"Vegas" had a great pilot out of the box, and settled in this week with a familiarity that befits a show that has been around much longer. This is good news — it shows that viewers are given the benefit of the doubt (that we can remember that, say, Dixon is Ralph Lamb's son and Jack is his brother) without clunky exposition or reminders outside of the natural episode arc. The series also brought a story from the first week's COTW through to this week's episode: that of the murder of the governor's daughter, which is tied up with Savino and his mob gang. For more on that and why Jesus, Mary and Joseph ain't around here, hit the jump.
I said last week that "Vegas" had set up its hero and villain like an old-school Western. We're clear on who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. And while (so far) Lamb seems about as white-hat cowboy as they come (not a bad thing), Savino seems a little more complex in his shades of black hat-ness. He's driven by money above all else. Unpleasantries like ordering a hit are part of the job of keeping his casino business under control, it would seem, but he doesn't relish in the deed or cackle nefariously into a darkened chamber. In fact, he doesn't really acknowledge it at all.
Early in the episode, Savino asked anyone who was involved in the mess that Perrin was in (murder and stealing, y'know, the usual) to walk out now, and they actually did. It wasn't a trick, he didn't hunt them down in retaliation — he genuinely doesn't want the heat that activities like that will bring. If there are going to be dark deeds happening, then he has to be in total control to make sure they stay in control.
The introduction of Mia as the casino's new manager had its own nice arc and also showed Savino's shrewdness beyond being a crime boss. He knows people, and he knows how to run them to his maximum benefit. Though Mia proved to know her end of things regarding accounts, Savino taught her a lesson about division of labor and why he runs the casino and doesn't need her telling tales to her father behind his back. The way Savino handled the issue was firm and without question, but it had the feeling of a stern uncle rather than a dangerous man.
Even though Savino wanted Perrin done away with, it still fits in with a certain code. Perrin did bad, and he came to a bad end before he could rat out other bad guys. When Savino said he wanted the star witness maid "taken care of" though, it didn't mean threats, intimidation or death, it meant an all-expenses-paid vacation to Florida, keeping her out of pocket for the prosecution, highlighting that Savino isn't pure evil or anything of that sort.
Speaking of the prosecution, it seems that Katherine's partner is mixed up with Savino's crew, too, and that a hard line is being drawn between those on the casino side of the hill and those on the other. "I feel like there's a 1000 foot neon wave about to crash over us," the COTW girl told Lamb. "Worrying ain't gonna stop it," Lamb replied, clearly worried.
Though the COTW was dealt with extremely quickly and easily for the Lambs (with a few neat character moments like Dixon's car being targeted to get Perrin's assassin in jail, along with Dixon being forced to kill a man in order to save his father), the real central conflict continues to grow. Though Savino has warned Lamb off of his territory before, the two are already too intertwined. It was a fantastic way to end the episode, having Lamb find the former Sheriff's poker chips that he had "returned" to Savino as a statement that he would not be bought, with Savino's reply essentially being, "it doesn't matter to me if you are or not, this is my town now." That chess game should continue to be great to watch play out.
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Absolute favorite line of the night, "putting out a fire you started ain't nothing to brag about" - Lamb to Dixon.
— I don't know if it's correct for the time period or if it's just the nature of the West, but I like the show already has two strong women on the scene: Katherine and Mia.
— Nice touch, having a shark in Savino's office.
— I barely followed the COTW with its many twists this week and the ole "ex-boyfriend's revenge" ending. It was fine enough as a distraction, but hopefully like "The Good Wife" more of the COTW's will have personal stakes or some worthy commentary.
— One thing that "Vegas" has in spades that "Revolution" has almost none of is great personalities and interplay among the characters and actors, particularly Dixon who keeps things light.
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