Brotherhood: Genesis 27:29
Series creator, Blake Masters, has spoken about the actors he cast as brothers Tom and Mike Caffee as carrying "the idea they're not boys anymore, that they should know better." This idea comes to the forefront tonight as Tommy and wife Eileen (Annabeth Gish) separately grapple with a couple of the more depressing aspects of adulthood: compromise and hypocrisy. Eileen thinks she might have an STD and gets to feel small and cheap at least three times this week: once as usual when she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror while rendezvousing with her f-buddy at the motel, once when her doctor tells her not to worry -- Tom "would never cheat on her," and once when she jambs a towel under the door of the bathroom, dorm-room style, so she can smoke weed while Tommy sleeps. Being a politician's wife sucks.
Now, I keep going back and forth over which Caffee brother behaved more despicably this week:
Tommy (Jason Clarke) pulls a classic politician/weasel move-- pretending to fix a problem a constituent has when she is strong-armed out of her business by Michael (Jason Isaacs), then does an about face, leaning on cop brother-in-law Declan Giggs (Ethan Embry) to get her not to file charges against Mike -- AND while denying to Declan that he is expecting him to save Mike's ass. He's a real politician, all right. Also Tommy pushes some legislation through to grease a real estate deal of his own. Real estate development, we find out, is Tommy's day job - state representatives only get $12,000 a year. Well yeah, because they can generally use their position in state government to enrich themselves in the other careers - which doesn't explain why Tommy has so much trouble making ends meet. He must not be much of a realtor -- maybe he just got his license?
Then we have bad-guy-with-a-heart Michael (someone out-and-out just calls him Robin Hood this time, albeit sarcastically) who is good on the little things: making sure an elderly neighborhood lady gets her weekly bottle of hooch for free from now on, and performing aggressive neighborhood-watch duties such as pummeling drunk college kids who pee on the sidewalk down the street from his Mom's. On the big things, however, Mike may have topped his slicing off a guy's ear last week, when this week he forces the mentally-challenged brother of the store owner to play Russian roulette in order to make her sell the business to him.
We are told that this store-owner, and Meredith Baxter look-alike, is bad (she takes advantage of her monopoly in the neighborhood by overcharging). But we have only Mike's word on this, and she probably doesn't have the means to subsidize and run the store at a loss for neighborhood goodwill as Mike intends to do for mob boss Freddie Cork.
Okay, Mike is still more despicable.
- Mike Caffe goes on a date so awkward (and fun to watch) I kept expecting pop-ups or a cut-away to Roger Lodge back in the studio.
- Tommy Caffe has to do-over the deal that last week kept a highway spur from bisecting and destroying his neighborhood, "the Hill." He uses information Michael provided him gratis earlier on the gambling habits of local pols, to blackmail a state senator and get the deal back on track. Only then does he find that this is what the state's major power broker wanted all along. Adulthood is a bitch.
- That neighborhood store owner who briefly flirts with the idea of pressing charges against Mike Caffee, seems genuinely shocked when Declan tells her the police probably can't protect her against gangster Mike. This is set up as scene to show how far Tommy will go to protect his brother, but really this is probably the safest thing for the former store-owner herself. She seems genuinely shocked to learn that testifying against the local crime boss could be dangerous. But maybe she doesn't have HBO.