Episode 3 of Boss aired last night, Friday, August 31st. The Episode was called Ablution which could signify washing, or ritual washing. I think a better title might have been Storm Clouds Gather. Sorry, but Tom Kane, the fictional Mayor of Chicago did indeed wash his hands repeatedly in the episode, and he also attempted to remove a stain made by steak sauce on a sleeve cuff – but it wasn’t always easy to determine if the Mayor was lucid and actually performing the washing. Or was he hallucinating. In any event, whether his washing of his hands was a ritual cleansing or a legitimate washing – those hands will never be clean.
Early on, Kane is in his office discussing the assassination attempt with the Cook County State Attorney, Doyle, who is on point for the investigation due the case being high-profile.
Doyle: As Mayor you’re not exactly short on enemies. The ultimate objective here is not prosecution, it is conviction. On my watch, whoever did this, cannot get off on a technicality. Time must be taken.
Kane: My wife nearly died, and while she relearns how to breathe again, I am a prisoner in my own home. I am shuttled to work everyday by an armed guard, and I am strapped into a vice [a bullet-proof vest], any time I want to go outside. And you have the gall to sit there reciting the ramblings of the deranged. Why hasn’t the shooter been found?
Doyle: Lack of physical evidence on the scene, and the inordinate number of people who hate you personally, or hate what you do politically.
Kane nods. He can’t do anything but agree as he knows what Doyle is saying is true.
Doyle: We’re doing everything that we can, as quickly as we can. That said – moves that you’ve made, conflicts, entanglements – it would help to hear about them.
Kane: Conflicts. Entanglements. Moves. You’ve just described my job. And in twenty years, no one has ever shot at me before.
Doyle: But now, someone has.
Yes, Tom Kane is having a rough go of it. His hallucinations come with regularity. Emma will be brought home by the Sheriff at 7:00 PM tonight to serve out her house arrest.
While Meredith’s struggles in the hospital continue – walking is still a difficult chore in her weakened state, at the Zajac’s home, preparations are underway for a live televised interview.
Ben Zajac: I don’t anticipate any hardball questions coming at you…
Maggie Zajac: If they do, I pivot back to you – strength, character, courage – relax Ben.
Ben has fired his campaign manager, Rick. He’s going to ask Maggie to do the job. Maggie Zajac is one cool customer. Despite all this, Maggie still has turned away every physical advance by Ben. Aside from outward appearances, for political opportunity, their marriage is in a halt.
In a Chicago back alley, we see Trey making a payoff. His envelope is light. Trey gets warned.
Darius appears. He tells Trey he needs a place to crash. Trey replies that what you need is bath. Bad. There’s still no indication about why Darius is on the lam.
In the Mayor’s office, he’s having a sitdown with his staff, Ian Todd and Mona Fredericks. The topic – the redevelopment of Lennox Gardens. Mona wants to go for new open bids. Ian suggests sticking with the present plan which means the business goes to Babe McGantry. Kane listens, and asks Mona to give her reasons, which go to improving the perspective of the Afro-American community about Kane. Todd wants to stick with the status quo because McGantry, and the rest of the ‘usual suspects’ are Kane biggest financial backers. So it is clear the Todd and Fredericks are opposing camps under Kane’s umbrella.
Zajac meets Kitty O’Neill for coffee. Kitty asks, What do you want, Ben?. Zajac wants her back, and he can’t resist running his hand up her leg under the table. Zajac says, Tell me you don’t miss it. Kitty, with her usual stone-face look, says, Don’t call me again.
And she leaves. [I'd call that burning your bridges. Where will Kitty go now?]
Kane visits Meredith in the hospital. She asks about the meeting with Doyle, if a shooter has been identified, and how is Kane doing himself. Kane answers her questions then tells her that he’s arranged for Emma to come home. He thinks, Emma could be useful for Meredith who still has issues breathing and walking. Meredith doesn’t look happy about this news. In fact she says to Kane, I suggest you temper your expectations, Tom, about everything…
Emma is dropped off at the Kane home by the Sheriff. She walks right by Tom who is waiting for her at the door. Not even a hello issues from her lips. She’s not happy to be home.
Kitty is at home. She has nothing to do at all. She gets a phone call.
Kane is having lunch with McGantry. This is where we get more of the ritual washing, and more hallucinations. Kane tells McGantry that things are changing. He wants McGantry to resubmit the Lennox Garden numbers. Kane requires lower numbers. McGantry is not pleased. By the way, check out Daniel J. Travanti who plays McGantry in the three images . Below is Daniel from Hill Street Blues, Daniel in real life today, and above is Daniel with the worst wig ever, on Boss.
