Show Me the Way
Where is Pete Davidson?
As promised in the last episode, Pete has decided to go to rehab and get a handle on his life. He seriously wants to change his ways and become a better person. He is at the Forest Point Center, undergoing a treatment schedule. Michael, the manager in charge of the facility, takes his job very seriously. Even the attendants under him walk the talk and recognise he is a hard taskmaster. Pete is asked to take his meds, mind his business, and make an effort to try changing.
The facility is full of people with various addictions. Every week, they sit in a circle and express their addictions and how they are coping with them. Paul Walter Hauser is there as well. Pete once again has hallucinations before Machine Gun Kelly interrupts his reverie and sits next to him. He got the address from Amy but doesn’t know it is a rehab centre.
For what occasion does Amy want Pete to temporarily come out? Why is she so concerned?
Amy calls Evan to communicate with Pete about Casey’s graduation. She is currently a physician’s assistant and graduating in about a week’s time. She wants everyone to be there for Casey, who has always felt like a second priority to Pete. Amy envisages writing a note to get permission for Pete to come out but Evan says it doesn’t work like that. She also sounds a warning to Joe to make the graduation ceremony any which way possible. Amy wants to spend as much time with Joe before his cancer gets potentially fatal. Evan tries to get the message but the attendant at the other end rejects his request.
What does the future hold for Pete Davidson?
Before going to bed, Pete has a hard meditative session with himself, going over past memories. He definitely regrets a lot of the things he has done and how he has let his mother down on so many occasions. He dearly misses his father, Scott, and that has left an irreplaceable void in his life. An opportunity presents itself that night when Kelly and Hauser buy the keys to the medicine cabinet from the attendants and they have a party.
The future holds the potential – to destroy or build up things from here. Everything that will happen henceforth will depend on what Pete does.
The trio get high and are in full party mode. They all start singing in unison, the muffled voices of which reach Michael. He fetches a baseball bat and ominously approaches the room. Hauser, Kelly, and Davidson watch in horror as Michael bashes the table in front of them with the bat.
The attendants rush to the scene. Michael knows they relinquished the keys and are fired. Kelly tries to take the blame but Michael isn’t convinced. He has considerably calmed down and asks Kelly to leave. The attendants retain their job.
Musings about life, parenthood, and the fallacy of change
Joe and Amy have a heartfelt conversation in the hospital as he is doing a chemo session. Amy assures him that Pete will be alright as she is “the strongest woman Joe knows.” This is what Joe said to Amy at Tommy’s wedding back in episode 2 when she was apprehensive about taking the responsibility. She also comforts him about Joe’s job as a present father in his family’s life. Michael talks to Pete as he mulls his betrayal of himself by partaking in the drug party last night.
He is hard on himself and says he is to blame for everything that happens to Pete. It is a real moment of reflection and helplessness. Michael says he is ready for something. He asks Pete to follow him into the woods. Just as in Honey Boy, the film, Michael asks Pete to visualize everything that bothers him in life and let it all out with a gigantic scream.
What does Pete really care about in his life?
In an intense climax, Michael slaps Pete and threatens him to find the things he really cares about in life. As he does this, the black-and-white screen explodes into colour. Pete has an epiphany and thanks a confused Michael before leaving. The transition was an allegory to Pete’s epiphany. The B&W depicted his depression, confusion, and hopelessness, while the colours were full of hope, pointing him in the right direction. At a gas station, Pete sees the real Ray Romano but thinks he is a figment of his imagination and leaves Ray flabbergasted.
Pete opens his phone and receives all of Amy’s messages… but it is too late. The ceremony happens as he is on his way. He swerves and ends up in a car accident. He is unconscious for a while and then suddenly wakes up, coughing blood. He finds the situation funny and the screen goes black.
The Episode Review
Bupkis ends like a Greek tragedy. Even though it was mostly a coming-of-age story, the arc does not get fully resolved. The absurdist and dark comedy elements that have been so well deployed throughout, disrupt the climax of the finale and leave us with no clear answers.
It was clear though, that family mattered to Pete. Doing things for others, being selfless, and prioritizing the happiness of others are things he never learnt. But the final scenes suggest he wanted to try all of that. Life got in his way once again, in Pete’s head. “I feel everybody is out to get me” was a strong statement about the bizarre unfairness of life. And that is what just hit him again. Who wouldn’t find that funny?
Bupkis ends just like it began – randomly. Pete Davidson’s therapeutic creative experiment had intent, purpose, and motivation. But the show was clearly self-aware and that is how it brings the story to an end. The finale epitomized the bizarre unfairness of life and highlighted the underlying darkness of the show. It resets the critical perspective and narrative on Bupkis without undoing the meaningful exposition. Show Me the Way is a bold, intense farewell to the show, something that Pete Davidson must be proud of.