Episode Title: 'Exposure'
Writer: Seth Hoffman and Steven Levenson
Director: Duane Clark
While their paths may sometimes cross at unpleasant intersections, this week mobster, Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis) and Sheriff Lamb (Dennis Quaid) stayed out of each other's hair for the most part. But that didn't stop their allies and "associates" from getting a little bit friendlier.
When a military doctor is murdered, Sheriff Lamb is forced to work with an uptight Airforce investigator. Initially, Lamb and and Lt. Kemp get off to a bad start as the lieutenant insists on taking over the investigation. Ralph Lamb may be a bit rough around the edges, but he's also got a sensitive side. Especially when it comes to women with murdered boyfriends as we've seen over the course of this first season.
Though they butt heads at first, the sheriff and the lieutenant find common ground in their military service. It's the first time we've really heard Sheriff Lamb talk about his service and it helps fill in some of the missing pieces of his past.
While Sheriff Lamb and the boys are on the case, things are getting messy for Vincent Savino over at The Savoy. With auditors swarming the joint, Chicago isn't getting their skim and Johnny Rizzo (Michael Wiseman) is concerned. Savino suggests loosening the slots, but Rizzo's got a better idea; bringing in top tier lounge act, Diane Desmond (Ivana Milicevic) who happens to be Savino's former mistress from his Havana days. And she's still got a thing for portly bald mobsters.
As for Savino's wife Laura (Vinessa Shaw), she walks out on her coffee date with Katherine O'Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss) after learning her new bestie is also the Assistant District Attorney. But things take an interesting turn later in the episode when Laura also learns the truth about her husband's past relationship with Diane. Though she's steadfastly standing by her husband, Laura tells Katherine her loyalties no longer extend to his associates.
And with that a tentative partnership is formed. Of all the developments this week, I'm most interested to see where this one goes. Both of these characters needed more to do than stand around looking pretty. The relationship between Savino's wife and Ralph's childhood girl next door also provides another necessary link between the show's two main characters. Not every case is going to involve a murder at The Savoy, which even Savino joked about at the top of the hour as the sheriff eyed him suspiciously when a body turned up.
Another possible connection which will probably blow up in everyone's face is the budding relationship between Ralph's brother, Jack (Jason O'Mara) and Rizzo's daughter, Mia (Sarah Jones). The tension between Jack and Ralph seems to have subsided for the time being, which is disappointing as it actually makes both characters more interesting. But once things start to heat up between Jack and Mia, I fully expect Ralph to send one of those patented scowls in his brother's direction.
I mentioned Ralph's big heart before and it seems the gangster from Chicago can also be a softie. When Rizzo decides it best to whack the fastidious countroom employee who caught a missing slip, Savino enlists the help of Diane to distract Rizzo and get the young man out of town. Though ultimately, Ralph may prove to be the better man, it's important for us to like Vincent Savino on some level as he's more than just Ralph's nemesis.
It's a tricky balance to keep but so far, "Vegas" is doing a good job of making both Ralph Lamb and Vincent Savino protagonists and antagonist at the same time. There's even a few moments where you almost empathize with Savino, as he tries to get along with the sheriff the only way he knows how. Or rather the only way acceptable in his world.
Back to this week's case, it was fun to watch the sheriff work with a man who's even a bigger hardass than he is. And we also learned a wee bit more about the Ralph's late wife. It turns out she was killed in a car accident. There's no deep mystery to unravel but at least we're finally going there.
Despite it's glitzy setting, "Vegas'' pacing isn't accidentally that of a racehorse. But things are beginning to pick up nicely. This episode was especially efficient with moving the story forward while making life way more complicated in the long run for our cowboy and mobster.