Episode Title: "Estinto"
Writers: Vanessa Reisen and Nick Santora
Director: Anthony Hemingway
Previously on "Vegas:"
It’s Christmas in Vegas, but that doesn’t mean the body count is slowing down. In fact, by the end of "Estinto," one of Vincent Savino’s (Michael Chiklis) reoccurring headaches, former mistress and current Savoy lounge act, Diane Desmond (Ivana Milicevic) is dead, in addition to the poor Born Again construction company owner, Del Merrick.
Despite multiple (and somewhat violent) rebuffs, Diane continued to pursue Vincent. Sure he’s a powerful underworld boss running a glitzy casino, but there was more to Diane’s attraction to Vinny than his fat pockets and shiny chrome dome. And that was something was the FBI.
Diane’s druggie past caught up with her when she applied for a work permit in Vegas. Perpetual hothead, Johnny Rizzo (Michael Wiseman) worried not just about losing his soon-to-be-wife ,but also one of The Savoy’s top attractions. Luckily all Diane needed to do was call her lawyer. But not so lucky for her, all Vincent needed to do was call D.A. Reynolds (Michael Reilly Burke) to learn the truth about Diane and her undercover work for the FBI. Vincent roughed up the singer again, insisting she leave town ASAP or…well you know. Instead, Diane chose to go out on a high note, overdosing with a syringe plunged into arm.
A couple things about this subplot bothered me. For starters, I liked the idea of Diane working for the FBI while serenading tourists at The Savoy. Only problem is, Vincent could care less for her, which meant that Diane was completely disposable. But what about the smitten Johnny Rizzo, ready to put a ring on it? When he found Diane dead, Rizzo reacted like she was a random "junkie" showgirl, not the woman he planned to marry. Instead of an interesting subplot, Desmond’s storyline was wrapped up all too neatly, which makes you wonder what the point of it was to begin with? That is, unless I missed something here and Vincent was responsible for Diane’s OD, which would not sit well with Rizzo, as he seems to hate Vincent more than he ever loved Diane.
What’s telling about this episode of "Vegas" is how much more interesting the subplots were than the main storyline. Aside from Diane’s demise, we saw both Dixon (Taylor Handley) and Jack (Jason O'Mara) fall deeper under the spell of The Savoy and its trappings. For Jack, that trapping is Mia Rizzo (Sarah Jones). The two finally went out on a date, which went way too well for comfort. Buzzkiller and brother, Ralph (Dennis Quaid) tried to stop Jack from pursuing Mia, but to no avail. However, it was Mia who almost ended things, when she told her Honky Tonk beau their relationship needed to end. Of course it didn’t.
And there was young Dixon, who played right into Vincent’s hands when he was assigned to investigate a robbery at The Savoy. Vincent played on Dixon’s angst over his marginal role as a deputy. When Dixon caught the thief, Vincent rewarded him with a night in a high-end suite. At first, Dixon turned it down, but then decided to throw a Sheriff’s department Christmas party in the room. There he chased after Ms. Sanchez, the department secretary whose role was greatly increased in this episode. There's obviously something between these two, but does anyone care?
There was definitely plenty of movement in this episode, though some of it felt more like wheels spinning. We’re finally seeing Jack and Dixon start to break away from Ralph. As for Sheriff Lamb, himself, we didn’t get much out of him here. He and Jack solved the case of the construction company boss left for dead in a cement mixer. Turns out it was his wife and business partner, (Hey, it’s D.B. Sweeney) who offed Merrick when he decided to shut down his company and give the proceeds to a Church. If anything, Ralph acted as more of a catalyst for Jack and Dixon, as both had way more interesting stuff to do in this episode than our main man, the sheriff.
"Vegas" still seems like a show that’s unsure of what exactly it wants to do. The procedural end can be fun, especially when Sheriff Lamb and his boys get to apply their Wild West brand of law enforcement on mobsters and thugs. But the subplots in this episode took up a lot of time and some of it felt wasteful. I’m not very interested in whether Ralph and Katherine (Carrie-Anne Moss) finally hook-up, although that possibility was teased in this episode with an awkward hug moment at the end. But Savino and Mia’s respective relationships with the Lamb boys are promising, in a really bad-stuff-is-gonna-happen kind of way. Hopefully, that "bad stuff" starts happening soon.