The hemptress returns in the complete fifth season of the Showtime's Original Series, Weeds. When pot-selling soccer mom Nancy Botwin took her homegrown business south of the border, she found the grass wasn't greener on the other side. Now she's pregnant with the child of a powerful politician turned dangerous drug lord; or is she? Doug and Silas are trying to branch out on their own, Andy is looking to score, and Celia attempts to turn the tables on her kidnappers. With enemies out to smoke the Queen of Green, Nancy's sure to find a whole new crop of trouble in an all new season of Weeds; starring Emmy and Golden Globe winner Mary-Louise Parker.
Though "eccentric" is perhaps a given when it comes to describing the comedy-drama Weeds, the series' fifth season seems to test the boundaries of that description with a story arc that pushes the misadventures of suburban pot dealer Nancy Botwin (Golden Globe winner Mary-Louise Parker) into very unusual territory. Having saved her skin in the finale of the previous season by admitting to Mexican drug lord Esteban that she was carrying his child, Nancy spends much of the season attempting to keep her extended brood/employees out of trouble as she extricates from this current pickle. However, said family is barely able to stay afloat without her lopsided guidance; brother-in-law Andy (Justin Kirk) develops feelings for her before falling for her obstetrician (Alanis Morrissette), while eldest offspring Silas (Hunter Parrish) attempts to tackle the legitimate side of pot (a medical marijuana dispensary) with the now hopelessly fogbound Doug (Kevin Nealon). And youngest son Shane (Alexander Gould) continues his spiral into what can only be described as near-lunacy as he dabbles in alcoholism, animal slaughter, masochism, and finally, homicide. Though season 5 reads like the same mix of black comedy and sugar-fizz indie quirk as the previous four, the reality is that the recipe is off here; moments of honest drama and character development have been sacrificed for shock effect, which blunts the solid work done by Parker and her talented castmates (most notably Kirk, Nealon, and Morrissette). In short, the fifth season of Weeds feels rudderless--an uncomfortable position for any veteran show.
The extras on the season 5 set feel equally off-kilter. Commentary tracks are present for 7 of the 13 episodes, most of which are handled by series creator Jenji Kohan, who seems either unable to or uninterested in providing more than perfunctory observations. More informative and entertaining are the tracks with Parrish and Nealon's thoughts on "Van Nuys" and Elizabeth Perkins on "Glue," on which she's joined by her onscreen spouse and daughter, Andy Milder and Allie Grant. Also worth checking out is University of Andy, a series of 12 webisodes featuring dubious life advice from Kirk's character, and Crazy Love, a brief but thoughtful examination of the characters' romantic lives as viewed by the cast and crew. More extraneous is Really Backstage with Kevin Nealon, which is a perfunctory behind-the-scenes glance, while Little Titles offers more enervated commentary from Kohan, this time in regard to the opening titles. A gaggle of bloopers, a promo spot with Nealon parodying Barack Obama's "Yes We Can," and the animated History of Weed are all forgettable. --Paul Gaita