Review of Boss ‘Spit’

Samuel Breen

boss spit 300x225 Review of Boss SpitSPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 6, season 1 of ‘Boss’

There’s a baseball analogy that’s beyond me, but the message is “You can’t quit when the team still needs you.” It opens the episode and denotes the general theme. Mayor Kane is so down and out that all people are talking about is retirement: Kane, his enemies, his wife, his team. We’re shown how Kane came to politics to clean up the slums from rats and corruption – “I was only trying to impress your sister,” he responds, with more ambiguity than modesty.

This is played out against a backdrop of powerful men in industry whose chief demand is that the status quo is maintained. Their interest in the lives of poisoned children is less than Kane’s. Indeed, they have no interest in those who are dying. They are the ones who will permit untold levels of corruption as long as their interests are met. They will be graceful when their ears are severed, they will be cold and calculated when they exact their revenge. When Kane is advised to go out an see the city again, as he did when entering politics, the rats which infest the slums are just as big today as then.

The device is that Kane is in absentia, mulling over his options, reevaluating his commitment to politics, blackmailing Doctor Reyes to clear his name. He plays it steely-faced, allowing the viewer to do all the work. Grammer is convincing as a broken down Kane; a man who has been broken by altruism and serving the city. Kane remembers an arson attack he carried out on someone’s home, a formative act to his reign of terror. “One necessary evil leads to another, and one day you can’t differentiate between what’s necessary and what’s expedient, and when that happens you’re done. You’re a monster,” he says, talking of himself. Is he trying to manipulate in his oratory? We’re left with the ambiguity. He navigates the scene well, with a flair that presents his sincerity and his deceit. The show really is settling well, finding its focus and driving through.

The relationship between Zajac and Kitty takes a turn. All of a sudden their voyeuristic quickie fest has developed a deep emotional connection. She has become protective of him, and he has been reduced to a lost child. Indeed, in this episode all the female characters take a maternal turn. Zajac’s wife “should I be worried” as he interrupts her in the kitchen, “If the kids see you it will only make things worse.” Kinky vicar finds herself in an argument, she slaps him, he shoves her. They become overpowered by emotion and she speaks the Lord’s Prayer as she is pinned up against a wall.

The relationship between Tom and Meredith is falling apart. “I’ve tried to picture it: the end.” she tells Ezra Stone, speaking of both mayorship and marriage. The episode concludes with the suggestion that she will betray him. She feels scorned from being slapped across the face, and her conclave of senior political patrons are advising her to steer the ship – were there a change of administration in the mayor’s office, all they seek is continuity. She offers her confidence to Zajac so the suggestion is final. Or is it? Her care for Tom has been open and forthright. Is she playing the protector? Does she want Tom out of the spot light before he sullies himself anymore? Has she recognised his totalitarian power over the city is no longer flattering?

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