"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Riches: Field of Dreams

Well, the Malloys are back in Eden Falls, living life as the Riches. And all hell's about to break loose.That's the situation in this episode. Wayne's trying to keep the big deal Hugh brokered alive while Hugh searches for his mojo. Dale is stalking around Panco looking for a job so he can be in on the deal. Only I know that the slimeball has some information and a hell of a lot of muscle behind him. And Dahlia is having yet another crisis involving her sense of place in the world. Oh, and then there is the kids: Cael wants out, DiDi wants to fit in, and Sam wonders why there's blood stains on the stairs. Looks like I'm entering the darkest part of the tunnel in this show, aren't I

Dale's muscle is Eamon Quinn, a Malloy family member who's just been released from prison after twenty years. My guess is that he went away for killing Ginny Dannegan's father and uncle, though her revenge -- shooting him in the shoulder -- seems to be a bit mild. But who knows what the Traveler code is like? Anyway, Eamon is an Irish Traveler who's actually from Ireland, and he seems to be simultaneously tougher and smarter than the entire inbred Malloy clan put together. For reasons as yet unexplained, Dale is partnering with Eamon on this deal, and now that Eamon is out, he's turning the screws (or, more accurately, wielding a mean fork) on Dale.

I'm not sure why Dale is partnering with Eamon. Does he think he's in over his head and needs the help? Or does he owe Eamon for something that happened twenty years ago? Either way, Eamon is a scary-enough presence that it motivates Dale to threaten his cousin Dahlia while she was in the bath. Give him a job at Panco or she goes back to jail. That was a pretty intense scene, and a good indication of why Todd Stashwick is so good in what is kind of a one-dimensional role: he makes Dale scary as hell.

I don't think Dale was the only reason why Dahlia decided to turn herself in to the local parole office, but it was a big one. Dahlia is just sick of running away from her problems. I still don't know the entire story about how she landed in prison; I vaguely know that it was a credit card scam and she may or may not have taken the fall for Wayne, but that's about it. But it looks like she knows she can't hide behind lies and schemes and smack and pot anymore. Of course, facing up to her parole violation is going to complicate things later, at a time when things for the Malloys least need complications.

Other stuff:

The Cael grade fixing plot was one long exercise in how Wayne can work within the sometimes-scummy world of the wealthy, but be simultaneously shocked at how truly scummy some of these people could be. Cael sold himself out because he doesn't want to be a buffer going to a boarding school, with a power-hungry father he doesn't recognize. "I'd rather be piss poor with my dad than $13 million richer with whoever you are," he tells Wayne.

I kind of wish the characters of Cael, DiDi, and Sam were a little more developed than they are right now. Especially Cael: he's just been a snotty rebellious teenager -- albeit in an twisted way -- for this entire run, and his character is the one that wears on me the most.

Nina looking up info on the Irish Travelers on the Internet tells me that she wants to be one. I do find it interesting that her pot dealer can be found at an AA meeting held in a church. I guess nothing is really sacred.

At least Wayne was able to convince Hugh that landing the big deal is what he needs to get his mojo back, instead of an expensive sports car. This show needs a mojo-filled Hugh back, if only for comic relief. I guess, due to the subject matter, it was inevitable that the show was going to take a dark turn, but I wish it didn't go in this direction. Yes, the performances are great and the writing conveys a good intensity. But you don't cast Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver in a show to be super-serious all the time, and the relentless grimness is starting to wear on them and me. Let's hope there's a light at the end of that dark tunnel as it gets towards the end of the season.

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