Weeds "Saplings" Review: Mother Knows Best?

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Aug 27, 2012

Weeds S08E09: "Saplings"

When a good ol’ boy from a Big Tobacco family came knocking on the Botwin family’s door, Nancy was surprised and a little concerned that he was looking for Silas and not her. Maybe some of RJ’s live-and-love philosophy rubbed off Silas, because watching his precious plant be beaten to a pulp and squeezed into a little pill last week was a little too much for his delicate sensibilities to take. It’s not what the drug is about, man. Weed is a beautiful thing, man. Get it, man?

Despite her reluctance to team up with an industry that she considered to be a bona fide merchant of death (ex-drug lord Nancy, you’re so funny), Nancy accompanied Silas on his southern sojourn, in the name of looking out for his well-being. After all, marijuana cigarettes aren’t exactly legal, even in the TV vacuum Weeds portrays, so what interest could a cigarette company have in a pot farmer?

It turned out that our tobacco heir and our cannabis heir had something in common: a dream that someday, weed cigarettes will be legal. Crick Montgomery believed such a day was just around the corner and hoped to get a leg up on the competition by setting up shop ahead of time. Nancy pointed out that doing so wasn’t exactly legal either and urged Silas to go back to Old Sandwich with her. Silas called her out on her hypocrisy and everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. After all, it’s all well and good that Nancy wants to live on the right side of the law these days, but Silas is an adult and he’s been raised in this life for a large part of his life. He enjoys growing and selling weed and he’s not ashamed to do it. However, he’s also willing to be honest about the field in a way that Nancy isn’t. He’s sick of pretending that weed is a wonder drug and he’s sick of pretending that his family is somehow “better” than other drug dealers, or even the Big Tobacco companies, because of their flimsy moral standards. Nancy’s “no selling to kids” stance was all well and good, but the fact of the matter is that Nancy’s weed landed in teenagers’ hands regularly.

Nancy didn’t have much of a rebuttal, but continued to cling to her Mother of the Year aspirations. She claimed not to care about the weed or the tobacco or who Silas chose to align himself with. First and foremost, she only wanted Silas to be safe and happy. In the end, she stood by her eldest son’s side when he shook hands with Crick Montgomery.

Of course, after the confusion over handshakes and whether they can truly take the place of a contract drawn up in triplicate, with poor dumb Crick insisting that they can, I won’t be surprised if Silas—or, more likely, Nancy herself—finds a way to screw the tobacco company over for the benefit of House Botwin.

It was a big moment for Nancy to step aside and let Silas make his own decisions like a grown-up and everything. I’m consistently surprised whenever Nancy doesn’t go dark-side on us in her quest for redemption just because, after eight seasons, I truly believe that we’ve been trained to expect the worst from her. Even with all the progress she’s made, I still immediately peg her as the likely candidate to screw over her business partner, moreso than Silas. However, the fact that she allowed Silas to make a deal with a figurative devil, says a lot about Nancy’s acceptance of her past and the effect her special brand of providing for and parenting of her children has had on them. She could have very easily stomped her feet and forced Silas back to their home base north of the Mason-Dixon, citing her own regrets about life before her shooting and how many of the problems the Botwin family is currently experiencing can be connected to her past sins.

Nancy’s two oldest children, her “saplings,” are grown. She’s fertilized and weeded and offered as much sunlight and water as she can and she finally understands, in letting Silas go, that she can’t do anything else but stand aside and watch them bloom into whatever shapes they are going to be. It makes her extra efforts with Stevie—who is still, I think, young enough to avoid growing into a headcase like his brothers—more special and telling of her change.

It’s important to note that even though Nancy was unhappy with Silas’s decision, she didn’t abandon him. In fact, she was horrified that Crick’s own father, a man who lived in the same house with him, hadn’t spoken to his son in over two years out of disappointment in the man he grew up to be. Nancy didn’t take very good care of her eldest. So maybe that sapling grew up a little crooked, a little withered; but it's all due to Nancy’s handiwork. Maybe early on, there was a definite lack of commitment, but the new Nancy is firmly committed to her garden.

Meanwhile, I’m a little confused about the Andy situation. After a good run with regard to sound decision-making this season, Andy offered his rabbi some helpful advice about wooing Nancy and getting over his late wife, and talked to one of his students about handling sucky stepparents... then promptly married the sweet diner waitress who was so kind as to give him blueberries when he didn’t ask for them. Oh Andy, so close to functional human being. SO CLOSE.

