Tuesday, July 26, 2011

‘Weeds,’ Season 7, Episode 5, ‘Fingers Only Meat Banquet’: TV Recap

With a steaming platter full of cooked meat, we’re back to “Weeds.” That’s some creative crediting sequencing there, what with the artfully-bordered, pot-plant covered paper plates.
It’s a zoom in on on Doug’s fancy New York City financial group office, where his pompous new boss is announcing the third quarter earnings for the hedge fund. They made a ton of money, and there’s some sort of beefsteak celebration at hand. Nancy pushes in a platter of beef and then veers off to call the Sarge.
“Dimitri, this is Nancy,” she says. “I’ve got a lot of dry soldiers who need rations.” Dimitri may not have any pot for her, but her lawyer, Seward Havens, does have some news. Nancy’s sister Jill has requested a formal custody hearing for Stevie, and Nancy has to attend said hearing in order to maintain custody of her youngest son. The hearing is the next day in Oakland, California.
Despite his creepy and increasingly sexual suggestions, Seward Havens is a decent lawyer, and he’s secured a 48-hour furlough so that Nancy — and her as of yet undetermined character witness — can fly to California and win the fight for Stevie.
Back at the still messy Botwin loft, Nancy chooses Silas, which comes as a bit of a surprise, since Shane is the son who worships his pot-dealing mother and Silas seems to care very little about Nancy’s criminal history.
“You can testify next time,” Nancy tells a disappointed Shane. With his seemingly limitless college loans, Shane pays for the red-eye flights to Oakland, and our heroes take off.
Andy is playing house with his artist girlfriend, Maxine, and her cancer-stricken husband, Charles. As Andy lights up a bong, Charles passes out from low blood sugar, causing the high and paranoid Andy to panic. But Andy manages to pull it together and perform CPR on the diminishing Charles, saving his life and also probably his romance.
On the plane, Nancy is looking — and sounding — increasingly tired and strained. She’s got one card to play, and that’s Silas, and he seems to be rather unwilling top tell a happy tale of the Widow Botwin’s parenting skills. Remember, friends, she sold pot to make money for her children, married a drug enforcement agent and then had him killed, married a drug lord and took her children on a cross-country road trip to avoid arrest and certain death. Also, she went to jail for three years.
At work, Doug is at a loss without Nancy. He’s got no food, no clue how to use his computer and no way of solving either problem. He might just do his accounting job for once, so he opens up the third quarter finance report and gets moving.
In the Oakland, California courtroom, Seward Havens gravely informs Nancy that the hearing for custody has been postponed for two months. Jill is trying to trick Nancy out of the custody fight by pulling favors and changing schedules in the court docket. Nancy is furious, of course, and she quickly disappears.
Silas corners the Judge, and Nancy goes to corner her sister.
“I want to see my son,” she tells the silent gate intercom at her sister’s California McMansion. Jill’s not biting, but her henpecked husband, Scott comes out to send Nancy off.
He tries to reason with his sister-in-law, but Nancy only gets angrier. She climbs the fence as a hapless local security guard arrives in a go-cart and tries to pull Nancy off the gate. It’s an awkward and unusual scene, but the security guard manages to cuff Nancy and lock her to his golf cart.
“Great to see you Nancy, have a safe flight!” the always awful Jill calls from the intercom.
Silas is taking matters into his own unprofessional hands, as he confronts the judge during his lunch break.
“Look, she loves us and I’m pretty sure she loves her youngest, Stevie, even more,” he says in the midst of a timid and rather uninspiring speech attesting to Nancy’s motherly prowess. The judge agrees to take a second look at the file, but he also scolds Silas for his lame speech. It was a pretty lame speech, we have to say.
Having done his job as an accounting for a change, Doug has uncovered some pretty questionable business practices at the offices of Vehement financial partners. Looks like the killer third quarter earnings were really just the result of some cooked books. The CEO doesn’t care, and he’s got somewhere to take Doug before he reports anything. We wonder if he might kill Doug.
In a brief but probably telling moment, Shane enrolls in a criminal justice course at a City College branch in New York. In true Botwin fashion, he sweet talks and bribes the professor to let him in the class. We imagine this might be a major source of plot development as season seven continues.
Out in the Oakland hills, Nancy’s still sitting in front of her sister’s house, handcuffed to the stalled out golf cart. It’s an electric vehicle, and it lost all charge on the drive over to the Price-Grey home.
Scott, who we suddenly remember as being a bit less of a terrible person than Jill, comes to comfort Nancy.
“I’ll make sure that you get to video chat with Stevie,” he tells her, but he also encourages her to back off of Jill for a bit. We’re reminded that Jill slept with Andy in a earlier season, and during their brief split, Jill wouldn’t let Scott see his daughters. Point being, Scott understands how desperate Nancy is feeling.
Seward and Silas arrive to liberate Nancy and bring her to the judge’s chambers. The custody battle isn’t over quite yet.
The Vehement CEO is treating Doug to a free sensual — read: prostitution-style — massage, and he urges Doug to forget about the cooked books as a pair of semi-nude women rub the two men down with oils. Doug agrees, but it’s probably got more to do with his sensual massage than with his moral compass.
Maxine reads to an incapacitated Charles, and Andy finally realizes that he can’t handle all this any more. Charles’s favorite story is Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart,” and Andy doesn’t do death. He might be starting to fall for Maxine, but he doesn’t to wait around for Charles to croak.
Judge Franklin wants to wait, too. He tells Nancy that he thinks putting children with their mothers is a good thing, but that Nancy has a long way to go until she’ll be stable enough to support Stevie again.
He’s willing to wait, but he’s got some suggestions for Nancy in the interim.
“Do not concoct some grand plan to change yourself,” he says, as we see Nancy and Silas drive down a scenic California road.
“Don’t reinvent yourself. The wheel was spinning just fine once, so be the Nancy who raised Silas.”
Maybe we’re headed back to Agrestic! Maybe we’ll see the old neighborhood where all of this started, and catch up with Celia and her family and remember all the values and characters that made this show so quirkily different in the fist place.
Wait a second, this cottage in the California brush is not Agrestic. And that is not Nancy’s old house.
“Maybe we should have called ahead,” Silas says.
“They grow weed, we have money, we’ll be fine,” Nancy tells him. So we’re on a drug run. Makes sense. But who lives here?
The door opens to reveal an angry older woman with a gun and an unpleasant scowl on her face.
“Oh hell no,” the legendary Heylia James says as she cradles her rifle.
Nancy’s first (and our personal favorite) drug dealer is back.
Will Heylia become another recurring character? Will Nancy and Silas really be able to set up a major pot operation in New York? And who will win the custody fight?


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