‘Weeds’ recap: Difficult crossings
Remember the scene in Goodfellas when Henry Hill, high out of his mind and paranoid, goes about his day — running errands, making a dash south for a major drug-and-gun deal — all the while being tracked by a helicopter hovering up above? That’s sort of how I see the Botwins on Weeds, only it’s a dark cloud hanging overhead that follows the family no matter where they go. And unlike Hill, they’re oblivious to its ominous presence. So while it may be sunny southern California outside, indoors is anything but, as episode 3 proved.
It all started with a morning chuckle — Andy appeared from his van wearing a fur-trimmed coat, and Silas helped himself to Lenny’s robe after an outdoor shower, while Len had to settle for Bubbie’s nightie — but the conversation quickly turned from nasty brown hairs collected in the bathtub to a weightier subject: whether Bubbie should live or die. ”She wants out,” Andy blurted to all who would listen, taking the lead on the euthanasia subplot.
Another character desperately wanting out? Celia, who sat down with the man who holds her freedom in his hands. A second chance at clearing her name, Captain Till told her, meant collecting ”quality information” on Nancy’s relationship with Guillermo — the whale to his Ahab — in exchange for leniency. Celia’s laughable flirtation with said police officer notwithstanding, it sure beats being a jailhouse Cheetah Girl.
And speaking of criminals, Guillermo, we learned, is actually Puerto Rican, a fact that mystifies the captain since this target runs a Mexican gang. As we got a glimpse of the operation, staged to move in a nondescript warehouse, we also discovered that Guillermo’s latest recruit required some intensive training and behavior modification. It seems Nancy’s last border run was rife with rookie mistakes. Never mind the in-car urination, which elicited its share of snickers from the posse; Nancy also wore the wrong outfit (a ”slut suit,” as Guillermo so eloquently put it), chose to cross the border right after a shift change (when agents are at their hungriest), neglected to bring backup for her story (a face-cream container), and loaded up her front seat with nonsensical tchotchkes.
Guillermo’s expert advice went something like this: less coffee, more J. Crew, and always be one step ahead. The ”All-American mom” is the ideal image, which required Nancy to start thinking in terms of north-south, not east-west. He really does have a way with words, that Guillermo. Nancy clamored for another shot at the border run (if nothing else, she’s certainly dedicated) and got her chance soon enough.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Andy, Shane, and Silas discussed Bubbie’s fate, with the youngest of the three Botwin boys — and the only one Len seems to like — appointed to broach the subject with him. After all, Shane is the one who talks to dead people, Silas noted. All sarcasm aside, Andy was clearly affected by his grandmother’s plea, so much so that he launched into a lengthy soliloquy on life — and death — as an endless sequence of blah, blah, blahs. For Andy, it was a rare moment of profound introspection.
Next we saw Celia, finally rid of the homegirl makeup and bad hair, using her spousal privileges to break into Dean’s hotel room in search of clues. It didn’t take her long to find a cell phone chock-full of text messages from Shane bemoaning life in Ren Mar, and with that discovery, she was on her way.
NEXT: The preppie smuggler
Further south in Tijuana, Nancy proved her newly motivated outlook toward the drug-smuggling business by taking Spanish lessons on her iPod. She also took Guillermo’s fashion advice to heart, investing in a pink polo shirt, khaki shorts, and a pair of wedge sandals. And in contrast with her last trip, she decided to stick around and watch Guillermo’s henchmen at work stuffing bags of weed into the car’s engine and frame. What she didn’t expect, however, was the extra cargo — one semilegal alien with a criminal record. Hey, at least it’s not heroin.
Back by Bubbie’s deathbed, Len, talking with Shane about the right to choose your own death, finally showed that he is capable of demonstrating genuine emotion and empathy, although in his own twisted, weird way. ”Would you wanna kill your mom?” Len asked, before unleashing his bitterness at having been called a loser, liar, and bad investment by his mother. Turns out Bubbie also killed his dog — two of them! Shane surmised that Len’s reticence has more to do with ”problems letting go,” but that doesn’t mean the youngest Botwin could pull the plug, either. When Shane reached to yank the respirator cord, he couldn’t go through with it.
Celebrating a hassle-free border crossing (which, thankfully, we didn’t have to sit through again), Nancy drove straight to Guillermo’s warehouse, hitting every pothole along the way, only to find the space cleared out. Plan B: Head home so she could at long last let loose the ”quite possibly very nice Mexican man who loves his mother” but might also want to make a hat out of her kidneys.
Len and Andy capped off what was an emotional day for the Botwin men with a beer by the beach and one final discussion of the Bubbie plan of action. Since both felt too squeamish about actually pulling the plug, they decided that the best candidate would be Nancy. After all, Andy pointed out, ”Bubbie did say bringing Not-Francie into the family would kill her.” And so it was agreed that Nancy, once she got back from her day trip to Mexico, would do the honors. But first, she had to get the goods and the car back to Guillermo, along with her human cargo, still locked up in the car’s underbelly, who turned out to be Guillermo’s cousin.
Thanks to Nancy’s GPS system, Guillermo found his way to Len’s place without a hitch, but waiting for the unlikely duo was one Celia Hodes, who clumsily attempted to snap them with a disposable camera from across the street. No zoom, no money shot, and seconds later, Nancy was off to kill her dead husband’s grandmother.
Side note: Can it be that three episodes in, a brief glimpse at Andy’s foot-fetish porno is the only sex we’ve seen? How about the absence of budding relationships — is Doug and Dean’s bromance supposed to replace the hot Nancy and Conrad scenes that we’ve become accustomed to? Let’s hope not, but at least these two provided some much-needed comic relief to this somber episode. Not that ripping off the city council via bunk insurance policies is a laughing matter, but Doug’s out-the-window exit, with ”Armageddon bag” in tow, certainly was.
The show’s last scene put an end to Bubbie’s suffering, and perhaps ours as well for having to endure Nancy’s painfully callous final tribute. With heads bowed, the boys waited as the new Botwin matriarch made her way down the house’s circuit-breaker panel one area at a time. Finally, the living-room lights went dark, along with Bubbie’s life-support machines. Only one problem: She was still breathing. Nothing a little suffocation can’t take care of. Nancy’s last words? ”Shane, get Mommy a pillow.”
So, Weeds watchers, have we had our fill of geriatrics? With Albert Brooks committed to only four episodes, are we nearing the end of this story arc? And what did you think of the show’s new beginning, sans theme song?