we gave it all up for hot dogs
Photo: Marcus Price/Hulu
This is it. The season finale, when everything the previous nine episodes had been building toward comes to a head. We had so many things left to deal with: the secret baby, Farouk and Maysa’s marriage, the family’s finances, Dena not taking the bar, Ramy working for the Israeli mob, the Palestinian kid in prison — the list goes on and on. I, personally, was nervous.
This episode didn’t waste any time. In the very first scene, Ramy is holding his baby, Amina, telling Zainab he wants to be more involved. He can help financially, but Zainab doesn’t want his Israeli money near her daughter, and she doesn’t want him disrupting her life. Nothing about that scene was surprising. Of course Ramy would want to be involved in his daughter’s life, and of course Zainab would say no. But the fact that she let him see the baby in the first place leaves the door open.
Meanwhile, Farouk and Maysa are selling the house. But the Realtor, a white woman, wants to cleanse the space of its “ethnic energy,” and she goes so far as to take down a framed passage from the Quran that’s up on the wall. She tells them removing these things can be cleansing, like Marie Kondo, who “really figured out how to deal with immigrant clutter.” This show is remarkably good at depicting the microaggressions of white people.
In the next scene, Ramy is meeting with Ayala and Salim, and he asks Ayala if she helped Khaled, the kid who was arrested. “Who?” she responds before remembering. She says there’s not much she can do even though she previously told Ramy it would be easy. And anyway, that’s not what they’re there to discuss. They want Ramy to be more involved in the business, and they hand him a watch that’s worth more than anything he’s ever sold, telling him to take it to a specific address. From there, I immediately knew things wouldn’t end well.
This episode moves fast, though, and Ramy (as well as the audience) barely has time to process the conversation before we’re faced with Mo, Ahmed, Steve, and Lena standing outside with Naseem to buy a ring for Steve’s engagement. Ramy, of course, is upset Steve isn’t buying from him, but they all walk away and leave him standing on the street alone.
Although this was a quick scene, it did a nice job of showing Ramy’s distance from his friends now. They’re all there to help Steve, shutting Ramy out of an important event in his friend’s life. He steps outside from his business deal, seeing the direct consequences of his actions. He’s taken his friends for granted, and now they’re moving on without him.
After that, Ramy heads back to the massage parlor. Every time he’s faced with what his life has become, he escapes to another shameful sexual situation. Instead of dealing with his problems, he seeks out sex. But the prostitute he was with when Boomer died, who says her name is Olivia, wants to talk about what happened. Instead, he tells her he just wants the buzzing in his head to go away, and when he has sex, it goes away for a little bit.
“Touching someone is not — it’s never been fun,” Ramy says.
Even though the admission isn’t that surprising given the type of sex Ramy seeks out, it’s upsetting to hear out loud. To know that sex has never been fun for him is just sad. He’s always been broken, and he’s never had sex in a healthy way. Eventually, the conversation with Ramy and Olivia circles back to the main theme of the season: fate and free will. She tells Ramy everything is written for us and everything is planned by God, echoing his words from the first episode.
Back home, Farouk and Maysa are decluttering the house when Farouk finds Shadi’s ’shrooms that he gave to Maysa. He’s shocked Shadi would do drugs in his house, living life like Snoop Dogg, he says.
“We have to take him to rehab,” Farouk insists.
But Maysa is uncharacteristically calm and says Shadi told her it would help her stop smoking and save her life, but “Alhamdulillah, I found vape.” And then the greatest, most surprising thing that could possibly happen happens: Farouk and Maysa get high on mushrooms.
“This is nothing like hajj,” Farouk says as the two of them stand outside staring at their empty aboveground pool, which the Realtor told them would lower the value of the house. They start talking about how they taught Dena to swim in that pool and how they can’t believe they used to feed the kids hot dogs, not knowing they were pork hot dogs. Farouk thinks it’s okay, though, because halal isn’t the standard in America, and they’re just visitors in foreign territory.
“We’ve been here for 35 years, Farouk,” Maysa says.
Even on ’shrooms, questions of identity and home come up. Farouk insists he’s a visitor in America, and in some sense, he’s right. He’s not fully American, as his brother said, but he lives between two cultures, not fitting into either. The Realtor who came by was trying to strip their home of any cultural identity, leaving Maysa and Farouk unsure of who they are and where they belong. Later on, the two of them go to a grocery store and stare at the hot dogs before deciding to order four. They’re still high when they take the hot dogs home and realize they taste disgusting. It’s interesting that they even seek out the hot dogs in the first place. They’re trying to acclimate to American culture, but when they actually take a bite, it’s not what they want and it’s not who they are.
