With each passing week, I feel a little bit guiltier that I harbored such strong doubts that Magic City would find its feet as quickly as it has. Not that guilty, mind you, because those first four episodes were pretty damned uneven in their tone, with little clue if the series was going to play things completely straight, a little bit over the top, or totally unhinged. These past three weeks, however, have seen the series undergo a profound transformation, and it’s been highly rewarding to watch Magic City seemingly coming into its own before the first season has even come to a close and figuring out which characters and storylines are the MVPs of the team.
Thus far, we really haven’t seen siblings Stevie and Danny together nearly as much as we’ve seen them apart, thanks to their respective significant others keeping them busy. This week, however, the girls were almost entirely out of the picture. As such, the two shared a considerable amount of screen time , with Danny doing his damndest to help his brother get out of the mess he’s in even as he remains incredibly pissed off at him for being so stupid as to have an affair with Ben Diamond’s wife in the first place. Danny may not comprehend why his brother has done what he’s done, even after Stevie’s painfully earnest attempt to explain the sensation he experiences when he’s with Lily, but he also doesn’t want Ben to suddenly make him an only child.
The truth of the matter, though, is that Stevie is his father’s son—both for good and for bad—and is managing to hold his own pretty damned well. Yes, he was ignorant and went to confront Diver Dave on his boat, knowing full well that it was a really, really bad idea, but it was a masterstroke to sit back and think, “Wait a minute, I bet I can get Ben to take this guy out, thereby alleviating my blackmail problems.” And so he did, with Dave being thrown off a roof. Sure, it ends Stevie’s problems in the short term, but count on there being more to this situation. There’s no freaking way things are going to be wrapped up in a nice bow just because Dave’s dead. If nothing else, surely Klein is going to investigate the murder, and I think we all know how painful that can be.
Which brings us to Ike, who’s got to just be walking through every waking moment with a tension headache. Things continue to flounder somewhat at the hotel—the Garry Moore special is apparently off, and the Extravaganza Latina situation is highly annoying—and on top of that, Vera’s being weird, talking about how she knows she’s not going to be able to have a baby (so much for voodoo, apparently) while flipping through her scrapbook from her dancing days and considering the possibility of a return to the stage. Ike’s main focus, though, is on trying to get Meg to come into the hotel as a business parter, but her business people say, “No way,” and, somewhat surprisingly, she’s taking their recommendation to heart.
All this tension and more is on Ike face when he’s called by Klein to come check out the wide variety of corpses that have turned up in recent days. Oh, sure, Ike tries to keep a cool, calm exterior, but he’s more than a little freaked out that the late Mr. Shoes has surfaced. Klein’s method of underlining the situation clearly pisses Ike off, though, because although Klein’s making some very valid points about the general dangerousness of having Ben Diamond as a business partner, things descend into a very tense back-and-forth between them, with Ike departing and Klein calling after him, “If I don’t get you, the Butcher will.” Yikes. And what’s worse, Klein’s right, which is probably why it smarted so much.
Things really fall apart for Ike when he discovers that A) the senator and Ben have had a chat, and B) Ben now wants his goddamned money back. Knowing full well that Ben is in no way joking when he says, “People will die tonight, that is a promise,” he’s only got one option available to him: begging and pleading with Meg to give him the money. When that doesn’t work, however, we get a revelation that clarifies why Ike is struggling so much financially: despite the fact that Ike’s widow came from a rich family, he traded away his children’s inheritance from their mother’s estate in order to be able to buy the land he needed from his father-in-law. Ike has stripped his soul bare and is begging Meg for help. It’s a powerful scene, to be certain.
These weren’t the only goings-on this week, of course. We revisited Victor’s story just for the briefest of moments, enough to reconfirm the suspicion that his new buddy is a complete weasel. Vera got a bit more screen time, though, as her reminiscences about the good old days with Cesar Ramos escalated to the point where she offered Ike her service as a dancer for the Playa, an offer which he promptly turned down. You can imagine how thrilled she was to hear that news, and the lack of excitement remained on her face when Meg stopped by the Playa the next day, her smile growing perpetually thinner as Lauren and Meg bonded over a Barbie doll.
Things wrapped with an event surely all of us were thrilled to see happen: Klein’s discovery of the MIA Judi Silver, now sporting red hair and somehow looking even more gorgeous than when we last saw her. In short, anyone in Magic City who thinks their problems are solved for the moment is almost certainly wrong, and come next week, we’ll no doubt see just how wrong they are.