Boss: Season 2 Episode 4 – Redemption – Recap

Episode 4 of Boss called Redemption was a step backwards. Yes, the story progressed, but at a slower pace than previous weeks; and for that reason, I’m calling it a step backward. One might also say, that this episode lacked a dramatic punch, or confrontation. Tom Kane’s illness was kept at bay for most of this episode, and aside from his usual hallucinations involving Ezra Stone – we didn’t see much physical manifestations of his disease.

However what we did see is that Tom Kane, the Mayor of Chicago, is something of a creep. It is one thing to have paranoia and because of this, one spies on his staff. It is something else entirely to have installed your spy cameras in the bedrooms of those who work for you.

Yes, this is the inner life of Tom Kane – outwardly he is the powerful Mayor of America’s Second City – but inwardly, Kane, is a man who is heading toward an abyss of unfathomable depths. Not only does he know this, but he also knows that there’s nothing to be done about it.

As Redemption opens, the police are questioning a man called Chad Langley, who they believe is the shooter in the Kane assassination attempt. The evidence? A rifle found in the trunk of the man’s car has provided a ballistics match to the bullet that struck Meredith Rutledge Kane. Motive? The man’s niece was raped and murdered 19 years ago. Langley blames the Mayor and has sent plenty of hate mail to city hall over the years including a recent death threat over Kane’s public housing plans. The thing of it is that this man Langley is a loony tune. He tells the detective interviewing him that he shot pictures of the assassination attempt with a camera embedded in his teeth. They’re going to issue a statement to the press but withhold the man’s identity until the investigation is complete.

Meanwhile at the Kane home, Emma is stealing some of her mom’s meds. Meredith comes into her bedroom unsteadily, and in obvious pain. Meredith says to Emma, I don’t want to be in this situation any more than you do…

With a suspect in custody, Kane is freed from wearing a Kevlar vest and is able to take his morning jogs (escorted of course) but at least the sun is up. The cover of darkness is no longer needed. There’s a camera crew and some press waiting for Kane at the conclusion of his run. He dodges questions about the suspect in custody but does allude to the police being confident that they have the right man. Kane concludes by thanking the people of Chicago who have offered their prayers for Meredith.

Kane climbs into the waiting limo and there’s Stoney, Kane’s usual hallucination, who says, invincibility is a myth, Tom. How long can you pretend? Kane answers, As long as hope has its bed of green. Ian Todd replies, All The King’s Men. To which Kane replies, Dante. The Divine Comedy. Penn Warren just used it as an epigram. Kane doesn’t give out compliments to Todd easily, so when Todd references the good press turnout at the conclusion of his morning jog, Kane won’t commend him for merely doing his job well. The shocker in this scene comes at the end when Kane tells Todd, I want you to find Kitty O’Neill for me.

At the Chicago Sentinel, Sam Miller, the former city beat reporter, now Editor, exhorts his staff to unearth the identity of the suspect in custody. Get me a name, a blood type, a gender – anything but the ‘suspect-in-custody’ bullshit. Miller is rough with the staff. If I say no Jackie, don’t pitch it again. Let’s find out who the shooter is, and why the State Attorney is fighting transparency on this.

Darius heads back to his slum apartment to find that Trey Rogers has set up a drug operation right in the apartment. You know – weighing, cutting, and bagging. Darius isn’t happy but Trey says, If you want your situation to remain rent free, you’ll sit yourself down and make sure these lovely young ladies don’t use the product.

At City Hall. the rep from Young & Mortensen has brought in a model of the new Lennox Gardens. Fredericks tells the construction heads who will be competing for the sub-contractor jobs that the schedule calls for groundbreaking in six months, and cutting of the ribbon in two years. Ambitious? Yes – but certainly doable. Kane offers that things have to change. Adapt or die. A differing opinion is offered. Smart, fast and cheap. Pick two. Kane says, In this case I need all three. Fredericks says, Limited overtime, no ghost jobs, no padding. Kane says, Actual men doing actual work, and paid accordingly. Gentlemen we look forward to your streamlined bids.

