return as a loyal viewer, but once again, I'm intrigued to see how tonight's events are going to unfold next season.
But Weeds' other biggest assets were on display tonight, and no, I'm not talking about that part where Nancy was in the bathtub–well, not exactly. It's easy to forget when Nancy and company are flouncing through the go-nowhere plot twists and the sometimes-grating dialogue that has plagued the past couple of seasons, but Weeds is home to some genuinely interesting characters, if they're given the right opportunity to shine. Tonight's season finale belonged to Mary-Louise Parker, who had more affecting scenes in this one episode than she's had the entire season, though Andy and Silas had their own standout moments as well.
As predicted, Nancy's plan to rat out Guillermo without giving up Esteban didn't work out so well. After discovering the fate of his partner, Agent Till's latent creepiness finally manifests itself in a scary-ass freak-out as he demands Nancy give up her boss, and when she doesn't, vows revenge on him and anyone protecting him. It seems like we haven't seen the last of Till, and chances are good he's going to be a big problem for Nancy and whoever's still willing to be around her next season.
But that's the least of Nancy's concerns right now, as Cesar has alerted Esteban to her duplicity. And this is where the real meat of the episode happens, as Esteban reluctantly admits the situation to himself and arranges a meeting with Nancy in an incredibly tense "I know you know I know you know" phone conversation that's basically an invite to her execution. The fact that her meeting/death is scheduled on the eve of Silas' 18th birthday–which she already forgot–makes things that much worse for Nancy, and she goes into one of her signature wide-eyed, quiet freak-outs, resulting in the two best scenes of the night.
First, yes, the bathtub scene, though the amount of exposed flesh is actually the least intriguing thing about it. Shortly after being alerted by Doug that he is, in fact, in love with Nancy, Andy checks on her in the bathtub, where she proceeds to spill everything to him–possibly the last chance she'll get to tell her story to anyone. It's an incredibly vulnerable moment for both of them, with Nancy exposed completely–physically and emotionally–after years of careful self-preservation, and Andy totally conflicted and powerless to do anything for her.
But the most heartbreaking moment of the night was certainly Nancy's drive to the border to meet Esteban, and her truly pathetic last-ditch attempt to right things with Silas before her imminent demise: a birthday gift basket, ordered from the only store open and willing to deliver to Ren Mar. As she struggles to find the words to explain a basket of dried apricots and biscuits to the son she basically abandoned, we see her realizing the weight of everything she's done, and the irreparable damage it's caused. There's also the grim realization that her final gesture to her adult son may be a chintzy gift basket and the sentiment "Thanks for raising yourself." Ouch.
However, both of these scenes lose some of their power when it's revealed in the last moments of the episode that Nancy has had an ace in her pocket the whole time: a sonogram showing a teeny Estebandito, presumably her stay of execution. She was never headed to the firing squad, she was on her way to the bargaining table, which opens a whole slew of possibilities for next season. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't see this one coming at all, because in hindsight it makes perfect sense: Silas' plan to start a farming operation in Mexico, Andy's newly realized unrequited love, Agent Till's rampage all of these elements lend themselves to a storyline that has to include Esteban somehow, and this is the obvious way to keep him in the picture–and for Nancy to keep her pretty little head. However, I'm concerned this might signal another move for the series, this time to Mexico. Moving the action to Ren Mar was only fitfully successful, and moving again, even farther from the confines of suburbia that used to define the show, seems like a bad move. As with last season's finale, we're left to wait and see.
I'd be remiss not to mention Celia or Doug, though their antics seem pretty pitiful compared to the turmoil in the Botwin home. As promised, we were indeed treated to the reemergence of Quinn tonight, and it seems like she hasn't managed to sidestep the Hoades crazy-ass gene. However, her plan to drug and hold her mother for ransom has some gaping holes in it, namely the fact that I can't see "Daddy Dean," or anyone for that matter, ponying up $200,000 to save Celia. Doug's storyline was even stranger: After his initial anger with Andy about Mermex, the two quickly bro it out and set things to rights, though Doug remains despondent over the lack of "shit blowing up" in his life. (I think we all had enough of Doug blowing shit up, literally, last season.) We're then treated to what appears like Doug's final moments as he writes a letter to Dana and strings himself up in a noose–but Doug doesn't go down like that! Nah, he just proceeds to jerk off and give his estranged wife a hearty "fuck you," and with that, Doug's depression would appear to be over. Let's hope so, because this season has shown that Doug is no fun when he's moping around–it's his unfounded confidence and narcissism that make his braggadocio appealing. Too much about Doug this season–including most of this scene–has been pathetic. Let's hope this is a reset of sorts.
–Oh yeah, Shane's selling pot now. Ho hum.
–Okay, so that photograph that Cesar had of Nancy talking to Till: If it existed this whole time, why was the face-sanding necessary? Presumably it was someone in Esteban's organization that took it, meaning Cesar was already watching her and had the proof she talked. Was there just a hold-up at the photo lab?
–Celia seemed pleased when the donkey-cart driver thought she was Kathleen Turner. That doesn't seem like the kind of comparison Celia would welcome.
–I'm glad Nancy's girl in the blue dress got another mention; that was too odd an element to let go without comment.
–Nice Doug moment: After he climaxes, he gives himself the tiniest bit of applause. Atta boy Doug, good to have you back.
–I do believe Hunter Parrish has spent more of this season in some form of undress than he has fully clothed.