Perhaps it's because things have been so chaotic the past few weeks in Ren Mar, but tonight's was the first episode this season that really had that old Weeds feel, a nice balance between the family comedy/drama elements and the drug-dealing action. That impression was made a little deeper thanks to the trotting out of a few old supporting players. But not those supporting players.
Though the way this season is progressing, it certainly wouldn't shock me to see Conrad or Heylia show up any day now, as pretty much everyone these days seems to know Nancy's in Ren Mar and is dropping in for a visit. (Though neither actor appears on this season's IMDB page, Jenji Kohan hinted that they might show up in a guest-starring capacity.) After dalliances in trafficking and retail, it seems Nancy just can't get out of the selling game–a temptation no doubt heightened by her desire to add a second bathroom on to her increasingly frat-like home, which has been overrun by naked Andy, wanking Shane, and farting Doug. However, when she goes to Guillermo to ask for product–which she's enlisted Sanjay, Lupita, and Marvin to help her sell back in the fire-ravaged Agrestic area–he tells her she's not supposed to be selling. But Nancy never was a never will be a soldier; despite Guillermo's best efforts, she remains a free agent in her mind, and goes over him to Esteban.
Though he only appeared briefly, we got a better idea of Esteban's character tonight–and I'm not just talking about the fact that he's a little kinky, taking a few hearty whacks at Nancy's backside in punishment/payment for her request for product (an exchange Nancy doesn't seem to mind, judging by her expression as she examined her reddened ass later on). Turns out the Mayor of Tijuana is also a benevolent drug lord and successful businessman, using his ill-gotten funds to finance civic improvements like a mobile medical center. While this obviously makes him more attractive to the perpetually morally conflicted Nancy, it also suggests he's a lot shrewder–and possibly more dangerous–than the comparatively dinky operations Nancy's dealt with in the past. Though at this point, she should probably worry more about Guillermo, who didn't look very happy at all as he delivered her weed at Esteban's behest.
Meanwhile, Doug and Andy's coyote business is in the development stage, which requires Doug to infiltrate the minutemen that roam the border, who pose the greatest threat to their fledgling enterprise. And Shane and Silas continue on their respective odd paths: Silas pursues Hot Mom Lisa with an uncanny confidence that is unsettling in a 17-year-old, even one that's bagged an Olsen, while Shane proves he's still one creepy little kid, insisting on taking over the bathroom remodel project, and, oh yeah, masturbating to naked pictures of his mom. (Admittedly, I don't have a whole lot of insight into pre-pubescent male behavior, but that is really weird, right? Like, weirder than talking to your dead dad?) If you're the type of person who sees sexual behavior as a window into the psyche, then that final montage suggests that the Botwin clan has become more fractured and damaged than they've let on. Either that or they're just a bunch of freaks and Showtime needed to fill its bare-ass quota.
But that's sort of Weeds' M.O.–despite dealing with some pretty heavy shit, it stays near the surface and generally keeps things lighthearted, only briefly dipping into the darkness underlying all of it. Sometimes it doesn't work, and characters and situations come off as false, hollow, and crass; but sometimes, like tonight, it does work, and the show actually earns its "dark comedy" descriptor.
–It seems Celia is headed toward a breakdown of some sort, though she's heading there in typically bitchy fashion. Let's hope she never discovers that Agent Till's advances were completely fake from the get-go, as evidenced by the reveal of his sexual preference during this episode. Being led on then rejected by a gay man in combination with a minimum-wage sales job and spiteful daughter might just warrant a Xanax addiction.
–Despite what I've said before about "slutty Nancy," I don't really mind that Nancy's become a bit of a freak. I am a little troubled that she seems to use her sexuality as a power play more than to satisfy her own needs as of late–though that could just be fall-out from the trauma she's endured with more emotional sexual relationships (Judah, Peter, Conrad).
–I love the fact that Davenport (and presumably Marzipan) have been lurking around in the background for last two episodes. I kind of hope they continue to hang around without any real purpose–it creates the sense that there's more going on in the Botwins' world than what we see onscreen.
–I know Esteban has a hard-on for Nancy–doesn't everyone on this show?–but if The Wire has taught me anything, someone at his level of the game would not take too kindly to a peon like Nancy asking for a favor. Lucky for her she has some leverage–and by leverage I mean a spankable ass.
–Silas. Oh, Silas.