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In Hindsight: Weeds
#1
Hey everybody, and welcome to Hindsight, a place where I look at completed shows one episode at a time, and examine the episodes as both standalone entities, and as parts of a greater whole!

Lets look at: WEEDS in hindsight!

Show Recap:

Wow. Weeds is actually pretty good. I mean, it's not fantastic, and it's not the worst show you'll watch, it's just a really (mostly) solid show that should serve you for (at a minimum) 3 seasons, with a bit of gravy to finish to you off at the end. Looking back, it's easy for the un-initiated to call it a proto-Breaking Bad. While this isn't entirely untrue, Weeds is definitely its own beast. I mean, it's a very soft show (as you'd expect, considering that Marijuana is considered softer than methamphetamine). Regardless, you should get a decent investment in the first couple of seasons, with a general interest to carry you through to the end of the show.

Let's take a look!

Episode Recap:

This is a fairly typical pilot. We get the standard character introductions, with some light plot elements to keep the show moving. Our lead character, Nancy, is a small-time marijuana dealer, trying to manage to make a living after her husband, Juda, died of a heart attack shortly before the show begins. Nancy buys pot from some funny black people (Helia, Conrad), and sells it in the gated community, Agrestic.

This is a fairly simple premise, so it's no surprise that this episode spent a lot of its time trying to introduce us to as many characters as it could, while still developing character for the more important characters. This kind of works, and is quite interesting to watch in hindsight. Clearly, Nancy gets a fairly solid foundation. We know she's a new widow with two sons that she can't quite control, and is new to the 'criminal underworld'. We see multiple times that, although she is quite naive in the secretive world, she is fairly strong and cunning, showing us a power-play near the end of the episode - shutting Josh down after learning about his proclivities.

Shane is also fairly well established as a borderline psychopathic genius, speaking quite eloquently and with great thought at times, but also being literally 'blood thirsty', and stalking his bully, only to ambush him from a tree. While we can't tell just yet if this is how is has always been, or who he has become because of Juda's death, it's a solid foundation for us to start with.

The older son, Silas, gets much less treatment. He just dicks around with Quinn, trying to figure out the best way to get laid. This is a somewhat deceptive way to establish Shane, as his character development is a bit of a slow-burn, and is directly related to (confusing) development related to Quinn.

Celia also gets some establishment in this episode, and is handled quite well. Right off the bat, we see that she's a strong political power in the mothers' circle, and that's she's a right bitch. Her constant judgement upon Nancy's parenting skills, and scheming to stop Quinn and Shane banging is an excellent introduction to the insanity that will shortly occur.

Like a lot of good pilots, this episode gets its own stand-alone mini-plot. Unlike a regular episode, which'll contribute to the season's overall narrative while having its own self-contained story, I've noticed the hallmark of a good pilot is that it'll be its own mini-season, condensed and simplified into its own episode. In this episode, we get our own 'bad-guy', Josh Wilson, a pot dealer who has been largely usurped by Nancy. After Nancy took his adult clientèle, Josh was left to sell to children, an act that Nancy finds both morally reprehensible, and has banned Josh from doing. Josh, being the son of pot-head city councilman Doug Wilson, and also knowing the line of work that Nancy is in, finds himself insulated from Nancy's threats, as she is effectively powerless to stop him.

This is interesting, because Weeds is essentially a story about a white upper-middle class woman who enters an arena she is not equipped to handle, and getting into situations she cannot possible handle, and watching her scrabble to find a way to flirt her way out of it. Already we see this helplessness, as Nancy is stuck unable to handle her rival pot dealer. This issue is fairly easily resolved, however, when Nancy learns about Josh's secret homosexual orientation.

Honestly, while there's still stuff in this episode left to be discussed, it doesn't really stand alone. We'll have to wait another episode or two before we can start discussing themes and character development. These posts will become longer and more in-depth once we have more to work with. 

(Spoiler Free) Things to note:

-Celia is powerful
-Nancy is over her head in terms of criminal world. We see this at least twice - Helia spots forgery in a heartbeat. This is a nice, almost subtle way to show   us that Nancy's not at clever ass she thinks she is - but who cares, Nancy miscalls an ounce a minute later and is called out. No nuance there.
-Conrad is introduced.
-Helia is introduced.
-Lupita, regretably, is introduced.
-Quinn wanders into the show.
-Josh is introduced.
-Wow, neat! Nancy has a strict code she lives and works by!
-Doug turns up! In fact, I thought his dialogue in the minivan was the first time the show had anything engaging to listen to. AND THIS IS ONLY HIS FIRST   FORM.
-I was all "where's Dean?" - Then he turns up at the last second. Sadly, that's his character's peak. It's all downhill from here.

