With quirky characters, like a pot-dealing soccer mom, “Weeds” is a show always in danger of veering off into absurdity. Mary-Louise Parker plays Nancy Botkin, the soccer mom who sells pot to support her family after the sudden death of her husband.

Along the way, she meets Peter Scottson (Martin Donovan), a seemingly all-around great guy. Their relationship develops at an easy, laid-back pace, allowing us to connect with the characters on an intimate level. It’s what keeps the show on track in the first season. The show jumps the rails in season two. Peter, as it turns out, is a DEA narc and an instant threat to Nancy’s livelihood.

The stakes become even higher for Nancy as she gets deeper in the pot-dealing game. Like an action hero, she takes on a posse of shady dealers and a gangsta named U-Turn.

These go-for-broke storylines set the tone for a decidedly more raucous second season. Nancy takes an axe to her son’s door when he refuses to come out. Someone loses some body parts. Characters fall in love and then abruptly break it off.

Season two is more successful in its quieter moments, when the show takes its time and settles in. A kinky relationship between Nancy’s brother Andy (Justin Kirk) and a tough Israeli woman (Meital Dohan) provides some playful moments because it’s given room to breathe. When the high-stakes main plot starts up again, it’s a real buzz kill.

In the season finale, Nancy finds herself with a gun pointed at her head in the middle of a drug deal gone wrong. The cliffhanger climax is supposed to leave us wondering if she’ll survive. Instead, I was wondering if “Weeds” would ever return to the simpler times of the first season.

Grade: B-

Weeds – Season Two is currently available.