But it won’t go down that easily. The construction heads play a race card saying that what happened before will happen again. Kane tells one of them – There’s plenty of new development projects to go around. [I’m] just asking for special attention to be paid to just this one. The guy shakes hands and leaves to report back to his paymaster, Babe McGantry, who is waiting in his car. They’ve hired some out-of-state contractor. An ass-wipe from Indiana to get it done on the cheap. McGantry knows it is Young & Mortensen. The guy helps himself to a drink and wonders what is the fucking hurry. McGantry says, No man is bigger than the machine. It corrects itself. Always.

At the Zajac campaign headquarters, things are going from bad to worse. Ben Zajac is furious when he hears that Kitty O’Neill has signed on as Walsh’s campaign manager. When Patty offers to help Zajac – he loses it. Do you have a fucking brain in your head? Shut up! He later tells his aide to transfer Patty to the downstate office, or better yet, get her to quit. Zajac now has two women to fear. Kitty and Patty. Is he beginning to unravel?

At a downtown restaurant Senator Walsh and Kitty are having lunch with a prominent financial backer. He has concerns about Kitty as she has just changed sides. Kitty says, and very smoothly, that she has complete confidence in the Senator’s ability to gain higher office, and besides, she’s not going to be welcomed back into the Kane camp, or the Zajac camp anytime soon. But just then Kitty spots Tom Kane entering the restaurant’s dining room. Hastily, she excuses herself and heads to hide out in the lady’s room. Only she’s not quick enough. Kane has not only spotted her, but he follows her right into the lady’s room.

Kane: Why?
Kitty: It is all I know how to do
Kane: I would ask that confidentially and discretion will be exercised regarding your time in my office.
Kitty: Absolutely…
Kane: Don’t say absolutely, it makes me not believe you.
Kitty: I’ve learned a lot, not the least of which is to keep my mouth shut.
Kane: Occasionally you had to deal with the lunatics that plague City Hall with cards and letters. Does the name Langley ring a bell. Chad Langley?
Kitty: No.
Kane: Not for me either.

Kane leaves, but I think that he’s just made a blunder. Kitty may not know who Langley is, but it leads me to believe that he’s just a psycho that the Chicago cops hauled in. He may not be the right man at all. I think two things are possible. 1) Langley isn’t the right man , and 2) Kane has just dropped a baited hook into the water to Kitty to see what she will do next.

Darius phones Emma. He wants to see her. She says I’m not worth the risk and hangs up.

Sam Miller arrives at Ryan Kavanagh’s bar. He’s there to talk with Detective DeNova and probe him for info about the investigation into the murder of Ezra Stone. Ryan hovers nearby. Miller asks the Detective how did he get such a high-profile case? Were you up in the rotation? And will you get all the support you need. DeNova starts to squirm. If I noticed it is because I am supposed to . So there’s no guess-work to figure out that Miller noticed it too. As did Ryan Kavanagh. DeNova is two weeks from retirement. Miller asks who will take over the case when you retire. DeNova – It’s up to management. Clearly DeNova is spooked and he leaves.

Fredericks is at home in bed with her husband. She makes a statement that she believes Kane is watching her to see how far she’d go to keep her job. Her husband says, Then quit. Mona says, If I quit the residents [of Lennox Gardens] would have no one looking out for them. Her husband says, Then shut up. They begin to make love. Mona had no idea how right she was. Kane is watching her right at this moment (on his laptop) as she and her husband make love. You’d think Kane would turn it off, but he doesn’t. He’s transfixed by the images on the screen.

While Mona is enjoying her husband, and Tom Kane watches, Kitty meets Sam Miller on the river walk. She proposes a deal – the identity of the suspect in exchange for positive press for Walsh. Miller has questions.

