In the pilot episode of Showtime’s Weeds, we met Nancy Botwin, a Southern California widow played by Mary-Louise Parker who sells marijuana to maintain her family’s affluent suburban lifestyle. In the subsequent seasons Nancy has graduated from selling weed to college kids and bored suburbanites to operating grow houses and drug trafficking across the Mexican border. She was also sleeping with Esteban (, ), the corrupt mayor of Tijuana, and managing a money-laundering maternity store, the basement of which is a tunnel that crosses the border.

Despite possibly being the worst mom ever (both of her sons are fledgling drug dealers) and apparently addicted to doing really stupid shit (sleeping with the corrupt mayor of Tijuana comes to mind), Nancy is an oddly endearing character. When last we saw her in September she was appalled to learn that the tunnel was also being used to traffic harder drugs, guns and child prostitutes. In season four’s finale, Esteban learned she was the one who alerted the DEA and planned to kill her… until she showed him the sonogram of their child. Meanwhile, her brother-in-law Andy (Justin King) watched over her sons, eighteen-year-old Silas (Hunter Parrish) and thirteen-year-old Shane (Alexander Gould) when he wasn’t working as a border coyote with their neighbor Doug (Kevin Nealon). Their other neighbor, hilariously bitchy Celia (Elizabeth Perkins), went to rehab after getting hooked on drugs while working at the maternity store and went to make peace with the daughter she sent off to boarding school during the inaugural season.

After much anticipation for its return, the fifth season premiere of Weeds fell a bit flat. The show has always been a dark comedy, but if the first episode is any indication, the new season has a lot more darkness and a lot less comedy. Esteban decided to spare Nancy’s life, but he no longer trusts her and has his people watching like her a hawk. Worried about being murdered by drug lords, Andy, Doug, Silas and Shane spent the episode planning to run away from Nancy’s mess and live quietly in the Mexican jungle. The show’s subject matter has gotten progressively heavier over the past few seasons, but this episode was the first time it ever wandered into territory that could be described as kind of depressing. Between that and the pregnancy cliffhanger, which is the kind of lame stunt you’d see on a failing sitcom, we found ourselves wondering if Weeds is a show in a similar position.

The one reprieve was the Celia plotline. Quinn (Haley Hudson) still hates her mother and rather than accept her apology, she decided to hold her hostage instead. Throughout the episode, Quinn and her boyfriend called everyone Celia knows for ransom, only to be hung up on every time. The boyfriend exasperatedly spitting out, “Don’t you have a Facebook page or something?!” gave us a glimmer of hope that the writers still have it.

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