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TV Review: Weeds – “Bags”

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Last night kicks off Showtime’s seventh season of Weeds. The premiere episode is titled “Bags,” and it finds Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) being released from prison after serving three years of her term, said to be far less than half of her sentence. As season six ends, it’s obvious Nancy is going to jail to protect one of her sons, but the series skips over the period of her incarceration almost completely. It is revealed that Esteban (Demián Bichir) has been killed in prison, and since Nancy is of no more use to the FBI, they do her the final favor of sticking her in a halfway house in New York City. Nancy asks her sister, Jill (Jennifer Jason Leigh), not to tell anyone about the development, but Jill doesn’t listen, and it isn’t long before Nancy’s family is on their way to her.

It’s a shame there isn’t some exploration of Nancy’s stint behind bars, but the time jump does nicely set things up as fresh, with various characters moving in various directions with their lives in the intervening time, and what will come next is highly unpredictable. What is known is that Nancy has a plan to get back on top, and it begins with a cache of weapons she is told about by her cellmate.

Nancy being involved in a lesbian relationship in prison is not unexpected, as she always seeks physical comfort and protection, no matter what position she finds herself in. As such, while the kiss between Nancy and the other woman is likely intended to shock, instead, it merely triggers a, “Oh, of course.” What will be far more interesting is if the lover gets out of jail and searches for Nancy, who, outside of the prison walls, will most likely no longer want female companionship of that sort, especially not from a convicted felon.

Another bump in Nancy’s road ahead will be the aforementioned sister, Jill. From the short conversation they share over the video chat, it appears Jill is raising Nancy’s young son, Stevie, as her own, and has no intention of giving him back to his mother. In fact, Stevie thinks Nancy is his aunt. This is not new behavior for Jill, who previously tries to “save” Nancy’s other children. Unfortunately for Jill, Nancy will not take no for an answer, and at the earliest opportunity, she will try to reclaim her missing offspring. Knowing Nancy, she will probably succeed, but not before causing herself and those around her more unneeded trouble.

A halfway house does not seem a natural environment for Nancy, the former pot dealer. She is not in her new quarters an hour before she engaging in illegal activities that most certainly violate her parole. The only real question is, how soon before Nancy makes a break for it, and has the law chasing after her again? Despite numerous bad experiences, Nancy is not the type to sit tight and wait things out for an indeterminate amount of time, and the chances of her serving out her time there are small, indeed.

Shane (Alexander Gould), unsurprisingly, has things together the best when the series rejoins the rest of the cast, who have spent the past three years living in Denmark. Shane has a regular girl, though she dumps him, and is leading a life he enjoys, putting on shows with marionettes. It’s also Shane who makes the decision to return to Nancy, and predicts that Uncle Andy (Justin Kirk) will want to join him.

Andy cannot let go of Nancy, despite her many rejections of him as a romantic partner. Nancy’s dead husband’s brother, Andy has a fantasy that, because he serves as a father figure for his nephews, he will someday get to be their actual step-father. Nancy merely uses him and strings him along. Too bad, then, that Andy’s reticence to return to the states upon learning that she has regained her freedom is token, at best. Even after having three years to ruminate on all of the ways Nancy has screwed him, not literally, Andy still is ready to rush to her side. He is, at heart, a very good guy, and Nancy does not deserve him. It is sad she will never realize that.

Also accompanying Shane and Andy is Doug (Kevin Nealon). Despite being left behind by the Botwins many times, living with them in a foreign country for three years seems to finally have made Doug a part of the family. Though, they must not show it to him, judging by his surprise that he is invited along on the newest journey. Andy and Doug are good friends, but Andy puts his family first, always. Shane realizes that Doug is now included in the group, and it’s touching when that is made known to Doug.

Unfortunately, the same courtesy is not extended to elder brother Silas (Hunter Parrish), who has found work as a male model for some type of beverage. While it is understandable that Shane would not expect Silas to want to go for a variety of reasons, not least of which is Silas’s extreme anger at his mother when last the two were together, it is also not kind to leave him behind in Denmark, either. Whether Silas wants to go to New York or not should be up to him, and the least Shane could have done is presented it as Silas’s choice. To not do so is a sign Shane may have turned his back on Silas, a regrettable development for the brothers.

Make sure you tune into Weeds next week as Nancy gets her boys back. The series airs Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com