Weeds has always been great at the cliffhanger ending. The wonderfully shocking closing scene of this season’s opener, for example. Last episode‘s closing scene was less shocking, but still provided a compelling problem for Nancy to overcome.
“Game-Played” opens with the resolution for last episode’s cliffhanger. Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) did test positive for marijuana, after she–uncharacteristically– smoked with her former cellmate’s brother. Since sending Nancy back to jail would make Weeds fairly boring, sitcom law allows Nancy a second chance.
Oh also, Andy (Justin Kirk) is the saddest character ever. More on that later.
There’s an odd consequence of the time jump that Weeds took between last season and this one. Three years is a short period of time. However, in order to show that three years have passed in an otherwise timeless show, each character was either visibly changed or drastically changed in spirit and tone.
This is most evident in the “children” of the show. After the time jump, Shane (Alexander Gould) is now 18, and Silas (Hunter Parrish) is 22. Shane went through a dark storyline over the course of the past two seasons. Once the moral center of the family back in Agrestic, Shane became morbid, withdrawn, and violent. However, he never stopped loving his flighty, irresponsible mother. (Too much love? Who else remembers Season 4 Episode 9?)
On the other hand, Silas started off as a sunny teen who was fairly optimistic and easygoing. He participated in the family business even when Shane found it immoral. As the two boys grew older, their roles in the family switched. Shane turned toward the criminal, violent, and lawbreaking side of their lives, while Silas grew more and more tired of his mother’s antics, hoping always for a “normal life.”
This season, Silas has dyed his hair, and with the new darker hair comes a new darker personality. He’s standoffish toward his mother and, when he sees Nancy hiding weed in the new Botwin home, Silas demands his cut. Hunter Parrish has never been the strongest dramatic actor in the group, so his anger is a bit one-note.
The rest of the episode is similarly monotone, another placeholder before the action really begins. Nancy’s drug test results lead her to drug counseling, which only results in her taking notes on dealers (future competition) in the neighborhood. I’m not sure that the audience will readily believe there are only two drug dealers in all of New York City, but Weeds has never been the most realistic show. Nancy completes the sale of weapons for weed, conveniently sleeping with her former cellmate/lesbian lover’s brother (Pablo Schreiber) in the process.
Before said implied sex occurs, we get a heartbreaking scene between Andy and Nancy. Andy’s unrequited love for Nancy has long ago crossed the border from romantic to depressing. I understand that resolving the central romantic tension effectively ends a TV show (see The Office), but Andy’s undying affection needs to either be resolved or–who am I kidding, it needs to be resolved. Knocking Nancy from her pedestal (via an increasingly negative portrayal these past few seasons) has only made Andy’s love seem more pathetic.
Other happenings this episode: Doug (Kevin Nealon) gets a cush corporate job. Shane applies for college loans. Andy has a new possible love interest. (Didn’t he just get one of those last week?)
Preview for next week shows Nancy working for Doug and finding drug connections through him. We’ve been here before, Weeds. Please return some dignity to the characters before you wrap up the series.