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The Player - Downtown Odds - Review

16 Nov 2015

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This week’s episode was good, but I didn’t make as strong a connection with it as I have with previous episodes although there was one major change to the show’s mythology. Alex didn’t just accept a bet. He fought for it.

A gang truck carrying money and drugs is robbed and set on fire. Many are concerned about a gang war starting up. Gang wars are bad for the tourist industry. We get a run down of all the players and the revelation that Alex was caught in the middle of it. The most surprising thing about this revelation is that street gangs will hire security consultants for their parties. I think that’s one of those “facts” I’ll have to accept without too much thought.

The Bet: Pharaohs Vs. Bravos Which Gang Will Win the War.

Alex practically begs Mr. Johnson to let him try to stop the war. Mr. Johnson agrees and changes the bet.

The Bet: Can Alex Kane Stop the Gang War?

Cassandra calls Johnson on his shenanigans. She’s curious which part of that he enjoyed more: getting Alex to bite the hook or reeling him in.

Alex starts his investigation by checking on the young lady, Imani, whose life he saved years ago during the previous gang war. Unfortunately, The Pharaohs (the truck was theirs) are ahead of him, which puts Alex on the defensive. When he finds out that the oldest son, Hector, of the leader of the Bravos was grabbed by the Pharaohs before he could get there.

Alex tries to apply logic and reason to the situation. If Hector’s little brother, Listo, were running things it might have worked. But his old school father is so short sighted he’s easily manipulated. It’s easy to see why the man actually behind this situation, Mislav, has found this method of taking over a drug dealing territory so successful in the past.

An attack on the Pharaohs’ party venue leads Alex to discover that Imani and Listo have been in a relationship for over a year. They want to walk away from the gang life. Alex is willing to help, but he has to figure out who is trying to start this gang war.

Unfortunately, Imani is the key to that mystery. The real bad guy, Mislav, approached her. She gave him the information he wanted because he promised he could help them get out of town. Alex isn’t lying when he tells Listo that he understands what it is to be trapped in your life. So, Alex agrees to help Imani and Listo escape. Before they make it to the car, gunmen arrive and start shooting. Imani gets shot saving Listo’s life.

Shooting Imani proves effective. The moment the Pharaohs’ find out she’s been shot, they go after the Bravos. Alex grabs Mislav and hauls him over to the location of the gang showdown. On the way, he finds out that Imani died. Alex almost throws the bet by killing Mislav. Cassandra convinces him to stay focused. Mislav attempts to blame everything on Alex. It looked like his manipulative BS is working until Listo arrives. He kills Mislav and tells everyone the truth about Mislav. The gang war has been stopped. Unfortunately, with the loss of Imani, Listo steps fully into the life he wanted to escape.

It seems this week’s goal for Mr. Johnson is to show us that he can be charming. Nolan gets an official sign off on her investigation into The House. Her first task is to find out more about Mr. Johnson. He invites her to an “oasis” for dinner; someplace he says he’s never taken anyone to before. Mr. Johnson tells her where he grew up. His father died in prison when he was 11. What I didn’t expect was that he didn’t have a relationship with his mother. I assumed his back story was going to be the cliché, apparently it is not.

Mr. Johnson tells Cassandra that she needs to dump her boyfriend, Nick, who has an opportunity to move to Las Vegas permanently. In the hospital, Listo tells Cassandra that he and Imani were talking about kids. This was the reason that he and Imani were talking about leaving Las Vegas. They couldn’t bring an innocent into the world they were trapped in. She sees the parallel with her own life. She decides to ask Mr. Johnson to handle things so that Nick is safely away from her. Johnson arranges for Nick to get a better opportunity in China, but he doesn’t want to go because he is in love with Cassandra. Cassandra has to break his heart to get him to go.

In the wake of this heartbreak, she decides to take Alex to the cabin she discovered last week. It’s empty. Alex forces himself to control his disappointment and decides that, because she trusted him, he could trust Cassandra. He gives her the key stolen from his mother-in-law asks her to help him find Ginny.

The one story element we could have done without, and not missed, was Cal. He basically spent the episode fussing at Alex about one thing or another. These scenes didn’t do much to move story forward. The one important piece of information (telling Alex Hector was dead) could have been discovered in another way.

I think that was one of my problems with this episode. The secondary stories didn’t move the arc stories forward. Cal hasn’t been used to push the Nolan story since they made that connection, and all that happened with Nolan’s investigation this episode was finding out Mr. Johnson is from Chicago. Not the best of the batch. What did you guys think?

About the Author - Prpleight
Prpleight is a screenwriter and senior software engineer with solid geek cred. When not writing code, screenplays, or watching TV (sometimes she does all three at the same time), she uses her broadsword Bessie to battle evil. She's been a frequent contributor to the SpoilerTV discussion boards for several years now.
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