'Weeds' recap: Small blessings
Andy realizes why he's really always there for his overwhelmed sister-in-law, while Shane gets into the biz, and Nancy tries to save all those in her brood
‘Weeds’ recap: Small blessings
A finale calls for reflection, so before we dive in to the nitty gritty of this season’s Weeds closer, let’s take a look at how far the Botwin bunch has come. Grand matriarch Nancy went from making small-time dime-bag sales to helping transport kilos of drugs (both soft and hard) across international lines. (Not to mention being an accessory to prostitution or child slavery or a mail-order bride operation — whatever undetermined human-trafficking business Guillermo was doing through the tunnel.) Her eldest son Silas was sleeping with a divorcée while running a grow op out of her sandwich shop. Shane traded in the honor roll for bad-boy status at the local junior high. And Andy set aside lofty goals, like rabbinical school, so that he could run an illegal coyote ring. If there were an approval rating system for moms, Nancy’s would likely dip into the single digits. Maybe it’s been a downward spiral from the start, but seeing how the deck is stacked today, something’s gotta give, and it’ll take a newcomer to tip it.
So we began with a meeting in Esteban’s office where Cesar passed on the information he’d forced out of Captain Till’s partner: Nancy was a snitch. But the boss wasn’t buying it. “If you torture a man, he will say what you want him to say,” Esteban reasoned. The one problem with that was that Cesar never said her name. The bottom line was very simple: If the dead agent’s story checked out, Nancy would be condemned to die, and that wasn’t an execution order Esteban was ready to sign. So he told his underling to keep looking.
Also hoping for a loophole, Dean Hodes tried to take the lead during a meeting between Nancy and Captain Till at the DEA offices, not knowing, of course, that Nancy had it covered. Till started to probe into whether Nancy was aware of what was happening in the store’s back room, but plenty adept at playing dumb, she skirted his questions. “It struck me as odd,” Nancy told the agents when asked about men constantly coming and going, “but a paycheck is a paycheck.”
The traction theme continued in Lisa’s bedroom where Silas and his MILF GF were counting down the minutes to his 18th birthday. But just as they were about to give it another go, in walked Rad with his dad in tow. Silas barely had time to put on his undies before Lisa’s ex starting snapping away on his cell phone. “Family court is gonna love this,” he said while grabbing a picture of a used condom wrapper. In the quarrel that ensued, we learned that Lisa scored big in the settlement, getting the house, the store, and their son. Her ex, it turned out, lives far away, but that isn’t stopping him from seeking full custody. “I want to make sure someone’s looking after my son while you’re getting high and banging ‘N Sync,” he quipped as Silas made a quick exit. Back at the DEA office, Captain Till returned from a briefing with his fellow agents where he was obviously given the bad news: His partner in life and love was dead — his body hung faceless on the border fence. Distraught and angered, Till began his tirade by ejecting Dean from the room, then setting his sights on Nancy and demanding answers. “Who owns the tunnel?” he screamed. “Who’s the animal on the other side of the fence?” Nancy kept the charade going by claiming she didn’t know, but Till called bulls— and laid out a simple plan: He was going to hunt down this killer, but if he found out that Nancy made him take the long way, he’d kill her, too.
NEXT: Andy’s epiphany
Meanwhile, Celia was on her own mission south of the border. She set out to find her daughter Quinn, who was shacking up with a guy named Rudolpho in some off-the-map Mexican village. It would take four different tickets and a ride on a donkey-drawn cart to get there, but at the end of the trek — during which Celia delighted in being mistaken for Kathleen Turner — there sat Quinn, gorgeous and seemingly sweet, with surprisingly similar features to Dean. (Good casting!)
But for every disenfranchised American youngster to camp out in Mexico, there’s at least one deportee forced back, which is exactly what happened to Maria once Doug called the INS on her. Andy, her now requited love, was understandably disgusted by his friend’s behavior. Even for Doug, this was a new low. “She wouldn’t f— me, but she’s f—ed you, huh?” Doug said to Andy. “Well, f— her and f— you!” Doug’s main gripe was that Andy had broken the code — that you don’t screw another man’s girl. But as Andy so astutely pointed out, Doug was the “original code breaker” because he slept with Celia when she was still married to his friend, Dean. Without much of a retort, Doug opted for a hit off the vaporizer and one last sigh for Maria. “She was a fantasy,” said Andy. “You’re still in love with Dana.” But Doug had a comeback for that one: “You’re in love with Nancy. Why else would you put up with all the crap?” Andy flat out denied it, citing other reasons he stuck around, like the kids and his late brother, Judah. But in Doug’s childish way, he kept hammering on about it until Andy — and likely everyone watching — paused to consider. Could it be, on some subconscious level? We weren’t going to get the answer just yet — Silas was on the phone to tell Andy that s— was blowing up. Time to bolt.
