When Boss, Episode 6, closed – there were more than a few unresolved situations. Like Mayor Tom Kane’s experimental treatment that he received in Toronto. Which tied in with the fact that he had been missing from contact and sight in Chicago for a couple of days while the city blew up. This required the National Guard being called out by Governor Cullen – at Meredith Kane’s suggestion.
Like Babe McGantry not liking the fact that he and his cohorts had been squeezed out of the Lennox Gardens redevelopment. Or what about Ben Zajac’s arrest at the demonstrations. Then there was Kitty O’Neill becoming a major player behind the scenes with both Sam Miller, the Editor of the Chicago Sentinel and Senator Walsh – but where was she heading?
And there was still more that carried over from last week: Emma’s failed drug test because she swapped in her grandfather’s urine. Mona Fredericks becoming more and more uncomfortable around Meredith Kane. Then there was Darius becoming frustrated about his relationship with Emma. Trey Rogers and Alderman Ross plotting more mayhem. And let’s not forget State Attorney Doyle and the assassination suspect and Kane’s plans to have some of his former partners charged, a plan already in motion after Ian Todd got the Judge to agree.
And I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of the Ezra Stone hallucination. But all of the above can be put into the ‘that was then‘ category. Which brings us to the present, so let’s let it rip.
Right from the jump, we get a shock. Actually it is Meredith Kane who gets the shock. She’s looking in Tom Kane’s laptop. She’s seeking some guidance, details, facts, stats, plans – whatever – to help her stay on what ever course Kane was heading. But what she discovers is that Tom Kane is a voyeur and he’s obsessed or worse about Mona Fredericks. Meredith is horrified. It can’t be easy learning such things about your life-mate.
Speaking of whom, Tom Kane arrives home after being off the grid for 48 hours. He’s shocked that there are tanks in the streets. But he’s feeling better and he announces to Meredith that he is at his best when he and his wife are aligned. He says he needs a mirror, someone who sees things as they are. Meredith looks down at the laptop and says, We have much to discuss.
Kane meets with Fredericks and Ian Todd. He gets the stats from the riots. Just one fatality – a 17-year-old looter, shot by the CPD. A phone call to Governor Cullen will get the National Guard out of the city. Fredericks voices her concerns about the Mayor losing credibility because of his so far unexplained absence. Meredith Kane, also present at this meeting, eyes Fredericks carefully. Tom Kane, basically ignores Fredericks’ concerns. After a while he asks for the victim’s name which is Jerome Mathis.
Meanwhile Ben Zajac has been sprung from jail, and he is discussing the situation with an attractive Assistant State Attorney who works for Doyle. More on her later. – it is easy to figure out – a nice looking woman, a tight blouse, and Zajac’s reputation take the guesswork out it. Second reason – why show this meeting if not to introduce a new Zajac playmate?
Back at City Hall, Mayor Tom Kane arrives. He faces a phalanx of reporters, tv cameras, and microphones. He avoids the questions and releases some well planned platitudes. Sam Miller’s reporter Jackie is there, recording everything said. She’s not buying into it. Back at the Sentinel, she reports to Sam Miller that she has a witness who saw the Mayor on Chestnut Street a few nights ago, and he appeared to be unhinged. Miller gives his reporter the go ahead to run with the story.
Kane and Meredith are meeting with Fredericks and Todd. It is clear that Kane wants to make some political hay out of the Mathis shooting. Fredericks objects saying it will be seen only as political grandstanding and should be done privately rather than with TV camera present. Meredith says she disagrees. Kane calls the Chicago Police Superintendent Royczyk. This conversation is the reference for the Episode’s title – The Conversation – only we don’t know it as we hear it. Royczyk defends his cop and calls the shooting good. He also disparages the victim.
Kitty O’Neill meets with Alderman Ross. This is a strategic meeting. Kitty needs the votes for Walsh, Ross needs Senator Walsh’s proposed bill about denying felons the right to vote to go away. Kitty says Governor Cullen will stash and delay it. Ross holds out the promise of votes. Kitty tells him to set up a meeting with the ward bosses.
State Attorney Doyle meets with Kane and Meredith. There’s no love lost between Kane and Doyle. The room is awash with contempt. Doyle announces the subpoenas for Kane’s corruption cases will arrive in the morning. Doyle wants to see records going all the way back to 1993. Kane suggests that this is an overreach. Doyle says I want the cases to be airtight – so he will need to see the files. Kane agrees to provide the files.
Ian Todd runs into Emma at the Kane home. Emma is still under house arrest, she’s dealing with drug withdrawal, and her parole officer keeps calling her on the phone. She’s also been studying on the internet about the drug found in the urine she submitted for testing.
Todd tells Emma that he understands what she’s going through as it is similar to what his own mother went through. Todd says part of his job is to know what to keep off the Mayor’s desk. He offers to help Emma at any time and gives her his personal cell number. He repeats – call anytime.
Kane’s errand for that night was to visit his old pal Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh says, Glad to see you in one piece. Kane says, Plans are changing. Kavanaugh replies, Must be drastic – you couldn’t send the kid.
