"Weeds" has always excelled at making violence and seriously immoral acts seem delightful and charming. "Weeds" other specialty is highlighting how sexy, sultry and adorable Mary-Louise Parker is.
The season opener only accomplished one of these essential elements of making viewers love the show.
It was indeedMary-Louise Parker(aka Nancy Botwin) who was shot at the very end of the last season. Over the course of the episode, the sweet and demure gangster mother was seen only in two poses: blood dripping down her face as she stares doe eyed at her merry band of followers, and lying in a coma.
Nancy’s pose No. 2 in the hospital bed acts as a stage for which all the other characters get to air their grievances on. Shane admits to Silas he is in the police academy, Doug feels Nancy up while chewing on artichoke hearts, and Nancy’s sister Jill once again allures Andy.
The characters that have orbited around Nancy for years are left to wallow in self-reflection after their star imploded. Although the duchess of doobies is knocked out of the equation this episode, no new insight into her loyal subjects in gained. Andy, the most susceptible to destructive self-reflection, merely confirms his deep love for Nancy has not been shaken. Along with that love comes his deep confusion over why he has stayed for so long despite her continual mistreatment of him.
Jill, played by Jenifer Jason Leigh whose own aloof sex appeal pairs perfectly with Louise-Parker, predictably remains selfish even in a time of crisis and is angry at Nancy for getting to “sleep” through the rough times. The way Shane flaunts his croquet mallet kill proves he has learned nothing over last season, except how to disarm a suspect. Silas proves again that he cannot be the man he desperately wants to be by not taking Shane’s involvement in the police seriously.
The opening sequence returns to the quintessential “Little Boxes” theme song while literally drawing every stop Nancy and her merry travelers have made throughout the series. It reminds us of how much locations have changed, and how desperate we all want to see the characters develop after all the hard times they have inflicted upon themselves. Yet with this episode leaves us with the impression that no character is ready yet to make a real leap forward.
Silas says it himself: “We’re criminals, this is the family business.” Since deliberately burning their Agrestic house down, Nancy has fully embraced her role as a drug dealer. While Nancy embraced her status as the godmother, the family around her remains unfulfilled and self-loathing as she gets more ambitious. Will this season finally bring about a focus on character, rather than plot line, which made us all love these highly immoral people?
The episode leaves with revealing the identity of the shooter: Nancy’s second ex-husband’s son. We learn he shot Nancy to make himself feel better. It seems a perfect metaphor for all the characters on "Weeds": “shooting” Nancy would all make them feel a little better about themselves, and what direction their lives are taking.
While in New York, last season felt like the family would move forward and take on more individual identities; based on this first episode it seems the team will rally around Nancy and realize how much they need her. One thing is for certain, the show needs Nancy to keep us engaged and entertained. Lose her, like in this episode, and the show falls apart as much as its characters.