Directed by Sylvain White
Written by Noah Hawley
* For a recap & review of “East/West,” click here.
* For a recap & review of “Storia Americana,” click here.
Lots of nasty stuff going down in Kansas City. People are dying all over the place, and dying hard. Bullets fly in the streets. Newspapers report every grim, ghastly detail for the public. Bodies turn up from the shore on in, which keeps the Smutneys busy. But nothing is good for anybody when blood’s all but flowing in the street. Meanwhile, Oraetta has her creepy eye on young Ethelrida, who’s trying to keep her distance as much as possible. That situation’s definitely not going to go well.
Cops bust in on the Faddas, including Odis, perhaps no longer worried about his connection to the Italian mob in KC. Across the city, Loy and his people are doing their best to stay alive and not get murdered on their way to their cars, or to a shop, or anywhere else. Soon, Loy’s having a meeting with Leon’s cousin Lionel Halloway (Edwin Lee Gibson) a.k.a Happy. He’s not happy with Leon, but he apologises for how things have gone. It seems other people aren’t totally happy with Loy, either. They don’t want his actions reflecting on every other Black person. Loy’s trying to make a statement, to show people he’s staying in KC, but Lionel warns him this is the Cosa Nostra, not “Podunk thuggery.” Lionel’s only really convinced about the need to lend his help when Buel speaks up. He agrees to giving Cannon two weeks of his manpower.
Things are going sideways for Josto. He tries getting to Odis, yet the cop’s decided he’s done with the mob. He then goes to see the consiglieri, who advises that war’s not “good for business.” Gaetano attempts to speak reason for once, explaining to his brother that this can’t be made personal when it’s business. What Josto decides is they need to find a replacement for Loy who’s easier to deal with, and he’s also intending on snuffing out Dt. Weff while they’re at it.
Great use of “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by the Golden Gate Quartet as we see Satchel and his dog on the long, long walk out of Liberal, Kansas back towards home. His parents still believe he’s been murdered, which is partly what’s fuelling Loy’s animosity. Elsewhere at the library, Ethelrida is doing more research into the trail of death left in Oraetta’s wake. Later, her mother talks about their family history, and the curse of Theodore Roach, a slaver one of their ancestors killed who now haunts them. Oraetta turns up like an absolute creep, trying to get Ethelrida alone. Lemuel’s able to keep things under control, though the nurse’s racism combined with her psychopathy is pretty threatening.
Leon and Lionel are meeting with Josto. They’re setting up Leon as Loy’s replacement—assuming this is the long play with Cannon pulling strings, but could it be actual sour grapes on their part against him? Hmm. In the meantime, Josto’s potential father-in-law is calling off his daughter’s wedding, not wanting any connection the Italians who are now “Public Enemy #1” in Missouri. Gaetano soon punches the guy and sends him running off with his tail between his legs.
We now find out Lionel and Leon were going into business for themselves. It isn’t a trick orchestrated by Loy. Goddamn. A betrayal’s bad enough, but at such a vulnerable time, too. What will Cannon do from here? Probably going to lean further into the bloodshed, I’d imagine. All this time his young boy’s out there, alive, on the road with his dog pal. Not a great era for a Black boy to be by himself in the American Midwest. Good thing he’s still got that pistol with him, and he asserts himself with power against a couple white men trying to fuck with him.
Every waking moment for Odis is now filled with paranoia. He’s got another pair of cops with him wherever he goes. The Italians are staking out his place, waiting for the moment he arrives. They’re not going to let this one go without violent retribution. Gaetano and Josto are busy talking about who has a “big dick” or not, in between one of older brother’s stories that helps the two of them bond a bit more. Simultaneously, Odis gets home. When he flicks on the lights to his apartment he sees the place is torn apart, including the shrine he kept dedicated to his murdered wife. When he leaves he sees Gaetano and Josto waiting for him. He pulls his gun but drops it on the floor. And Gaetano pumps him full of bullets.
On his way back to the car, Gaetano trips and shoots himself, too.
“We’re here now”
That night, Oraetta sneaks into the Smutney home with drugs to inject into Ethelrida. She gets scared out of there by the ghost of Roach lurking around. She runs directly back home where there are detectives awaiting her return. They’ve come to take her into custody after Dr. Harvard woke up and started talking. She knows her goose is cooked, but there’s nothing she can do about it. Perfect to see the Smutneys standing on their porch, watching the cop drag the nurse off to jail; there’s at least some justice in a flawed, unjust world. Quite the sight seeing Oraetta behind bars, too.
Ethelrida’s taken it upon herself to make an appointment with Loy. She and the big boss have a sit down alone together at his office. He isn’t totally willing to hear much conversation about the Smutney house or business. Ethelrida impresses Cannon with her language skills, and knowledge about a painting he owns: a work by Henri Regnault, Summary Execution under the Moorish Kings of Grenada (1870). This leads into the young lady explaining a possible deal for the house and funeral home business. She talks a good talk, though Loy’s pretty stubborn. What Ethelrida offers on top of the deal is info on Oraetta, who killed Donatello Fadda way back at the start of Season 4. She says this will help Loy win his war with the Italians. And this intrigues him a lot.
Quite the interesting turn of events nearing the episode’s end.
Love Ethelrida, so I’m glad she’s taking on a larger role as the season comes closer to its finish. Really compelled to watch where this goes from here, and how Season 4 is going to go out swinging.