Weeds Recap: “Thwack”

17 Aug

Weeds! Remember Weeds? The “smart and sexy comedy”? The “perfect suburban satire”? Yeah, that show ended about three seasons ago. But now we have new and improved (disclaimer: not actually improved) Weeds! Nancy Botwin left the suburbs in favor of her West Coast Sex Tour, falling into a drug ring underneath a maternity store, and getting knocked up by a crime boss-slash-mayor of Tijuana. Nancy 2.0 gives no fucks. Pregnant? She’s going to get drunk, eat sushi, and have disturbing rape sex. No worries, Andy will take care of the baby! Shane has a threesome, an STD scare, a bullet in his shoulder, and a knife to someone’s throat? Shit happens! Silas abandons his plans and has to baby-sit his mother while selling drugs and crushing on his heroin-addicted step-sister? Boys will be boys! Nancy Botwin has always been a morally shaky character but Nancy 2.0 drunkenly stole the Worst Mother Award from Betty Draper and beat her sons half to death with it.

Regardless, I still watch the show. Partly because I punish myself with bad television, partly because of an obsessive-compulsive need to finish every show I start, and partly because there is still a tiny part of me that hopes it’ll get better. It was great once, and it could possibly be great again! There’s a scene in the season five finale where Silas explains to Shane why he’s still there: “It looked like you were going to go off the deep end and I wanted to be around to jump in.” It’s why I stick with the show, because occasionally I do enjoy watching when it goes off the deep end but I just wish the writing could be solid enough to bring everyone back up for air. The greatest success of last season was Shane and his creepily believable build-up to this ultimate act of violence. It reminded me of the earlier seasons, of great writing; it was quiet character development that ended with a loud, as Shane later describes it, thwack and splash. Season Six picks up immediately after Shane kills Pilar with a croquet mallet to the head as Nancy drags her son to the limo and says, “I think you’ve gone off the deep end.”

For the most part, the episode was full of exposition to setup the season and a couple of morbid jokes. What I actually did like was that everyone seemed to finally call Nancy out on her bullshit. Silas rightfully complains about Nancy packing up her (mostly unnecessary) belongings while the boys aren’t allowed to grab anything they own. Silas also reveals that Nancy has always been selfish (“I think we spend half our lives waiting on Mom.”) and recalls a time, when he was three, when he pissed on Nancy’s leg because she was ignoring his need for a bathroom. Although Andy still beckons to her every call, even he has a slight moment of disbelief when she tells him to get back his ring from the fiancée he just screwed over. Nancy goes to take Andy’s van (and Andy, of course, because once again: Nancy Botwin is a terrible person), Audra, though I’ve never been the biggest fan of her character or storyline, gets in the best shot of the night by asking what pretty much everyone who watches this show has been thinking: “You crazy fucking bitch. You’re married. You have children. Why couldn’t you stay away?”

Weeds will most likely spend season six diving into deeper, crazier, and unnecessary storylines that will end up falling flat. Andy will be funny, Silas will be attractive (though this episode gave me hope for a three dimensional character, finally), Celia will be gone although she started her own drug business but who cares about continuity!, Nancy will bang her way out of a situation, and everyone will run in circles before ultimately ending up where they started. And I guess weed will be involved somehow?

At this point, I’m really only interested in Shane. He remained detached the entire episode and calmly cracked jokes (Lupita: Are you a killer? Shane: I don’t like labels). At one point, Shane tells his brother that doesn’t feel different or bad – at least not yet. “You tell me if they come, the feelings,” Silas says and Shane agrees. Shane has always had something off about him from season one and as the show progressed it became clear that it wasn’t solely a post-traumatic response to watching his father die but it was something bordering on sociopathic behavior. The writers are definitely setting him for a breakdown and it’s not going to simply be Shane running to Silas. I just hope it’s not going to be a massive disappointment.

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