First of all, the meaning of the episode’s title doesn’t become clear until far into the ep, when we get a gratuitously offensive scene that doesn’t spin the title in any humorously unexpected manner. Hugely unnecessary. I hate when TV courts controversy for the sake of controversy.
Also unecessary: Andy’s romance. Andy’s antics are often comic relief, but, in the past, his storylines have at least somewhat intersected with the main narrative (Nancy). Instead, in this episode, Andy (Justin Kirk) continues his fling with Maxeen (Lindsay Sloane), the artist from last ep., only to find himself in a polyamorous pickle. No connection whatsoever to the rest of the characters.Meanwhile, Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) is still fighting to retain custody of her youngest son, Stevie. She hires a new lawyer, whose odd predilections come across as extremely affected.
In general, this episode suffered from wooden acting. Knowing what the actors on Weeds are capable of, the dead expressions and stilted speech of this episode are probably the fault of the director, Eric Jewett. Jewett previously directed last season’s “Bliss,” which was convincing, if a bit disjointed.
Note the pep talk Silas (Hunter Parrish) gives Shane (Alexander Gould). Actually, note every conversation between or including either Silas or Shane. One of the worst effects of the time jump between Season 6 and 7 is the forced aging of the two “child” actors. I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. A bit of facial hair and a new dye job do not three years make.
In the past few seasons, Shane has grown to be possibly the most compelling character on Weeds. However, the show hasn’t given him any material of worth this season. He plays one mode in this ep.–sad little Mama’s boy. He also seems to have gone back to his anti-drug morals.
Silas, on the other hand, does have a new character arc. He is now rebelling against his mother. Oh wait, except that isn’t a new arc. Throughout the series, Silas has repeatedly attempted to distance himself from Nancy, and every time, he falls back in with her and the rest of the family. Case in point: this episode’s crunchy chicken. It’s not exactly growth if a character just hits the same beats over and over again.
I suppose that can be a complaint about the series, not just this particular episode. The first three seasons of Weeds were stellar, as critics and fans alike can attest. However, as I’ve said before, one of the interesting themes on Weeds was the idea of the normal, suburban family hiding a secret criminal life. After the third season, that core conceit gradually ebbed away. Now, we’re just watching the hijinks of a crime family, and I’m sorry to say it does get repetitive after a few years of the same stories: Andy’s unrequited love, Silas’s inability to leave the flock, Nancy’s irresponsible mothering, etc.
Luckily, Mary-Louise Parker is still fantastic. She always manages to keep Nancy just on this side of likeable. In “A Hole in Her Niqab,” Nancy convinces a lawyer (Martin Short) to represent her pro bono, convinces Doug (Kevin Nealon) to give her a job at his new corporate office, convinces Silas to deal the weed for her and on her terms, and convinces Shane to give her the remaining cash from his student loan check (after he spent the bulk of it recreating the Agrestic bedroom for her). That’s a lot of convincing, but Nancy’s power has always been her wiliness.
Unfortunately for Nancy, sometimes even she can’t force her way out of situations. Her weed contact runs dry. She can’t afford to send her sister a check for Stevie’s private school tuition. She’s still living in a halfway house, and every shot of Nancy in another terrible hand-me-down dress is more proof of how the mighty and casually chic have fallen.
But the ubiquitous Starbucks iced coffees are back. Surely the rest of Nancy’s charmed life is only a few episodes away.