Following the mysterious disappearance of Judi Silver in "Suicide Blonde," District Attorney Jack Klein seems more convinced than ever that Ike Evans is up to some shady business. We, of course, know that Ike saved Judi from an almost certain death and shipped her across the country for safe keeping. Klein only knows that Ike is hiding something — probably a lot of things — and it seems only a matter of time before the district attorney finds out what.
At the opening of "The Harder They Fall," Klein called for the draining of the quarry where Judi Silver was last seen (by whom? There seems to be a leap of logic here) and expressed his conviction that Ike is up to foul play. By episode's end, Klein had discovered the car Ike had submerged with Judi's would-be assassin inside of it. Curioser and curioser.
Sandwiched between these two notable events, however, Ike's personal problems continued to mount, even without the D.A.'s involvement.
First off, there's Ike's ever-poisonous business relationship with Ben Diamond. Confiding in his own father that he wants to buy Ben out of the partnership before gambling becomes legalized, Ike was gifted with the advice to delay the legal process as much as possible until Ben simply becomes restless and leaves of his own accord. This suggestion prompted Ike to visit with Senator Sloat (a steadfast opponent of gambling legalization) to tell him to stand firm. All the while, Ike continued to save face with Ben Diamond — a vote wouldn't happen until Easter recess, Ike told his gangster pal with feigned disappointment.
But Ben wanted to know where his $100,000 corruption donation was going, if not to secure gambling at the Miramar Playa. And so one big question hangs in the air like Ike and Ben's cigar smoke: How much time can Ike buy before Ben finds out what's really going on here?
Meanwhile, Ben began to get closer (although far too slowly to be plausible) to the truth about his wife's affair with Stevie, after turning her bedroom upside down in a search for evidence. Soon, he was casually needling Stevie about his sex life and making the kid sweat bullets. Given how careless Stevie and Lilly have been about their frequent sexual romps, it's really hard to believe a guy of Ben's acumen hasn't figured all of this out already.
Oh, and those X-rated photos Lilly and Stevie took of each other? The ones Stevie kept insisting he'd destroyed? They're now, predictably, being used as blackmail material by the cat burglar who's been a thorn in the side of the Miramar for the last couple of weeks. Coincidentally, the burglar slipped the photos and accompanying extortion note under Stevie's door while Mercedes and Danny were occupying the room, so now Stevie's little brother knows what the elder Evans boy has been up to all this time.
It was, for the first time in this series, a good time to be Danny Evans. After several weeks of being the bland, unreadable kid on the sidelines — given little to do but moon after Mercedes — Danny was rewarded with a strong scene opposite Ike in "The Harder They Fall" that finally squared these two guys against one other. You see, Jack Klein finally made good on his plan to bring Danny into the fold of his legal offices, offering the kid a prestigious summer internship. Not surprisingly, Ike didn't like the idea and Danny couldn't have cared less.
At the end of their father-son spat, Danny may have had some influence on how Ike approaches the gradually increasing immorality of his work and life. But why did we have to wait six weeks for these two characters to even begin to challenge one another?
Elsewhere in the episode, the hotel played host for a big televised prizefight that stood to net the Miramar Playa some much-needed cash. Sensing an opportunity to make a quick fortune of his own, Ben began to leak word that he planned to bet on the underdog, and even prompted Ike to get in on the action with him. Later, after nearly everyone in town had followed Ben's lead, Lilly told Stevie (during one of their incautious trysts) that Ben's real plan was to bet on the champ at the last minute. By the time Stevie had relayed the news to his dad, it was too late. Ben had captured a windfall, and Ike had suffered a huge loss (especially since he had used some of Ben's corruption fund to place his bet).
With Stevie, Ike and Lilly all at dangerous low points, Magic City seems well-positioned for strong drama in its final two hours. Let's hope it lives up to the challenge.
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