‘Weeds’ Season Premiere: Karma, Politics, and the Return of Little Boxes

Weeds Nancy Shot in the HeadWeeds’ final season premiered last night and while the Season 7 cliffhanger was a doozy (not quite “Who shot J.R.?” but then again, what is?), the really big news of the night comes courtesy of a long-awaited return. That’s right, the series original theme song “Little Boxes” has returned. Hallelujah.

I’ve contended that since the theme song went missing, so did the core of the series that made it possible for a weed-dealing, crime lord of a suburban mom who has a disturbingly ardent affinity for what Andy once called “rapey” sex to be our rock and to earn our sympathy. In the last few seasons, our ability to accept Nancy for who she is waned along with Silas’, and, to some extent, Shane’s. They were the last ties to our Nancy, and while Andy has been her No. 1 cheerleader for years, his adorable, teddy bear version of unrequited love just made us hate Nancy more.

That’s why it’s not a surprise that the person who was shot in the Season 7 finale was in fact Nancy. Who else has done enough wrong to bear the burden of such a medical malady? No one. They’re all in this mess because they followed the hot soccer mom into the fire. And as the woman whose husband shares Nancy’s hospital room declares by episode’s end: It’s just karma.

But perhaps pulling Nancy out of the picture for at least an episode is exactly what this overgrown series needs. We were losing our sympathy. Even seeing the woman with blood dripping down her face wasn’t as jarring as it should have been. I found myself more worried about Stevie (her young child from her marriage to Esteban) and Andy and how they’d deal with this development than I was about Nancy’s safety.

And while Nancy is incapacitated, the family comes together. Shane chases down the shooter, but loses him. Silas gets in the ambulance with her. Andy is breaking down, sure Nancy is going to die. (And Justin Kirk’s perfect combination of sincerity and cute goofy commentary continues to make this show worth watching.) Jill says she won’t die because there is no God and we are convinced she is a horrible person. (She may be the only thing making Nancy look good at this point.)

When the police show up to investigate, we are treated to a complete and utter mess, which only Shane, the psychopath super genius and secret police academy cadet, seems to know how to navigate. Between their new neighbors – Statler and Waldorf reincarnated as an elderly Long Island couple – who want to know what the ruckus was about and the completely incompetent police (complete with gun-obsessed bad cop and donut-obsessed good cop), the investigation is clearly a joke. It should signal that the police won’t have the foresight to figure out why Nancy was likely shot, but they’ll stumble absent-mindedly upon something.

As for our “heroine,” she’s been placed into a coma for healing purposes and doctor is fairly calm considering there’s still a bullet lodged in her brain. Silas goes to see her while the hospital administrator comes out to demand payment and declare America the most heartless country: “We’re not Canada or France or [long list of other reasonably-minded countries with free healthcare]. We’re America and we take all credit cards.” Obviously, Doug, the big Wall Street CEO has to take the burden while we’re forced to endure the series’ hamfisted jab at those Americans who are against universal healthcare. If only Obama could get the message across so clearly that even drug-dealing moms need free healthcare. Yeah, that’ll learn ‘em.

And within seconds, the series jumps from political commentary to social commentary when Jill’s devil spawn of a daughter posts a picture of Nancy with blood all over her face on Facebook with “Holy balls! Someone shot my Aunt! Seriously!” in the caption. Wow, Weeds. Talk about hard-hitting.

And while the waiting room is being treated to a series of living editorials, Silas and Shane are sitting in Nancy’s room eating stolen snacks when Shane admits he doesn’t go to college — he’s in the police academy. But they’re a family of criminals, including Shane (who reminds us about that time he killed Pilar with a croquet mallet), but he doesn’t seem to be bothered. Their bigger concern isn’t how Shane can be a criminal and a police officer (we’ve seen stranger things), but who shot Nancy? They go through the list of possible suspects. As you might guess, it’s long. We won’t bore you with it. Nancy has a lot of enemies. And finally, the best character on the show, Andy, is having a life crisis. First, he expresses it by fretting about how Nancy needs protection because the police officer is convinced the shooting was random. Then, he sits by her bedside as long as he can stand it. Then, he witnesses Jill doing something sweet for her sister – putting eye cream on her since “she’s getting dry” – and decides to work out his pain by pushing the closest approximation to Nancy up against a wall and having sex with her. (Which is not way too much, at all.)

When Jill leaves – very satisfied – Andy won’t leave the hospital, but gives himself a break in the cafeteria where he meets a guy named Dave. After giving the stranger a superbly bare speech that only Andy could give about how he’s still in love with Nancy and she’ll never love him back and how he had sex with her sister up against the wall of her hospital room about a million other fears about how empty his life is, he finds out Dave is a Chaplain/Rabbi hybrid. (Which exists in Weedsland.) But it’s cool because he’s a hip Rabbi who doesn’t mind Andy’s graphic, sexual explanations. And even though Andy swears he doesn’t believe in God, the Rabbi says he’ll pray for Nancy.

It’s a good thing Andy found such a generous Rabbi because Nancy’s about to be in rough waters. While Andy gets his sustenance, spiritual and actual, Ted Scottson, the now-grown son of her now deceased DEA lover, reveals himself to the audience as the shooter when he visits Nancy. And in case we’re not capable of reading facial expressions and inferring emotions, he declares to no one that shooting her didn’t make him feel better.

On his way out, he spills a drink on Nancy’s neighbor’s annoyed visitor (who’s had enough after finding Doug feeling up Nancy and eating her stolen snack basket and finding Jill’s totally-plot-essential kegel weight on her husband’s bed), so when Nancy’s heart monitor starts going crazy, the woman simply does nothing and says “Karma.”

But that’s the big question. To the untrained eye, Nancy’s situation could simply be Karma. But we’ve watched her and we know why she was somewhat forced into the biz. We saw how terribly it got out of her control. Was she digging her family deeper this whole time or was she simply managing a terrible situation as best as she could?

And for all the action, watch the full episode here!

Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.

[Image: Showtime]


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