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The Ending Of Pam & Tommy Explained

Only six weeks after its three-episode premiere, Hulu's "Pam & Tommy" has come to an end. The series, which chronicles the three-year marriage of "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) as well as the infamous leak of the couple's sex tape, earned mostly positive reviews from critics throughout its run, but appears to have struggled in matching that among general audiences (via Rotten Tomatoes).

Episode 8 ("Seattle"), the last entry in the series, does quite a bit of heavy lifting in order to get our characters somewhere close to a satisfying conclusion. Of course, with the tape out in the world for all to see and everyone involved suffering as a result, there were really only a few ways for this story to come to an end. If you've read the Rolling Stone piece that this series is directly based on, you probably had a pretty good idea where things were going to conclude. However, like most Hollywood productions, "Pam & Tommy" sees fit to introduce a few twists along the way.

This is the ending of "Pam & Tommy" explained.

Tommy signs away the rights to the tape

While the initial theft and distribution of Pam and Tommy's VHS sex tape understandably infuriated the couple, the events of the final episode enrage them more than ever before. Introduced to the non-existent privacy of the internet, the two quickly discover that their tape is spreading online like wildfire. With no further means to control the free dissemination of the footage, the two turn to their lawyers to help them out. Sadly, there isn't much that can be done at this point. 

Because Internet Entertainment Group is streaming the video to millions completely free of charge, Pam and Tommy's legal remedies are extremely limited in nature. However, Seth Warshavsky (Fred Hechinger), the founder of Internet Entertainment Group, offers the couple a potentially appealing alternative. Instead of streaming the tape to millions for free, he suggests that the couple sell him the rights to webcast it for a price. He explains that a paywall will greatly diminish its spread and continued impact on their lives. Of course, in a pre-social media world, this might sound like a somewhat advantageous offer. 

Though Warshavsky is willing to offer the couple a decent amount of money for the rights, both are visibly disgusted at the prospect. Tommy uses colorful language to tell Warshavsky to go away, but Pam quickly reconsiders the opportunity to put the tape behind her. However, instead of selling it, Pam announces that she would like to simply give it away. Tommy puts up a significant fight, but eventually accedes to Pam's request in a desperate attempt to make her happy. Unfortunately for the troubled couple, Warshavsky later sells the physical distributions rights to Vivid Entertainment for $15 million, ensuring that the tape quickly becomes widely available on VHS, DVD and CD-ROM (via LA Times).

Rand apologizes to Pam... Kind of

Once the tape makes it online to Club Love, Warshavsky quickly realizes that the image quality is less than optimal. Of course, this is because the digitized tape is actually several copies removed from the original footage. Around the same time that Warshavsky makes this discovery, Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen), the man most responsible for all of Pam and Tommy's current emotional distress, exits a movie screening at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and quickly recognizes a familiar face (well, body and costume anyway).

As tourists snap photos and study the famous landmark, Rand stares at a Pamela Anderson impersonator dressed in the actress's typical "Baywatch" swimsuit. Though the woman offers him a picture, he meekly declines and awkwardly offers his apologies for everything that has transpired since he stole the tape from Tommy's safe. "I'm sorry for all the pain and hurt that I've caused," Rand says. "I just hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."

Rand appears genuinely regretful for his actions, but his words quickly prove nearly as empty as his bank account. Returning home, Rand discovers Warshavsky waiting for him with an offer for the original footage that will improve the quality of the digitized tape. Though Rand initially refuses and claims to have had a "moral epiphany," he slowly changes his tune once Warshavsky offers him $10,000 for it. 

Standing in front of the mirror, Rand vocally rationalizes his actions before returning to his old apartment and retrieving the original tape from a hidden location in the ceiling of the bathroom. Though it would initially seem as if Rand has completely abandoned any so-called "moral epiphany," he later makes a surprising choice in an attempt to right his wrongs. 

Rand struggles to make up for previous misdeeds and move on

Throughout "Pam & Tommy," Rand struggles to come to terms with his abominable actions from Episode 1 ("Drilling and Pounding"). Though he initially classifies his intrusion of privacy as a "seizure" or "compensatory damages," he eventually recognizes that he has committed a terrible act and seeks to make up for it. A key part of this realization comes as a result of Rand's continued relationship with his estranged wife, Erica Boyer (Taylor Schilling).

In Episode 7 ("Destroyer of Worlds"), Rand becomes so infuriated that Erica so obviously favors Tommy over him that he divulges the source of his newfound income and so-called "big new business venture." Much to his (and, hopefully, not one single audience member's) surprise, Erica is appalled and abruptly kicks him out for violating Pam and Tommy's privacy in such an insidious manner. Of course, Erica isn't the only person upset with Rand for his role in the release of the tape. 

Because of debts owed to mobster and pornographer Louis "Butchie" Peraino (Andrew Dice Clay) for the tape's distribution, Rand finds himself working for the mob as a low-level enforcer. Though Seth Warshavsky's money eventually offers him an opportunity to pay his debts, Rand attempts to make up for his misdeeds by giving all of the money to Erica, in addition to the signed divorce papers she has long been after. 

Though much of Rand's relationship with Erica was fictionalized for the television adaptation (via Us Weekly), we know that at least part of Rand's side of the story is true. The title card at the end of the episode explains that most people don't believe the real Rand Gauthier when he tells them the story is taken directly from the 2014 Rolling Stone article on which "Pam & Tommy" is based.

Pam & Tommy attempt to move on from the tape

Of course, "Pam & Tommy" ultimately ends in the only way it could: divorce. Though we don't actually witness the direct dissolution of the couple's marriage, there are numerous hints along the way, including Tommy's routine instability, their respective fading careers, and the massive fallout between the two over the tape's distribution.

After a significant fight between the two ends with Tommy reluctantly agreeing to give away the rights to the tape, Pam announces "it's over," leading Tommy to inquire what exactly "it" refers to. Though we don't actually hear Pam's response to this question, there are two obvious interpretations. It seems mostly likely that this is meant to refer to the troubles surrounding the tape itself, but Pam's words could also be understood to refer to the couple's very marriage. 

In their final shared scene, Tommy films the birth of one of their sons, leading both to flash big smiles for the camera once more. Despite their apparent happiness, the new mother later alters the tattooed wedding ring on her finger to say "Mommy" instead of "Tommy." Title cards at the end of the series set to Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" also reveal details about the end of the couple's marriage.

Pam & Tommy divorce

In real life, Anderson filed for divorce from Lee in February 1998, less than two months after the birth of their second child and a similarly timed physical fight between the two in their kitchen (via LA Times). Charged with spousal abuse, Lee was subsequently sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to undergo counseling. During his sentencing, the judge referred to Lee's "pattern of conduct in which otherwise resolvable matters are handled by violence" as "intolerable" (via LA Times). It seems likely that Rand Gauthier would agree with that statement.

The credits also reveal that Pam and Tommy briefly rekindled their relationship a decade later, but their second relationship also did not last. In the years since, Anderson has been married five additional times, with each relationship ending in either divorce, annulment, or separation (via Rolling Stone). Lee married his fourth wife, former Vine star Brittany Furlan, in 2019 (via Us Magazine). Somewhat surprisingly, "Pam & Tommy" claims that Anderson and Lee still refer to each other as "the love of their life." As best we can tell, this quote is pulled directly from a 2015 interview Anderson gave to People Magazine.

All eight episodes of "Pam & Tommy" are available for streaming on Hulu.