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Reviewed by Jason Zingale
or as many times as Jenji Kohan’s “Weeds” has had to reinvent itself over the years, it’s pretty incredible that the show is still on the air. But don’t confuse respect for satisfaction, because while Season Seven does somehow manage to keep the story going, it’s just as big of a mess as the last few years. Instead of bowing out on what would have been a suitable ending with Season Six, “Weeds” has returned with perhaps its most ludicrous set of episodes yet. The only thing more frustrating than Season Seven is that there’s going to be a Season Eight, despite Kohan’s earlier promise that this would be the end of “Weeds.” And at the rate things are going, you’d be better off just calling it quits yourself instead of sitting through another subpar season of a once-great series.
The story picks up three years after Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) took the fall for Pilar’s murder and was sent to prison. Although she hasn’t even served half of her sentence yet, Nancy is granted early release and ordered to go live in a halfway house in New York City when it’s revealed that her deal with DEA is now void following Esteban’s murder in prison. Though you would think her time in jail might have rehabilitated her, Nancy doesn’t waste any time getting back to work. Following directions provided by her former cellmate/lover Zoya to a car containing a luggage filled with explosives, Nancy takes them to Zoya’s brother Demetri (Pablo Schreiber) to trade for weed instead of selling them on the black market as previously agreed. Meanwhile, upon hearing of Nancy’s release, Shane (Alexander Gould) immediately makes plans to leave Copenhagen and reunite with his mother, with the rest of the Botwin clan (including Kevin Nealon's Doug, who's an unofficial member of the family at this point) eventually agreeing to tag along.
The main focus of Season Seven is about two things: Nancy getting back custody of Stevie from her nutjob sister Jill (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and a return to the weed-dealing roots of the show’s earlier years. Unfortunately, while the plotline involving the start-up of Nancy and Silas’ weed business in NYC is promising, the various twists and turns that the writers use to get there are really stupid. It all just feels very familiar, between using Andy’s new bike shop as a front, to making deals with government agencies (this time, it’s the SEC), to Nancy’s habit of acting like a complete slut whenever a new man comes into the fold. Seriously, Nancy is without a doubt one of the worst mothers in television history, and though Mary-Louise Parker normally does a good job of making her somewhat sympathetic, she's more annoyingly self-involved than usual this year.
The episodes themselves are all over the place, with the characters' ambitions and loyalties changing so frequently that you wonder whether Kohan came into the season with any sort of game plan. “Weeds” has never been a particularly realistic show, but some of the things that happen over the course of the season are so implausible that it doesn’t even feel like the writers are trying anymore. Even the cliffhanger in the season finale – generally one of the show’s strong points – is pretty lame, and it’s the first time that I haven’t been genuinely excited about the possibility of more “Weeds.” Though this year's guest star line-up was one of the best, including Martin Short as the lawyer Nancy hires for her custody case, Aidan Quinn as the CEO of a Wall Street firm that both Doug and Nancy go to work for, and Michelle Trachtenberg as a rival drug boss, not even they can mask the fact that it’s long past time for Showtime to pull “Weeds” from its rotation.
Special Features: Though the two-disc Blu-ray release boasts a healthy supply of bonus material, a majority of the extras are as disappointing as the season itself. In addition to cast and crew audio commentaries on six of the 13 episodes, there are also a few deleted scenes, a short gag reel, an interview with Alexander Gould where he looks back at Shane’s seven-season journey via clips, a pointless Q&A with Justin Kirk and Kevin Nealon, and some extras that are so bad they're not even worth mentioning.