‘Weeds’ Review: “Red in Tooth and Claw”
Nancy continues to try and dig her and her family out of the massive hole she’s dug over seven seasons in this week’s episode of ‘Weeds,’ titled “Red in Tooth and Claw.” This week is a marked improvement over the first four episodes, exploring how easily it is to tear down something we’ve worked so hard to build.
Nancy has always held a destructive impulse, but that impulse typically leads her into bed with a bad man, further down the rabbit hole, or running away from her problems. This may be the first time in ‘Weeds’ history that her self-destructive nature has served a positive purpose. Over seven seasons Nancy and the Botwin clan have built — albeit haphazardly — an empire of marijuana. And as illustrated by a rather on-the-nose monologue delivered by Silas’ new friend RJ late in the episode, they’ve given that plant all the power, and it’s ruled their lives and broken them. They have to realize that it’s just a plant, and they can easily control and manipulate it if they wish. But it’s like an addiction — and the Botwin family has been abusing this substance for so long that it now consumes them and everything they do. They live to serve the plant, when the plant should be serving them.
And so at the end of the episode Nancy takes the marijuana dropped off by Kiku, exasperated from not making enough money and being Nancy’s work horse, and tosses it in a wood chipper along with her cane. We assume she’s done the same with Silas’ plants from his grow house, though Silas looks to blame everyone but his mother, starting with cop-in-training Shane and moving on to RJ, whose homosexual advances he refused, giving him plausible motivation to abscond with the product and/or destroy it.
But Silas is trapped in a loop with his mother, never wanting to lay blame at her feet until she’s piled so much onto him that he can barely breathe. Underneath the surface resentment Silas still adores Nancy, and would never immediately jump to the conclusion that this is her doing. For once she’s done something good and right, and something that could pull the rug out from under her family and force them to support themselves like regular people, though Silas probably won’t see it that way.
It was good to see the return of classic Andy this week, delivering one hell of a monologue the way only Justin Kirk can. Throughout the series Andy has had incredible — and unbelievable — luck with women, and this scene at the derby rink with the sexy referee, where Andy gives a monologue about sexual karma feels like the show’s way of acknowledging how absurd his track record is. For a character who began life as a shallow, woman-crazy leech, Kirk has proven time and again that he has a real bead on this character, providing a certain depth to the humor that no one else could have.
And thanks to Andy’s post-break-up sex with the saucy derby ref, Jill decides to have sex with Doug as payback. I was looking forward to the split between Jill and Andy being the end of that particular thread, but it looks like the two will continue to run in circles for the rest of the show’s final season.
Nancy seems to be drifting back to her sassy suburban mother ways, as she accuses a local junior soccer league of racism to get Stevie on the team and avoid the generous “donation” required of parents who want their kids to play. It doesn’t totally work out for her, as the racist soccer dads put her in her place, but I have a feeling she’ll be getting them back pretty soon.
This week’s “Little Boxes” opening is performed by the Mountain Goats featuring Midtown Dickens, and you can listen below:
“Sweet fort, huh?”
“Did she finally notice the cold, dead marbles where your eyes should be?”
“How are you?” “Cramping, bloated.” “I’m sorry… or congratulations?”
“I think I’ve been trying to fill a hole in my heart with extraordinary savings.”
“Legendary!” Good to see Doug’s sex battle cry has returned.