Lorenza Izzo, David Schwimmer/AMC

The menu has yet to be finalized at Thirio, but the same can’t be said for Feed The Beast, which keeps serving up the same limited options week after week. If any of these characters are capable of learning from their mistakes, they’ve shown little evidence of it in these first five episodes. Tommy’s a morose wimp, Dion’s an impulsive hothead, and the restaurant is perpetually on the brink of disaster. Reheat and serve.

This week’s catastrophe in waiting is the lack of a liquor license. You don’t have to be in the restaurant business to know that such a thing can be nearly impossible to procure under the best of circumstances and certainly not something to leave until the last minute, but this is business as usual for Thirio. Pilar has only just gotten around to submitting the application, and since the restaurant is a few days from opening, this could result in months of a disastrously dry Thirio, with Tommy reduced to describing the earthy notes in various flavors of LaCroix. Pilar suggests consulting a friend of hers in the business (who we know to be Patrick Woichik, someone Tommy still doesn’t know about), but Tommy decides to take matters into his own hands by going straight to Aidan.

The liquor license debacle isn’t even Pilar’s worst moment of the episode. That comes when Dion’s lawyer Marisa drops by to let him know she’s pregnant and he’s the father. Since he’s not there, Marisa leaves the address of the family clinic where she intends to get an abortion, and that’s when Pilar oversteps every social boundary in existence to let this woman she’s never met know she’s making a big mistake. This scene is one long cringe from beginning to end, not least because Marisa actually comes around to Pilar’s way of thinking after hearing her sob story instead of doing the sensible thing and whacking her with a sock full of manure. If Marisa is that easily swayed about such a major life decision, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Dion should have found a better lawyer.

That would require Dion to show good judgment, however, and that’s yet to happen on this show. He’s still dipping into the cocaine couch to fund Thirio expenses (and for his own personal use, as well), and when presented with the news that he‘s about to be a father, his reaction is every bit the community theater Jake LaMotta routine we’ve come to expect. The situation is worse than he even suspects, because once the baby is born, his grandfather will be none other than Dion’s police tormentor Detective Giordano. Since Dion already owes Giordano a favor from last week, he’s now tasked with wearing a wire to his next meeting with Woichik. (The fact that the whole “wearing a bulky wire” routine is a decade or two out of date is hand-waved with some business about Bluetooth being notoriously unreliable.) In his first display of common sense to date, Dion decides against wearing the device, which pays off when he’s strip-searched by Woichick’s henchmen.

Advertisement

Fortunately for Pilar and Dion, Aidan is here to give them some competition for the title of this week’s Worst Possible Person. Given his deteriorating physical condition—we learn tonight that he needs a bone marrow transplant or his leukemia will kill him within a year—one might be tempted to grant him a sliver of empathy. Ah, but then he decides it would be a good idea to teach TJ (already in trouble for fighting at school) how to shoot a firearm. Even more disturbing is the fact that Jensen, Aidan’s silent, coverall-clad Hodor, doesn’t appear to have a problem with this. No doubt Jensen has a story, too, and Feed The Beast will get around to it if it lasts long enough, but five episodes in, she’s little more than a mobile prop.

The only sensible decision in the entire episode is made by TJ’s school counselor Emma, who hasn’t particularly distinguished herself with laudable behavior so far. After informing Tommy that TJ is suspended two days for fighting and discovering that the boy’s support person is a chef, she decides to call Child Services. Really, what other conclusion can she reach after getting a good look at TJ’s home environment? The kid’s father is so consumed with grief and self-pity, he has no clue what’s going on in his son’s life, and everyone else TJ interacts with is a different kind of bad influence. Get him out of there! At least he can still be saved. The rest of these idiots deserve each other.

Stray observations

  • In today’s least shocking news, this will be the last of the weekly Feed The Beast reviews at TV Club. That probably would have been the case even without the other cutbacks in coverage of late. The show is not a hit, to put it mildly, and very few of you are interested in reading about it or commenting on it. Which is perfectly understandable! There’s really nothing left to say about Feed The Beast, so I’ll simply tip my hat to those of you who hung in there this long. Please drive home safely.

Advertisement