INTELLIGENCE REVIEWS-SEASON TWO
After a few fun but uneven episodes, this week settles into a good blend of last season's intrigue and this season's heightened tension. Jimmy tries to close his bank deal, Ted gets wound too tight, Winston comes back with a bang, Martin gets a new whore to handle, Lorna gets a job, and Mary gets caught between a hypocritical friend and a hypocritical government.
The episode begins with Jimmy enjoying the night air on the sidewalk in front of the Chickadee after holding the door for some ladies going in to work. Bob comes out and warns him that he shouldn't go anywhere without letting Bob know. Jimmy admits to feeling a bit claustrophobic from the past few weeks (a recurring theme in Tracey's characters since Milgaard). Bob allows this, but insists that they still need to be careful: "You embarrassed the DEA, the FBI...I just don't want you snatched off the street."
Jimmy nods. "You know, sometimes you don't know what you got until it's almost gone." Along these same lines, he seems fiercer this ep, especially when the bank deal threatens to go belly up.
I have to confess that the wheeling and dealing over the bank machines bored me last year. Well, the ATMs are history, palmed off on the Disciples as a consolation prize/reward for helping out in the recent crisis, and this offshore bank deal is shaping up to be much more intriguing. For a start, those of you who were suffering from Gerard Plunkett withdrawal will be thrilled to see him show up this week as the head of the banker posse, Gordon Evans. He's a smooth-talking Irishman with a sinister look to him. He also tries to talk down to Jimmy when Jimmy, Phil Coombs and Hogarty meet with the bankers. "No offense," he warbles after ripping Jimmy's recent reputation to shreds.
There's considerable black humor throughout this storyline. Jimmy and Phil Coombs both know that Jimmy can't play his usual reliable self after his troubles down in the U.S. So they need a front man--John Hogarty, their self-pitying, coke-snorting banker. Alas, Hogarty has flown the rehab coop when Bob goes to find him there and gone back to Gloria's. Jimmy and Ronnie go over there to pick him up. While Jimmy goes in for a quiet word (that starts with a punch to the stomach), Ronnie gets on Gloria's case about not staying in touch. "You're gonna keep an eye on him for us, okay? I wanna know everything he says and does," he tells her.
So, the "hat trick" of the week seems to be allowing the bankers to put down Jimmy to his face so that they won't notice that Hogarty is less than stable. However, this still doesn't seal the deal, as Jimmy's drug charges are revived and plastered all over the news. The bankers want 10 million more, though Ronnie points out that they don't have the cash. Jimmy decides to go back alone, meet Evans and his cronies at dinner, and persuade them to close the deal by offering the 10 million extra that he doesn't have. At first, Evans shines him on, smiling in his face and insulting him, saying that the extra 10 mil might help sweeten the pot, but won't close the deal, even when Jimmy complains that Evans is putting the screws on him. Jimmy then smiles sweetly right back, leans forward, and unleashes his own onslaught:
"What I'm getting is a bank that's been in the laundry business for a decade and a board of directors who made a lot of bad fucking investments and need my money to keep from getting capped by a lot of pissed-off investors. What, you think I didn't check you guys out? You're about this far from getting anchors strung around your necks."
After he picks his jaw up off the floor, Evans tries to rally: "Right. Well, thanks for the meeting. I think we're done here." But before he can leave, Jimmy grabs his hand and pulls him back down. The waitress comes over and he sends her packing. Then, he turns back to Evans:
"You can tell your board of directors that if we don't close this deal today for the 50 million that we agreed upon, I'm going to be making another deal. That one would be with the cops. You won't make it out of the country. So, think all that over. You got about an hour." Then he gets up and stops long enough to echo Evans' insult with a sarcastic "Didn't mean to offend you" before he leaves his enemy in total disarray, taking the field with him.
But the really sweet part is when he sells them out to Mary the second he's out of earshot. This is so going somewhere. And it's nice to see Jimmy kick some ass for once.
Small surprise then, that we see Evans in the Chicadee at the end of the episode, being feted by Jimmy as they celebrate the closed deal: "To the bank!" The only sour note for Jimmy is turning around and seeing Lorna leering at him while she serves drinks. Ick.