A series of quick scenes follow. Fredericks and Ross are in the same elevator. Ross tells her that the fight over Lennox Gardens will be messy. She says, You and Kane are cut from the same cloth. The only difference is that you are powerless to get things done. [I wouldn't bet on that Mona - Ross if nothing else is tough and resilient.]
Trey installs Darius in an empty apartment in a filthy slum building. Darius has no choice. He’s lost everything.
Kane watches Fredericks working. He notices framed family photos in her office – her husband, her kids. Todd wanders by. Kane asks Fredericks how long will it take to get the competitive bids.
Kane watches on his lap top which receives feeds from the cameras he has installed in order to spy on his employees. Todd and Fredericks are not getting along. Fredericks feels that Todd’s resume has been ‘embellished’.
Kitty meets with Senator Walsh. A job offer will be forthcoming.
Kitty: … crossing the aisle would be political suicide …
Walsh: You just need a fresh start Kitty. I’m offering you parity. This is a team – not a fiefdom. You’d be a partner, not a servant. Just tell me you’ll consider it.
Kitty doesn’t give an answer just then. But we know that this is just a correct place to cut to another scene. We already know what Kitty will do. Seems inevitable doesn’t it? She crossed Kane and got dumped. Zajac is a sleaze beneath his politically finery. So why not Walsh?
Across town, Kane meets with his Dr. Ella Harris. He admits to having a hallucination – both auditory and visual – while she is talking to him. The hallucination includes the stroke victim, Kane’s father-in-law, the previous Mayor – old man Rutledge – who says to Kane - Tell her you’re losing your mind…
In Zajac’s campaign headquarters Ian Todd, the voice of the Mayor, is laying down the new game plan to Ben Zajac. Everything about your campaign must be run through the Mayor. Zajac doesn’t like it at all. He basically tells Todd that Mayor can support him or not. Todd is being told by Ben to fuck-off.
However Maggie Zajac tries a different tack with Todd. She’s the new campaign manager for Zajac, and they appreciate the Mayor’s support.
Significant looks between Maggie and Ian are exchanged. Todd leaves. Ben makes a physical overture to his wife once again. And once again, she turns him away.
Back at City Hall – Kane is discussing Lennox Gardens with Fredericks. She’s going to get a submission from a firm she’s going to recommend, Young & Mortensen. New figures from McGantry have not come in yet. Kane asks her about what she thinks of Todd. Kane has another of his hallucinations:
Kane holds a glass of water up before his face.
Kane: I wonder what it’s like to take the shape of the space you’re in.
Ezra Stone;: There’s not enough water in the world.
Kane suggests to Fredericks that she make use of Todd. Kane says, He’s got potential.
Next, Doyle, the Cook County State Attorney is asking Kane about Darius. Surveillance images were taken of Kane and Darius meeting in the street (in Episode 1). Doyle wonders why no reports were made either by Kane, or Kane’s security detail.
Doyle: We’d like to be able to identify him, and interview him…
Kane: The shots were fired from 700 yards away, and you bring me a two-bit drug dealer. [It's] Fucking embarrassing. You can see yourself out.
Todd shows up at Alderwoman Driscoll’s office. He was on loan to Kane from Driscoll, but now that he’s been hired by Kane, he’s there to make it official. You recall that Ian Todd told Kane, that yes – fucking was involved in him getting to where he was. We now find out that Driscoll was one of the women involved. They go right for it on her desk.
McGantry shows up at Meredith’s hospital. He’s complaining about Kane changing the game on him. He’d like Meredith to speak to Kane about it. But Meredith says she’s chosen to stay out of it. So McGantry is on his own.
McGantry does submit some changes to his plans for Lennox Gardens. But it’s all penny-ante line changes. The dollar reductions are miniscule – nowhere near the numbers had Kane had discussed. Kane is furious. In his meeting with Fredericks and Todd, once again, Ezra Stone appears to Tom. A suggestion is made by Stone that Kane should wash away the filth, and the dirt [read that as the sins - in short perform an ablution]. Kane (reverting back to reality) asks Frederick if her guys, Young & Mortensen can meet the number. When she says yes if you will deal with the subcontractors, Kane tells her to pull the trigger. Fredericks then says that Todd is right – there will be blowback.
Kane after asking Fredericks to leave, tells Tod to work with Fredericks.
Kane: You can learn a lot from her
Todd: I’ll study her hard, from this moment -
Kane: I hired the both of you for a reason. Never doubt my judgement.
So Kane has a master plan for both of them. He’s already spying on Fredericks in her office as well as Todd. So why not spy on Fredericks at home.
