Monday, November 14, 2011

Boss: Reflex, Swallow, Slip

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Well, I didn't have wonderful things to say about the first installment of Boss, and apparently I meant them. I haven't come back to this show in weeks, and sat down to watch three episodes in one evening (which is quite the sitting when you remember that the show is a full 54 minutes). After Episode 3, I almost flat-out quit. But, I decided to watch the fourth episode, in case it turned around. It did not. I'm calling it quits halfway through the first season of Boss. In talking with others, it seems like I just have too much of a hatred for politics to enjoy the show. Because, really, that's what every character in every episode focuses on, with the exception of Darius... for now. So, read my thoughts on episodes 2, 3, and 4 below, and I bid farewell to the show. However, another one of TheTalkingBox's contributors has an interesting idea in mind to showcase about Boss, so look for that coming soon. Otherwise, c'est la vie. 

© MMXI Lions Gate Television Inc.
Boss "Reflex" (S01E02): [The font in the opening is strange. So is the jagged video at certain points. Interesting pan on the public art in Chicago. The overlayed drawings were also strange.] Tom takes some meds, then locks them in a desk drawer in his office. There's a garbage strike of sorts going on, and to fix it, Tom needs to get some more votes. He's hoping to snag Alverson, who votes with Ross on almost every issue, regardless of the fact that he considers himself an independent. [was that fact necessary? Is it going to come up later or something?] So, he heads to a funeral to be near Alverson, and tells him that he wants his vote on the trash ordinance. Later that day, while giving a speech, Tom has an episode and struggles with words. Back at his office, Tom watches his speech and sees where he faltered, then orders an assistant to find his wife. [why is the coverage of Tom's speech on VHS?]

Meanwhile, Cullen is trying to dig up dirt on Zajac, and Tom helps by sending a video of a young Zajac to Cullen... though Tom has a different plan. It doesn't take long for the video to leak out, and Cullen speaks about it (calling it disgusting), against the advice of his staff. Zajac goes out to a press conference and tells the story of what happened that night, back in undergrad. The victim in the video is in the audience, which bodes well for Zajac's tale. [He makes a good point about jumping to conclusions.] Then, Zajac (who has a wife and two children) and Kitty have sex again. [OMG they are like in plain sight! Why would you risk so much to spend some sexual time with someone??!?]

After delivering a sermon, Emma finds out that the clinic is looking to be shut down, as it costs too much money and the church focuses more on spiritual health. [happens.] Emma is told to dumb-down the sermons so that more people come and more money is donated. [makes sense.] Then she goes to Darius' place, where she sees he's running a pharmacy of sorts out of his apartment... bottles, fake labels, pills, and a safe full of money. [oh my innocence! I was kinda awed by the fake labels!]

The reporter heads out to the archaeological site, and finds out that there's a secret night crew that is doing most of the work. At night, he returns, and see tons of trash bags being tossed into dumpsters. [what the...?] He's escorted back to his car by security. The next day he tries to connect with Meredith, who tells him to go through her office. He asks her if she knew that Tom was seeing Dr. Harris, and she replies that he suffers from migraines and has switched doctors. Her face, however, reveals that she did not know. Meredith then heads to see her husband at the office, wanting to know why he's been talking to Emma. (He had interrupted her reading a story to some sick children to mention it - NO IDEA why he did it then...) She reminds him that Emma is dangerous and he responses that maybe things have changed. She reminds him that they chose to fortify themselves by distancing themselves from their daughter... she's just a liability with intolerable behavior. [wow! that's harsh!] Meredith does not want that to change, and asks Tom if he understands why. He says yes. She asks if there's something else she should know, and he says no. She then asks him who Dr. Harris is, and he responds with "when's the last time you cared where I put it?" [hahahaha!] When she gets home, she goes to Tom's room and bathroom to look around and finds Xanax, prescribed by Dr. Harris.

Back at the clinic, Emma is visited by Tom for the first time in five years. Later, after he's left, she calls her mother's house and asks for her father, who isn't there. She asks Meredith to tell Tom she called, but Meredith says that he doesn't really live there. She suggests Emma call him at work, then asks Emma if she's awake during the day, needs money, and if she's clean. [so yeah, the drugs are definitely why they've more or less disowned their child.] Emma hangs up and goes to the clinic's storeroom, but doesn't take anything. She heads to Darius' and cooks up some heroin (? I don't know too much about drugs). Darius stops her from shooting up, though, and they make out. [I guess you really need to like someone to want them over the money they'd pay you for drugs.]

The vote on the trash is tied, and it's assumed that Tom came down and broke the tie. We see him have wine with a naked lady, but it's unclear if he's hallucinating or what. He goes to see the former Mayor Rutledge, tells him that he has a tough daughter, and questions why she is that way. [ Meredith the guy's daughter?]

