Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Magic City: “The Harder They Fall”

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Given that Magic City has only been on the air for half a dozen episodes, the achievement of producing two extremely strong episodes back to back isn’t exactly the kind of news that warrants being shouted from the rooftops. For those who were rooting for the series to defy the early critical assessments that it was all style and no substance, however, the fact that this week’s installment was at least as strong as last week’s effort is certainly worth at least a low-volume “woo-hoo.”

Fight night at the Miramar Playa is coming up quickly, and it’s to be a televised affair, one destined to bring in the bucks if Ike plays his cards right. And, hey, speaking of playing cards, it also turns out that the event is providing him with the opportunity to speak to Senator Sloat about securing the legalization of gambling in the great state of Florida. What are the odds? Timing-wise, this is a very good thing, as Ben is starting to get grouchy about the continued absence of the $100K he loaned Ike, which now resides in the greasy palms of several politicians. Suffice it to say that this is not where Ben would prefer for it to be, and he has no hesitation about telling Ike so in very threatening terms.

Good ol’ Ben. Ever since putting the unfortunate dog-shooting accent from “Feeding Frenzy” behind us, he’s been a much more enjoyable villain, keeping us guessing about what he knows, doesn’t know, or simply can’t be bothered to care about because he perceives it as being beneath him. We’re obviously supposed to believe that Stevie’s on his radar as Lily’s illicit lover, but it’s hard to tell if actions like having his goons go through her room with a fine-toothed comb are based in anything other than general paranoia and/or his enjoyment of a good old fashioned power play.

Based on his actions with Ben’s wife while she’s ostensibly trying on dresses, Stevie apparently continues to be in possession of the biggest set of balls in Miami, though there’s little question that Lily’s got a hell of a pair on her as well, given how readily she lied to her husband’s face about how she’s continued to maintain marital fidelity. Danny’s relationship with Mercy may be moving at a snail’s pace, and they may both be scared to go public, but at least the only thing really keeping them apart—aside, perhaps, from Danny’s awareness of their different social statuses—is their concern about their respective fathers’ reactions. Still, it’s amazing just how different the two siblings are when it comes to their libidos: Danny’s got the restraint of a frigging monk, while Stevie’s lucky if he can keep his dick in his pants for more than few hours, as he proceeds to prove each and every episode.

Is the chasm between them going to get even wider now that Danny’s in possession of the blackmail note and photos that Divin’ Dave left for Stevie? Or is it the sort of thing that’ll bring them closer together? It’s anyone guess at this point, which is more or less where we stand on the Danny / Ike relationship as well. Danny tried to enter into a discussion with his dad about the possibility of taking a position in Klein’s office, but Ike quickly deflected and offered up a lengthy anecdote about staying out of the water because he’s always seeing imaginary sharks…or something like that, anyway. Basically, Ike and Danny are as unalike in personality and morality as just about any father and son could be. If Danny does indeed go rogue and join Klein’s clan, it won’t surprise me one bit.

Vera continues to be unable to catch a break, particularly when it comes to this Jackie Kennedy thing. I’d hoped against hope that she wasn’t doing all of her planning and decorating for naught, but…oh, well. The combination of her pissy reaction to Ike when he assures her Jackie’s cancellation doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things (“And yet it means something to me.  How sad is that?”) and the surge of pride she gets when Orlando the boxer recognizes her from her days of dancing at the Tropicana, surely we’re destined to see Vera take a major stand for herself sooner than later. (If she does indeed turn out to be pregnant, it’s definitely going to be later.) It’s still hard to tell if there’s going to be any forward motion on the Stevie & Vera storyline, but for what it’s worth, it seems as though he’s trying his damndest to avoid having any kind of sexual stirring for her…although, as you no doubt noticed, he still couldn’t resist sneaking a peek of her naked body when he came to retrieve Ike toward the end of the episode. And who could blame him, really?


Oh, right, so let’s talk about how Ike’s apparently about to have his ass handed to him, thanks to Stevie’s inability to tell the difference between a legitimate betting tip and one that’s being fed to him because he’s a grade-A patsy. We won’t really know how things will play out ‘til next week, of course, but for now things are looking exceedingly grim for poor Ike, who tried to beat Ben at his own game. Bad move, that. I’ll lay odds that he’s going to need the assistance of his sister-in-law and her wealth to get him out of this mess. By the way, that whole sequence of Stevie trying to get hold of Ike to change his bet in time never could’ve happened in present day, what with the advent of cell phones and email, which is a major reason why it worked as well as it did.

Divin’ Dave took the spotlight for a few minutes tonight, first as he started his act, then as he knocked around his woman because she was jealous about who he’d seen her talking to, and finally as he delivered his blackmail note to Stevie. By the way, I’ll be honest: in the scene a few weeks ago where Dave and his girlfriend blew up the photos Dave had stolen from Stevie’s room, although I knew we were supposed to know who Dave’s girlfriend was, I had no clue until tonight that she was the same girl who’d been giving Stevie a blow job in his car during his first appearance on the series. Small world, huh?


Bookending the evening, of course, was Klein’s brainstorm and subsequent success in finding the vehicle filled with the body of a certain Mr. Shoes. Between this development, the money Ike’s presumably about to lose, and Stevie’s infidelity with Lily now being known by Danny, this was officially the first week where I actually wanted to watch the next episode right that second. Let us hope this bodes well for the remaining installments of Season 1.

Stray observations:

  • “She vanished? She stepped into a parallel dimension…? This whore stays vanished, you'll join her. You got it?” Klein’s a weasel, but the dude knows how to deliver a threat.
  • Alex Rocco, would you please come back on the show and actually do something worthy of your abilities as an actor? Calling Jeffrey Dean Morgan a son of a bitch is a step in the right direction, but I need more, dammit!
  • Was the punch Ray Ray took worth the $20 Ike offered him to get in the ring with the champ? Probably not. But at least he gets a good story out of it.
  • Man, I love Ike’s secretary. The way she suggested that he pretend to be the boss, then called him King Simon under her breath, was hysterical stuff.
  • “Why is there a chubby Jewish girl sobbing in my coffee shop?” Hey, Stevie, you shut your mouth: I thought she was cute!
  • Danny Huston: a man not afraid to rock out with his cock out. I tip my hat to you, sir, for your unabashed full-frontal nudity.
  • “Nothing I like better than watching a spick and a nigger kicking the living shit out of each other.” Wow, it’s like political correctness never happened!
  • Between Danny and Mercy’s dry humping in the hotel room and Stevie and Lily’s oral sex extravaganza in the dressing room, this may well have been the hottest episode to date as well. God bless you, Magic City.