Back at the house, Andy and Silas rushed in carrying boxes of head-cheese sandwiches, which they stashed in the freezer. With all the activity, Silas’ 18th birthday was just an afterthought, but count on good brother Shane to remember. Their mom, however, was another story. Nancy blew through the door with a blank stare that spoke one overwhelming emotion: It’s good to be home. Ever the comedian, Andy welcomed his sister-in-law with a crack. “Wow, look who’s not in jail.” Nancy explained to the Botwin boys that she was asked a few questions and sent home. “I’m just a salesgirl,” she said, to which Shane couldn’t help scoffing. It didn’t take long before the subject of Silas’ birthday was brought up. With Lisa apparently bailing on him and the operation, Silas had no birthday plans so Nancy suggested a family dinner. Getting no relief from her high-stress day, Nancy plopped down on the stairs as if trying to catch her breath, but Silas had more business to discuss; namely, the matter of her investing in his grow op. “It would be a great birthday gift,” Silas pleaded with a sweet son-you-can’t-say-no-to tone, but Nancy could barely compute. “This is a bad time,” she shrugged.
But it was as good a time as ever to talk to Esteban, even if Nancy did have a hunch where the conversation would go. It all started innocently enough with some breakfast banter, but turned soon thereafter. “I’d like to see you,” said Esteban with sudden urgency. “Tonight.” Wisely, perhaps, Nancy turned down his offer to send a car and opted to drive herself, but that meant skipping out on the birthday plans. And for what? A beating? Certain death? Esteban was no dummy. Indeed, after a back-and-forth of affectionate — if a little forced — exchanges, we saw the Tijuana mayor look at a photo of his girl talking to Captain Till, which likely came from Agent Shlattery’s camera. Uh-oh.
NEXT: Daughter dearest
Nancy retreated to the bathtub for a soak and some quiet reflection, but apparently not one to lock the door, she got a visit from a concerned Andy. And once he got over her boobs (“Bigger than I thought,” Andy observed), he started in with his own line of questioning. Foremost on his mind? Why Nancy wasn’t going to jail. She couldn’t tell him — or anyone else for that matter — but clearly Nancy had something to get off her, ahem, chest. “I used to be able to rationalize the things I did,” she told Andy. “At some point recently, everything became right and wrong.” Finally coming to terms with her decisions and the sequence of events that brought the Botwins to this latest fork in the road, Nancy dove under the bubbles. But it would take more than bathwater to cleanse her conscience, and so she started telling Andy about the girl in the blue dress with the butterfly bag, who was “so young” when brought through the tunnel. Being an accomplice to that was clearly something Nancy could not live with.
A few blocks away, Doug Wilson was having his own emotional meltdown. Disheveled and lonely, he put thoughts to paper in a letter to Dana, his soon-to-be ex. Doug wrote about how different life was out in Ren Mar, that he was making do in a studio apartment, that he had trouble sleeping because the bed’s too short and his dreams have grown more and more freakish. “Since losing you, I’ve lost all sense of joy and pleasure,” Doug explained, then pulled a noose together for what seemed like a final tug. That was until we realized what he was tugging on. Asphyxiation while masturbating is a fitting way to go for a man so loathed, but it failed to draw out his last breath. Instead, Doug declared, pants around his ankles, “You and your lawyers come get me if you want. I don’t give a s— because I’m broke, and when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose!”
