VEGAS Review: “Road Trip” Episode 1:13 – By Carol Tacker
Vegas returned with a new episode this week that had more humor than usual along with the return of the creepiest villain of all the villains in Vegas, Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones, (Damon Herriman) slight, clean cut in appearance and lethal, is in custody. Assistant District Attorney Katherine O’ Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss) cuts a deal with him, agreeing that if he will talk, she will see that his inevitable death sentence is commuted to life. He makes a rather strange request of her, saying he will talk if the state will first pay for needed dental work. She agrees. When we see him next, he has braces on his teeth and he uses a piece of dental wire to get free of cuffs, overcome a deputy, steal his gun and escape. Given that Mr. Jones “killed more people than polio,” you would think a manhunt would be underway, but it appears only Sheriff Lamb (Dennis Quaid) and Katherine are on his trail.
Meanwhile Mia Rizzo (Sarah Jones) and Deputy Jack Lamb (Jason O’Mara) are still together. Vincent Savino (Michael Chikils) sees Jack leave the Savoy and stops him to deliver the message he couldn’t deliver on the last episode: Rizzo, Mia’s nut-case mobster father (Michael Weinstein) is out to kill him. With that, Savino takes off into the desert with two of his comrades to meet a man with electronic slot machines going for thirty-cents on the dollar. The humor comes when their car breaks down and they have to spend the night in the cold desert shooting at coyotes and taking verbal potshots at each other. These guys are not Boy Scouts and the joys of camping out eludes them completely.
The crime of the week concerns a young girl, Faye Bender (Lili Simmons) who is part of a family singing group. She is drowning in the hotel pool, but saved from death by Dixon Lamb (Taylor Handley), who promptly falls for her. When he finds out she was poisoned prior to the incident, he starts investigating this attempt while romancing the girl. The crime is sort of a go-nowhere event when we discover she was being removed from the family group for her wild ways, and she tried to poison her sister so they would need her to stay in and become the soloist. She accidentally ended up with the poisoned sandwich instead, so she appeared to be the victim. Dixon has to arrest her, thus ending their brief going-nowhere romance.
More interesting, Mr. Jones is headed to the Mexican border, first hiding in a produce truck and later in a stolen car with a kid in the backseat. At the same time Vincent and the boys have been given a ride in a horse trailer by a rancher and his young daughter. Vincent is missing his own daughters, and is taken with the young girl. She is reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” and he is reminded of how his own girls like to read. When three bikers menace her during a gas stop, Vincent sends the bikers to the road by firing at their feet. The young girl is scared, and refuses to take the necklace he bought for her inside. When the rancher stops at the road where they were going to meet the man with the slots, the girl gives Vincent her book in a rather poignant goodbye. As it turns out, the slot machines were French so they take the wrong coins and use the wrong electrical voltage. Infuriated, Vincent takes the seller’s car and leaves him there with the trailer containing his machines. This episode makes you wonder how anyone survived before cell phones were invented.
Cut to the scene where Jack Lamb was lured to a woman’s remote house on a distress call and finds Rizzo waiting for him. Rizzo wants to know what Mia told the D.A., still believing Savino’s story that Mia was the rat instead of Savino’s wife, the true informant. Jack says its not true even after being tortured with an electric cattle prod. When Rizzo throws the affidavit in his face, Jack tells him he was with Mia at a motel during the times the informant was supposedly meeting with the D.A. The motel owner confirms this is true with a phone call. Rizzo now knows Savino set him up and he vows to deal with him in his own way, but first he will kill Jack. The woman who called Jack to her rescue has injected herself with what she thought was heroin, but Rizzo had loaded the syringe to kill her. Even though we thought she was dead, she suddenly springs up and cuts into Rizzo with a piece of glass and then helps Jack get free from his bindings. He struggles with Rizzo and gets his gun from him but when Rizzo reaches for a second gun, Jack shoots and kills him, thus saving Savino from Rizzo’s revenge as well as saving his own life. But what will Mia do?
Back to Mr. Jones, who again eludes capture by Sheriff Lamb and Katherine, who do save the kid. His luck changes when he is hitchhiking along that desert road at night and Savino sees him. He takes him back to Vegas and beats him, but instead of killing him, Savino makes it clear that Jones now belongs to him. So we have a good news/ good news situation. We get to see more of Mr. Jones’ most excellent creepiness and Rizzo is finally gone for good.The way Rizzo was eliminated, and with him the threat to Savino, was logically and deftly handled. Bravo, Vegas, you are back to form.