Episode Title: "Redemption"
Writer: Julie Hebert
Director: Phil Abraham
Previously on "Boss":
Mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) learns that the man who attempted to kill him is a Vietnam vet named Chad Langley. He listens in at the police station as Langley explains his motive to an officer. At home, Meredith (Connie Nielsen) tells Emma (Hannah Ware) that Tom wants to have a family dinner with the two of them.
After going for a run, Tom is bombarded by the press with questions about the suspect in Meredith's shooting. Meanwhile, Sam Miller (Troy Garity) demands his team of writers uncover the name of the suspect. Over at Lennox Gardens, Trey (T.I.) assigns Darius (Rotimi) to keep watch over the girls weighing and bagging his drugs.
The contractor Mona hired for Lennox Gardens shows his plans to Tom and a group of subcontractors. Tom tells the men he wants the project done fast, smart and cheap. Afterwards, one of the subcontractors gets in McGantry's car and tells him about the new contractor's plans.
At the Zajac campaign headquarters, Ben (Jeff Hephner) becomes irate when he learns that Walsh has hired Kitty O'Neill to manage his campaign. He takes his anger out on volunteer, Patty and tells one of his aides to have her moved to another office.
While meeting with a campaign sponsor in a restaurant, Kitty (Kathleen Robertson) sees Kane. He confronts her in the bathroom about working for Walsh. He also asks her about Chad Langley. Elsewhere, Darius calls Emma and asks to meet her him but she tells him she's not worth the risk. At Ryan Kavanaugh's bar, Sam questions the detective working on Ezra Stone's murder but gets little info.
That night, Tom watches Mona (Sanaa Lathan) in bed with her husband via hidden camera. She tells him about her conflicted feelings regarding the Lennox Gardens project and Kane. The two them start making love as Tom watches.
Kitty meets with Sam and the two make a deal for an editorial on Walsh in exchange for the name of the suspect in the shooting. At the office, Kane tells Mona he wants her to personally visit the tenants at Lennox Gardens to get them up to speed on the project.
Mona gets nowhere with the citizens of Lennox Gardens while Tom has Ian (Jonathan Groff) deliver an envelope to Ryan Kavanaugh. At the bar, Ian sees the photo of Tom and Ryan with two women and asks about it.
At the Gardens, Mona sees Ward Boss Kenya Taylor bullying tenants into signing a class action lawsuit in order to stop the buildings from being condemned. She later confronts Alderman Ross (James Vincent Meredith) about the tactic, but he denies any knowledge of it.
Kitty meets with Maggie Zajac (Nicole Forester) to negotiate the terms of the debate. When the two can't seem to come to an agreement, Maggie tells Kitty she knows about her affair with Ben. Kitty is taken aback and agrees to Maggie's terms.
At home, the Kane family attempts to have dinner. Meredith tells Tom about an experimental treatment for his illness but when he tries to talk to Emma, she refuses to play along and calls Tom "a monster" before leaving the table.
Mona attempts to talk to the residents of the Gardens again but is she mostly ignored. Then Tom shows up. After Mona told him about Ross and Taylor's lawsuit, he promises to make sure every tenant is relocated and apologizes for letting the Lennox Gardens residents down all these years. He then has Taylor arrested for bribery and extortion.
McGantry tells his subcontractor spy to take care of the situation with Lennox Gardens. Ian comes home to his apartment and glances at a framed copy of the same picture from Kavanaugh's bar.
"Some things are better left broken." This is what Meredith tells Tom when he tries to force a reconciliatory family dinner with his wife and estranged daughter. And this little bit of questionable wisdom really sums up the entire episode, as we saw Mayor Kane attempt to clean up a mess he made twenty-years ago in the run-down Lennox Gardens development.
The thing is, we've seen Tom make things right before, only to do irreparable damage afterwards. As the ghost of Ezra Stone asked Tom what he's done at the end of the episode, we're also left wondering how he plans to make good on his promise to the Lennox Gardens residents as well as his Chief of Staff, Mona Fredericks.
While Tom was busy making house calls in order to shut down Ward Boss, Kenya Taylor's class action lawsuit, the rest of Chicago's major political players were also making big moves. Kitty O'Neill and Ben Zajac have learned to move forward both personally and professionally without each other, yet they're both still weighed down by their the scandalous past. And then there's Mona Fredricks inner conflict over selling out her own old neighbors in order to advance her career.
I was a bit concerned about warming up to season two newbies, Mona Fredericks and Ian Todd, especially after becoming so attached to Ezra Stone by the end of of last season. But after "Redemption," I'm just as enamored with these newcomers as I was with the Ezra and Kitty combo. And we've still got Ezra spooking things up as a hallucination of Tom's conscience and Kitty batting for the other team.
A few additional observations about "Boss:"
- So are we to infer that Ian is Tom's illegitimate son? It's a little soapy for my taste but I guess if "Boss" wants to be a bonafide political drama, there's needs to be an illegitimate child. And Kitty's ain't happenin' so….
- Poor Patty. Zajac wants nothing to do with her Monica Lewinsky act after all.
- How great was Maggie and Kitty's little negotiation? Maggie is one of my favorite characters in an already stacked cast.
- McGantry is one scary, creepy old dude. I thought the days of dumping bodies in ditches were over at the end of last season, but McGantry may restart the trend.
- I'm still struggling with Emma's character. Aside from providing another reason for us to hate Tom, she doesn't seem to have much purpose. Also Hannah Ware's British accent keeps creeping through.
"Boss" is easily one of the most addictive new shows to come along in some time. It's the kind of show that agitates, angers and also endears itself to viewers while it entertains. The acting is top notch across the board, the writing is smart and cutting and the direction is artful without calling unnecessary attention to itself. "Redemption" was exemplary episode of all of the above.