Cane: Family Business
(S01E04) I was pleasantly surprised yet again this week by last night's Cane. The narrative is really starting to gel in both the overarching plot of the season and within individual episodes. Maybe it's wishful thinking but this show could be the Dynasty or Dallas I have been waiting for. Okay, maybe that assessment was premature (I don't want to put that kind of pressure on the Smits), but this episode was great. The show is finally doing a good job of balancing the all the different storylines and making most, if not all, the characters interesting in their own right. For awhile there, it was just Jimmy Smits and his interactions with everyone else.
As I've said before in my reviews, Cane relies heavily on its incredible cast and their talents. Last night's episode proved no different. The heart-wrenching scene where Amalia confronts Pancho about hiding his relapse of cancer and his grim diagnosis was great. Amalia was mad at Pancho for keeping his condition from her, anxious about telling the rest of the family, and was feeling just how deeply she loves her husband all at the same time. Watching that scene was the first time I hated reading the subtitles. I usually like to know exactly what the characters are saying when they speak Spanish but here I just wanted to look at Rita Moreno's and Hector Elizondo's faces. And when actors are that good, do you really need to *read* what they are saying to *know* what they are saying?
In addition to well-played emotionally charged scenes, Alex Vega's character is taking a turn for the better. In the first few episodes he was untouchable and a little too, for lack of a better adjective, Tony Soprano-ish. But, characters can't act like Tony Soprano (i.e. having a man murdered and having said man's body moved so police won't find it) and be as nice as Alex and as good-natured as Alex. Last night, the audience witnessed the consequences of Quinones's murder. Indeed, Alex Vega can't be a stand up family man and a murderer. At some point he has to face what he did and explain it, most likely to his wife Isabel who doesn't seem like she will take no for an answer. I wonder if Alex will successfully hide his secrets from her. Also, when Isabel finds out what will she do? Seeing how involved Isabel got in the decision to mechanize the sugar harvest, I think she will find out and then act in the same way Alex does: protect the Duque family at all costs.
Still, for all its merits, I think Cane could improve in areas. Firstly, is CBS really going to waste time with some random not-quite-A-list singer in Henry Duque's club every other week? Daddy Yankee made sense: a Latino singer/rapper/whatever on a show set in Miami in a club owned by a Cuban family. But what about Nicole Scherzin...whatever her last name is (who has been *attempting* to promote that same single since she was on So You Think You Can Dance this summer--I remember the box and wind machine gimmick)? Did we really need her on the show? It was a little incongruous that they would make-up a fake Paris Hilton-esque character but not do the same for a musical act. And did she have to be Henry's ex-girlfriend? I liked that the relationship propelled the storyline with the investors, though. Alex told Henry that these investors were sketchy and I think we will see this play out in the next few episodes. Alex will probably have to come to Henry's rescue.
Secondly, (and this will be my last complaint because I did enjoy the show last night) I still maintain that the show has a few too many characters. Did anyone notice that Alex's youngest son Artie wasn't there? He wasn't even at the family dinner. Perhaps, the kid has been canned. If so, is Isabel still pregnant with the Artie replacement? That wasn't mentioned either? Also, Santo was nowhere to be found. I think he is coming next week but he should be on the show in some way every week. From what I've heard, he's one of the truest and most enjoyable characters on the show.
Gallery: Cane: The Business of a Family Man