Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Weeds have been pulled

     Showtime's Weeds returned for it's sixth season last Monday, and the first two episodes have basically only set up the next volume in the story.  I saw volume instead of chapter because this is the second time the show has practically reinvented itself from the ground up.  At the end of season three, the suburb where the story was set burnt to the ground, taking the now ill-fitting theme song with it, as well as any racially diverse cast members.  Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker, The West Wing) took her family south, and they soon settled into new routines near the Mexican border, and with new minorities.  She was soon caught up in the drug game again, and plenty of old familiar faces found their way back to Nancy.  As season six begins, the principal cast has slimmed down to only Nancy's family and Doug (Kevin Nealon, Saturday Night Live), who did not appear the last two weeks.

     It's very regrettable that Celia (Elizabeth Perkins, Must Love Dogs, The Flintstones) is gone, but she and many of the recurring characters has a great ending, setting up a new gang of misfits.  How Doug left that group is anyone's guess.  Early previews show Doug being captured and forced to try to help Nancy's current husband, Esteban (Demian Bichir) track Nancy and their infant son down.  Nancy, meanwhile, has fled north, up not across the border, with the baby and older sons Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould) in tow, as well as their Uncle Andy (Justin Kirk, Angels in America).  The reason for their flight is that Shane killed a woman to stop her from killing him and his brother.

     The actors are really showing their range.  Parker's character is barely sane anymore, and has taken her always confused Nancy to the extreme.  Shane, once the sweet child, is homicidal, and doesn't seem to concern himself with guilt, a startling, but satisfying twist, considering it has really given a chance for Gould to shine.  Silas has had more plot previously, but one can definitely feel his frustration at having his life ruined.  And Andy, well, Andy just goes with the flow like always.

     One wonders if the Botwins, now rechristened the Newmans, will manage to stay at their next harbor very long, or if they will be on the run for the rest of the series.  Surely it's only a matter of time before they are found.  Yet, I find myself more interested in what they will be doing now, rather than what's coming for them.  And I am extremely grateful that the harsh lighting of southern California and Mexico has been left behind.

     Weeds, a brilliant dramedy, airs Monday nights at 10pm on Showtime.

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