Miller: Do you have source in City Hall.
Kitty: Yes…
Miller: A reliable source?
Kitty: Yes – the best.
Miller: Why?
Kitty: Maybe he wants it out there, but doesn’t want it traced back to his office. Do we have a deal?
Miller: I don’t know, do we?

Miller suddenly leans in and kisses Kitty. Kitty doesn’t react to the kiss, but she immediately leaves.

After that we fade in to Kane’s office. He has Mona Fredericks. Sir, you wanted to see me? Kane has lost a button on his shirt and asks for a moment. Kane then tells Mona that he wants her out in Lennox Gardens meeting the residents and leaders and getting the word out about the relocation process. She says that given the density of the project, she’s already arranged for mailers and fliers. So maybe volunteers should – Kane. No, I want you to do it…any problem?

The States Attorney is in church praying when he is interrupted. He’s furious about being pulled out of the pew while praying. If you ever pull me out of prayer again, I’ll have your fucking badge. The guy says, Thought you’d want to see this. There, in bold headlines of the newspaper, the Kane assassination suspect is identified. Of course it is the Chicago Sentinel – Sam Miller’s paper.

Fredericks is on site at Lennox Gardens. She’s starting to do the canvas as Kane requested. People are not willing to talk to her. They’re frightened. Fredericks is being watched. There’s an air of intimidation. Folks seem unwilling to talk with her, and do so only out of respect to Fredericks’ mother. Mona says, We lost the fight, and the Gardens are coming down. The Mayor guarantees that 30% of the residents will be granted status as needing subsidized public housing. The resident, Mrs.Lewis says, And who decides who will come back, you? The Mayor? Kenya Taylor?

Cut back to Mayor Kane’s office. He has called in Ian Todd for a talk. They discuss Lennox Gardens. Of course Kane thinks he sees and hears Ezra Stone in the room. Stone describes Lennox Gardens as a hopeless hell in the shadow of down town. You did that. Ignored the cries of the desperate. Too late to fix it now Tom. Todd asks if he can do anything for the Mayor. The Mayor gives Todd an envelope. The Lion and The Lamb Pub. The owner Ryan Kavanaugh is expecting this. Do not pass work along to the Phone Monkey when I give it to you. This is your assignment. Todd says I understand and leaves. Of course Ezra Stone asks, Is there wisdom in this since trust is so…tricky.

Back at the projects, Mona is still meeting resistance. But right before her eyes Fredericks sees Ward Boss Kenya Taylor trying to intimidate a Lennox Garden resident. He says he is doing just what she’s doing. Going door to door. Getting signatures on affidavits that nothing is wrong with the Lennox Gardens apartments, so that the City will not be able to condemn the property.

Todd makes the delivery to Kavanagh.

Meredith is home and in the shower but she’s still struggling. She falls while exiting the shower and cries out to Emma for help.

Fredericks is next seen in Alderman Ross’s office. Are you saying that Kenya Taylor is working independently? she asks. Ross is real slick and he only admits that he admires Kenya’s passion. Just then, Trey Rogers comes in and Ross introduces him as a new aid. Fredericks won’t shake his hand as she knows about what he’s done in the Gardens. She asks Ross, Who’s the traitor here William? Ross replies, Who isn’t? So Rogers has made it into the political arena even though he is still in the drug trade.

Kitty O’Neill shows up at the Zajac headquarters. She’s there to discuss the Zajac – Walsh debates with Mrs. Zajac. It’s not really a fair fight for the setup and format of the debates. Kitty plays her cards. Maggie Zajac says, No thanks, I want a town hall meeting here in Cook County. Kitty says, We’ll pass and gets up to leave. Maggie says, I know about you and Ben. You were one of many. Kitty has lost the leverage, because if it got out that she slept with Ben, and she’s working with Walsh, her career would end in a heartbeat. Kitty capitulates  to Maggie’s plan for a Town Hall meeting in Evanston.

Mona meets with Kane Their plan to canvas isn’t going well.