Shit to hold in mind:
Show ContentSpoiler:

Rating: 7/10 - Pretty decent. We're strapping in for a show that'll plod along for a little while, before slowly amping up without you noticing. Either way, this was an interesting and engaging episode with enough interesting and funny dialogue for you to (likely) be interested in watching the second episode.
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#2
Season 1, Episode 2: Free Goat

Episode Recap:

Nancy's broke. Poor Nancy. The expenses of modern life wipe out her cash reserves, leaving her no choice but to offer Helia her car as collateral for an advance on an ounce of weed. But guess what? Shane spends almost the entire episode hiding up in the rafters watching home videos he made of Juda, before falling and injuring himself. Faced with Shanes new medical expenses, Nancy is forced to give up her engagement and wedding rings to Helia for yet another advance on an ounce. Poor Nancy.

But really, who cares? You'd think it'd be interesting to finally have Juda introduced, but he's just a perfect, bland, father who takes up precious screen time in an episode with much more interesting elements going on. Season one of Weeds was interesting because, while the Botwin family takes a while to build up enough momentum to keep us reasonably entertained, the drama going on in the Hodes family steals the show.

Celia, after learning about Dean's affair last episode, has shown us her wrath. In typical Weeds fashion, it's a fairly brutal attack presented in a soft way. Immediately we learn that Quinn has been shipped off to boarding school in Mexico. By Quinn! Thanks for being a plot tool in the last episode. Shame you couldn't be a person, just a means to an end. This leaves us with Dean and the tennis pro. 

I love the first interaction we see between Celia and Dean. I think it's the first time the Jenji Kohan really shows us the care, love, and creativity they put into the show. The Hodes' bathroom is what you'd expect in a family of wealth. Both Celia and Dean have their own mirrors and sinks, a great (if not easy) way the show runners managed to use the character's wealth to show the divide between the two characters. when we see both characters in frame, there is a clear and distinct divide. This by itself is not impressive, I admit. It's the smaller details like Celia wearing high-heals in her night gown, and Dean's visible hair plugs when Celia shaves his head. These things don't have attention drawn to them, they are simple results of the character's character. Now, I'm not saying these two details are mind-blowing by themselves, but the signal the start of a very promising trend.

So, how did Silas handle Quinn going to Mexico? He went emo. Cool, so, now he have a little bit of character development and motivation, but he's still just a smouldering plot line waiting for the moment to blossom. 

I think that's the best way to view this episode. We all expect pilots to throw out a lot of little seeds. Characters development and plot seeds. The show uses these little seeds to establish and familiarise ourselves with its characters. Once were comfortable, the sub-plots start expanding, and new plot lines get created. The pilot did an alright job of this. We definitely understand Nancy and one or two other characters (Celia, Shane), but there are many other characters who need time to establish themselves. This is tough, because there are so many characters to grow in such a limited amount of time, and it feels like the show wasn't sure who deserved to become more important just yet. To this end, we get an episode where a lot of characters just seem to stand still while one or two continue to develop, continuing the pilot's momentum, but not really adding anything itself.

Well, that's not entirely true. Dean does pitch to Nancy the idea about creating a cover business to launder her income. This is a significant plot point which will be greatly expanded upon later, but considering how early on in the show this is, I'd expect more than the start of one major plot line.

So, then, what was the point of Quinn? Well, she wasn't really a person. She was just a sentient plot-point, existing as a means to motivate and shape Silas' immediate actions. What was the point of boring us with Shane and Juda's seemingly endless segments? Juda's death, much like Quinn's departure, is being tied with Shane specifically as a means to motivate and shape his immediate actions. Loss seems to be the motivator in the Botwin family, with it being the seemingly sole motivation of Nancy (the desire to provide for her family after the loss of Juda, so that she does not lose her family). This is a stark contrast to the Hodes family, with Quinn's leaving only remarked upon once, in passing, by her sister.

(Spoiler Free) Things to note:

-Oh yeah. Celia hunts down the Tennis Pro and, instead of exacting physical revenge, just gets shit drunk with her. OK.
Oh, hey! I just went back and checked, and Tennis Pro does have a name. It's Helen. Huh.
-Oh, cool! Pam's here. I don't know if she says anything, but she's the woman on the right at the start when all the mothers are gossiping about   Celia.
-So, yeah. Now Celia's also an outsider. The gossiping mothers talking about Dean's affair is an obvious callback to the start of the season when   they were talking about Juda's death.
-I didn't really talk about it in great detail, but Dean suggests to Nancy that she create a small business to act as a cover for her new source of   income. A new plot point, yay!
-Juda made pizza eggs.
-Hahaha, black people sure do love to play dominoes.
-The goat guy in the emergency room was easy comedy, but I still enjoyed the second half of his bit.
-Shit, though, Celia, in her car, spotting Nancy sitting in a radically different car with an empty ring finger, and only noticing the missing ring. That gets me every time.