Kane gives Kavanaugh a cryptic message. Our old friend – his time has come. Kavanaugh simply nods. Kane says, You never ask questions. I’ve always appreciated that about you. Kane gives Kavanaugh a pat on the shoulder and leaves.
I don’t know about you, but this seems like an order to have one of Kane’s foes go away – as in forever. This seems to be clearly an unspoken command for a killing. What Kane’s remark actually meant, and who it is referencing will remain a mystery for now, so we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.
That night Kane can’t sleep. Even looking at his videos of Mona doesn’t do anything for him. He shuts the computer and rolls over. The next morning Kane and camera crews are at the Mathis home’s front doorstep. Kane says, I’m here as the Mayor and as a father. Our hearts go out to the Mathis family.
At the same time, Mona Fredericks is home with her family. The TV is on and as expected we will see Mona’s reaction to Tom Kane’s visit to the Mathis household. Mona is a revolted because she knows that Kane is just doing this to get his disappearance off the front page. Additionally, she knows that it was a good shoot because Jerome Mathis was a hoodlum, not an innocent boy.
Meanwhile Emma is at her grandfather’s home. She asks the male nurse attending to old man Rutledge to let her give him the injectable meds. She’s done it before at the clinic she tells him. But Emma has no intention of giving him the meds which she knows will keep the old man in a drugged up stupor. Meredith arrives, but just a bit too late. Emma injects the medicine into a glass of water instead of the old man’s arm. Then she dumps the water. Meredith tells the male nurse to absolutely not allow Emma to do any more of the procedures.
At City Hall two things are going on. A massive scrub of the documents and records is underway. Items are being deleted with black ink markers – a process called redaction. In a conference room, Kane has gathered some of the most influential member of the city council including Alderman Ross. The purpose of the meeting is to get everyone on the same page. The Budget is due, and Kane needs a lot more money for the cost of running the city. He demands that it all go through with zero push-back. Alderman Ross makes a sideways reference about Washington DC, implying that he knows (or thinks he knows) that was where Kane was. Kane ignores this.
Meredith meets with Dr. Ella Harris and they discuss Kane’s health. Meredith makes some comments about Kane and his new-found ‘solid footing’ health-wise. Harris thinks it might the placebo effect – meaning that Kane wants so badly to feel good, that he has, since the treatment in Toronto, so far been able to overcome any of the disease’s effects. Harris is implying that it likely just a temporary phase.
Todd comes to Kane’s office with news. His phone conversation with Royczyk has been leaked, and is now a viral item. Todd asks if the phone leak could have come from Kane’s phones. Kane says, No there are safeguards in place. The leak must have come from Superintendent Royczyk’s office. Either way – we know what comes next. Kane will have to throw Royczyk under the bus.
Emma has continually not answered her parole officer, Dave Hoffman’s calls. This can’t be good, and will come to a head soon. Darius has tracked down Emma and asks to speak to her in his car. He’s not happy that Emma only calls him when she needs drugs. Emma tells him she is in deep shit with her parole officer. Darius says, If he was going to violate you (have her sent to prison for violating the terms of her house arrest) he would have already done it. Emma says, He wants something but I don’t know what it is.
Meredith Kane asks Mona for the Lennox Gardens paperwork. She has to have them because she has a meeting that afternoon with Babe McGantry. As Meredith says, Information and facts are ammunition, and you don’t take a meeting with McGantry without having some ammunition. Mona agrees to get the report ready.
Emma calls Ian Todd, and suggests that she’s slipped ( a few pills is all) but she’s in trouble with her parole officer. Ian says he’ll take care of it.
Meredith meets Babe McGantry on a roof top at his suggestion so she can see all of Lennox Gardens and the surrounding areas. McGantry says that he has been buying up all the surrounding areas. He says, You knew and so did Tom. He says that if Kane doesn’t live up to what was previously agreed to (years ago) all of McGantry’s investments in the surrounding areas would be lost. Meredith coolly says, Then I suggest you unload it while you still can.
McGantry is furious. Do not do this he says. Meredith, still cool and collected, says – It’s already done, Babe. McGantry has just been told to go fuck himself – not directly – but just as clear as if it she had said those very words. He calls her a ‘fucking cunt. You’re nothing but a dress-form with a slit.’
Meredith walks off.
Sam Miller goes round and round. What does Rosebud mean? Kitty had told Miller that she thought the Rosebud document was written by Ezra Stone. Miller needs DNA. Kitty says she won’t go on a record. Miller says, the Mayor’s most trusted aide leaks documents, then shows up dead. Don’t you want to know the truth?
Ben Zajac is in a bar drowning his sorrow in alcohol. The Mayor at the Mathis home is on the TV. The Assistant State Attorney whom we met earlier walks in and offers to buy Zajac a drink. He compliments her on her dress. We know how this meeting will end up, don’t we? In a hotel someplace so I will spare you the banter and verbal foreplay. It is hot and heavy but she has to leave without spending the night. Big day tomorrow as the subpoenas for the City Hall records will be delivered.
