I just finished watching the series finale of Weeds, this positively fantastic show that had a first season which was, pardon the pun, absolutely addictive. After having seen the final two episodes I started thinking about what constitutes the perfect ending.
The answer is ridiculously simple and go hand in hand with what all art tends to be: subjective. The perfect ending does not exist because every person taking part in the artwork has the possibility to interpret it in their own unique way based solely on the many things that have served to make the person into the unique individual he or she is.
However, there is a foundation that I feel to be prominent in the TV-series, or in the feature films, where the final season, or final act, delivers on every level and more or less serves to take your breath away. This foundation is based on theme and tone. The TV-shows that avoid the possibility of losing the course they first set for themselves, the ones that keep firmly and consistently to what the premiss of the first season was, will deliver – infallibly – a satisfying ending, while TV-shows that somewhere along the line begin to drift astray and decide that focus should be with something other than where they first started out have a knack for leaving nothing but disappointment in their wake.
Weeds delivered a well-rounded final two episodes, in spite of the fact that the last four seasons have not been as satisfactory to watch as the first four. The deliverance came from the final two episodes feeling a part of a whole and left me – as the viewer – with a pleasant moment in which to leave the characters and finish the journey of eight seasons. Lost did not deliver, but this might be based in the fact that they began the show without any real premiss (if the word of the creator is to be believed) or, possibly, that they began with the premiss that the island was to represent limbo (which I personally think is planted strongly throughout the first season) and the fact that the viewers were smart enough to catch on to the symbolism as quickly as they did made the creators want to flip the swith and try their darndest to surprise, in a way that did not coexist happily with the expectations they had put an effort into building in their audience.
The simple summary on the subject is this: there are no perfect endings, but there are endings that acknowledge what came before, where the plot and the characters strive toward something that feels inevitable once we arrive at it without it ever having been obvious during the journey towards it. Those are the stories worth coming back to. I wonder that there aren’t more of them.