Emma meets with Darius and tells him he has to leave Chicago. She’s been warned by Kane that Darius has become a person of interest in the assassination attempt in investigation. Darius has nothing left and it is Emma’s fault. She acknowledges but she can’t run off with him as she’s wearing an electronic tracking manacle on her left ankle. She’d be tracked and found if she ran off with Darius. He leaves.
Back at Zajac’s office, one of Zajac’s volunteer staffers delivers his lunch. We’d met this girl before . And if you thought that Zajac looked at her with meaning then,
your suspicions will be confirmed right now. The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal is replayed by Zajac and his volunteer staffer.
Not only did we get a strong indication that this would happen when we first met this girl in an earlier episode, but she even has the same look and size of Lewinsky. We know that Zajac can’t control himself sexually – we saw plenty of that with Kitty in Season One, and we knew that Maggie Zajac had been rebuffing Ben all this season, but did they have to go out of their way to dress this up as Fast Willie and Monica? We aren’t stupid and we might have made the connection on our own. We didn’t need to be hit over the head by having them cast a similar looking woman.
We fade out on Zajac and Patty and then we have Sam Miller and Kitty. They are meeting in a city park. It will be Kitty’s first day of work for Walsh. Kitty brings up in her mind her recent abortion. Miller has no idea about that but he is impressed that Kitty is working for Walsh. He tells her that he will be calling her. Kitty says, Okay, as long as it is not about Ezra Stone. We didn’t see what kind of file Miller was showing Kitty, but we had seen and heard about the police viewing Stone’s killing as a ‘botched robbery‘. So that is what we can assume Miller was showing Kitty.
Downtown at City Hall, Kane is announcing the awarding of the Lennox Gardens project to Mona Frederick’s hand-picked firm – Young & Mortensen.
Kane: It is my pleasure to announce that we’ve taken new steps on the road to a re-imagined and revitalized Lennox Gardens. From the beginning I have been determined to approach this project from a new perspective.
Ezra Stone [Kane's hallucination] Come clean Tom, wash it all away.
Kane: To that end, we have employed the development firm of Young & Mortensen [who have] created and driven a vision beyond my wildest dreams for the project …
Cut to Alderman Ross receiving an envelope from a man. This is the same man who we saw earlier in this episode receiving an envelope from Trey Rogers. Ross says – We’re going to slow this train down to a motherfucking crawl – the envelope is tossed into a drawer with other such envelopes -
Kane’s speech continues and he talks about the days of exorbitant profits [at the city's expense] being over -
Cut to babe McGantry watching on tv -
Kane: An honest day’s work will garner an honest day’s wage. Avarice will not be tolerated here -
McGantry is doing a slow burn. He’s just lost a chance at another windfall -
Kane: Greed stops here. There’s a new day for Lennox Gardens. Spring has come to Chicago. Thank you. The press conference ends.
Later at home, Kane pours himself a glass of wine. He settles in and looks at his laptop to watch Fredericks at home with her family. Fredericks says that the Mayor looks good but at times he seems that he is in a different place. Her husband tells her that they had to leave the home for a while the city gas inspectors had to check out their house for a few hours. They may have been dressed as guys from the utility company – but we all know better. They were Kane’s guys installing the surveillance cameras.
Kane gets a phone call. What? Who? Thanks. Ezra Stone appears once more.
Kane: They got him Stoney, the man who shot you. They got him.
As Stone lays a hand on Kane’s shoulder, the Episode called Ablution ends. I guess that Ablution wasn’t wrong or even a bad title for the episode, but the ablutions that Tom Kane performed or needed were all inside his head, none of it was real.
On the other hand, battle lines were drawn>
- Kane has set in motion a struggle between Fredericks and Ian Todd.
- Kane has cut off McGantry at the knees
- Meredith Kane is off her back – but not quite up and around.
- Emma Kane is struggling being at home and with her house arrest.
- Alderman Ross is lining his war chest with illicit funds while vowing to gum up the Lennox Gardens project.
- Ben Zajac can’t have Kitty so he takes on Patty, an intern.
- Maggie Zajac says all the right things publicly, but privately she’s frozen out her husband Ben.
- Sam Miller is on the trail – is it Stone’s killer, Dr Harris treating Tom Kane, or will he make inroads about getting something out of Kitty.
- Kitty O’Neill has signed on with Senator Walsh in the fight for the Cook County voters.
- Darius is the wild card – we know he is stashed – we also know he will come back and be in play
Yeah, even while Tom Kane performs his ritual ablutions – the storm clouds gather silently. We now see what sides the main players have taken. As was said before – there will be blood.