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Weeds: "The Love Circle Overlap"



"The Love Circle Overlap"

Season 4 , Episode 10

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Nancy's storyline during this season of Weeds has been much more addled than in previous seasons. She's fumbled her way through a rapid-fire series of developments, any of which could have probably sustained a season had it been drawn out to a logical conclusion rather than veering off on a new tangent. Many of you assert that this ADD-like zigzagging is evidence of the show's decline, an inability to properly tell a story from start to finish. I've found myself agreeing with that assessment frequently this season, though tonight's episode made me wonder if that haphazardness has perhaps been intentional, a structural reflection of Nancy's deteriorating emotional state. (Okay, perhaps I'm reaching… but just go with me on this.)

Maybe all these abrupt changes have been mirroring Nancy's impending breakdown, little metaphorical eye-twitches crescendoing toward some sort of mental/emotional detonation. We saw the first sparks of such an episode during last week's Oedipal awkwardness, and tonight the fuse was definitely lit as Nancy's subconscious (or maybe just her conscience) sought to make itself heard via a series of painful jolts: She has one when she sees Guillermo bring his terrified "cousin" out of the tunnel, when she sees Shane with his two "pierced friends," and when she's with Esteban. These are obviously meant to be warnings, but the deep-in-denial Nancy resolutely waves them off as a migraine. But after taking Esteban's "special cure" of peyote tea, she can no longer ignore the cost of her actions–mainly because one of them appears to now be following her in the form of a hallucination. Depending on your assessment of Nancy up until this point, it would seem she's either lost it or taken the first steps toward getting it back.

Celia's descent into madness (well, deeper madness) this season has been much more linear, careening toward last week's low point. Her deliverance seems to be coming in a similarly straightforward manner, a predictably hostile intervention with Dean, Isabelle, and… Pam? Aside from the fact that Pam would probably cause any sane person to turn to conscious-altering substances, doesn't it seem that there are some other people who should be in that room before her? Namely Nancy, possibly Doug, and to a much lesser extent, her other daughter. (Seeing as she was only seen in the premiere episode, and a valid reason–boarding school–was given for her disappearance, it's never really bothered me that we've never seen Quinn again. Though the overt reference to her during the intervention scene kind of broke that spell.) This half-assed intervention is indicative of the callous way in which Celia's problems are usually handled. Granted, she's not a character that inspires a lot of sympathy, but her suffering has been played almost entirely for laughs this season, even though previous plot developments–her breast cancer–have shown that the character is capable of eliciting more than just schadenfreude. Only Isabelle's speech to her mother during the intervention reached beyond the old "Celia is a bitch" trope, and halfheartedly at that. Perhaps the writers expended all their emotionalism on Nancy's breakdown and Doug's ho-hum reunion with Mermex Maria–seriously, does anyone care about that anymore?–leaving them to glaze over what could have been an important moment for Celia and possibly Isabelle as well.

Speaking of important moments, Shane faced a ridiculously out-of-character decision tonight–should he have a threesome with the two hos-in-training he picked up at school? After some hand-wringing–which I was so glad to see, considering the kid's what, 14, maybe?–he decided to… well, it's not clear, really. The final shot of him and his skanks in bed would seem to indicate the deed was done, but I can't imagine Shane–despite all his weird proclivities–going through with that. Then again, when his MILF-boinking older brother–whose only advice is to wear a condom and "don't bring shame on the family"–is the closest he has to a role model these days, who knows what direction the kid's headed in? The oscillations in Shane's character development seem to have spiked since the family moved to Ren Mar, and I'm curious to see as we head into the final two episodes if he's headed toward some sort of salvation, or just careening off the deep end.

Grade: B-

Stray observations:

--Is it necessary to touch on every single character every single episode? Andy and Silas' storylines edged along a bit tonight too, but neither was very compelling: Coyote Andy and his wards got caught by Lee Majors, but nothing really came of it, and Silas got stuck babysitting Rad and had another heart-to-heart with Lisa. It seems both of these could have been excised or explored in another episode that didn't have so many "big moments" to distract from them.

--Tonight's episode was a little more… shall we say "cerebral" than what we're used to seeing from Weeds, attempting to illustrate the chaos in Nancy's head via a cliched spinning-room drug freakout and a head-buzzing that seem to have been borrowed from Lost's stable of sound effects. I wouldn't say either was particularly effective or well done, but it was definitely jarring–which was maybe the point.

--Was Ignacio's calling Sanjay's baby (Jimmy Jam) "El Diablo" some sort of foreshadowing, or just a joke that fell extremely flat? I can't see how Sanjay's baby can possibly figure in to this unfolding storyline, but it seems too random to not mean something.