In the season finale — did anyone else find it premature? — Shane goes Talented Mr. Ripley on us: In the final scene, by the pool, with Esteban and his followers munching tuna appetizers in the cocktail lounge, he comes along with a croquet mallet and bonks busty Pilar on the head. He does it for Mom as well as for himself: Pilar and Nancy are standing by the pool, looking stunning and exchanging death threats.
Shane, who has had a rough season — getting shot started it all off, but having Ignacio for a babysitter didn’t help matters — has been losing faith in the family since before his voice cracked. So while the fatal bonk comes as a shock, this Shane, suited up and hair slicked with a wily curl at the front, makes perfect sense. He has become our leading man.
And so now Jenji Kohan has done it all — murdered an FBI agent, set fire to a whole town — and there’s no point asking how she’s gonna get out of this one. She just keeps getting away with it — or will her luck run out, as Silas predicts Nancy’s will one day?
No loose ends are tied; the narrative threads fray like Nancy’s nerves. “We’re all broken,” Nancy says to Esteban. Esteban has returned from his stint in prison and is running for governor with the steely Pilar by his side. Pilar, who has documented every one of Esteban’s indiscretions. And so Nancy’s husband of, what … three weeks? … essentially belongs to another woman. His choice: life in prison or life in Pilar’s pocket.
Meanwhile, Esteban’s beautiful Ivy League daughter has lost feeling in everything but her right arm; turns out, her interest in heroin was less a recreational thing and more of a real habit. So Silas — who has also become a hero of sorts, having refused an escape to Europe in order to remain with his family and now proving himself purer than his junkie princess of a stepsister — has to call in the doctor. Whom Andy is in the middle of proposing to. Not only does Andy have the family ring, but he has also traded in his Dukes of Hazzard–mobile for a family van (talk about broken). He spends most of the episode declaring his undying devotion to Alanis Morissette, only to run like a frightened chipmunk when her bearded stalker shows up with a
Nancy has to break the news to her already busted husband about his precious daughter being a junkie (says Andy: “I believe with the accent it’s yunkie”). When Esteban stammers, “I can’t,” and runs, Nancy vows to deal with her new stepdaughter herself. We may have our old Nancy, the one who cares about her family and wears sparkly headbands around the house, back. But now she’s not a drug dealer. We have Celia for that now. She has dyed her hair Nancy-black, wears leather and heels, and assembles the old team. “I want to be a drug dealer,” she declares. By episode’s end, she has Doug, Dean, Sanjay (Maulik Pancholy is back!), and daughter Isabelle at her service. “Isabelle Hodes: the brains,” the underused adolescent reluctantly declares.
It’s not clear whether this role reversal will last. Now that Shane is a murderer, Nancy might need to abandon her patio and bring in the big guns — what’s the next step up from the Mexican mafia? But we’re hoping the absence of witnesses will provide some sort of convenient segue back to the early days of sunny melodrama. We love this new Shane, but we don’t want to lose the old one. Perhaps he can become the new Andy, a goofy sweetheart whose worst crime is taking off with Zooey Deschanel in a stolen family van. For now we’re happy with the new-old Nancy. “Men are weak,” she says, and all but the young ones (i.e., Shane) seem to be. But she’s found something like Zen: “It doesn’t mean I’m going to leave; it just means I’ve changed my expectations.”