The first episode of the new season was more housecleaning than entertaining. Perhaps Weeds would fare better if it was treated less as a comedy and more of a 30 minute drama. Dexter and Mad Men probably have the same comedic ratio. All comedy doesn’t have to be laugh out loud chuckles, but there’s not even an uncomfortable chuckle in these dark situations. It’s like when Roger Moore had to make a quip in a Bond film to make sure we didn’t think it was a serious spy thriller. The jokes from the Botwins remind us we’re not watching Intervention although this family needs to be intervened.
“Felling and Swamping” puts the credits on snack bags hanging from the wall of a convenience store. The Botwins are on the run. At a gas station Andy keeps asking Nancy about their destination. Pittsburgh is not an option. The plan at this moment is to go North. Andy pesters her about Shane being a murderer. Esteban calls her cellphone. Inside the store Shane and Silas flip through newspapers looking for reports of Pilar’s death. It’s not being that public. Andy finds time to flirt with a woman gassing up her car. The family takes off once more.
The fear hits Nancy since the boys charged their food on credit cards. They can be traced. Andy suggests they go to a nearby super center and max out all their credit cards on purchases. Silas wants them to go back and confess to the crime. He doesn’t quite understand they can’t go back because they were marked for death eventually. Silas claims nobody is looking for him. But of course the Mexican goons will want to find him to get to the rest of the family. Nancy stops the car and wants him to get out. He chooses to stick with the family since he has no other option.
In the super store, Andy picks out stuff to wear in his new identity. He gives Silas a talk about living off the grid as an outlaw. He’s done this before. He buys up a bunch of Hooters gift cards. The cashier is a goth girl with bite marks on her neck flirts. She flirts with them so they can max out the cash back element on the card. Nothing really comes of the exchange like having Silas get a hickey.
Nancy blows her top at Shane when he tells her how she should have packed the mini-van. Nancy slaps her son when he reminds her that he saved the family by killing the woman. She declares it her job to kill psychopathic drug queens. She takes away his candy as a punishment. She slaps his ass. They get back in the mini-van. Andy gives his rules on going off the grid. They can’t talk to their old friends. This is easy cause they have no real friends anymore. Nancy announces they are going to Canada to get as far away from Mexico as possible. Andy can’t go to Alaska because of salmon cannery foreman wants his ass. Silas turns on the DVD player in the car. The only DVD they have is the guide the car. The family has memorized the narration.
At the border crossing, Nancy tells the Canadian guard that they’re a married couple heading to a birthday. Things go bad when the guard needs to see the baby’s birth certificate. Remember when you could get into Canada with a Jerry Remy baseball card? The guard won’t let them into the country. They’re screwed. Shane suggests sedating the baby and putting it in a cooler to smuggle the child over the border. He’s all heart. Nancy checks her voicemail. The FBI has called her about the homicide. Andy goes nuts and smashes her phone. Shane points out all you need do is destroy the SIM card by putting it in his drink.
Outside the motel, the sign reads “Elvis Slept Here.” Must have been when he was shooting It Happened at the World’s Fair. In the Botwin’s room, they’re adjusting their appearance. Nancy has a haircut that makes her look like a Duran Duran groupie. Andy changes the family’s name to Newman and picks Randy Newman for his identity. He likes “Short People.” Shane wants to be Sean as in Connery. Nancy goes for Natahlie – the French spelling. The baby gets to become Avi. Silas goes for a simple Mike.
During dinner, the family practices calling their new names. Nancy reminds the kids that they are still to call her mom. Andy collects the old IDs. Silas is reluctant since it took a while to pass the test. Andy promises his new driver’s license will let him be an Ice Road Trucker. Andy goes into the kitchen and asks the foreign staff for assistance. Andy and Silas end up at a nice suburban house with a sweet mom at the door. But she knows they want the Chinaman. It’s her computer geek son. They don’t have enough money for him, but they offer up the Hooters gift cards for the difference. Mom approves of taking them. You’d be amazed what you can get with a Hooters’ gift card. You can buy real estate in Detroit for $2,000 worth of hot wings.
A burning garbage can receives the old IDs as Andy does a mini-funeral for them. They have a little toast as they become the Newman family. Nancy has enough of the ceremony. She swears the Newmans will have a normal life with jobs, schools, hobbies and be under the radar. She tosses up confetti to seal the moment. Silas wonders what happens if he doesn’t to be Mike. She reminds him it’s too late since they have no Hooters gift cards.
Esteban is in the FBI office. He’s not cooperating. Pilar’s death took place on American soil which is why this is a federal case. The agent asks when his wife is due back from vacation. When th e Mexicans leave the room, the FBI agent order his assistant to find the wife. Back in the limo, Esteban orders Cesar to find his wife. The dueling pursuit is on.
Why did I get confused thinking Pilar’s death was in Mexico? Why wouldn’t they have carefully snuck her body back over the border so Esteban could control the investigation with his connections?
The episode plays like a first act with most of the action being a set up for the season. Last week’s premiere came off as a wrap up of Season 5. Is it wrong to expect an episode that plays like an episode? The comic moments were a bit more lighter with the Hooters cards and the fake IDs. The complete lack of connection between Nancy and the baby is disconcerting. She paid more attention to the MILF weed. If the baby disappears halfway through the season like Chip Cunningham, would her character notice?
Tags: Canada, Dexter, Elvis Presley, Mad Men, Mary Louise Parker, Weeds