Episode Title: 'Atonement'
Writer: Mitch Glazer
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Previously on “Magic City”:
A temple service held for Mike Strauss is interrupted by an agent of the State's Attorney's office, who informs Ike (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) that the body is being remanded for evidence. Ike warns the agent that the States can only stall for so long. Back at the Miramar Playa, Ike's attorney says his hands are tied in the matter. Ike then tells Stevie (Steven Strait) to a call a writer at the Miami Herald.
At the hotel restaurant, Victor (Yul Vazquez) asks a waiter to help with Maria's situation, as he worried Ike won't get her out of Cuba in time. He tells Victor he'll set up a meeting. Meanwhile, Vera (Olga Kurylenko) meets with Dave Powers from Jack Kennedy's office. After Vera talks up the Senator's many visits to the hotel, Powers asks her if she needs a favor. Vera asks Powers to reach out to Jackie Kennedy about the luncheon she canceled on.
Ike visits Klein's office with the reporter from the Herald, who Klein (Matt Ross) mistakenly assumes is his lawyer. Ike tells Klein that holding Strauss' body won't make anyone talk. When Klein brushes Ike off, Ike reveals the man to be a reporter from the Herald. Klein comes back with a question for Ike and the reporter: who had motive to kill Mike Strauss?
At the barber shop, Victor is introduced to a man from an investment first interested in "a free Cuba." Victor tells the man that Maria has ties to Cuban President, Batista, as her father was his barber. Though Castro is holding anyone close to Batista, he assures Victor he can help.
Two of Ben Diamond's heavies stop by while he's fishing to give the mobster an update on the Strauss' situation. They let him know that Judi Silver will be taken care of shortly. Later at The Atlantis bar, Judi (Elena Satine) decides to let Mirna take her date so she can have a rendezvous with Stevie.
Ike stops by the backroom of the lingerie shop to ask Phil (Gregg Weiner) to make the Governor's Chief of Staff lose big at the next card game. Elsewhere, Stevie has sex with Judi, though he's clearly thinking of Lily. At the Atlantis, Mirna waits for her date, wearing a blonde wig so the John will think she's Judi.
That night, Stevie's room is robbed while he's off with Judi. Danny (Christian Cooke) and Mercy (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) happen to be outside the room at the time. When Danny goes in to see if Stevie's there, he's knocked out by the intruder.
Ike sits over Danny's bed in the hospital, determined to be there when his son wakes up. Vera is about to enter the room when she hears Ike telling an unconscious Danny a story about his mother. Ike wakes up to find Meg (Kelly Lynch) at the hospital and the two sit with Danny. The next day, Danny wakes up and he and Ike talk to the cops. Stevie then takes Ike aside to tell him that Mirna and a John were shot, when the killer mistook her for Judi Silver.
Back the Miramar Playa, the Governor's Chief of Staff chases Ike down, begging for more time to pay up on a big loss at the card table. Ike agrees on the condition that Mike Strauss' body be released back to his family.
Out by the pool, Ike finds Ben Diamond (Danny Huston) and let's him know he killed the wrong woman. He insists Judi can't hurt Ben but the mobster is not convinced. Ike decides to appeal to Ben's greed and the two agree that Ben will get a stake in the hotel shops if he let's Judi live.
Mike Strauss is finally buried, to the relief of his grieving widow. Elsewhere, the man who robbed Stevie's room goes through his plunder and opens an envelope containing the photos of Stevie and Lily.
Well, the good news on this fourth episode of "Magic City" is the assorted storylines are moving along at a pace fast enough to keep things interesting. The bad news is the show's character development isn't keeping up.
It looks like we've got a bit of a Cain and Abel dynamic between the brooding Stevie and his wide-eyed brother, Danny. After Klein's men make off with Mike Strauss' body, Stevie warns Danny "they're coming after Dad." Danny is incredulous at the suggestion that their father could be mixed up in any kind of trouble with the law. Does he not know who Ben Diamond is?
We know Danny's been away at school but surely he's not that out of the loop on what really goes on at the Miramar Playa. Ike likes to tell stories about his dead wife but it's the history of his two sons I'd like to know more about.
While Stevie looks to follow in his father's footsteps, running a hotel where prostitution and illegal gambling are practically on the room service menu, law school student, Danny has more above-board ambitions. It seems likely that conflict of interest will cause these two to butt heads. And hopefully soon, as neither Evans boy has much to do, at the moment (though Stevie's candid conversation with Vera at the bar was one of the better scenes in this episode)
On that note, how is it that Stevie isn't completely panicked about someone breaking into his room. The same room where there's an envelope full of pictures that pretty much guarantee him (and Lily) a slow, painful death at the hands of Ben Diamond? After last week's run-in with his girlfriend's psychotic hubby, it's hard to believe Stevie isn't concerned about the robbery.
While the Mike Strauss murder and Cuban refugee storylines moved along, there were also some nice character moments for Vera, who at this point, is the most interesting character on the show.
We saw a bit of her cunning, manipulative side in a negotiation with a man from Jack Kennedy's office. When she learns of his arrival, Vera's first instinct is to find Ike. But when she learns he's not on the property, Vera decides to handle the situation herself.
And once again, she's reminded of what she could have been. Last week, it's a television star, this time around it's a politician's wife or even a politician, herself. Regret and sacrifice seem to be running themes with Vera. So far, she seems content with her role in Ike's life and at the Miramar Playa but it will be interesting to see what happens when her restlessness takes over.
Ben Diamond also a few special moments in 'Atonement' though his wannabe cerebral, allegories are getting to be a bit much. But the bedroom floor window under the rug which allows him to watch Lily pleasure herself is one very creative way to let us know more about what this is guy is all about.
Now four episodes in, I'm hooked on "Magic City," not based on what I've seen so far but on the promise of a better show to come. With a second season locked in, Mitch Glazer has plenty of time to play in this world he's built, based on his childhood in Miami. There's a good show in the Miramar Playa somewhere and I'm willing to give Glazer more time to find it.