''Weeds'' takes a U-turn when Nancy goes to work for a lecherous real-estate developer who wants to build a giant waste pipeline through Agrestic

”Weeds”: Nancy gets a job

I wonder if this season of Weeds is really darker or just more complicated in a way that casts a pall over the series’ initial insouciant setup in season 1. Still, hunkering down plotwise does not have to be a bad thing. Think about it: The novelty of a hottie mommy dealing grass has lost its puckish charm; plus, there’s only so long serendipity can watch over Nancy as she dips her delicate, well-manicured toes into the sticky cesspool that is the drug trade. She’s messing with a volatile criminal world, and frankly, as hard as it is to accept this change — don’t we all miss the previous seasons’ enduring levity? — waving off Nancy’s misdoings would be a total cop-out. So let’s think of this week’s episode as kind of re-setting the bummed-out dramedy: remembering the looming s— storm while opening up a few sunnier opportunities.

Silas’ lending his barely legal manpower to the family cause, if not exactly the equivalent of Michael Corleone’s turn to the dark side, was thrillingly ominous. (His target demo is made up of benign types like, oh, a horny hausfrau.) This lends itself to limitless dramatic points. Up first, I can only hope: Nancy confronting what a deplorable mother she’s become. The woman totally dropped the ball in the parental department during last week’s broodier episode, so I appreciate the way the writers playfully spoofed those lapses of judgment in this week’s installment: a Freaky Friday reversal in which younger son Shane pressed his mom to get a job and even drafted her résumé, encouraging her to embellish achievements. Now that Nancy’s finally joined the workforce, that’ll free up the kid to sow his savant oats among clueless people his own age.

Finally, there are some plum opportunities to divert attention away from all this heavy drug stuff. I’d like to throw out a fuzzy welcome mat to Matthew Modine’s Sullivan, the slimy Majestic huckster who’s hired the newly street-smart Nancy as his girl Friday and has been putting the moves on Celia. It’s only a matter of time before he’ll reveal some awesomely nefarious plans, and I think we can expect that those designs will include Celia. That potential axis of evil promises to mate the unseemliest of suburban imperatives: real-estate greed and lust among privileged middle agers. (It could likewise set up a love triangle of sorts with Celia’s recent booty call, reinstated city councilman Doug. We can only pray this will inspire more fitting fecal metaphors along the lines of ”S— highway could be our road to riches….We’ve got them by the sphincter!”)

I, for one, am grateful for these emerging developments, because down-on-her-luck Celia really could use a swift kick in the pants to encourage her to get back to business. As could the series. These developments remind me of why I originally took to the show: This suburban farce effortlessly trumped Desperate Housewives‘ satire in nuance, irreverence, and overall ingenuity. And after this auspicious installment/reboot, I’m convinced Weeds remains the Great White-TV Hope.

What do you think? Will Sullivan go after Nancy or Celia or both? Will Silas manage to stay out of trouble? And is Andy going to go AWOL?

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