Also, Cullen is shown in Miami with a "close friend" at the airport, where a guy fixes his laptop shoulder strap... but is spoken of to mean more. [How did they get they get the information from the Miami airport?]

"Swallow" (S01E03): We see part of Tom's dream... a horse being given pills. [that's creepy!] He wakes up having wet the bed, and he's at Meredith's. He tries to start a load of laundry but can't figure out the machine, even with the instructions. So, he starts to hand-wash them, and Meredith enters. He says that he spilled some wine on the sheets, and she asks why he's not using the machine. He admits that he can't turn it on, and she asks why he's there. He apologizes for waking her, and she tells him to leave the sheets for the maid. [why is he there? I don't understand the different places he sleeps I guess?]

Tom meets the doctor in a public location and asks about his side effects. She mentions that she only prescribed Xanax, but knows that he's on something else because of the symptoms he's talking about. She gives him advice and writes him a prescription to control the urination, then passes on an envelope of information that she was hesitant to hand over. [this could be interesting...] Also, he apologizes for the way that she was confronted previously. Later, we see Tom meet his dealer for more drugs. Then, he opens the envelope and sees images of symptoms and death from his condition. [I understand the symptoms, but why show the dead bodies? what's the point in that?] There's also a video included, talking about trial medications that have failed. [again with the VHS... are we not in 2011? because if we're not, I might not be watching this show in the right light...] Tom "sees" two girls playing around and fiddles with some pills... he has a "mayor" vs. "mare" thing going, and speaks of an issue with vomiting the pills. He walks out of the room with the girls. [again, not clear on if this is a hallucination or what. but the mayor/mare thing was clever.]

Cullen has lunch with some citizens, hoping for their votes. He then gets asked in front of the cameras what his relationship with the guy on the airport camera is. He says it's nothing, and Tom, via a few other headsets, forces the question about why he's been going to Miami so frequently. [the multiple middle-men thing was a bit strange, but I liked the concept of what Tom did. And, though there really was nothing going on between the men (that we know of), it was a bit forward of the kid to adjust Cullen's strap.] Cullen is up 3% with Asian-Americans, possibly because they approve of his "choice in men." [hahahahaha!] Cullen's team suggests that he use facebook for promotion, but Cullen says that won't be helpful in the primaries. They then suggest that he ask Tom for help. Cullen goes to Tom and suggests that Zajac should wait four more years. [and here I start really hating the political game again...] Tom has an episode, then tells Cullen that he's a piece of cr@p, in a nutshell. Stone is suspicious.

© MMXI Lions Gate Television Inc.
Kitty is in a meeting with Zajac and a few others. [Kitty has a new pair of glasses. They're very... retro.] He comes on to her again, and enters her from behind in the conference room, where not every wall has closed blinds. [these people are driving me crazy!] Zajac does a commercial with his family.

The reporter is continuing to ask people about what's going on at the archaeological dig, but isn't getting anywhere. He goes to the site at night, stays in his car, and follows a loaded dumptruck... everything is being off-loaded onto a barge. The reporter jots down the information on the container and gets out of there. The reporter calls the Camden Waste company about the barge, and the woman mentions that there's a chemical smell, like orange juice and Mr. Clean, and that the waste will be identified the next day. He goes to the site to take a water sample, since the men mentioned the water tasted kinda orangey last time he was there. The reporter receives the lab results from the water, but we didn't hear them. [grrr. I want to know what's in that water!]

At the clinic, a woman brings in a boy who fell from the monkey bars and is now tired promptly. The child soon goes into a seizure, and they don't have any medicine to give him and end up having to call 911. Darius and Emma have sex, and they talk a little about her strained relationship with her father. Then she brings up that the clinic needs drugs for a good price. [though I don't really expect this to work out.] Emma gives another sermon, and Tom comes in during it. Tom talks to Emma and tells her about his condition, but she's upset that he never came because he missed her. She believes that he's selfish, and says that it's too late for reconciliation. [the family dynamics on this show are just so messed up...]

There's a debate about outsourcing schools, and Meredith shows up, talking about how the country has dropped so much in math and science in comparison with the rest of the world. She supports outsourcing janitors, cafeteria workers, etc. in order to pay teachers more. She wants supplies to be bought in bulk and distributed across multiple school districts. Meredith tries to talk to Dr. Harris a little, but Harris cuts her off (on an unrelated topic) by mentioning that she can't discuss anything about Tom. [was she wrong to assume that Meredith was after that information? probably not.] When Harris arrives home, there's a guy in her house, who tells her that she and her son will be permanently relocated the next morning. If she doesn't agree, her husband will have full custody of her son. [...and her husband is supposed to be fine with a sudden move, likely rather far away??] The next day, Meredith calls the hospital to reach Dr. Harris and is told that she no longer works there, and there is no forwarding information. [creepy. I don't like how these people are covering up things constantly. Also, Tom's going to need another doctor anyway...]

After breaking the news to a councilperson that Tom will no longer back him because of the way he voted on the trash ordinance, a guy comes over to Kitty in a bar. He asks her out and she undoes his pants and feels him up before saying that they should head out together. ['re kidding me, right? Did i just see this? Almost time to gouge my eyes or something!]

Tom talks to Rutledge again, and the nurse thanks Tom for coming, as it makes the non-verbal former mayor happy. She removes her clothing in sight of Tom and he doesn't follow. The episode ends as Tom realizes that the city has cameras everywhere, and we find out he intends to keep a close watch on himself and his moves.

Boss "Slip" (S01E04): Tom wakes up in a bed in Rutledge's home, having presumably slept with the nurse. The nurse is going to register to vote, as Zajac "speaks to her." [pet peeve: people who aren't registered to vote!] She asks Tom if she'll see him that night, and he responds that "I think it's better if you don't ask me that." [reasonable.] Tom gets a new laptop and wants help setting up. Tom has another episode speaking with a guy about Scientia, the school-outsourcing thing, in his office. Stone witnesses it.

Meredith comes to Emma's clinic and wants to know why Tom has been coming. Meredith feels she has a right to know, but Emma says that the right isn't with her and tells her to ask Tom. [well-put, Emma.] Emma then goes to talk to Tom, and asks how long he has to live. He says that he doesn't know, and is not yet in pain. Emma said that it will take effort to make their relationship work, and there will need to be rules. No unannounced visits (he tells her she can come by anytime anyway), and cell phones only - don't call the clinic. Emma also warns him that Meredith is snooping around.

The reporter talks to someone who has a sick 11-year-old kid, who has kidney cancer. A family down the street also have a child who was born with problems. [How did the reporter find the first kid?] Toxic waste was dumped in the area that's being worked on, and Tom issues a statement that leaders of the past did it, and it's being cleaned up and taken out of the state. The reporter is upset that he's been scooped, and thinks that his editor was the person who leaked "tomorrow's top story." Later, the editor goes to the bar where the reporter is, and tells him to finish the story about the kids, since that WASN'T covered by Tom. The reporter receives a letter from 1987, when Tom was working at the department of sanitation. It mentions knowledge that there was toxic waste and that it needed to be disposed of... we don't know whom the letter was for, but it was CC'd to Rutledge. [...the plot thickens...]

Kitty arrives at the Zajac bus and they work on his stances and some relevant statistics. Zajac goes to a diner to eat with some folks in Danville, a farming area where people there lost a lot in the genetically-modified seed stuff. Zajac goes out to one guy's farm to see what they're talking about, and he tells the farmer that he can't help him with a job. He's sorry that the seed experiment didn't work, and all he can promise is that he'll tell the truth. [yada yada politics yada yada... yawn.] Later, back at the campaign bus, Kitty and Zajac bang some more, and she asks him how come he asked the camera guy to not film what he said to the farmer. Then they have sex again... after partially dressing. [enough!]

Meredith comes to talk to Tom and yells at him for ruining part of her project with Scientia. Apparently, Tom gave the job to the guy who came to seem him, which he realizes when he looks back at the video he has of himself in his office (a security camera is on new laptop). He THOUGHT he said "it's my wife's and there's nothing I can do," which really makes him question everything he says to everyone, since what he's thinking and what he's saying are not the same thing. [ this guy is degenerating pretty quickly. How are they going to milk two seasons at this rate??] Later, Meredith realizes that there's something between Kitty and Zajac. Meredith meets Zajac, then speaks to Kitty, implying that she knows Kitty is unfaithful to Tom with Zajac.

The drug dealer gets brought in and keeps mentioning Stone's name. After a while, they let him go, but the guy who drives him away is the meanie who made Harris move. He locks him in a car and it's assumed he's killed as the L going by covers up the noise. [oh geez. they really want me to keep watching this show when this is what they're doing??]

Tom goes to the clinic and his daughter hooks him up with the drugs he needs. He tells her he's impressed with what she's up to. He gives her money for them, though she doesn't want to take it at first. He implies that maybe the clinic will receive a grant from city hall. Darius is told by a friend to stop acting "differently" for Emma. She gets into his car and we find out that the drugs she gave Tom were from Darius, not the clinic. [::shaking my head::] They have sex in his parked car, under the shadows of the church. [::more head-shaking::]

Zajac has an early morning drink with Cullen, and he's asked what will happen if he loses in the general election, to Walsh, a female whom Cullen has beaten three times. Cullen then tells Zajac that he had Tom's backing once, and that the same thing could happen to Zajac.

Meredith comes to see Rutledge's nurse... and we learn that Rutledge is indeed her father. She sends away the nurse and talks to her father in private. She tells him that Tom dragged Rutledge's name through the mud (via the "leaders of the past buried toxic waste" stuff). She then breaks down crying and apologizes repeatedly.
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