Back to Celia and her daughter Quinn. Over lunch cooked by Rudolpho, Celia started in on her mission to make amends as part of the twelve steps. Sober for 17 days, Celia rattled off a series of “I’m sorry”s while her stoic daughter sat motionless across the table. Apparently, sending her to Casa Reforma was a big bone of contention between the two, and not one Quinn is quite over. Still, she seemed forgiving, telling her mom, “Casa Reforma was actually good for me. I met this man I love and we just live — humbly, simply….My life has purpose.” But once Celia started getting drowsy from the beverage she was given, it became clear there was something else going on. “I’m so glad you came here to see me,” Quinn continued, “so I can tell you that, and tie you up, and lock you in a room, and keep you there so I can sell your ass back to suburban slavery.” With that, Celia’s head went down and a sinister plot was revealed. Quinn would hold Celia for ransom Ruthless People-style, demanding Dean pay $200,000 in cash or she and Rudolpho would start sending body parts. What would she do with all that money? Not help her boyfriend’s “faggy” revolution — she was moving to Belize.
Later on in unfit-parent world, Nancy was headed for the border and her scheduled rendezvous with Esteban. Along the way, she called a local gift basket store looking for something — anything — that could be delivered to Silas that night. Casino theme? Gay Paris? The sales girl had lots of options. “Do you have anything for a son who thinks his mother’s completely failed him?” Nancy asked.
NEXT: In case of emergency…
Indeed, back at the house, the Botwin boys were preparing their own worst-case scenarios. “Sometimes I wish she’d get arrested already,” said Shane. “At least we’d know where she is.” With that in mind, Silas laid out a plan: buy some land in Mexico with the money he made off the sandwich shop, work a small farm, grow pot, and sell to the local clubs. “No stupid expansion, no mistakes. Small and mellow, so I don’t drop dead of a heart attack trying to maintain this bulls— lifestyle.” Without a better scheme of his own, Andy offered to invest some of his coyote cash. As for Shane? “You go to school and be a kid,” said Silas without specifying if said education would take place stateside or on the weed farm. With strict orders by Silas to keep Nancy in the dark, Andy had to interject in her defense. “Let’s stop bagging on your mom,” he told the boys. “She’s done some less than prudent or thoughtful things, but she’s Nancy and we love her. Love. Her. In a mom-loving way. Not in any other way.” Still mulling over Doug’s earlier accusation, Andy took a fetal position on the couch while Shane went to grab a Popsicle for them both and discovered the goods barely hidden in the freezer. Oh yeah, his cachet at school just moved up another notch.
Still making her way toward the border, Nancy finally got through the billing portion of her gift basket order, but when it came to a note, she found herself struggling all over again. “Dear Silas, if you never see me again, I’ve probably been murdered, enjoy the dried apricots and butter cookies,” she joked with a sales gal named Carol, until it became abundantly clear what needed to be said: “Thanks for raising yourself these past 18 years. You’ve done a great job.” No, one last edit. “Silas, you are loved.” With assurances that the basket would be delivered that night, Nancy continued on to Tijuana. There was no turning back now.
Meanwhile, unsupervised and roaming the streets with his new pals Harmony and Simone, Shane was doing swift business parsing out chunks of head-cheese sandwiches to local kids with cash to spend. Turns out drug dealing really is the Botwin family business.
On to our final scene, which found Nancy seated at a table with Esteban across the way. Agitated and disappointed, he was torn between seemingly real love for this woman and the more manly duties of being a drug lord and semi-corrupt politician. With evidence like the photo that Cesar had presented, there was no doubt death was the payment for such a betrayal. “You have made me so sad,” said Esteban. Nancy looked at him hopefully, and answered, “Well, I think I can make you happy.” Too late, Esteban said as he frowned and slid the incriminating photo across the tabletop. Nancy could only sigh. Then she reached into her bag to pull out a picture of her own — an ultrasound image, as it turned out. “It’s too early to tell, but it feels like a boy,” she told Esteban with a smirk, clearly relieved. Whew! Impending doom sidestepped once again.
So did you see it coming, Weeds watchers? I was ready for a major blowout, but this is not what I had in mind. Nancy’s gotta be pushing 40, with a lot going on. Is it realistic for her to have a baby at this point in her life? Will Esteban demand a paternity test or take Nancy at her already shaky word? What does this mean for Andy’s undying devotion and Silas’ lofty plans? And, lest we forget, little bad boy Shane? Where should season 5 go? And where will you all turn for the next nine months of Weeds-free TV? I say we head over to watch Dexter. Who’s with me?