B+

Weeds: "Perro Insano"

I actually enjoyed quite a bit of “Perro Insano,” which ended a long streak of middling Weeds episodes with a funny half hour that also pushed the story forward quite a bit. Hell, I laughed out loud once or twice, which is progress. It got things back to the nice little roll the show was on when it started out this year, and it also gave us a sense of the stakes involved in Nancy’s line of work better than most of the episodes have this season. It wasn’t perfect, but it did make me think this season might close out as strongly as it began.

The big plot development here was that Nancy and Esteban finally got married. For all of my cynicism about the show actually pairing off Nancy with a guest player (no matter how many episodes he appears in), they’re sure doing a hell of a job of faking to the right if this is all going to end up with Nancy and Esteban either broken up or wanting to kill each other. At this point, I’m almost willing to take them at their word that this is all genuine and that the early season supposition that Esteban would have Nancy killed once the baby was born was yet another head fake. I liked the strange tension of the wedding scene, with only one person seeming to feel true happiness besides the happy couple. Nancy’s kids sure weren’t into it, especially Shane.

This was another of those periodic episodes where the show reminds us that Nancy’s kids aren’t exactly happy with the way all of this has turned out. Silas, in particular, tells Shane that just when he thinks things have gotten as bad as they can, they get even worse, and when Nancy suggests that Silas should go off to Europe to hide out while the storm around her and her new husband gets rough (as Esteban runs for governor independently), he says that he doesn’t buy that she can keep anyone safe like she says she can, so he wants to stay around and make sure his two little brothers don’t have any harm come to them the best way he knows how.

The show goes to this well at least once a season, and I can see why. It’s a good well, and it reminds us that life is not all baskets of roses for Nancy, who does seem to get exactly what she wants an inordinate amount of the time. It made sense to do this in this episode, of course, because Shane’s gunshot wound, from a bullet meant for Nancy, was there, on his arm, blooming new blood every so often, the pain so wrenching that he decided he’d rather feel that than take the Percocet that would kill the pain and let him zone out. The best example of all of this was the early scene where a long succession of people talked to Shane about how to deal with the wound, from Audra to Andy to Silas to Esteban to Caesar to Nancy. This scene, edited in a way where Shane stayed motionless but the people in front of him kept suddenly appearing and disappearing, was a nice little way to portray how recuperating from a serious injury often feels like a long parade of people trying to make you feel better (or alleviate their own guilt), and it swung rapidly from laughs to genuine sadness, especially when Nancy was on screen. (Also funny? Shane drifting by on his floating mat in the background of the scene where Silas said he wasn’t going to Europe, then angrily demanding more beer.)

The Nancy worrying about Shane plot and the Nancy finally marrying Esteban plots took up most of the episode, but we also got some intriguing movement forward on the question of who wants Nancy dead. Pilar, of course, wants Nancy dead, as Caesar immediately let slip, and he’s been the one who’s been slipping information to her. Naturally, she shot him in the arm, as payback for Shane’s injury, but she let him stick around because he managed to stop the gunman. By episode’s end, though, she was turning to Guillermo to help her end Pilar’s life. In the meantime, Esteban is going against Pilar’s wishes (she’s had him replaced on the ticket) and running for governor independently, which promises to get ugly momentarily.

As always, much of the episode’s humor came from Andy doing things, but he had a sad quality to him that I liked as well. His pining for Nancy has been a good thing for his character even if I never completely bought it on a character level. Giving him something to pine over has brought out shades that Justin Kirk’s performance really needed, and this fifth season has probably been the best for the character overall. Here, he continues his flirtation with Audra, which has been more fun than any storyline featuring the acting talents of Alanis Morissette might be predicted to be. (This is not meant as a slight, really. I just don’t think anyone has really figured out how to utilize Morissette’s slightly aloof acting style before Weeds did.)

Tonight, my favorite exchange involved Andy again asking Audra out on a date and being rebuffed again, despite the fact that he finally asked her on a real, grown-up type date to a jazz club. (Favorite exchange: “Name one jazz musician.” *long pause* “Dr. Teeth.” Other favorite line: “He’s a jazz Muppet!”) Audra’s correctly figured out that Andy’s hung up on Nancy, and even though she seems sufficiently intrigued by his slacker stylings, she’s not going to dive in while he’s clearly just trying to get over another woman he can never get. Later, Andy set up all the paperwork to get Esteban’s name on the baby’s birth certificate and admitted that he could never compete for Nancy’s affections with Esteban, whom she was genuinely in love with. One assumes that Andy and Audra will have their fling in the final few episodes, but I can’t imagine Andy getting over Nancy that quickly either.

Then, finally, there was Celia, who’s at least back to being amusing as she gets back to the top by selling the pot ‘n’ makeup combos. That scene with her backstage at the Mexican wrestling match was also very funny (and gave the episode its title), and having Doug get his revenge on Dean by having Dean dip his balls in hot coffee (had to be there, I guess) was also very funny, actually topping the earlier gag in the storyline (particularly when one could notice that the eatery next door was called “Big Balls of Boba”). Celia’s at her best when she’s at the top and being haughty about it, and even though she, Dean and Doug have nothing to do with anything anymore, I’m fine with it as long as the writing is sharp, as it mostly was tonight.

“Perro Insano” was good because it took the characters seriously, something Weeds sometimes forgets to do. It’s a good sign for the rest of the season that the characters were equally amusing and bruised in the episode, and I’m hoping the final episodes wrap up this season’s oft-meandering storyline in as strong a fashion as possible.

Grade: B+

Stray observations:

  • You can always tell when you’re going to have an episode of a Showtime series that advances the plot on numerous fronts because the previously on montage always seems to take FOREVER.

More TV Club