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Weeds, “Boomerang” (6.05) and “A Shoe For a Shoe” (6.06)

Nancy Botwin holds a crossbow, having pulled back the light blue baby blanket it was hiding under. She stands in a defunct arcade.

A review of the episodes, the first written by Stephen Falk and directed by Scott Ellis, and the second written by David Holstein and directed by Michael Trim, after the jump…

“I’m a mother lion, and you can’t defeat a mother lion when you threaten her cubs. You might think its the same thing for a papa lion, but it’s not the same thing. It’s not the same thing at all.” – Nancy Botwin

There’s a reason my reviews got jammed up at “Boomerang” (6.05), and it doesn’t have much to do with the episode’s quality. It was a perfectly fun episode, just one that I had very little to say about, because it felt very much like a hammock between “Bliss (6.04) and the excellent “A Shoe For a Shoe” (6.06).

So this dual-review will largely be about the latter episode, in which Nancy continues to be a mother lion, Shane scares even his scary-ass mentor, and Silas begins to really feel the weight of the path he’s chosen.

Now, the diner scenes in “Shoe” were, for the most part, not particularly funny. Doug, in general, is never half as funny as the writers think. Andy, Silas and Shane all have something to offer this group, while Doug is pretty much completely useless and unfunny, which makes me sad that he wasn’t written out at the same time Celia was. I got a few laughs, but the most important bits to take away from this are Nancy and Cesar.

Because, oh boy, Nancy got a moment to shine here as the mother lion.

The showdown between Nancy and Cesar has been a long time coming, and Nancy pretty much owns him entirely – because Cesar, as so many before have, underestimates her. Nancy, before seeing the mess of a daughter Esteban raised, might have considered the trade, but not now. Not when she’s seen the weakness that lingers underneath his power: he is a great drug lord, and a shitty father. Meanwhile, Nancy isn’t a terribly great drug dealer, but she would do anything in her power to protect her children, even as her house of cards draws them further and further into danger with every consecutive season.

Writing this review, I’ve actually seen the coming season, but even at the time I knew the consequences of Silas seeing how great college could have been for him. He’s never been stupid, just lazy and/or disdainful of the education system. He started the season questioning his commitment to a family that is destroying his chance at a future, and this moment is the key next point: that, if not for Nancy’s great balancing act, constantly building up and falling apart at the same time, there was actually a future to look forward to. Watching him toss everything away for his younger brother, including the first version of his life that’s made him properly happy in a long time, was difficult.

And, of course, Shane. His relationship with Ignacio has been part of the central spine of his character since last season, so that culminates here with Shane taking the gun from Nancy, winning the standoff and gaining his mentor’s respect. Ignacio’s unshaken, and even tells Shane to follow his dreams, before taking off in Kimmi’s car. If this was the moment where ‘dangerous Shane’ hits a peak, that means the final stretch of the season should lead to a moment, if briefly, rehumanising him.

And Andy? Well, he and Doug are largely of similar colours here: useless and, really, annoying. In a comedy-driven episode this stuff works, but where things of actual substance are going on, Andy going on about his sinew is less than entertaining. Of course, Andy has had plenty of time to shine this season, and has more coming, so he’s allowed to be ‘off’ once in a while.

“Boomerang” was pretty good, and “A Shoe for a Shoe” is quite possibly the season’s best up until the finale. Still, there’s great stuff up ahead as we go into the back of the season.

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