Boss Season 2 Episode 5 called Mania aired last night. Let’s put it this way. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, I’d say it was the darkest episode of the season.It was an episode without any positive actions by any of the characters except Sam Miller. But let’s hold off on Miller for a bit.
Mayor Kane doesn’t sleep well at all these days. It seems that his constant companion, a hallucination of Ezra Stone is with him nearly constantly. Maybe I should amend the sentence describing Kane’s sleep patterns to – The Mayor doesn’t sleep at all these days. On this night he calls the State Attorney Jeff Doyle at 4:00 AM to alert him that some major corruption cases will becoming his way later this morning. State Attorney Doyle says to his wife, Apparently Satan doesn’t sleep at all.
While Kane breakfasts, the arrests are being made. Ezra Stone tells Kane that he did profit in those shady deals he participated in. Ironic as the very people who were involved in the deals were now being arrested. Stone says, Power is a form of currency.
Kitty O’Neill makes her way onto the Walsh campaign bus. She’s working on something and says into her phone, It happens when I say it happens. We don’t know what she’s referring to. Kitty calls Walsh with the news that Kane is lopping off heads. His own people are the ones being arrested. Walsh is pleased.
Last week you will recall that Miller told Kitty O’Neill that he would agree to do a positive piece about Senator Walsh in exchange for the name of the man arrested (Chad Langley) who might have been the shooter in the Kane assassination.
This week, the piece about Walsh has been published, Kitty O’Neill reads it as she sits on the bus, as does Kane who asked his driver take a side street and avoid some traffic. It is on this side street where they ride over a pot hole. Kane stops the car so he can call Commissioner Hardy and tell him to have that pot hole fixed today. Stone’s comment is, They say the measure of a man is how he handles power. Kane tells Stone to shut up, but his driver thinks he meant him. Kane apologizes, Sorry, Jimmy.
Mona Fredericks arrives at City Hall reading Miller’s piece. Before she can even sit down Ian Todd comes in and tells her that the phones are ringing off the hook. People aren’t happy about the Mayor having folks arrested.
In Hammond , Indiana, Joe Young, the contractor that was given the contract for Lennox Gardens finds that his equipment has been vandalized. His foreman says there are plenty of jobs in Indiana.
Ben Zajac is also reading the piece by Miller. He’s not a happy camper. Maggie Zajac comes in to tell him the good news. Unlike Kane, Ben Zajac has a future for high office in the state. Ben isn’t mollified. He feels manipulated at every turn by Kane. Maggie says this is your time, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are covering the gubernatorial debate. To further lift Ben’s spirits, she comes on to him, and finally rewards him with some sex, after denying him for months. She says, You’re going to win this thing.
At City Hall, Mona Fredericks comes into Kane’s office to tell him about the vandalism. He says, have Young beef up his security, but things will stop. In the wake of the arrests, the ‘children’ are just acting out. Kane then hallucinates that Ezra Stone is handling Mon’s breasts from behind her.
Ian Todd comes in, and Kane tells him to send out a million dollars to Zajac’s campaign. When Todd starts to question him, Kane says, Don’t worry about the money.
Jackie from Sam Miller’s office calls City Hall. She’s surprised that the Mayor takes the call. Any comments about the arrests this morning?. Kane says, Yes I have a comment. I’m doing the right thing.
Emma Kane is in group therapy for drug users. She speaks about her strained relationship with her family and mentions that the only one she ever connected with was her grandfather – that would be old man Rutledge, the stroke victim.
Kane and Fredericks have a meeting with some big shot bankers. The problem is the properties awaiting foreclosure. Kane and Fredericks want these properties to be foreclosed so they can start putting the displaced Lennox Gardens residents into them. The bankers are saying that the rents would be too low. And the leases would tie their hands for years. Fredericks say that have a ‘no fail date’ of two years at which time the properties would be vacated. The bankers still resist. At Stone’s urging Kane sweetens the pot by offering a $500 subsidy per month per unit. They still hesitate. They would need the courts to accelerate the foreclosure proceedings. Not a problem says Kane. Consider it done.
But they still haven’t reached an agreement. Time for stronger measures. The City Pension funds – Kane suggests that other banks either down state, or even out-of-state would love to manage those funds. It wasn’t a real threat just a suggestion – but it worked. The bankers immediately agreed and handshake all around happened.
Lunch time and time for Kitty O’Neill to make another run at Sam Miller. She has a brown manilla envelope at the ready. In fact, while they were seated in a restaurant, she even put Miller’s hand under her skirt and between her legs. The offer was clear – sex in exchange for more positive press for Walsh. Only Miller said, Sorry, I’m not that [kind of] guy. He won’t agree to any further ‘tit for tat’ deals. Kitty says okay. She takes the manilla envelope and heads for the lady’s room expecting Miller to follow her in. But he doesn’t.
