“If You Work For a Living, Why Do You Kill Yourself Working?”
September 15th, 2008
During Weeds’ first season, I would have never expected that it would fall into a pattern.
It was a show about a mother who deals drugs to support her family, with two children completely unaware of their mother’s ways to pay the bills, living in a gated community that harbours an assortment of characters so unhinged that Nancy often looked like the most normal of them all.
Since that point, though, the pattern is simple: at the end of one season, things get bad to the point where we as an audience question how much time Nancy Botwin has left before she is arrested or killed. Then, at the start of the next season, the show spends four or five episodes dealing with the fallout from that event before settling into a rising action, a new location or force in Nancy’s life that will result in yet another near-death experience.
Because of this, we go into last night’s Weeds finale with qualified expectations: yes, we expect it to be quite good, but we know that it won’t immediately solve the nagging issues from this season. It isn’t about providing closure, justifying the show’s move closer to the border, but rather creating enough tension that the road into season five is opened up when the show returns next year.
By these standards, “If You Work for a Living…” is a near triumph: an episode that manages to both clearly outline the next season’s action while actually creating a twist that might actually maintain the status quo as opposed to immediately saying goodbye to it. It’s not a perfect episode, and there’s a couple of nagging issues that still make this season a growing experience, but this feels like the type of finale that Weeds needed: not a rebirth, but…well, a birth.