Picks and Pans Review: Weeds

updated 07/06/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/06/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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HOW'S SEASON 5?

COMEDY
Weeds is a rare example of a show that has reinvented itself and actually come out better. What began as a clever but pat satire about a pot-dealing suburban mom (Mary-Louise Parker) is now closer to a Pedro Almodóvar movie: a delirious, always-surprising soap opera about a woman on the verge of a breakdown, jail time, assassination and motherhood. Nancy, pregnant by a suave but not-at-all-nice drug lord (Demián Bichir), can't decide whether the baby will ever be safe in this ratty milieu of guns, Mexican henchmen and physical threats. She's both headstrong and emotionally compromised, calculating yet trapped—but what'll she do? "These are very dark waters you're swimming in," her brother-in-law (Justin Kirk) tells her, "even for you." Parker stays afloat with a performance that's a beautiful piece of work, passionate yet deadpan. How has she not won an Emmy for this show?

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