“See Blue And Smell Cheese And Die” S8 / E3
- C+ Community Grade
When it was revealed that Tim Scottson was the person who shot Nancy, logic suggested a season-long arc as the characters sift through multiple suspects before eventually landing on the scorned teenager whose father was murdered as a direct result of his relationship with Nancy. And yet at the end of last week’s episode, Shane miraculously pieced it together through off-screen detective work, and “See Blue And Smell Cheese And Die” picks up with Nancy waking up for her first day at home only to discover that Shane’s off to enact his own form of justice.
I’m of two minds when it comes to the expedited nature of the discovery, which feels both patently false and pleasantly paced. On the one hand, I don’t buy that Shane would have figured it out so quickly, as it seems like a case of the show telling us that Shane is a brilliant detective as opposed to letting us see his process. Similarly, Shane’s involvement in the arrest at episode’s end felt like a stretch, a decidedly dramatic moment—Shane showing off his new career to his mother by solving her problem—that went against the logic of how involved a cadet would be in such a scenario. While it’s fine if the show stretches reality to some degree, here Shane’s wunderkind police work felt forced, divorcing it from character development and making it seem like an artifice of the story.
However, on the other hand, I am glad that we’re past the point where Nancy’s shooter is an actual threat, allowing the show to move beyond the question of “Who shot Nancy?” to the more nuanced questions found in her recovery. As I said when the season began, I almost wish the writers hadn’t shown us who shot Nancy, as the question of “Who?” is far less important than the question of “Why?” Ultimately, Tim Scottson’s reason is specific, but the fact that it could have been anyone is what led Nancy to plan a change in her life in last week’s episode, so tying up the loose end gives the character a bit more room to breathe. While Shane figured it out too quickly, it also means that we move past this point in the storyline more quickly, which is a zero-sum game but nonetheless puts the show in a better position to move forward.
I also will say that, for cramming it all into a single episode, David Holstein’s script does a nice job of emphasizing the valuable parallels between Tim and Shane. You get the sense that if Shane had been set loose like Tim he’d also have dead rabbits in boxes on the windowsill, especially given that—as Silas notes—he's already killed before. Shane was a troubled child, and on some level remains a troubled teenager, but he has support from Andy as a surrogate father figure, and Silas as an older brother, and even to some level Nancy as a mother (thinking back to season six, in particular, and her attempts to restore his childhood at the amusement park). When Peter Scottson died, it seems as though Tim had no one else to turn to (especially given what we learned about his mother), and he becomes a glimpse into who Shane might have become. Daryl Sabara, who I didn’t buy in his brief appearance in the premiere, improved here as we explored Tim’s psyche and saw him come face-to-face with his victim.
As for the story around him, there was something rather compelling about Nancy trying to mother the kid who tried to shoot her, and a few of the scenes (particularly the initial sandwich shop confrontation and their conversation in the car) offered a great showcase for Mary-Louise Parker’s ability to be incredibly intimidating while nonetheless trying to protect someone. I thought it was telling that she felt he was in the wrong place: in her mind, he should have been in college based on where he grew up, perhaps because she believes that there was something about the comforts of suburbia that is supposed to keep kids in check (hence why she’s returned Stevie and the rest of her family to that environment, despite it not working out so well for her the first time around). And yet at the same time, Nancy isn’t so noble that she’s willing to apologize, meaning that she isn’t ready to take responsibility for Peter’s death (or for his son's behavior). She’s right that it was the Armenians who killed Peter, and it was Heylia who tipped the mess Nancy had created, but this is clearly not the first stop on the “Nancy Accepts Her Sins” tour. She might get there as the season goes on, but this only served to remind us of Nancy’s complicated relationship with her past self.
Meanwhile, although it ultimately amounts to little more than a glorified cameo, I always appreciate Mae Whitman, who brings a fun energy to the role as Tim’s naïve girlfriend Tula (whom he saved from the rape barn). While Silas is mostly there to serve as caretaker and bodyguard for his mother, the overall dynamic worked, and the scenes offered both a solid comedy setup in their own right and a nice backdrop for a deeper glimpse into Nancy’s new perspective on life.
As for the continued domestication of Andy and Jill, I wish I had more to say about it. The roller derby setting is at least something new for the show, but it never evolved into anything particularly funny, and the stakes remain based around relationships (Jill and Andy, Jill and Scott) and characters (the twins) that I have zero emotional connection with. Even as the other side of the episode blasts its way through some major plot developments, Andy and Jill’s storyline continues to feel like the show marking time until the writers want to return to Andy and Nancy’s strange connection or Nancy and Jill’s shared mothering of Stevie. The same goes for Doug and Whit’s firing from Vehement Capital, a development that might mean something if Vehement hadn’t become a black hole, and if the idea of embezzling money through a charity was anything but a trifle at this stage. Both storylines have no momentum and no real sense of purpose, which again doesn’t bode well for the show around Nancy as the season moves forward.
After a few episodes that felt like a prologue, it seems like we’re finally ready for the final season of Weeds to begin. Nancy knows Shane is a cop, Tim’s been arrested, and Scott’s out of the picture leaving plenty of room to return to the tenuous domestic arrangement that brought season seven to a close. While some of the supporting storylines continue to lack resonance, “See Blue And Smell Cheese And Die” suggests the show was marking time more than foreshadowing future intentions, meaning things could build more effectively in the weeks ahead.
- This week’s “Little Boxes” comes courtesy of the rather oddball pairing of a banjo-playing Steve Martin and a scream-singing Kevin Nealon, while the closing track comes from Charlie Mars, previewing a track from his upcoming album on his girlfriend’s television show.
- As much as I have no connection with Scott, his outburst at the end of the episode was fun, especially in contrast to Andy’s simultaneous heartfelt plea. Still don’t care, but I chuckled.
- I presume eagle-eyedSurvivor fans already spotted this, but that was indeed Jessica “Sugar” Kiper as the derby referee.
- While I’m jealous of the cable package that has the Tennis Channel, which I refuse to pay for, I would like to point out that Wimbledon’s exclusivity deal with ESPN means that it would be unlikely that the Tennis Channel would serve as much value for the tournament. Obviously, this slight technicality is an outrage.
- I have a lot of questions regarding what Ouellette thinks about Nancy. Heck, I have a lot of questions about what any law enforcement might think about Nancy in general. What kind of record would she have at this point? Wouldn’t the police investigation into the shooting have raised questions? I wish we had seen more of Shane’s side of the story, if only to get some sense of how Ouellette responded to the shooting.
- We don’t have that side of the story, of course, because we’re meant to believe—as Nancy does—that Shane is going to murder Tim instead of collecting evidence. Was anyone fooled by the gun misdirection? I thought it was pretty clear by that point what Shane was trying to accomplish.
- While there were no such scenes in earlier episodes, there was a brief coda for Mae Whitman’s character after the credits on my screener, if you want to return to your recordings.
- Tula on Shane: “He just looked like all of Tim’s other non-albino friends.”
- Nancy’s conditions for letting Tim survive: “Bury the rabbits. Pack up your car. Stop fucking the Amish. Become a Nutritionist.”