Oh, if only he would put his foot down with the women in his life. Just what is it with him and psycho girls? This week, Lorna (who is rapidly becoming my least favorite character on the show) talks Jimmy into getting Bob to get her a job at the club and pretend that they are boyfriend/girlfriend, as a sort of reward for keeping her mouth shut while Jimmy was on the run. Yes, it's really that complicated. Bob is unhappy, especially since Lorna keeps not getting the seriousness of the situation should Francine find out. At least Jimmy doesn't sleep with her again.
Lorna tries hard, though. She asks him why "I can't see you now and then." When he points out that she's half his age (rather less than that, actually), something that now clearly makes him uncomfortable, she says, "That didn't bother you before." His subsequent explanation to her about his take on their "relationship" is priceless and brutally frank: "Well, circumstances were different then. I was gonna die or go to jail or escape to Costa Rica. It was a one-time thing." Not that it does any good--Lorna's of the mind that whatever Lorna wants Lorna gets. And when others point out that in the Reardon family, that only applies to Francine, it goes right over her head. If anything, it looks as though Lorna wants to spark a catfight with Francine. Be careful what you wish for, sweety.
Speaking of Francine, she takes Stella to check out a new private school this week, St. Mary's. Phil Coombs gets the best line of the episode when Jimmy tells him: "If she could handle the FBI, she can probably handle the nuns." But afterward, Francine doesn't like them, complaining that they have too much "attitude". When Jimmy asks what Stella thought about the school, Francine complains that he always lets Stella "manipulate" him (not true at all). So, already, the bloom is back off the rose and Francine, jealous of all competition including her own daughter, is once again trying to pack off poor Stella to boarding school on Vancouver Island. Jimmy doesn't really fight with her about it--but he refuses to agree to it, too.
Meanwhile, Ted is "cracking under the load." We first see him cruising the street for rough trade. Caught by a VPD patrol, he shows his badge and claims he's looking for a witness. But after they leave, he burns rubber out of there, even as the young man he had his eye on approaches with a professional smile. Guess Ted is out of the closet after all. Later, we see him going to a shrink. One thing does not appear to be causing the other. That is to say, Ted is not cracking up because he's gay; he's just looking for a little release from his tension. What's cracking him up (at least, this is what he tells the shrink) is the pressure of his new job. Ted clearly is not doing well. He tells her that he's not getting much sleep and is even having suicidal thoughts.
Ted's state of mind is not terribly helped by the reappearance of Winston. Winston has a good laugh at Ted's expense about the DEA cockup down in Seattle when they meet. Then, he explains why he called--Mike called him and wants to set up some deals, using Winston's connections in the U.S. Ted isn't enthused at this point (once burned and all that), but goes along with it. He even tries to sell Winston as a snitch to Mary. Mary says she's more interested in the money side of Jimmy's operation than the dope. This is just a cover for the fact that she and Jimmy are cosy again and she has no intention of seeing him go to prison--probably ever. She and Jimmy even have a face-to-face meeting where Jimmy thanks and says, "I owe you one." "A lot more than that," Mary snarks back.
So, Ted is left to deal with Winston on his own. However, there's a catch. Winston's head has gotten a bit too big for his body. He wants to play both sides and get paid by them. "You want results, pay the rates," he tells Ted.
But playing Mike (looking scruffier, and a lot thinner, this season) turns out to be a very dangerous game. Mike's not too bright, and starts off the ep thinking Winston is on the up and up. But Bob and Jimmy want Winston checked out. Mike gets Rene to do it. But when Rene returns, he goes off on a rant about how he wants respect and he wants to be paid up front, etc. There's a funny scene where Mike literally scares the information out of Rene and gets him to back down. And damning information it is. Seems Winston has a habit of pulling lengthy prison sentences and serving only a month or two of each one. Faced with this, Bob suggests that they do a reverse sting and set up a meeting, to see who else shows up. Winston has told Ted that he won't wear a wire, but he wants Ted to have some people watching the deal. Bob spots the surveillance and calls Mike at the 25--while Winston is standing right beside him in the bar. Near the end of the ep, he and Bob lure Winston into a room, coldcock him and truss him up with duct tape. Winston's in a fix, he is, and Jimmy knows about it. As Mike and Bob come back out into the bar, Jimmy comes up behind them with champagne bottles in both hands. "It's done," Bob assures him. "Wasted," Mike says bitterly, heading straight for the bar.
