Brotherhood: Matthew 13:57
But this one could have been: "What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul? "(Matthew 16:26) as Tommy slices off yet another piece of his integrity in order to address another political expediency -- this time a garbage strike, the full impact of which is well shown in an effective opening montage.
Series creator, Blake Masters, said (in his interview for the official show podcast) he finds the global politics of The West Wing boring and that the world of local politicians, say, working to get a new park put in their neighborhood, is the really interesting stuff. That's got to be a minority viewpoint.
Don't expect next season's television schedule to be strewn with tales of intrepid precinct captains, crusading block wardens, and heroic city council members.
I don't like Brotherhood much, but this week I found myself coming to respect it. It occurs to me that most of the characters in the show would much rather be respected than liked anyway.
This is a show about miserable people moving through their miserable lives. The three principals,Tommy, Mike, and Eileen Caffee, all played insightfully by very strong actors, seem to sense that the world is out of balance, though only Tommy (Jason Clarke) possesses enough self-awareness to do anything effective about it. Evidently Tommy is the prophet named in this episode's bible-study passage. Mike (Jason Isaacs) spends the episode wandering the neighborhood, repeatedly being re-shown one undeniable fact over and over: with the passing of seven years, things change. He takes a excruciatingly long time to absorb this information, (the same information he couldn't absorb last week, in fact) but then, he doesn't even seem capable enough to notice that a pair of cops follow him around everywhere he goes. One of these cops is his own brother-in-law, which makes it even more incredible. [not his brother-in-law, see first three comments].
It becomes harder and harder to see how Mike Caffee pulled off the big set-up in the pilot episode, and managed to get himself back into mob boss Freddie Cork's good graces. Since then the older of the two Caffee brothers just doesn't seem all that bright since then, if not just out-and-out stupid. The brothers do make a good contrast this week. Michael's inability to comprehend reality borders on the absurd, while Tommy's sacrifices to protect the neighborhood from being totally annihilated during the inevitable change, is potentially tragic.
Adding a touch of beauty to the otherwise-universal gray ugliness of the show, Eileen (Annabeth Gish) rolls around on a hotel bed scantily-clad again this week, and (also again this week) mopes in the bathroom smoking pot. That's fine, but her story threatens to get caught in a holding pattern, as she faces humiliation after humiliation, until the last moments of the episode when she lashes out in protection of her daughter, finally demonstrating an interest outside of herself. Maybe something has broken through in her, I feared she was doomed to replay essentially the same scenes every week. We are not as slow on the uptake as Mike Caffee, we get it, life sucks and she's unhappy.
What do you think? Like the show? Care about its characters?