Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The cold war between Jackie and Decourcy heats up on City On A Hill

Image of Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge in City On A Hill
Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge in City On A Hill
Photo: Francisco Roman/Showtime
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It had to happen. From the moment his face appeared in the opening credits of the second season premiere, he was living on borrowed time. Perhaps there was a time when Chuck MacLean and his writers thought they could keep Jimmy Ryan around a little longer, or maybe he was always scheduled for an early exit this season. Either way, in “Is The Total Black, Being Spoken,” Jimmy’s time runs out.

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Before that happens, however, the simmering tension between Jackie Rohr and Decourcy Ward is raised to a boil. This wouldn’t amount to much more than a pissing contest between two men if they weren’t dragging every law enforcement agency in Massachusetts into the scrap. In addition to pursuing his belief that Jackie is the one who dropped the unconscious Holly Gunner on the hospital steps, Ward is reaching back to last season to resurrect the memory of Clay Roach, Jackie’s snitch who supposedly committed suicide. After learning from Siobhan that Jackie has dropped by the house several times, Decourcy decides to return the favor. Jenny invites him in for coffee, but doesn’t take the bait when he mentions Roach, the man who corrupted her daughter. When she tells Jackie about the visit later, she makes it clear that she’s fine with whatever he did to the aptly-named Roach.

Strong words from a woman who just joined the church choir, but at least Jenny now has an outlet for her singing, despite having a husband who can’t quite fumble his way toward a compliment. Benedetta’s attempts to make amends with her father don’t progress much, but at least she gets a family history lesson, as Jackie regales her with the lineage of drunks on his father’s side. It’s always a good time at the Rohr household.

Not that the parenting is going any more smoothly in the Campbell household. Grace may be “Nana” to the whole neighborhood, but she continues to have blinders on when it comes to what’s happening beneath her own roof. Anton is intent on getting back at Junior Senegal for setting Kelvin up, but the younger Campbell thinks they have too much heat on them to try anything now. As evidence of that, Kelvin is picked up again by Chris Caysen, this time so Decourcy can take a run at him. Ward manages to plant doubts in the kid’s head about whether the bullet that took down Raina was his, but the interrogation is cut short when Kelvin’s lawyer shows up. That she also happens to be Decourcy’s wife makes for an awkward dinner that night.

Shannon Wallace
Shannon Wallace
Photo: Showtime

Siobhan also gets some news that’s sure to shake up the Wards’ domestic routine when she learns she’s finally pregnant. That revelation will have to wait for Decourcy, who is busy fending off Jackie’s latest efforts to throw dirt on him. Rickey Townsend, who was accused of hitting a cop and later released by Ward, is on the receiving end of a Jackie Rohr special: Change your story and say you were released because you were about to expose an informant for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. Jackie even drops in to have beers with Rickey’s mother to make sure he does what he’s told.

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The bad news for Jackie is that Holly is now awake. The good news is that she isn’t talking, and may never be able to speak again. U.S. Attorney Karen Shimizu can’t get anything out of her, and she’s stonewalled by Jackie’s former partner Clasby, who says there are no security tapes of the night Holly was dropped off. Everything comes to a head when Jackie confronts Decourcy about his visit to the Rohr residence. Sparks fly and Jackie comes close to taking a swing after they exchange pointed barbs about each other’s standing in their respective law enforcement agencies. The honeymoon is clearly over.

That might have been the climax of the episode if not for the lonesome death of Jimmy Ryan. Since this season began, I’ve been pondering his longevity, given that everyone knows he’s a snitch and what’s left of his family hates him. (It sounds like Frankie’s absence from the show has taken on a more permanent nature.) Someone had to kill this guy sooner than later, and it turns out to be his sister-in-law Cathy, after she squeezes him for as much dope as she can. She leaves his body in Franklin Park, and when found, he’ll be mourned by no one.

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Stray observations

  • This week’s title comes from the poem “Coal” by writer-activist Audre Lorde. Evidently Siobhan’s mother used to quote it at length while standing on a bar.
  • Boston Music Watch: Aerosmith’s “Eat The Rich” and Morphine’s “Cure For Pain” are both featured in tonight’s episode.
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