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Weeds – Dearborn-Again

For better or worse (worse, in many people’s minds), Weeds changed dramatically after season three, when it left behind the cynical suburbs of Agrestic and its myriad versions of “Little Boxes” for the even darker California/Mexico border town of Ren Mar. It changed again with season six, as Shane’s murder of Pilar causes the Botwin clan to pack up and head for the Canadian border. A lack of birth certificate for Nancy’s infant son Stevie prevents them from crossing, so they go for plan B; getting some fake IDs, taking on new identities, and going on the run to stay ahead of Stevie’s Mexican drug lord father and the FBI.

This shifts the series away from the focus on immigration in the last couple season and turns it into one big road show without much else to say, as they travel from town to town in various vehicles, selling hash to stay afloat and looking for a way out. Andy’s newest idea is to get fake passports and move to Copenhagen where they can all get a fresh start, and last week they arrived in Dearborn, Michigan, Nancy’s hometown, where last night’s action took place.

First things first, they need a home base, so Nancy finds her old math teacher, played by Richard Dreyfuss, who may or may not have taken her virginity. We heard about this character last season when Nancy’s sister told the story of how he was eventually taken to a mental hospital, though now he’s out and living as best he can as a mailman. Dreyfuss’ performance is quite creepy, and he’s still way too obsessed with his former student for his own good. But his main purpose here is to tell Silas and Shane about Nancy’s high school boyfriend with blonde hair, and it’s not long before they track him down under the pretense of buying his car.  Shane steals his hairbrush for DNA evidence, convinced he’s Silas’ biological father.

Meanwhile, Nancy, Andy, and Doug are trying to make deals with the Arabs in the Detroit area, trying to sell some hash and buy some passports. Isn’t it racist to assume Arabs have access to fake passports, Silas asks? Yes, Nancy replies, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true, just like bad Asian drivers. After one of Andy’s more uncomfortable moments in the series trying to find a line on passports in a mosque during a service, he gets a lead that turns out to be bogus before Doug accidentally backs into a family that lives in their car. To avoid any trouble, Andy suggests that they trade vehicles, the family getting an RV more suitable for living while giving up something that gets a reasonable gas mileage. It’s too bad for our heroes that the thing is pretty much a lemon. Nancy’s attempt at dealing doesn’t go well either, with the Arab bartender informing her that his customers want up, not down, so they can “fuck like dogs”.

Regrouping, Andy mixes together a concoction combining alcohol, hash, Red Bull, and pills that they’re able to sell for a decent profit, but they again run into the problem of needing to supply more than they can probably handle, and they still have to find some passports. Oh, and to make matters worse, the man Nancy meets at her parents’ graves claiming to be an old classmate with a crush is actually an FBI agent hot on her trail. Will she get her family out of Michigan in once piece?

I would bet that she does, somehow. There are only three episodes left in the season, so I would guess that the finale involves some sort of dramatic and improbable escape. And there’s going to be a seventh season, which I doubt will involve the Botwins all sitting in jail. The show has changed a lot, with the main cast shrinking as it gets harder and harder to justify anyone sticking with Nancy anymore as she gets more and more over her head. It’s amazing she even kept her kids and brother-in-law around this long, how is it that Doug is still tagging along? While the show is still pretty funny, and capable of some well executed plot twists, and it’s nice seeing Mary Louis Parker naked once in a while, it’s getting pretty hard at this point to justify its continued existence. Is this story going anywhere, or are they just going to keep relocating and dealing drugs until Showtime finally cancels them? Are we far off from little Stevie helping out with the family business? I have no idea. What do you think about the show’s direction?



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