Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weeds: "Su-Su-Sucio"

Illustration for article titled Weeds: "Su-Su-Sucio"

“Su-Su-Sucio” is probably the best Weeds yet in this young season, if not the best Weeds in a while. It’s sharply funny in quite a few spots, it offers up some good plot development, and none of the characters do anything that’s horrifyingly out of character in order to advance the plot. Plus, we get a little peek into the tortured past of Nancy Botwin, and that’s always fun. Every time we see who she was before the show began, we begin to realize she was a woman who was keeping a serious flirtation with the wrong side of the tracks in check for most of her life, only to let it seep out after her husband’s death. There are a lot of plot similarities between Weeds and Breaking Bad, but this character symmetry between the two leads (who both sort of … found themselves in the wake of choosing a life of crime) is one of the more intriguing ones.

The best thing about “Su-Su-Sucio” was that it brought Mary-Louise Parker and Jennifer Jason Leigh into each other’s orbit, when Leigh’s Jill headed down to Ren-Mar to drop off young Shane after he took a picture of her and Andy having sex. Getting Jill back into Nancy’s orbit was a bit of a stretch (if only because Andy also returned to Ren-Mar and probably could have just taken Shane along), but it was worth it to see the two actresses bounce off of each other and for that scene where Jill tells stories of just how much of a deviant she’s always seen Nancy as, convinced that Nancy, as a very young teenager, seduced one of their teachers, whose obsession with the girl led to him being locked up in a mental institution.

Of course, the big news here involved Nancy’s protection being replaced by a new bodyguard named Sucio, who doesn’t seem to speak English, apparently stinks and pulls a gun on everyone who so much as sets foot in the house (in a gag that starts out moderately amusing and keeps getting funnier and funnier). When Silas comes home after his excursion into the woods to check on his crop, Sucio, for example, compliments him on his teeth, only to have Silas follow it up with “Si. Hola.” I’m a sucker for comedy where two people can’t speak the same language, and this was all pretty good (right down to Nancy’s “no shoot-y”).

That said, the intrigue surrounding Sucio, who disappears at episode’s end, presumably dead, if the blood by the shower where he was washing up is any indication, gave the season another intriguing dramatic plot point. Esteban sends Nancy and her brood off, fearing for her safety, saying that it can’t be Guillermo, since he’d have actually killed her, not just her protection. So if not him and if not Esteban, then who’s behind all of this? The interminable squabbles between various drug factions on shows like this can drag everything down, but I’m sufficiently intrigued by where this is going for now.

Nancy’s storyline dominated the episode, certainly, as she also introduced Andy to Esteban for the first time when she went to the doctor’s office to ensure that her baby was all right when she started bleeding (it was!). In addition, she learned of Andy and Jill’s sexual escapades and even had to walk in on them when gathering the family to head for higher ground. Justin Kirk, at this point, is so funny at everything he does that all of this worked much, much better than it might have with another actor, but just putting Andy in a room with any of the other characters at this point is pretty much a recipe for some guaranteed laughs.

The Silas and Doug plot – wherein the two decided to open a medicinal marijuana dispensary in what appeared to be a strip mall – had some funny moments as well, particularly when the two squabbled over Silas’ answer to the mall cop looking for a cut of the action, but it felt like yet another plot stall for the two. If Silas is going to be a drug dealer like his mom, fine, but let’s stop turning it into a long, bumbling storyline mostly just there for comic relief. There can be comedy here, but the storyline would be most interesting as another example of the tragic legacy Nancy is leaving her kids (as when she walked Shane away from the copulating Andy and Jill and said he’d make sense of it in therapy someday).

Finally, there’s Celia, who’s still stuck in Mexico at episode’s start and is stuck in Texas at episode’s end. Last week, there were some interesting theories in comments about how Celia would end up tied in to the overall plot of the season, but it sure seems as if we’re just going to get a travelogue of the drug world’s seedy underbelly with her as our guide. Again, Elizabeth Perkins’ performance is so solid that this sort of doesn’t matter, but it would be nice to have her integrated into the storyline more thoroughly. Still, the scene where she told the goon guarding here that some people are talkers and some people are writers was a hoot.

Fortunately, this season has a much stronger core than last season, even at this point. If last season was all about the show finding its footing again, this is about the show demonstrating that it still knows how to tell stories with these characters that can be funny, moving and dramatic by alternate turns. While it appears that Jill’s headed off and away at episode’s end, I do hope she’ll come back, if only because she acted like a galvanizing force for all of these characters, forcing them to reveal some of who they really are to each other (when Andy says Jill and Nancy are quite a bit alike, we can sort of see what he means). Weeds still isn’t to the level it’s capable of, but this is a promising start to the season.

Grade: B+

Stray observations:

  • This is the last episode I have a screener of. Expect future recaps to go up MUCH later, since I’m on the West Coast, probably around 2:30 a.m. Eastern.
  • There’s been some talk in comments about how the show takes place over a remarkably small amount of time thanks to every season picking up directly where the last one left off. On the other hand, we learn in this episode that the Botwins inhabit a world where Obama is president and where the economy sucks, so it doesn’t seem like we’re still stuck in 2006 or whenever it would seem we might be. Maybe lots of time passes between episodes but not seasons? That doesn’t seem very likely either. Maybe we just shouldn’t think too hard about this.
  • “I have been writing ransom notes since I was a very young boy.”