‘Weeds’ Review: “Five Miles From Yetzer Hara”
"How far is it from beginning to end," Stevie asks Nancy near the end of this week's 'Weeds' as she stares existentially at a map of New England, where her job is sending her for two weeks out of every month. And even though Nancy left her drug business behind, she's still traveling down the same path -- it's up to her where it ends.
Creator Jenji Kohan had more hits than misses this season -- a great ratio looking back on the last two seasons in particular, which were both filled with yawn-inducing, meandering episodes that felt like a boring road trip. At the end of the journey is something great and spectacular, but you have to spend so many hours with people you'll grow to resent on the way, and yet these are the same people you'll hug and celebrate with when you reach your final destination.
When Nancy is given a new car and a brand new line of drugs to sell (an Adderall generic) at work, she's absolutely giddy at the prospect of progressing in the company and applying her drug dealing skills in a way that's truly productive. But then she encounters a receptionist at a doctor's office who suggests they partner up and sell the faux-speed to college students at the local campus. Nancy is unsettled by this woman's assumption of her inclination toward criminal activity, yet at the end of the episode she's happily staging a fake car jacking so she can sell off her product with Jill at the college campus.
To be fair, Jill spends most of the episode in a funk. As it turns out, she was never pregnant -- she's just entering menopause, and now she has to tell Andy the truth and risk losing him altogether. Jill agonizes about all the holes in her life that need filling, and no matter what she tries to fill the holes with, there are just too many; Jill fears that she herself has become a hole. And when she tells Andy the truth about the pregnancy, he seems on board with adopting a baby with her at first, but slowly shifts to wondering what his child would have looked like, and how his child would have been as a human being.
Later, Jill and Nancy talk on the patio and finally address what has been so obvious to the audience since Jill's first appearance on the show. They envy each other, but neither of them can embrace their strengths and realize how capable they are. Nancy never feels empty because she stays busy and someone always wants her, but she doesn't feel like a good mother; she doesn't feel capable of providing her children with the time they require. Jill, on the other hand, feels constantly empty after years of mothering, but not working to provide. She has no career to drive her anywhere, but she underestimates the value of what she can give. Together, like Jill's own twin daughters, Nancy and Jill are two halves of a whole. Together, they make a somewhat reasonable human.
To cheer Jill up, Nancy gives her a taste of the illicit, staging the aforementioned fake car-jacking and running with Jill off to a local college campus to sell generic ADD pills to shirtless frat dudes. Nancy's backsliding this episode is forgivable only in the service of her sister and the strengthening we've seen of their bond this season.
But Nancy is also treading some dangerous water with her rabbi neighbor (and Andy's boss at the temple), who must abstain from sex in the name of his religion. As usual, Nancy gets what Nancy wants, and the next thing you know they're sweating and tangled up in each other on his couch. What he doesn't know is that Nancy does have holes that need to be filled. I mentioned in a recent review that Nancy is often attracted to men who represent some part of her she feels is lacking, and in this case, it's an existential/spiritual longing. Here is a man with a straight and narrow moral compass, but she can't siphon his goodness through sex.
Meanwhile, Silas' marijuana strain is a hit at work (after a hilarious sequence involving Cheetos and stoned raccoons), and Shane is doing well working in a tow yard where he's discovering the perks of working so closely with cars that have been taken from criminals. Neither of their stories are particularly noteworthy this week, but they share two cute moments in front of the mirror, both experiencing the fickle nature of a new job.
Doug is busy trying to fill his homeless shelter with real homeless people, which leads him to a sandwich-eating, Statue of Liberty hat-wearing woman with a fondness for stabbing people. It's a little silly since there are so many homeless people Doug could be getting to fill his shelter, and yet the challenge of this one stubborn woman is too much for him to pass up. He ends up spiking a sandwich with some of Nancy's faux-pot meds and dragging the napping hobo woman to his shelter to show the inspector. When he tries to get the inspector to accept oral sex from the sleeping woman, the inspector insists that Doug perform the sex act instead, leading us to believe he hilariously follows through.
"I like secrets! They're all I have!"
"What's the capital of New York?" "Bagels?"
"Me, Doug Wilson. You, homeless lady on milk crate."
"No, I don't want your ice cream. I want to melt your f---ing soul you smug, f---ing s--- monster."
This week's "Little Boxes" cover is performed by The Thermals: