‘Weeds’ Review: “Saplings”
"Convenience" is a word we fear in television shows -- a word that indicates an avoidance of effort for the sake of tidying up a narrative. This week 'Weeds' embraced convenience by evaporating Jill and sending Andy off on his next relationship adventure. "Abrupt" is also a word that comes to mind.
It wasn't that unexpected for Jill to leave. After last week's realization that she's entering menopause, and Andy's insistence that he create a biological child of his own rather than adopt, there was little left for Jill at the Botwin house. Though her bonding with Nancy was sweet, Jill is a character tethered to any given situation only by her motherhood and a man. She has never known a life outside of the domestic. But we didn't even get a proper goodbye, and instead her absence was explained away in brief dialogue. Goodbye Jill -- we were really starting to enjoy your presence.
The complicated relationship between Nancy and Silas continues its unsteady march this week when a tobacco company owner offers Silas a job growing marijuana off the books for his corporation in North Carolina. Cigarettes aren't what they used to be, and this southern gent seems to think pot is the next frontier. When Nancy asks how he can grow pot and experiment with a product that's not yet legal, he explains that it's an underground project. We live in a world where tobacco companies have insane lobbying authority in our government, making it not very difficult to believe that these could very well be the people who eventually help legalize marijuana. It would have been more believable for this character to drop that bit of knowledge, rather than propose a hush-hush organization of growers.
Nancy is, of course, worried about her son's growth (and growing) with these people. Although Nancy has never had the most finely-tuned moral compass, she's drawn lines -- as she reminds Silas, she refused to sell to kids, but as Silas reminds her, the pot she sold undoubtedly wound up at high schools whether she wanted it that way or not. She can't keep turning a blind eye to things she doesn't agree with. Sometimes wrong things just happen, even though we try our best to make everything right. Nancy has always struggled with authority over her sons, and with Shane becoming an authority of his own, all she has left is Silas. Their bond is deeper and stronger, which also makes it that much more violent when it snaps, as it is often prone.
The real star this week is Andy, who continues to prosper in his teaching role at the local Jewish temple alongside the Rabbi who's become smitten with Nancy. When one of the kids is left without a ride home and annoyed with his mom and her new husband, the three of them head off to a local greasy spoon to commiserate. The Rabbi is a widower, and he feels guilty about sleeping with Nancy. What he doesn't know is how fickle and wild she truly is, and Andy admits that he's not sure she's been capable of loving anyone since her husband passed away, but he knows she needs someone like the Rabbi and not like the parade of controlling macho men to whom she's been inclined to tie herself to in the past.
Andy is still struggling with his new-found direction in life -- his desire to be a husband and father. This draws him to the friendly waitress with a kind smile who talks about her love of children and seems so wholesome and normal, especially for Andy. So of course it only makes sense that he rushes her down to the courthouse for a quickie marriage at the end of the episode, bringing a light bulb and a tissue in place of the traditional wine bottle and cloth for Jewish ceremonies. It's a cute touch, but the pink plastic bracelets on her wrists seem to hint she may be a bit too young for Andy.
On the B-side this week were Shane and Doug. Shane has been borrowing cars from the impound lot where he works and stops by in a flame-covered sports car to pick up his girlfriend for a joy ride and some fooling around. It's all well and good until some friends of the car's owner spot the ride, take the lady cop's gun, and leave the pair of them on the side of the road in their underwear. Shane's thread started strongly this season with his place in the police academy, but things seem to have sputtered and stalled for the time being.
The representative from a homeless shelter in a neighboring city stops by Doug's office to unload her excess hobos, reminding Doug that he's not allowed to turn anyone away for any reason and he must maintain 85% occupancy at all times. The homeless begin to turn on him when they realize he's not well-equipped to take care of them. It seems like the common question from week to week is, "Will this be the thing that makes Doug a better person?" It's redundant, but watching him play a board game with the stab-happy homeless woman from last week while protecting himself with a miniature shield and sword was a refreshing laugh-out-loud moment.
This week's cover of "Little Boxes" comes courtesy of country singer Dierks Bentley: