Episode Title: "The Third Man"
Writers: Vanessa Reisen and Jim Adler
Director: Matt Earl Beesley
Previously on "Vegas:"
If this week’s episode of "Vegas" was about anything other than Jack (Jason O'Mara) breaking the news to Mia (Sarah Jones) that he killed her father, I’d be mad. Instead, "The Third Man" was about Jack doing anything but breaking the news to Mia. But can we blame him?
To be fair, Johnny Rizzo made it known to both Mia and Jack that the deputy would not be a popular son-in-law. And Mia came close to ending their relationship, but all it took was a little persistence from Jack to keep their Vegas-strip version of "Romeo and Juliet" going. And all it took was a little tip from Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis) about Mia talking to the A.D.A., at Jack’s insistence, to put the deputy at the top of Rizzo’s hit list.
Which is why it’s kind of hard to believe that nobody suspects Jack could have anything to do with Rizzo’s death. Ralph seems to attribute his younger brother’s strange behavior to shock and instead comes up with the flimsy theory that the boyfriend of Rizzo’s druggie accomplice is responsible. It’s even more frustrating when the usually competent detective, Ralph promises Jack they’ll find the white truck the killer drove. Not Jack’s white truck, of course.
You could argue that Sheriff Lamb has a blind spot when it comes to those he loves. He certainly does with Katherine O’Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss) whose affections he may or may not be oblivious to. But the connection between Jack and Rizzo is just too obvious to completely ignore.
While Katherine and Ralph work up their theories on Rizzo’s killer, Dixon (Taylor Handley) takes the lead on a case involving a high school friend and a stolen car ring. It’s nice to Dixon work some cases on his own and it frees everyone else up to get preoccupied with Rizzo’s murder.
As for Jack, it appears he’s past the point of coming clean about killing Rizzo. At least tampering with evidence in a federal investigation would suggest so. But it's pretty painful to watch when Jack tells Mia to trust no one and she responds by confessing he’s the only man she does trust.
Maybe it’s that Jack makes bad decisions in general (like dating a mob boss’s daughter when he's a sheriff's deputy in the same town) that leads him to lie when he has the chance to tell Mia the truth – a truth that given the circumstances is entirely understandable. Or maybe it’s a matter of pride, given the fact that his big brother and boss told him so about dating Mia. Either way, it makes Jack interesting, which is a good thing.
As for Vincent Savino, the likable wiseguy from last week who pined away for his family was gone. Instead we have the manipulative puppet master who orchestrated Rizzo’s ambush of Jack. When the deputy confronts him about the setup, Savino is quick to realize he has the upper hand and suggests they both keep their mouths shut on the matter. Meanwhile, Catherine threatens to let Chicago know about her coffee breaks with Savino’s wife. However, Savino doesn’t think Catherine has the guts to make the kind of plays he does. But when it comes to taking down the mob, we’ve already seen Catherine go against the sheriff to get at Savino. But just how far is she willing to go?
Ironically, Jack’s refusal to come clean to Mia leads her right to Savino, who agrees to make her Head of Operations at The Savoy. Which means it’s only a matter of time before Savino tries to use his leverage with Jack to get out of a bind. And seeing how resistant Ralph is to letting Dixon’s old friend off the hook for stealing a car, how will he handle his brother’s deception?
On a lighter note, "Vegas" is still working its "country boy" charms, what with Dennis Quaid flashing that mile-long grin of his at a blushing gas station attendant and Dixon practicing his foreign accents with comely female tourists on the strip. And Savino’s got some "charms" of his own, as we see when he has the entrainment director of a rival joint fearing for his life in a back alley, only to be offered a job at The Savoy.
"The Third Man" was another great episode in a run that’s making a strong case for a second season. Ratings-wise, "Vegas" might not be where it should but with a little luck and more episodes like this one, hopefully that changes.