He also claimed that it was Jill who left HIM, in contrast to Jill’s claim last week that he left her, heartbroken about not being a daddy after all.


Hash Tags

– Despite a slow start, I’m actually really enjoying Doug’s storyline.

– Shane’s rage against his job description was amusing, but I already feel like we’re treading water with him. I kind of wish we could have fast-tracked him to being a real cop. I think there would have been much more storyline potential available.

– Country music really isn’t my thing, but Dierks Bentley’s “Little Boxes” cover was some twangy fun, yes?

  • Comments (12)
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  • chandler0201 Sep 04, 2012

    I am surprised no one has commented on the ludicrous portrayal of North Carolina, more specifically Durham. Being from that town, I can tell you with confidence that "Big Tobacco" left 25 years ago! I believe what is left of the companies all consolidated and moved to Virginia, or went overseas.

  • angeleys151 Aug 31, 2012

    I was a little dissapointed when I first heard hand Andy start bending the break-up to make him sound like the pitiful one. On reflection though, I think maybe he just needed time and he would have asked Jill back but she had left too soon. Or maybe instead of mourning the loss of Jill, he is really mourning the loss of the non-existent baby and has misplaced his feelings. I think that's why he married the waitress, she was talking about the kids the way she was and he got this gooey look on his face. I call it not lasting long though, there is clearly an age difference, and she seems a little looney. Andy does impulsive things then comes to his senses and tries to get out of them. I'm not sure that's the vibe I got from this girl, I think she's just guano crazy

  • Whedonrules Aug 30, 2012

    It was nice to see Aubrey Dollar is still alive and still adorable. Her and Matt Bomers' careers sort of started together decades ago on the dearly departed "Guiding Light" (he as her psychopath boyfriend) and apparently neither of them have aged a day.

    Doug's storyline could be used at the RNC;)

  • safibwana Aug 28, 2012

    Big Pharma depends on dependency just as much as Big Tobacco. Also, Big Pharma is disincentivized from researching cures as treatments are more lucrative. Both industries depend on killing their customers slowly. So, I have trouble with Nancy's objections on the ground that everyone involved is the same amount of evil.

  • alminhas3434 Aug 27, 2012

    The problem is the adduction! Drugs like cigarettes (nicotine) are build to produce addiction!

    Real scientific research don' t do that!!!

    Btw i never smoke or use drugs in all my life (46years), and lived in a problematic neighborhood, with most of my friend doing it, most of them fail to escape from this life!

    I hate when spoiled kids, talk about reality they don t even know!

  • radiumgirl Aug 27, 2012

    I think, to an extent, that was Silas' point when he was arguing with Nancy. She was very quick to judge the tobacco people, and rightfully so, but at the same time, she built an empire on another potentially addictive substance and ignored the reality of dealing with it, i.e. she said that she didn't deal to children, but realistically, some of her pot ended up in schools anyway.

    As far as addiction goes, the problem with using it as a means of keeping something illegal is, admittedly, kind of silly when you look at many of our legal substances that are addictive.

    I see your point though. Admittedly, I dabbled as a teenager and then got out, but I have friends and acquaintances who dabbled as well, and NEVER got out. I do think that a lot of it comes down to individuality.

  • BrianSchmittg Aug 29, 2012

    Weed's not a "potentially addictive substance". It can be habit-forming, but your body can't get chemically addicted to it like cigarettes.

  • Whedonrules Aug 30, 2012

    or ALCOHOL!

  • terminaltrip421 Aug 27, 2012

    i smoked pot before i ever had sex. as should most kids. actually smoked opium before ever having had sex, along with dropping acid and eating magical mushrooms multiple times.

    i also started smoking cigarettes at an early age (was younger than 13 when i first tried them.)

    my point is we're remarkable beings and if you regulate our tendencies, as natural as they may be, you're hurting yourselves; that's scientific research you'll never get your hands on.

    the twangy little boxes was out of whack lyrically if i recall the original correctly.

    because i'm under the influence of a great deal of alcohol i'm gonna say ...MaryAnn Sleasman based on your tv.com avatar photograph you're quite attractive.

  • radiumgirl Aug 27, 2012

    Gotta love beer goggles. But thank you anyway!

  • safibwana Aug 27, 2012

    Compare it to her older avatar that she still has on her radiumgirl profile. In one day she went from jailbait to sexpot. And now I've gone too far.

  • radiumgirl Aug 27, 2012

    Isn't it amazing what a trip to the beach and some eyeliner can do?