Wow, what a difference a week makes, huh?
After walking away from last week’s episode with more annoyance than enjoyment—that’s right, Mike Strauss’s funeral, I’m talking to you—I’d downshifted on my expectations for Magic City so as to lessen the impact of any future disappointments, but in a shocking turn of events, this week’s installment proved to be just about everything I’ve been wanting from this series since it kicked off a few weeks ago.
Things opened this evening with a bang—a few of them, actually—as we watched Stevie get tagged and Judi get her brains blown out, after which a sun-goggles-sporting Ben Diamond delivered the kill shot to Stevie. Of course, as Ben’s gun goes off, we get the confirmation that we’d been waiting for: it was all a dream. It was at least mildly surprising to discover that the dreamer was Ike rather than Stevie, but both father and son have their own individual reasons for being worried about Ben and his volatility. Still, if it had been Stevie doing the dreaming, the girl in the dream probably would’ve been Lily rather than Judi, right? Either way, Ike’s too freaked out to sleep and immediately runs down Stevie’s room, first to convince himself that his son is fine, then to ask about Judi’s whereabouts. Stevie’s initial response is full of hems and haws, leading one to reasonably suspect that he was hiding Judi in his room, but, no, he’s actually got Lily in there (dude’s already living a dream), a situation which soon results in a short but serious talk between the two of them about the state of their relationship.
Lily: Are you scared?
Stevie: Sometimes. Aren’t you?
Lily: All the time.
Stevie: You want stop? We could just walk away. It’s not too late.
Lily: It isn’t?
Well, yeah, actually, it is. Stevie just doesn’t want to admit it yet, because he’s still not quite sure what he’s got going on with Judi. As it turns out, though, what he has with Judi proves inconsequential as Ben’s hired hit man, the inimitable Jimmy Shoes, is a wee bit grumpy about having accidentally killed Myrnna last week when he meant to take down Judi and means to wipe the black mark off of his record by wiping out the real Judi. (See, I knew that Ben’s comment last week, “The bitch will not die by my hand,” was implied to feature a subsequent sentence: “But if someone else is willing to use their hand, I’ll totally foot the bill.”)
Fearing for Judi’s safety, Ike makes a mad dash over to her cabana, only to find that she’s, uh, kinda in the middle of something, if you take my meaning. (When she finally separates herself from her client, though, her withering delivery of the word “Shriners” proves to be one of the great moments of the episode.) His guilt getting the best of him, Ike breaks down and admits that Myrna was murdered because the killer believed her to be Judi. Although her initial reaction is decidedly understated, Judi clearly enters denial right off the bat, as she refuses outright to follow Ike’s suggestion to skip town, explaining, “I’m a big girl, I like my chances.” This is a statement that Judi clearly does not believe, however, as she spends the majority of the remainder of the episode in a funk, a situation in no way aided by her realization that there’s something going on between Stevie and Lily. Indeed, she proceeds to get so rip-snorting drunk that she ends up going out with Jimmy Shoes…and Jimmy Shoes don’t do second dates, if you get my meaning.
But we’ll get back to Judi in a second. For the moment, let’s consider another terribly upset female character. Vera, God bless her, just can’t catch a break. First her stepdaughter insults her, then the doctor tells her that she’ll probably never be able to have children with Ike. Not a great morning. Indeed, she’s in such a rotten mood that she decides to take Mercedes up on her suggestion that she venture into the dark art of voodoo to try and possibly repair her busted womb. The whole scene with the voodoo priest (if that’s really what he was, given that she never asked to see his diploma from Voodoo Tech or anything) straddled the line between silly and horrifying—guess which one the chicken slaughter was—but it’s clear that Vera’s taking it completely and totally seriously. Let’s hope it pays off for her.
In the end, the person who had to deal with the most stress was poor Ike. The Miramar Playa is all but hemorrhaging money, and while he’s trying to wrap his head around his next financial move and make sure he can pay the bank this month (something he wouldn’t have been able to do at all without Ben’s assistance), he’s also having to deal with Klein, who, ever the thorn in his side, tries to connect Ike to Myrnna’s untimely demise. The conversation between Klein and Ike was pretty enthralling, especially their back-and-forth about Ike being “a hotel guy,” and when it wrapped, Klein immediately made the decision to bring Danny up from the minors, hopefully to serve as the eyes and ears of the D.A. in the Miramar Playa. But Ike still wasn’t done stressing out: he still had to try to secure a deal for Meg to buy up 49% of the hotel’s original shares without ever admitting that they’re owned by Ben Diamond. His comments to Meg’s team of attorneys and accountants were hysterical, but let’s see if that results in a workable deal or not.
Which reminds me: aside from their lovely little CPR scene, there’s not a lot of forward motion on the Mercedes and Danny romance, since Mercedes spends the episode dealing with her family while Danny’s chatting it up with Klein and company. As for other storylines that got limited attention this week, we saw that Divin’ Dave had gotten his gal pal to upsize one of the photos of Stevie and Lily, but although Dave somehow doesn’t recognize them (in fairness, the guy does spend most of his time underwater), his girlfriend clearly does, even if she makes the decision to deny it. Not much forward motion on the Victor’s-wife front, either, though at least now Ike knows that, while his efforts to bring her home are proving woefully ineffective, Victor’s approached some friends of his cousin for assistance, so at least there’s that.
Okay, let’s get back to Judi to close things up. Given that we’ve already seen Jimmy Shoes dispatch victims quickly and messily without hesitation, I question why he felt obliged to leave Judi alive for a bit rather than just kill her outright, but, hey, maybe he just didn’t want to mess up his car’s interior. (Mind you, if that was the case, then, wow, talk your irony, because that shit’s going to mildew for sure now…) Whatever the reason, Jimmy’s stopped from killing Judi at the very last second when Ike shows up and offers $20K if he’ll blow off his contract. Reaching into his pocket for a checkbook, Ike instead fakes Jimmy out, knocks him out, throws him in the back of his car, and sends the car into the water. You can imagine how thrilled Ben was to be interrupted in the middle of looking through his heavenly portal and be told that Jimmy Shoes is suddenly gone, but suffice it to say that it’s probably right up there with how Judi feels when she’s ordered to leave town immediately thereafter…and how I feel about Judi leaving, for that matter. She was my favorite character, dammit!
So, anyway, now Ike’s a killer. Everything Klein thought he was before, he is now. That’s either going to weigh heavy on his conscience or it’s going to begin transforming him into the next Ben. If it’s the latter, God help us all.
- In the scene with Ike, Stevie, and the hotel’s various business consultants, I was particularly impressed with the way Stevie handled himself and talked business seriously and with a profound knowledge of the subject at hand. They really are a case of “like father, like son.”
- Say, whatever did happen with that Miami Herald article?
- “Sadly, Jack, I am not up on the latest in hooker hairdos.” Awesome line.