Darius meets with Dave Hoffman. The price is 5K. Darius says – one time and she’s clear (meaning clear of Hoffman). Hoffman says as long as her piss is clean – otherwise it is another 5k.
Meredith arrives home and tells Kane that she dealt with Babe McGantry. But they’d better move fast. Kane says, The demolition is already scheduled. Just a few weeks away before it begins.
The next morning, Kane meets with Royczyk for their farewell. Royczyk says the tape was altered and everything taken out of context. Kane says I don’t control the media. You’ll be taken care of, full pension and all that..
Royczyk leaves. Basically he’s become a dead-man-walking. Minutes later at a press conference Kane throws Royczyk under the bus. “I have asked for and received Superintendent Royczyk’s resignation…“
Mona looks on disgustedly. She and Kane will have talk. He begins with the demolition contract has been given to the Ortiz firm. Y & M will be fitted in later. Mona realizes she’s been played (by Kane), and she also demands, that whatever goes down, that she not be blindsided again. Kane admits that he hired her for all the wrong reasons. She says, I’m no idealist. Kane says, No, you’re a realist. Kane has 20 years as Mayor under his belt, and he’s lost sight of why he entered politics, He adds that Mona reminds him of what he’s forgotten.
Kitty and Senator Walsh meet with Alderman Ross and his gang of Ward bosses. Senator Walsh, through Kitty and Alderman Ross, is going to buy votes in key wards. The cost – nearly $451,000. Ross says, I had no idea your campaign was so flush. Walsh says, And there’s plenty for your finder’s fee too.
At City Hall Kane begins to dump out the redacted files then says send it all out. At Doyle’s office, Doyle is furious as it is going to take at least a year to sort through these mostly useless files. The Assistant, the one Zajac slept with, finds one with no redactions at all. Can you guess which files these are.? Of course, they’re the Babe McGantry files.
Ian Todd calls Dave Hoffman, Emma’s parole officer to work things out. Todd finds that there’s no problems. Nothing to worry about. Todd doesn’t know why – but we do. Darius.
Walsh and Kitty meet. Walsh thanks Kitty for all she’s done. Kitty thinks it is nothing special – just the usual way politics works. Kitty says Tina wasn’t on board. Tina is Walsh’s girlfriend. Walsh says leave Tina to me. Walsh says we’ll be downstate for a while so we won’t see each other for a few days. As she leaves, she intentionally leaves her hotel room key on the table. Kitty (and we too) cannot miss the import. This is Walsh’s unsubtle invitation to Kitty for sex. But surprise, surprise, Kitty simply returns the key and says sleep well. She’s just turned down Walsh.
Across town, we have another meeting in the dark. Royczyk is not dead yet. He meets with Sam Miller and says – this is all you’re going to get – I’ll deny everything (if you attribute this to me). A City Town car went missing on Tuesday night about the same time Kane did. It crossed into Canada at the I-94 intersection at 11:47 PM. That’s all he says and he turns and leaves. Miller says, Wait, was Kane driving? But Royczyk doesn’t stop, and doesn’t answer.
At the Kane home. Ian Todd leaves the house. Emma rushes out to thank him.She says, Hoffman has stopped calling. Todd says I didn’t do anything. Hoffman said there was no problem. Just then Darius’s phone call to Emma lit up her phone. She doesn’t take the call.
Inside the house Kane looks at the latest edition of the Chicago Sentinel, Sam Miller’s paper. The headline reads, Kane bows to pressure, fires Superintendent. Kane says, About fucking time. Meaning the hullabaloo about him being missing has finally left the front page.
Kane heads off to Meredith’s bedroom. He’s looking for his laptop. Meredith has it and has it opened to the Mona videos. She questions him. Are you in love with her or is it an obsession. Kane calls it an attachment but says it was the disease.
Meredith asks about his confidence about having the treatment which appears to be working. Kane says confidence cuts two ways. Meredith asks about the hallucinations:
Kane says, Ezra, your father, monsters, voices … the never-ending din which pushed reason and rationality to the side. But with the treatment, I’m coming around …
Someone else is coming around too. Old man Rutledge. Emma didn’t give him his stupor inducing drug. So he too is coming around. Fade out.
Okay, we began with the remnants left over from the previous week. We can close with some speculations:
Who did Kane target? McGantry, Doyle, Ross, or Miller? Or was it the hit-man who killed off Ezra Stone. Did Kane arrange the assassination attempt himself? What will happen with Todd, Emma and Darius? After all Todd and Emma are half-brother and sister – only they don’t know it. Or maybe it is only Emma who doesn’t know it?
Royczyk gave Miller a big clue. What is Miller going to do with it? Most of all, how long will Kane be able to keep the disease at bay? Mona Fredericks – is she a liability or an asset for Kane. What about Meredith – and who arranged old man Rutledge’s medication?
These and many more questions still float in the air. See you next time.
One thought on “BOSS: Sn 2 Episode 7 – The Conversation – Recap”
This is truly the best, most insightful take on this episode, and on the character motivations and the series as a whole.
You have a profound grasp of the show’s complex logic. Thank you! I will now read all your summaries between now and the second season finale.
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