Mary is having more than one underling crack up this week, though she doesn't know about either of them yet. Katarina comes to her with a new girl from Romania, Julianna, who has a problem. Seems an immigration officer is coming to her apartment and demanding sex for free. Otherwise, he'll have her thrown out of the country. He claims to have friends with lots of connections that he wants her to sleep with. Mary sets Martin to handle Julianna and find out who these "friends" are. But Martin starts to get into his work a bit more than usual. The difference from, say, Katarina is that Julianna really isn't into the game. But Martin actually seems to enjoy her resistance. Not that this is a surprise, since Martin has always seemed to enjoy control games. But we're starting to see this go to the next level. There's an especially disturbing scene where Martin gets into a surveillance van with a young, female intelligence officer. While the officer squirms in discomfort, he zooms in on Julianna's face as she has sex with the immigration officer. The fixed look on his face betokens a serious obsession blooming. Oooh. That can't be good.
Mary is distracted by her own personal dilemma. The Defense Department has asked her to sit on a story. It's an embarrassing expose of military vehicles that malfunction in combat. To Mary's surprise, the journalist who wrote the story is an old friend, Martha Kopps. Martha claims that the Defense Department wants to bury the story and that she is only thinking of the soldiers in the field. The Defense Department rep claims that they just want time to fix the problems before the story breaks. There's evidence for both sides of the story and neither Martha nor the government come out looking very good. Martha refuses to wait on the story, even when Mary suggests that she wait and see if the government will make good on its word. When Martha balks, however, someone breaks into her house. Though she has previously accused Mary of being part of the cover-up, she calls Mary in hysterics and demands that she do something. Mary puts her up in a safehouse, but when the story is inevitably suppressed after pressure is put on Martha's publisher, Martha blames everything on Mary. Mary tries to go to Martha's apartment with a peace offering of wine, but gets the door shut in her face. At first, she leaves the peace offering, but, in a fit of anger, goes back and retrieves it. Frankly, I was cheering her on. Poor Mary tries hard to do the right thing when caught between an irresistible force and an immovable object and ends up suffering for it.
Haddock wisely avoids the usual cliche of making the government the obvious heavy and Martha the underdog hero, with Mary having to choose between clear-cut evil and good. Sure, the guy who tries to twist Mary's arm is lying about something and using bullying tactics on Martha. But Martha is a self-righteous hypocrite who cares a lot more about getting a scoop than the soldiers she trumpets about. She also blathers on a lot about protecting her sources, but after Mary gets her the safehouse, she expresses no compunction whatsoever about naming Mary in a future story about the cover-up. So, I guess she only cares about protecting some of her sources, then.
A telling exchange occurs early on when Mary asks her, "What do you want? You want the problem solved or simply exposed?" and Martha replies, "I want the problem solved and exposed." But she wants it exposed her way. And when exposure doesn't happen, she shows precious little interest in the fact that it probably won't be solved, now, either. Martha is played by none other than Deanna Milligan, last seen by Da Vinci's Inquest fans as Mick Leary's personal bunny-boiler, Josie Hutchins. Milligan is no stranger to playing unlikeable characters and Martha is certainly less than likeable. This is not a criticism. She does a good job of showing a leftwing bad-guy and it's gutsy of Haddock to skewer the left as neatly as he so often does the right. He makes some telling points about why the public does not trust the media, and how the media can express an agenda of its own that benefits only the media, while presenting itself as a hero of the downtrodden. There is also a little hint that Martha is just a tad privileged. Blond, well spoken, very nicely dressed, she shows no signs of having gone hungry or struggled in her life. She comes across as an elitist playing at being an underdog and champion of the unwashed. Yet, she makes more than one mention about Mary's new position, with more than a touch of envy and implication that Mary should not be in the job. One can't help wondering if Martha would feel the same way if Mary looked like her.
Finally, Ronnie doesn't have a lot to do in this episode, but he does tell Jimmy and Phil about Sweet's pregnancy. In response to their congratulations, he says, "I'm looking forward to it. Didn't think I would be, but I am."
Next week: Love and Conspiracy: Jimmy finds out about a DEA plot to kidnap him. Mary is ordered to investigate a Cabinet Minister and his lover--who may be a Chinese spy.
You are visitor number
This page was last updated on 10/23/2007Join the Stolen Briefcase Intelligence fan group