S7E5: This week, Weeds is trying something it's never tried: going back to square one. Of course, it takes the entire episode to get there, but we get there.
The only problem with going back to square one is that whereas we had sympathy for the widow and mother of two navigating the bleach-blonde, soulless valley of Orange County wealth back in Agrestic, this new Nancy garners little more than groans and furrowed brows. Sure, she went to the clink for Shane, but couldn't we argue that her actions put him in the position to behave so badly in the first place? On second thought, that's a much larger can of worms. However, if we take this episode and the last two seasons into consideration, it's hard to find sympathy for our favorite pot-dealing mom from the suburbs.
"Fingers only meat banquet." -Doug
"You just titled my book." -Steven Haven
This episode, Nancy is trying desperately to keep Jill from taking Stevie as her legal son. Jill calls for a custody hearing in Oakland, Calif. and Nancy's lawyer gets her 48 hours free of probation so she can go. She takes Silas as a character witness, completely shirking Shane's attempts to be helpful and thank her for going to jail for him. Instead she takes his student loan money and flies to California, insisting he stays. It makes sense, but it sure as hell isn't motherly. Of course, the episode keeps us waiting (with not-so-baited breath) to see if Silas will say something great about her to the judge -- of course he does.
When they get to California, Jill's lawyer postpones the hearing for two months, virtually shutting Nancy out. While she runs off to literally storm the gates of her sister's house, Silas grabs time with the judge and convinces him to hear Nancy out. But it is the moment where Nancy is begging her wicked witch of a sister -- who seems to be a pretty terrible parent herself, relying on little more than wealth as a qualification for good parenting -- for a chance to see Stevie and not the half-baked speech from Silas that really won me over. Despite all the terrible decisions she's made, Nancy does love her children and her sister is hyperbolically evil -- she could make us sympathetic towards just about anyone.
Luckily the judge postpones the case because he says it's unfair to decide until Nancy's sentence is served; he tells her to get her life together, get in with the right crowd, go back to being the Nancy Silas told him about. Clearly, she hears that message wrong, gets confused and stumbles back into Nancy from Season One territory. We end on a shot of Heylia -- Nancy's original weed supplier -- with a shotgun at the door of some podunk California shack. This is either going to be a fantastic, wise, wonderful choice for the show, or it will be the death of it. Sort of like every decision Nancy ever makes. I guess it's at least pretty consistent with her ability to make rational decisions. I'll give Weeds that much and then I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best.
"I can't be polyamorous with Bubbie." -Andy
While Nancy's climbing gates in California, Andy and Doug are getting into their own troubles. Doug accidentally does his job correctly and finds out his brand new shiny Wall Street company is cooking the books. His boss takes him out for a rub and tug to ease the pain, but as depraved as Doug can be he's a good man and it doesn't sit right with him. Obviously they have to do something with Doug's storyline besides give him a job and make Nancy his assistant, but the big-city-financial-institutions-are-corrupt-and-there's-nothing-you-can-do-about-it storyline is so tired. We get it, the country is in some serious trouble thanks to practices like this, but I'm sure most of us come to Weeds to escape that. I suppose we haven't encountered this homoerotic rub and tug ritual before, but I think we could live without it.
Finally, we have Andy, who's trying to make it work with Maxine and Charles, the polyamorous duo. He seems perfectly happy until, whilst smoking pot with Charles and talking about the many men that came before him, Andy witnesses Charles' cancer symptoms take hold (and at first things the poor old guy is dead). He wrestles with it, but eventually walks into the apartment and finds Maxine reading The Raven to Charles and breaks up with her. He makes the excuse that having a dying man around reminds him of Bubbie, and I'm sure it does, but something tells me he was also not so keen on the fact that he's literally just one of many men who've filled the void in Maxine's life. He was starting to have a little slice of happiness with her, but he can't be happy when he knows he's just some guy. Also, this scene would have had a lot more weight if Andy didn't say the terrible line, "I hate death and Poe, my thing is life." It's of the cheesier lines we've heard on this show, and that's saying a lot. (Though it certainly helps my theory that Bubbie isn't the thing keeping him from staying with Maxine.)
So now that the show finally made it full circle -- across the country, down to Mexico and right back to Heylia's doorstep -- are we excited? It's a bit of a precarious place to be, because something this reminiscent of older episodes could require reminiscence of older Nancy. But will we even recognize original Nancy against who she's become? Do you think bringing Heylia back is going to be good for the show? Am I the only one hoping this could mean more Conrad?