Shit to hold in mind:

Show ContentSpoiler:

Rating: 5/10 - I mean, this is a pretty basic episode, almost solely feeding off of the plot seeds planted in the pilot, trying to keep the momentum going until the plot has developed enough to introduce a more substantial plot line (and characters). This loss of steam might seem disheartening, but we're only getting started, as Weeds thrives off of the solid base it created in this season. 
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#3
Season 1 Episode 3: Good Shit Lollipop

Episode Recap:

Nancy's business is being undercut by the medical marijuana industry. Doug's been blowing his wad over the pound of high-quality marijuana and edibles he's legally allowed to buy every day. This prompts Nancy to investigate, and realise that she's not hot shit after all - she's been sold and selling skank weed this whole time. Determined to undercut her competition, she learns to make edibles, and finds new profit in this venture.

Meanwhile, there's a mountain lion prowling the suburb, and Shane's decided he's going to hunt it with his BB gun. Although he claims to succeed in shooting the beast, the Alderman's cat turns up dead the next day.

Shane gets over Quinn, and spends the majority of the episode chasing Deaf Megan.

In an attempt to control Isabel's weight, Celia switches out Isabel's chocolate with laxatives. Isabel gets revenge by switching out Celia's pills with Imodium, and Doug gets revenge by sleeping on the couch.

Poor Doug, you retard.

Let's talk:

Well, I mean, nothing really happens in this episode, but the show's hooks have me just enough that I was engaged for the whole time. It's nice to see Nancy meeting her legal competition, realise that she's shit, and start to step up her game. Really, I think it's this change in Nancy's work ethic that carried this episode - we're starting to see her take her work seriously and her attempts to improve.

There's not too much to say about this episode, but that's not a bad thing. It would appear that Nancy's money troubles are about to disappear, thanks to the apparent success of her new edibles range, and Shane's starting to get over the whole Quinn thing. This episode is the most has the most story line preparation of them all so far. It's clear that the Shane and Megan story line will continue for a while, Nancy's finally got a decent hold of her business, the Hodes household is delving further into conflict, and Shane's being a little weirdo with little to no relevance whatsoever. In fact, the only reason I enjoy this episode is because I know that all these threads we've been watching are finally ready to bloom into a fully fledged show.

(Spoiler Free) Things to note:

-Visually, this episode isn't fantastic. Beyond Conrade drinking espresso, I can't think of many visual gags or especially appealing shots.
-Heh. Megan literally gave Shane blue balls.
-Helia's pretty neat. She's been taking advantage of Nancy's naivety.
-We're set up to believe that Shane is the one who killed the Alderman's cat. Except, we're really not. Nancy clearly thinks that's what Shane has    done,but I never, for a second, believed that Shane had done that. It was too obvious of a set-up, and didn't really work.
-Craig X is kinda funny.

Shit to hold in mind:
Show ContentSpoiler:


Episode rating:

5/10 - Would keep watching because the best character turns up in the next episode.
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#4
(16-06-2016, 09:33 AM)Jargonion Wrote: Season 1 Episode 3: Good Shit Lollipop

Episode Recap:
In an attempt to control Isabel's weight, Celia switches out Isabel's chocolate with laxatives. Isabel gets revenge by switching out Celia's pills with Imodium, and Doug gets revenge by sleeping on the couch.

I've decided that Isabel can control the universe, Haruhi-style:
Show ContentSpoiler:
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#5
So you have been having an average time with Weeds so far? Is it worth picking up? I do need a new series to watch.
Liams Wrote:make a car out of scrap metal from genie lamps
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#6
(24-06-2016, 09:58 AM)AdminGG Wrote: So you have been having an average time with Weeds so far? Is it worth picking up? I do need a new series to watch.

Now is the best time to watch Weeds. Jar is reviewing each episode, so after you watch an episode you can stop by here to coalesce some feels you got, share your theories and opinions. We're only 3 episodes deep so far, so now is the time to start watching.
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#7
Indeed. I mean, I break my promises all the time, but I'm anticipating two new reviews to come out very soon.

And now's when stuff's about to start happening.
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