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September 1, 2014

Cane: The Work of a Business Man

by Kristin Sample, posted Oct 3rd 2007 8:18AM
The Duque Family of CBS's Cane
(S01E02)
Last night on Cane Alex started his new position as the head of the Duque rum and sugar empire but things aren't business as usual: Alex continued to deal with brewing opposition from his "brother" Frank and had to clean up some loose ends from the murder of Quinones.

Some people might say that this show is just Dallas remixed but I love me some classic rich family drama (this drama is spicier because it includes Jimmy Smits and an array of nice suits). Smits certainly makes a good front man for this cast which also includes Hector Elizondo and the incomparable Rita Moreno.
For more on last night's episode, click continue reading below.

Alex Vega, the new CEO of Duque Rum, had a lot on his hands last night. Aside from furthering his plans for his ethanol refinery and advising a son who is about to start bootcamp, he dealt with transplanting the body of Quinones, blackmail from one of the thugs (Miguel) hired to execute Quinones, and threats from Samuels to bow out of the ethanol refinery endeavour or the senator will know who ordered the killing of Quinones.

To get advice on how to deal with Samuels and Quinones's murder he goes to Pancho. This was one of my favorite conversations last night. In not so many words, Alex asked his adopted father how to deal with Samuels. He asked about a game Pancho used to play with his children. Pancho explained that Alex was always too aggressive in the game. Alex then asked how to win this game of deceit. Pancho answers that you had to outsmart your opponent by letting him think he knows you really well and knows what your next move will be. Alex takes this advice and goes to give his answer to Samuels.

While the conversation between Alex and Pancho both showed their close father-son relationship and helped Alex deal with Samuels, I find it weird that Alex didn't just tell Pancho what was really going on. In the season premiere, Alex and Pancho seemed to share the secret about Samuels hiring Quinones to kill Pancho's youngest daughter. Pancho trusted Alex to protect his family and avenge the life of his little girl. However, in this episode, Alex doesn't mention the continued problems to his father at all. Indeed, Pancho's advice and consolation woFrank, the eldest natural born Duque sonuld have been helpful to Alex who is clearly a bit haunted by his order to have Quinones killed. He has a flashback of the murder then takes a shower (an obvious spiritual cleansing scene, I think). And the mixed emotions continue as Alex tells Miguel that he is not a killer and therefore will send Miguel back to Cuba (an exile that Miguel seemed to think was worse than death anyway). Yet, in the conversation with his son at the end of the show (another great moment between father and son), he replies to the future soldier's concerns about having to kill someone that you do what you "have" to do. I can't decide whether all these layers interest me more in Alex's character or just feel incongruous.

In addition to running interference to keep his murder of Quinones quiet, Alex tried to convince his family to spend 100 million (well, 50 million after the federal government subsidizes the cost) on an ethanol refinery. Such an investment would put the Duques at the helm of the clean energy industry but Pancho did give each of his natural-born children a piece of the business and this is A LOT of money (even Pancho seemed wary). However, Frank (the eldest son who was passed over for the CEO position) is the most unconvinced of Alex's plans and the most hurt by Alex's rise to power in the company. He spent the whole episode drifting between yessing Alex and planting the seeds of bitterness with his sister Isabel and his younger brother Henry. Isabel was concerned about the amount of money Alex wants to spend and wanted Alex to talk to Pancho. Henry wants to build a V.I.P. lounge in his club (which by the way was graced by Reggaeton performer Daddy Yankee last night).

My biggest problem with this episode is that Cane is not doing a good job of building some viable enemies for Alex. Samuels is clearly the most vile of the characters but he isn't smart enough to match wits with Alex and has been portrayed as a bigoted old tired man thus far. Ellis, his daughter, has all the makings of the femme fatale for this show but the narrative hasn't shown her doing much more than getting information from Frank and reporting back to Daddy. (A side note: Ellis is played by Polly Walker who played Atia on Rome. Anyone who watched Rome knew that Atia was a powerful woman who left many a dead betrayer in her wake. Why not take advantage of Polly Walker's ability to make being bad look oh so good?) Ellis seems truly in love with Frank. How can she help destroy the Duque family for her own family's gain if she is blinded by her love for the eldest son? And then there's Frank. I feel like some fire is missing from Frank's character. He is the natural-born son of Pancho and so the rightful heir to the Duque company. He's just not conniving enough for someone who has such a great reason to hate this decision and envy / hate Alex. There is so much that can be done with the dynamic the writers have set-up between the two brothers. Hopefully, the writers will do more with the scandalous romance between Frank and Ellis too. Both Polly Walker and Nestor Carbonell have a perfect look to play villians.

Who do you think will be Alex's biggest threat this season?
Frank37 (45.1%)
Ellis18 (22.0%)
Big Daddy Samuels16 (19.5%)
Henry (could be a sleeper)11 (13.4%)

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barbara

i think the last scene on cane was the sexiest thing i have seen on tv in a long time. jimmy smits walk in the rain looked so tempting as a man. i know it might sound corny but he looked dang good walking in the rain.

December 20 2007 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeffrey Lipsey

The second episode was much better than the first, although most of the time I'm bored out of my mind.

"I hate being forced to see the contrast between Alex’s good and bad side; we get the point: he’s a nice guy until you go against him. Smits acts the role of the Latino godfather, and frankly, I just don’t believe it."

http://lamererun.com/2007/10/03/cane-the-work-of-a-business-man/

October 08 2007 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kristin Sample

I really liked Santo too. The story relies a lot on Pancho's and Alex's life in Cuba and trip to America (and the toll it took on them and their families). Santo freshens that part of the story and keeps Cuba relevant in the context of the plot. He's at the same place Alex was years ago or Pancho was a generation before that. I think he will play a big role not only as Alex's hired thug but also as his confidante and loyal friend. As far as the actor--He wasn't on the CBS site. I will have to pay more attention to the credits next week.

October 03 2007 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mildred

I love Santo, he seems so real, he is my favorite. Who is the actor playing Santo? I think I saw him before

October 03 2007 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CeCe

I'm glad to see the review of Cane. I agree the characters need to be flushed out a little more, however this was only week two. Although we can already see that Frank is an idiot for confiding so completely with his lover/competition.

October 03 2007 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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