Ramy, meanwhile, visits Boomer’s grave with Olivia. She becomes the first person he tells he has a daughter, which makes sense given that he’s no longer close with his friends. It’s a sad realization, but it shows he has no one else. Then they start talking about the watch (big mistake!), and he wonders if he’s just going to spend his whole life selling jewelry. He says he used to want something, and with Zainab, he felt love for the only time in his life. Even though she wasn’t experienced, sex with Zainab was better than any other sex he’d ever had. He says he grew up so afraid of sex that he never found any love in it, and he was so afraid of God that he never loved God. When he held Amina, he says, he felt he never wanted to do anything for himself again, so choice must exist. In the first episode of this season, Ramy was using fate as an excuse for how his life turned out, but now, if he’s coming to terms with choice, he has to take accountability.
At that, Olivia leans in to kiss him one last time, and the two of them fall down. She says she doesn’t think she’ll see him again because he’s going to make a choice, and maybe fate is in his hands. She leaves him sitting outside alone.
At home, Farouk and Maysa are still high, and they’re smashing plates against the walls and floor. When Dena gets home, she thinks someone broke in, but Maysa says not to worry because everything is amazing. Farouk also asks if there’s something wrong with Dena’s “energy.” He’s a little more observant on drugs, it seems, because Dena has something to tell them. She and Tarek have been seeing each other, and they want to get married. She’s still planning on taking the bar, though.
I actually did not love this ending for Dena. It felt like a rushed attempt to wrap up her story. She just met Tarek a few episodes ago, and not much time has passed. He’s a nice guy, sure, but he’s not at her level, and we didn’t get to see how this played out at all. But Maysa is thrilled, and Farouk says the drugs make everything seem like a fantasy.
Ramy is about to have his own epiphany. As he’s leaving the gravesite, he gets a call from Salim, asking if Ramy delivered the watch. That’s when Ramy, predictably, realizes he doesn’t have the watch, and he eventually realizes Olivia stole it. He calls Yuval freaking out, but Yuval doesn’t pick up, so he leaves a frantic voice-mail telling him what happened. But then, midway through the voice-mail, he starts laughing and says, “It was God.” God was helping him out and choosing for him so he didn’t have to.
“It’s maktoub,” he says, meaning, “It was written.”
But if God made the choice, is Ramy still choosing? Maybe, instead, Ramy is saying we have free will, but everything we choose has already been written. In this case, God pushed him to make the choice easier.
He says they’re not supposed to have this money, so he hangs up and immediately donates $50,000 to help release Khaled from the IDF.
Ramy runs toward the ocean because he’s at the beach for some reason, and he does wu’du with the ocean water. The episode ends with him praying and crying on the beach as Farouk, Maysa, Dena, and Tarek are praying together at home. For a brief moment, Farouk and Maysa, still high, see Boomer sitting in the chair in front of them. The credits roll over Ramy still praying on the beach, and it’s a really beautiful moment. There are a lot of loose ends still, and we don’t know what will happen with Ramy, the baby, the house, the stolen watch, etc., but the season ended on a note of hope. It feels like all of the characters have grown and learned so much, and they’ve changed for the better. I hope we get a fourth season and the story continues from here.
• While Farouk and Maysa discuss accidentally buying pork hot dogs for the kids, I started to think every Muslim family must be living the same life. My mom used to buy hot dogs and meatballs not knowing they were pork until, one day, she discovered her error and made sure to check for only beef hot dogs and beef meatballs. Today, even though I still don’t eat pork, I have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with hot dogs. If I don’t know it’s pork, then whatever.
• After Ramy tells Olivia he has a daughter, she says, “Congratulations,” and Ramy responds, “That’s a really good use of that word,” calling back to the conversation in Israel.
• While high, Farouk says they have to let Ramy help them financially, and Maysa agrees. She says they’re not selling the house. They paid for everything for Ramy, and now he has to pay for everything for them because that’s the “circle of life.” I’m sure whenever they come down off ’shrooms, they’ll be upset to know Ramy donated all his money.
• I also really want to know: Is the Israeli mob going to come after Ramy now that he lost the watch?
Ramy Season-Finale Recap: It’s Maktoub