Pam has surprisingly few lines, given that “Pam & Tommy” is named after her. When she does talk, it’s in a breathy, frail tone that could be mistaken for the Santa Ana winds. Pam, on the other hand, gives two major speeches this week, the first to her husband and the second to her lawyer – two men who have a nasty habit of telling her what to do. Furthermore, even in silence, the camera stays on Pam. The second and final episode of “Pam & Tommy” directed by Lake Bell is “Destroyer of Worlds,” which is a shame. Her episodes — the other being episode four, which included Pam’s miscarriage — reveal a glimmer of what this program could have been if it had abandoned its obsession with ’90s macho and instead concentrated on the quiet blonde with a lot on her mind.
Unfortunately, the focus of the episode remains on Rand, who has become too comfortable hiding out at Erica’s. In the mornings, he checks Danielle’s tarot cards and uses their phone line to call Miltie in Amsterdam. Rand’s big, exciting new business idea is a complete flop, with internet sales of the sex tape reaching nil even as the Penthouse lawsuit buys free exposure. Butchie Peraino, the loan shark, is unconcerned about piracy or the fact that Rand’s business partner has fled the country. Butchie demands his $50,000 back after a rather bizarre torture scene in which Rand is forced to eat vodka and Fernet-soaked cherries. Otherwise.
Rand, of course, lacks the scratch. So he attempts again to withdraw money from Tommy Lee’s bank. He writes Tommy an anonymous and imprecise blackmail letter demanding $26,900 for the carpenter job he did for the Lees, plus the cost of the tools Tommy essentially stole. Rand signs it “karma” because, even with the chips all the way down, he still believes he’s a retributive justice agent, not just a doofus, as Butchie puts it.
It’s no less exhausting to be Pamela Anderson than it is to be anyone else. The Barb Wire press tour has arrived, and credentialed men are asking the exact things you expect them to, such as “When is your Penthouse coming out?” We finally get to see Jay Leno, who made an appearance in the series premiere and has the horrible manners to ask her how she feels about being so “exposed.” She exposes the truth to a surprised studio audience: It’s terrible. Pam, on the other hand, understands that the truth will neither set her free nor sell movie tickets. She adds a gauzy little giggle to put everyone at ease when the uncomfortable stillness lasts long enough.
Tommy is enraged backstage, but Pam puts him in his place as expertly as she has all season. He’s now the support act. His goal is to assist her. Hitting Jay Leno across the chin with her fist isn’t exactly helpful when she’s attempting to snag the headlines for herself. Pam decides to stay the night at a hotel on the eve of the premiere, eating pie and crying to the “magic” sequence in Sleepless in Seattle, despite the fact that it is at the beginning of the film. How did she and Tommy fall in love at first sight and then get so far off track so quickly?
Tommy travels to an abandoned parking lot with nearly $30,000 cash in hand as if to answer Pam’s unsaid query, hours after assuring her that he’ll stay out of trouble. Rand and Tommy call each other names like “loser” and “bad person,” which are harsh but realistic. For the first time on the show, a man takes Pam’s sentiments into account. What did she do to earn this dreadful fate? Tommy would like to know. Rand had never examined such a straightforward question. She’s either a wife or a bathing suit or a centerfold or less to him. God, he’s such a loser. Tommy is as well. When he observes Rand’s despair, he makes a karma offering on his behalf. To put it another way, he sets $27,000 on fire.
The Penthouse lawsuit verdict arrives the same morning as Barb’s release (at least according to the show’s shaky narrative). The judge dismissed the case, thereby allowing Bob Guccione to publish stolen nudes of Pamela Anderson in his magazine for no money. Tommy and the lawyer are oblivious to the message, but Pam is aware of it. This isn’t about the tape that was stolen; it’s about her and how she’s made a life up to this point. She explains, “Because I’ve spent my entire public existence in a bathing suit because I had the audacity to pose for Playboy.” “They can’t truly say that sluts — and this ruling is stating that I am, in case you’re confused — they can’t actually say that sluts don’t get to decide what happens to images of their bodies,” says the judge. As a result, the courts decide that the photographs are “newsworthy.” You might wonder what the news value is. They were, after all, the subject of a lawsuit.
Pam’s male friends are both insensitive and ignorant, but they are also powerful. They make risky decisions with no regard for the consequences. They’re basically terrible, but when Pam tells Gail that she hopes her unborn child is a boy, the situation scarcely necessitates any explanation. Wouldn’t you do the same if you were Pam?
When Rand is unable to pay Butchie, he gives him a modified Louisville Slugger that can be concealed in a coat sleeve. In the period of a few months, Butchie has progressed from carpenter to producer to enforcer. But, at least for the time being, Rand lacks the stomach for debt collection. Erica is to thank for it. At a party, she and Danielle viewed Pam and Tommy’s sex tape and fell in love with it. They think it’s cute how Pam focuses the camera on Tommy’s face instead of the usual money picture when he arrives. Tommy even sheds a tear or two, such as his love for Pamela. Erica adds, “He’s oddly likable.” Rand nearly survives the insult, but the true insurmountable hurt is Erica’s expulsion once he confesses to stealing the tape. He still can’t tell the difference between a pornographic film in which the actors consent and the footage he seized from Pam and Tommy, which I suppose qualifies him to be a judge in the United States. “Sluts don’t get to choose what happens to their body images.” Rand puts a lifetime’s worth of grief and self-pity into wrecking the apartment of a man who owes Butchie three grand. He yells, apparently at least partially at himself, “You did this to yourself.”
The episode’s quietest sequence, though, is the most startling. Pamela, who is pregnant and dressed in a liquid-look turtleneck column dress, and Tommy, who is dressed in a mesh ski-bib thing, share a ride home from the movies. Tommy took Pam to a multiplex after the formal Barb Wire premiere so she could watch the film as it would be seen by average people. Regular people, on the other hand, are moaning and sniggering their way through it, laughing at her. It’s not because of them. It’s a truly terrible flick.
Pamela closes her painted-silver eyelids in the limo, as though she knows it’s finished. This is the limit she has set for herself. This is the maximum distance a person can go from Ladysmith, Canada. Jane Fonda isn’t going to be her role model. She’ll be the girl from the sex tape, the one who spent her entire public existence in a bathing suit dared to pose for Playboy, and married the jerk from Mötley Crüe nearly as soon as she met him. The person who, according to a judge, was not entitled to privacy. She was the one who went on national television and pretended to be part of the bad prank.