Emma is having withdrawal symptoms from her drug problem. She’s going to look for and steal some of Tom Kane’s meds. But the cleaning lady comes into Tom’s room. Emma covers by saying that her Dad called for the prescription number as he needs a refill. She pretends to call him but she really calls Darius.
Joe Young receives threatening phone calls. They want him to quit the job. This is part of what Babe McGantry called the machine always corrects itself. But Young is tough and says that who ever is calling from Chicago is not only threatening him, Joe Young, but is also threatening the Mayor Chicago.
Kane meets with Ian Todd who tells him Judge Scanlon will be coming in (about the foreclosures). Todd also mentions that he’s sent the million to Zajac. Kane denies he authorized a million and says it was half that. Only it wasn’t. We know it and so does Todd. Only Kane doesn’t. He’s clearly losing it.
Kane can’t sleep. He goes down to the living and finds Emma on the sofa. As he sits down, she gets up to leave. Kane tells her he’s made it possible for her to visit her grandfather. She asks why, and Kane tells her because he knows how much he meant to her. Emma corrects him – [not meant] means. When she asks when, Kane answers, Tomorrow. At that point Kane begins to sing the song from the show Annie. The sun will come out – tomorrow. Emma looks at him like he’s flipped out.
In the city jail, the State’s Attorney is getting more bad news about Chad Langley. The MD says he is really a loony tune and is suffering from schizophrenia. On top of that he has what could be called previously undiagnosed oncoming glaucoma meaning it is unlikely he could have made that shot. State Attorney Doyle says, Motherfucker!
Judge Scanlon arrives at Kane’s office. He’s willing to escalate the foreclosures but he wants something. The appellate judges serve 10 year terms, but the Circuit Court judges only four years. There it is – the quid pro quid. Ezra Stone, heard and seen only by Kane, calls him a pig, and makes pig noises referencing the judge. Kane calls Scanlon a pig. Scanlon won’t be insulted when he is being asked for a favor. He gets up and walks out. Mona Fredericks is horrified by Kane’s action. He laughs it off – No worries – we’re in he says.
On the Walsh bus, Kitty, Walsh, and a staffer discuss the debate. Kitty has it all planned out. The staffer wants to go for financial discussions. But Kitty has something else in mind. She tells Walsh to be sure to pause where indicated in the notes.
Emma is at her group therapy session the next day. Darius walks in. They head out to a side room. Darius says, Did you miss me or miss using?
Darius has scraped to together a handful of pills. Emma is disappointed, She says, Is this all – you’re a fucking drug dealer and immediately regrets saying that. I’m sorry, I didn’t even realize what I am saying, I am a mess. But she and Darius make love.
Todd arrives at Zajac’s office with the half million. Zajac is grateful of course. Any talking points you want me to talk about tonight? he asks. Todd says applaud the Mayor’s anti-corruption efforts, then talk about families. Especially since Walsh doesn’t have one.
Kane’s disease is making huge inroads. His Ezra Stone hallucinations are the equivalent of someone whispering in your ear, were now coming fast and furious. Kane is destabilizing and losing control, while finding it more and difficult to dismiss the hallucinations as a hallucinations. In short, for Kane, the line between his hallucinations and his reality is blurring.
And people like Mona Fredericks, Ian Todd, and Kane’s body guards are all noticing these moments that seem, well, strange.
Kane meets with his Dr. Ella Harris and tells her about the ever-increasing hallucinations. At one point Dr. Harris becomes Mona Fredericks to Tom, but he waves the image off. He mentions the experimental and alternate treatment drug available in a Toronto clinic.Harris said there’s no need to go to Toronto and gives him the same drug. She warns that the meds would aid him with regard to the hallucinations, but that physically he would have to deal with some side effects. As she put it, Better to have some shakes than to lose your mind. Ezra Stone comments – Too late Tom.
Next, the Indiana construction boss Joe Young is strangled to death in his truck. McGantry’s words, The machine always corrects itself, come to mind in ever sharper clarity.
When Kane asks Fredericks where they were with regards to the eviction notices and notices of condemnation, Fredericks says – Nowhere. She then questions why Kane made a mistake and insulted Scanlon when all he was asking for was some support in being positioned to become an appellate court judge. Kane then blasts Mona for saying he made a mistake. Why do you think I’m doing all this – For world fucking peace? She says, I’m fairly certain you did for yourself, and walks out clearly disturbed.
Ian Todd comes in and Kane asks him, You said you could help with Scanlon? Yes sir. Then do it, says Kane.
Kane then has an argument with his hallucination. He blames Ezra Stone, the hallucination, for all the mistakes and whatnot recently. Stone says don’t you dare blame me – it is all you. You do whatever you want to whoever you want. You made Mona cry. Kane knows it is true but summons all of his energy to rid himself of the hallucination if only for a few minutes.
