Nancy Botwin gets a new BFF on “Weeds”

The current season of Weeds disappointed me at first. I found myself longing for the innocence and quirk of seasons past. (BTW, to enhance that kind of long-term appreciation, you might try Kera Bolonik‘s new book In the Weeds. It’s the best kind of companion book — reading it is like chatting with a fellow fan, albeit an extremely well-informed one.)

But with the demise of U-Turn (a particularly loathsome character, if you ask me) and the arrival of Brooke Smith, I’m back on the Weeds bandwagon. I’ve been a Smith fan for a long time, since The Silence of the Lambs and Vanya on 42nd Street. She’s so … steady. Intense. She can really hold a gaze or say a line in a way that makes it linger in the air for a while.

That’s why it’s pretty funny that she’s playing someone rather unhinged on Weeds. [Warning: slight spoilers] Smith plays a DEA agent’s widow, er, surviving ex-wife. Yes, the same DEA agent Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) was shagging. And now the other woman is very intrigued by the ex-wife. Waaayyy intrigued, to the point of stalking. The story line has only just begun, so who knows what will happen. But Weeds is great because it’s actually complex enough to support a relationship like this: A strange, obsessive friendship that probably isn’t going to turn into a disappointing lesbianish stunt. Here’s hoping, anyway. Enjoy the clip, if not the grating background music:

Tune in for more Brooke Smith (and more Mary-Louise, of course) on Monday.