Fredericks: They’re afraid of Kenya Taylor.  But he’s the devil they know.
Kane: And they don’t know me.
Fredericks: They know you abandoned them.
[Ezra Stone [ in Kane’s hallucination]:  There it is..
Fredericks: They have every reason to believe you’ll do it again…only a fraction of the residents will be back after the rebuild. The rest will be out on their own in subsidized housing, or in other neighborhoods away from their friends, their churches, their lives, or on the streets.
Kane: Are you quitting?

Fredericks: I’ve arranged for a community meeting tomorrow – to try to assuage their fears, but I don’t know if I can do it…
Kane: Because even you don’t believe that I am a man of my word…
Fredericks: This is just hard for me, all of this … [and she leaves]
Stone: How can she forgive you Tom? How can anyone?

Dinner at the Kane home is a struggle. This is the first time in 10 years that Kane, Meredith, and Emma have sat at the same table to share a meal. Every one is uncomfortable. Emma tries to leave, but Kane commands her back to the table. Attempts at conversation fail. Meredith asks Tom what he is doing about his disease.

Kane: Regular examinations. Calibrated meds. Exercise.
Meredith: Exercise?
Kane: Clearly you have an opinon.
Meredith: There’s an experimental treatment. In Canada…
Kane: Oh…
Meredith: You appear free from physical symptoms right now, but I’m concerned about mental decline. Hallucinations. A shift towards the sentimental..
Kane: Sentimental …really …
Meredith: Well… here we are…
Kane: What do I have to do to make this a goddamn family?
Emma: You can’t. You destroyed any hope of that. You’re not a father, you’re a monster. You can’t change it. I’m not going to sit here and watch you pretend. {she leaves the room].

Kane sits there stunned. What can he say?

Meredith: Some things are best left broken [she gets up and leaves the table too].

The next day finds Mona Fredericks out at the Gardens. She’s got tables set up and has pamphlets to hand out. But people won’t even stop to hear what she has to say. No doubt the presence of Kenya Taylor and his goons is meaningful. Just then a few police cars arrive as does Mayor Tom Kane. He waves off his body guards and enters the Gardens alone. The police standby. Kane tells the residents that he has not set foot in this place in 20 years. That he has failed to protect them. And for this he wants their forgiveness;

Kane: I’m not here to bullshit you. If I was, the press would be here covering the hell out of this. I wanted you to hear it from me – not from your tv’s, or newspapers, or the radio – but from me. Every family in good standing, every law-abiding family will be welcomed back here when the construction of the new Lennox Gardens is completed. You will all come home. No one will be abandoned…
Kenya Taylor: Don’t listen to this shit. Kane is a goddamned liar…
Kane: …and when you do come home, the likes of Kenya Taylor will not be here to keep your families in a world of brutality and poverty.

Kane signals to the police who grab Taylor and begin to drag him away.

Kane:  He will not be here to sell drugs to your children, or to steal your votes, or to profit from your misery…

Taylor is led away and he screams what is the charge. The police say Bribery and extortion, Kenya Taylor struggles in the grip of the cops.  He yells out to Kane – You can’t come in here. Fuck you Kane…I run this motherfuckin’ place…fuck you…

Kane turns to Mona Fredericks.

Kane: Mona Fredericks. She grew up here. She is your direct connection to City Hall. She is and has been your advocate and she believes in this plan. So do I. Crime and racism stand in the way of hope here. But we will overcome them. Past mistakes will be corrected. This ground that we are all standing on – will be a good place to live once more. You have my word.

Meanwhile, right there in Darius’s apartment, he watches Kane give his talk. The drug trade continues even as the Mayor speaks.

On the Walsh Campaign bus…Walsh asks Kitty if they are confirmed on the debate details, all of them. Kitty doesn’t tell her the details but says yes.

At the Zajac Headquarters, Ben comes in to talk with his wife. He’s kind of amazed that the details of the debate have gone his way. Wasn’t there any pushback from Kitty, he asks? His wife says, You gave me this job for a reason Ben. Why does it surprise you that I outplayed her?

