Vegas “The Third Man” Review
By Carol Tacker
VEGAS is back live this week and pays homage to classic movies, beginning with the title of the episode, that matches Hitchcock’s 1949 classic by the same name. A film noir atmosphere permeates the action, and there is even a tip of the hat to the drive-in restaurant in Grease and the hot rod race in Rebel Without A Cause.
This week was definitely retro-retro instead of just retro. Let’s get this out of the way first. The crime of the week involved a stolen car ring that Dixon’s (Taylor Handley) friend from high school, Pete, has joined. Dixon catches Pete in a sharp but stolen black T-bird and Pete agrees to roll over on the thieves if he can avoid being charged.
When Dixon goes undercover on the case, he shows up at the drive-in wearing the iconic James Dean white t-shirt and a leather, rather than red, jacket, thus missing the homage to Dean very slightly. Those of us who revere that movie know the red jacket very well. That mistake is made up for in the hot rod drag race where Natalie Wood, I mean some unidentified girl, drops the flag to start the race. The car being driven by Pete careens into a parked car and catches fire. Seems the steering was tampered with. Pete survives and it turns out his soon to be ex-wife and her boyfriend set up the crash, so they are going to jail and he gets custody of his daughter.
But enough of the crime of the week, let’s move on to the more interesting part of the episode. Last week Jack (Jason O’Mara) killed the vile Rizzo in self-defense. Rizzo needed killing, but he was the father of Mia (Sarah Jones), Jack’s flame, so it gets twisted. Instead of telling her the truth, Jack chickens out and launches into a cover story, facting as if he were not even there. He fears he will lose Mia if she knows. It’s a dumb and doomed idea. He substitutes a dead cop’s fingerprints for his own when they send samples of all cops on the scene to the FBI to isolate the prints of the participants in the crime. He lies to his brother about his role, even though they know the “third man” in the crime was tortured and probably working in self-defense.
Savino (Michael Chiklis) is on to Jack, however, and it all becomes more complicated when Mia agrees to come back to work for Savino, but only if she can be the manager of casino operations. District Attorney Katherine O’Connell (Carrie Anne Moss) has planted an idea in Mia’s head that Savino is behind her father’s death. Mia feels she needs to stay close to Savino to find out if that is true.
Jack is haunted by his coverup, that get more complicated with each lie he tells, and when Mia tells him at the end of the episode that he is the only person she trusts, his guilt compounds. Tell the truth, already, Jack, and let the chips fall on your head. This is an interesting twist and very film-noir’ish as the honest man struggles with an act of dishonesty, all because of his love for a beautiful blonde.
Side story is that the entertainment director at the Savoy’s competitor, the Hacienda, Tommy Stone (Enver Gjokaj), steals Savino’s top lounge lizard singer and then his piano man. Rather than teaching Stone a lesson, Savino hires him. No matter what else he is, Savino has a head for business. The DA, who wrongly believes Savino was the one who had Rizzo killed, threatens to let the mob know his wife was her informant if he doesn’t cooperate. He calls her bluff but that threat is still looming large.
The season finale is coming up fast and lots of big questions remain to draw viewers back next season. Not the least of which are whether Jack can continue his lying ways, whether he’ll lose Mia if he fesses up, and whether Savino will try something on Katherine to protect his wife. I’ll definitely be back, hope the rest of the audience will too.