The debate is starting shortly. Kitty has a few words with Zajac, then she sees Miller arrive. Then she sees Walsh and the other aid hugging, as in a theatrical well wish called break a leg. This woman may be Walsh’s secret. Walsh may be gay. As Todd said to Zajac – stress family values as Walsh hasn’t a family. This is a guess as they haven’t hit us over the head with any thing very solid, but earlier, this aid seemed a bit jealous of Kitty’s status with Walsh. And Walsh said to someone unseen, I’m leaving, honey. Fill in the blanks or connect the dots at your own risk.
The debate begins. Zajac leads off, then Senator Walsh starts. Kitty has a phone to her ear. As instructed, Walsh gives a slight pause at the proper point waiting for the applause. Kitty says one word into her phone. Now.
Within a minute, everyone starts to receive an incoming email. The Springfield Ledger has just published a shocking story. The headlines scream Zajac in Sex Scandal. Questions come forth. Who is that woman? Is that Tia Ross the wife of Alderman Ross? Kitty leaves the debate floor. Maggie Zajac gathers her kids and leaves the debate floor. Ben Zajac’s political aspirations have just been blown sky-high.
Miller was watching and he has some suspicions, but we have none. Kitty O’Neill has just exacted her revenge.
Mona comes into Kane’s office. He’s in shock about Zajac, and he’s in even worse shape when Mona tells him that Young has been strangled to death in his own truck, with a map of Chicago stuffed into his mouth.
But there’s even more shocks to come. Ian Todd is in Judge Scanlon’s chambers. He’s there to smooth over Kane’s insulting behavior with Scanlon. The remedy?
Todd allows Judge Scanlon to give him a blow job. Didn’t expect that, did you?
In the post-mortem following the shock of the breaking news of the Zajak sex scandal, Kitty and Walsh’s aid leave the venue. Their talk is about whether other women will come out into the open about having affairs with Zajac. Sam Miller is on the street waiting near the Walsh bus. He collars Kitty. Wow! he says. So I was Plan A and when that didn’t work for you, the Ledger was Plan B. Kitty says she won’t come after Miller again. Miller says he not worried.
At the Zajac headquarters, Ben asks Maggie to join him for a joint news conference. She says she won’t. She doesn’t want her kids to forever remember her in a photo standing with her promiscuous husband. She says she wants better than that for her kids. She won’t do it. Maggie says, I don’t want you at the house. Then she leaves. Zajac is all alone.
Todd comes into Kane’s office to announce that he was able to get Judge Scanlon to come around to Kane’s plans about the foreclosures. Kane tells Todd to have his car come around to take him home.
In the car, Kane has another of those moments. He insists that he is in control and in charge. He has his driver stop the car, and Kane gets out incensed that the pot hole hasn’t been fixed. He goes off in a screaming rant. I am the Mayor and I am in charge. I will not be questioned. Fuck! Shit! – [you] scumbags – show yourselves. Stone is there and he tells the Mayor, You’re insane. There was no pothole. Kane has just ranted and raved for no reason at all.
He asks for the car keys. His driver says the keys are in the ignition. Kane tells his guards not to follow him and he drives off. His staff is stunned and speechless. What is there to say? The Mayor has lost it.
In the car, Ezra Stone says, Where are we going Tom? We see a sign: St.Louis via I-55 bear left, Wisconsin via I-294 bear right. Fade out.
As I said – it wasn’t pretty. Kane hallucinates throughout the entire episode. Ezra Stone is not only haunting Kane, but the hallucination is virtually running Kane into the ground. Stone, the hallucination is functioning as Kane’s conscious, as his confessor, and as his controller. He’s always there to poke, to prod, to put ideas into Kane’s head like, Your friends are your enemies…
Wish I knew more about psychology. There are forces at work within Kane, and I’m not talking about his disease which only exacerbates the situation. But Mona Fredericks, Ian Todd, and Ezra Stone are likely candidates serving as real or imagined facets in Kane’s mind. Maybe we can call them Ego, Id, and Superego. But that is as far as I’ll go. I leave the rest of that to you Freudians out there.
This was the 5th episode of 10 scheduled for this season. At present we don’t know if there will be a third season. But Kane’s prospects are such that we can safely conclude that he’s not getting better – he’s getting worse.
But let’s think about where we are. At the conclusion of Episode Five it is safe to say:
- The shooter is still at large. Clearly it wasn’t Chad Langley.
- No sign of Alderman Ross, Babe McGantry, Meredith Kane, or Trey Rogers this week. What does that mean?
- We’ve not seen the last of Ben Zajac. Kane will connect the dots and realize that the incriminating photo of Zajac could have only come from – right – Kitty.
- Sam Miller – who began the series as a nosy reporter might end up wearing the mantle of the hero.
- Senator Walsh will not win the election for governor.
- Maggie Zajac put up with Ben ‘the player’ just as long as she could keep Springfield [the Governor's mansion] in her sights. But now with his political career shattered and in pieces, she abandons him. I’m not saying she is wrong, but I am saying that something will change about the Zajac’s in coming weeks.
- What price will Kitty pay for her bag of dirty tricks?
- Last – don’t you think they’re over playing the Ezra Stone character.
See you next week.