In the Babe McGantry limo, McGantry and the construction head are still discussing Frederick’s hand-picked General Contractor, Young & Mortensen. Mike says, No one will make dick on this. We’ll be lucky if we don’t lose what we already got. Babe says, Take care of it, and signals to his driver to stop. [Do you smell some violence on the way? I do. Maybe some violence, Maybe a fire or even a bomb – we’ll see, won’t we?]

Next the State Attorney is in Kane’s office. He’s plenty pissed about the leak of the suspects name. He says, There’s an agenda here (the Lennox Gardens project) which is impeding his progress on the case. Therefore the case [of the assassination attempt] will be protracted. Kane never even looks up from the papers that he is signing. It is the standard executive freeze-out. Say nothing and whoever it is will soon leave.

At the Kane residence Meredith reads. Emma goes up stairs to steal some of Meredith’s drugs and finds that the night table drawer is now locked.

Ian Todd arrives back at his own place and opens a beer. He switches on the news. It seems that Kane’s impromptu speech at Lennox Gardens was recorded by a mobile phone camera and has now been made public.[Gee, what a surprise – okay turn down the sarcasm lamp].

Kane and Fredericks are on the roof of City Hall. Fredericks says that things have turned around. Kane mentions we still have a lot of work to do. Fredericks wonders how they will pay for everything. Kane says I’ll find the money. I always do. Fredericks: Kenya Taylor has already posted bail. But he’s just one obstacle. There are more and not just Lennox Gardens.

Kane: I’m not done yet.I will remove all obstructions. The thugs, both criminal and financial have no idea about what’s coming. Changes according to my will. We’ve got a lot to do – you and I –

Kane thinks [a hallucination of course] that Mona has just said, I love you. As he comes closer – reality returns and Mona says, I should go. See you tomorrow, and she leaves. Kane is alone on the roof, except for Ezra ‘Stoney’ Stone. What have you done now Tom, what have you done?

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6 thoughts on “Boss: Season 2 Episode 4 – Redemption – Recap

    • Hey Admiral – thanks for reading the recap AND for offering a comment . However you are only half-right. I didn’t miss the picture, as one couldn’t miss it. This was the third time we’ve seen it. What I didn’t do was to make mention of it. As I don’t have a fact-based explanation as to why Ian Todd has it.

      This photo, of Kavanaugh and Kane in their wilder days – shows up Ian Todd’s place. We’d seen it twice before in the pub. So as you say, the mystery is why is it in Todd’s apartment.

      Let’s take a guess. Ian Todd is the illegitimate son of either Kane or Kavanaugh – and most likely – I’d say Kane. He (Todd) is a slick operator, so his operating skills must be in the genes passed to him by Kane.

      If anyone else would like to offer up a different guess or estimate, please do.

      • Well, honeygetoverit, I hadn’t read that fact, or as a view or opinion expressed by Kelsey Grammer, nor have I read Willie’s King Lear, so my guess was just a guess.

  1. your review has missed a lot of the beauty behind the show in its existential moments. Like the guy who says “God Damnit” in the church, who is supposed to be on the good side, like the moment when The Mayer says to his new aide, “your success does not merit commendation,” and Ezra Stone’s quotes.

    • Okay Joe – thanks for the comment –

      But to be fair – I did mention that the State Attorney was furious about being pulled out of the pew. He said that he would have the cops fucking badge if it happened again. I thought that was more meaningful than saying God damn it in the church. What ever he said was said in a fit of anger rather than upon careful consideration.

      As for what Kane actually said to Ian Todd in the car, Kane said, “At some point it should dawn on you that – doing your job well does not merit commendation.” I did mention Kane’s response, just not in an exact quote. I even wrote – Kane won’t commend him for merely doing his job well.

      As for Ezra Stone’s quotes – I suggest you read my recap again – Stone was quoted a number of times.

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