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Review of Boss ‘Slip’

Samuel Breen

boss episode 4 300x225 Review of Boss SlipSPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 4, season 1 of ‘Boss’

“A ground swell already in motion” – this is the toxic rule of Kane that has created a swell of corruption. But these words aren’t shared between men in suits, the power-playing politicians. No, they’re on a bus out in the countryside. Drinking. Reaping rare votes. Talking about, “A group of people I’d like you to meet.” These particular power players are a bin man and a school dinner logistics contractor. What a week to have a TV show that reflects power in numbers, both workers and politicians uniting.

There’s a lot of power play in this episode; of the type I was expecting to come sooner. But now it’s all come at once, the narrative became buried under a script trying to hammer home the message.

The key plot development is that disposed waste is making people ill. All the meds Kane offers to fund are healing those he has made ill under his governance at the Department of Sanitation (really, was that his path to mayorship?). So the theme of drugs is a central one. It’s been a noisy topic because health is what’s at stake. Alas, for a show that has great aspirations where are the Hamsterdam scenes? Where are the long narratives on the ground? Where are the proles in this? Well they’re romping with sexy vicars in expensive cars, apparently. Not good enough.

OK, so an apology. It appears Kane isn’t hallucinating sexual fantasy. It appears that’s just me. For Kane the sex is real. The prostitutes, the former Mayor’s carer. But this is to the show’s credit: an array of techniques causing the viewer to double guess and reproducing a sense of disorientation on a number of levels. “What’s done is done, Frank, I gave this one to Meredith” – the phrase is remembered but the reality is that the Mayor conceded to the request he, and we, initially thought he rejected. This event branches out to cause more distance between Tom and his wife. As much as they are the power couple, she continues to play the subordinate.

Journalist Sam Miller has a torrid time as the work he has been driving towards is taken from him by his editor who has tipped off the mayor’s office. “Beaten to the punch,” he shouts as power is taken away from him. Telling his editor, “I thought you were the one to break the honoured tradition of jerking off the mayor’s office.” It would be churlish of me to share mutual frustrations with Sam, as I’m the one writing the book reviews his editor rather he would. But editor Jack does point to the hypocrisy in Miller backing away from the story. We’re given the full cycle and case for Miller’s despondency. Considering how little screen time we’re given with Miller his character continues to intrigue.

I’m going to continue with my sexism qualm with the show. Of the four remaining female characters, because that is all there is now they showed the diagnostician the door, three of them are in sex scenes. Well two of them are. The third we’re shown the morning after in a dressing gown given a dressing down by Tom. Sexy vicar and gratuitous press officer love it in public. Phwoa… oh dear, this is depressing. Really? As wooly characters go, these two are in desperate need of a plot device.

Comparatively there’s another solid scene with Ezra Stone where his character is shown to be the strongest of the cast. “It’s about making the right play,” he says upon analysing a difficult decision. If I were seduced by power, and I am a bit, Stone is the member of the boy band I’d have on my teenage bedroom wall. He’s the one the street chemist – not the drug dealer – who can get prescriptions turns to for help.

There’s a little movement in Slip, apart from the start of a storyline involving Tom under attack, but there’s enough momentum to take us through to next week.

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