The problem with a jam-packed, game-changing episode like last week's Weeds is that it's tough to rebound from while maintaining momentum. It's like soda pop: After you shake it up, it needs to settle, but when it does, it usually falls flat.
This week's episode didn't fall entirely flat, but it did suffer a bit from having to explain how the expanded Botwin clan (now essentially comprising Celia and Doug as well) is going to operate now that Nancy is the Official Tunnel Guardian. After she discovers the tunnel under her store, she goes snooping–further evidence that Nancy has turned into a total danger junkie–and, predictably, gets caught. She's later abducted by henchmen for a strange face-to-face with the handsome jefe, who turns out to be moonlighting from his job as Mayor Esteban Reyes (mayor of what, I'm not exactly sure). The stage is clearly set for a tryst between those two, unless I'm misreading Esteban's offer of a spanking as punishment incorrectly, which I'm not. In the meantime though, it seems Nancy is indeed languishing in retail purgatory, along with a remarkably content Celia.
Of course, Celia can't be content–what would her character do if she didn't have any motivation to booze it up and make catty comments? Thankfully, such motivation arrives in the (increasingly slender) form of Isabelle demanding asylum from Dean, who's about to run off with her to Detroit. The fact that Doug's around to antagonize her certainly helps as well, as evidenced by that box of wine she was chugging from. Welcome back, Celia.
About Doug: He's been the wild card these past few episodes, in the sense that he really has nothing tying him to the Botwin household other than Silas' good bud and a pretty severe depression. After Nancy kicked him out last week, it was unclear exactly how he would continue to factor in. Well, thank God for zany schemes: Andy's experience last week has prompted him to start a coyote business transporting illegals over the border, an endeavor he invites Doug in on. While I can't imagine those two mustering the cunning necessary to evade the authorities on a regular basis, I look forward to the wackiness that is sure to ensue, if for no other reason than it means Doug will be around to mess with Celia.
As for the boys, Silas seems to have found himself a cougar in Lisa, the mother of Annoying Brad. While this unfortunately probably means even more screen time devoted to that little twerp, it also probably means more Shirtless Silas. A trade-off, I suppose. Shane, meanwhile, showed off his increasing business savvy by racking up over eight grand selling off Bubbee and Len's stuff. Last week, during her dinner speech, Nancy praised Silas for stepping up and helping the family, and promised she'd be there more for Shane; but it seems like Shane is doing more to help the family these days than Silas, who hasn't done much besides grow some weed and kill a few rogue bees, and Nancy still doesn't seem to have spoken to either kid one-on-one since arriving in Ren Mar. I know things have been kind of hectic, what with the whole evading the law and mysterious tunnel things, but I'd like to see a little more emphasis placed on the Botwins' home life. Earlier seasons of Weeds dealt more with little familial trials in addition to Nancy's illicit activities, but that balance has shifted away from the family stuff during this season and last, sending Nancy, Andy, and Shane/Silas off on separate plot paths that rarely converge beyond a tossed-off comment or two.
When broken down into plot points, a lot did happen this episode, yet it felt stagnant compared to the forward momentum of last week. Everything that happened this week felt like it needed to happen in order to justify last week's shake-ups: Nancy needed to discover Esteban to ensure that her retail stint isn't as humdrum as it looks; Isabelle needed to show up in order for Celia to have something to do besides hang on Nancy and glower at Doug; Andy's coyote scheme gives him an outlet for his newfound badassery and sympathy for the plight of the immigrant, and gives Doug something to do besides wander around in a daze. It felt more like pieces were being put in place so that this new setup can move forward; last week was the shuffle, and this week was the deal. Hopefully next week, we'll actually start playing the game.
–There weren't a lot of big laughs tonight, but most of them came from Doug and Andy, as usual: Andy pitching "the Jet Blue of Coyotes," Doug's attempt to distract Lisa from Silas by throwing something at her, and Doug's sudden infatuation with "Maria Mermex" to name a few good moments.
–Nancy seems to have a thing for mayor-types; first Sullivan, and now (presumably), Esteban. I hope this doesn't mean the return of slutty Nancy.
–Showtime seems to have given up on promotional images in favor of video clips, so I'm gonna give this fancy embedded video thing a go.