I literally can’t believe this episode of The Mob Doctor, “Turf War.” There are so many elements going on that it got comical after a point. Ugh. Let’s see if I can organize my thoughts.
Grace is still at home, recovering from her gunshot wound and staying low while Moretti and his men hound the streets. Earlier that day, Nate apologizes to Grace for putting her in this predicament. Sure, on the surface he’s the first person to blame (since she did do something before the series actually started to help him get out of mob trouble, if I’m remembering correctly), but Grace is right to say it’s not his fault this time. It’s Grace’s. If Grace had wisely gotten out of town until the mob wars died down when Constantine told her to, none of this would have happened. And even still, Grace could have convinced Constantine that she wouldn’t say anything to the police about anything. In fact, that’s what Constantine should have done in the first place, if he loves and trusts Grace so much. Why keep her indebted to the mob when she was only helping her brother out? It makes no logical sense.
Later that night, Grace (stupidly) asks Nurse Rosa to bring over some painkillers for her leg and when Rosa gets there, Grace seems not to realize that bodyguards outside her house would be weird for someone like Rosa (i.e. anybody not in the mob). Grace stays mum when Rosa pointedly asks her what is going on. As if keeping silent will make the bodyguard disappear and the situation perfectly normal. This is Mistake Number One for Grace and this episode.
Meanwhile, Moretti is trying to get his gaming business back (I didn’t even know he had a gaming business in the first place). Bullying another mobster, and instead, that mobster gives the heads-up for all the gaming machines to be moved. Who’s the giving the go-ahead to? We are to assume it’s Franco or someone in Constantine’s sphere, because when Franco and his crew of Moretti’s henchmen get to the warehouse, all of the gaming machines have been replaced with empty boxes. Franco realizes it’s a set up, and all of them scramble out. Two of Moretti’s men get killed, and Geo–someone we’ve only really met in this episode and someone we’re immediately expected to care about), gets hit in the leg with a bullet. Even worse, two innocents in a car–a mother and her adult daughter–are seriously injured. Of course, you know what that means.
Grace (using miraculous painkillers that somehow allow her to walk with a normal gait) struts back into the ER to care for the patients because somehow, she knows the hospital is understaffed. How does she know it’s understaffed! She hasn’t been there for three days! And seriously, even if you are taking painkillers, you can’t walk normally when something’s wrong with your leg or your foot. I’ve twisted my ankle twice, and even though I was young, I’m sure I was given some kind of painkiller/anti-inflammatory agent. It might have hurt less, but I still limped around because even though the pain had been mitigated, the muscles were still trying to heal. Same with Grace’s leg–the painkillers might knock out the pain, but it’s a cop-out from a story perspective to have her walk normally just to put her back in the hospital.
Anyway, the mother has a wrist fracture, and she is easily tended to by the villain doctor Ian Flanigan, someone we haven’t seen at all since the first two episodes. It’s like he’d been forgotten and then put in this episode to make sure we didn’t forget him entirely.
The daughter, Paige, is in a bit more distress. When she first arrives to the hospital, she’s responding to orders–a good sign for someone who has a gunshot wound to the head. However, she starts seizing up out of nowhere and she’s rushed to the OR in order to work on getting the bullet out.
Now that I reflect on it, I find it odd that the team waited until Grace consulted with the mother as to what they should do. I mean, I realize that Paige could have brain damage once the bullet is removed, but the alternative is that if she didn’t respond to medication, she could die. The consultation isn’t what I find odd–it’s that Grace and the team are waiting until now to act with some protocol. In this show, they only consult a handful of times and when they do, they basically force the consenting adult to agree to surgery. When the mother asks Grace what she would do, why didn’t Grace just do what she normally does, which is force surgery on the patient? Instead, she says she doesn’t know what she would. You do know what you would do, Grace! It’s just that in this episode, you’re supposed to be conflicted so Paige can die. Yes, Paige ends up dying.
Geo also ends up dying from the bullet moving into his bloodstream, causing a pulmonary embolism. Now, I’m not even going to bother looking up if a bullet in the bloodstream can cause a pulmonary embolism, but I did look up if bullets can enter the bloodstream, and (to my surprise) they can. In fact, one man lived for a year with a bullet in his bloodstream. Another man got sick from the lead from 18-year-old bullets leaching out into his bloodstream.
I will say the show tossed Geo aside really quickly. The one time I thought we were going to see a surgery, the show completely (and inexplicably) avoided it. Why give Geo a name and personality (he was hitting on Rosa earlier) if he’s just going to be discarded in such an off-hand manner that is actually disrespectful to the character? And why not just take the freaking bullet out when he was first operated on? What in the world was the purpose of the operation if not to actually fix him and take the bullet out? Perhaps the bullet was in a place where it couldn’t be operated on without disrupting the injury further. Anyways, what I’m getting at is that Geo could have had a better send-off. At least a final closing scene.
By the way–earlier,when Brett asked Geo about how his leg was doing, his leg shouldn’t have been “throbbing like hell” if he’s doped up on powerful hospital medication. Where was his medication when he needed it? Give the man that much in the way of comfort!
Anyway, Paige’s death serves two purposes–one, for us to feel like Moretti is the most evil scum on the face of the planet for inadvertently causing this girl’s death and two, for Grace to underhandedly pin the death on Moretti by replacing the slug inside the girl with the bullet she had extracted from her leg in the last episode. That’s actually an ingenious way to planet evidence, but she’s also further desecrating this poor girl’s body. The girl has been through enough already; why use her to your own ends even if it is supposedly in the name of vengeance? I get the sentiment, but there seemed to be something slimy about it. However, we are talking about the mob, after all, and I believe Constantine says at the end of the show that Grace seems to be a natural. Even if he didn’t actually say that (my television was at a lower level due to certain squeamish scenes), it’s true–Grace is a lot more underhanded than she wants to appear.
This episode is also trying to paint the picture of loneliness in Grace’s life. How will she ever tell those closest to her that she’s working for the mob? When Grace doesn’t tell Rosa what she’s doing, Rosa yells back, “You can’t let anyone in…That’s no way to live!”
Of course, Grace can’t tell Brett, the one person she should tell if she plans on keeping their relationship going. Of course, she can’t tell him during all of the opportunities she gets. But somehow, she can tell Rosa that she’s involved with “the outfit” as easily as if Rosa asked her if she likes vanilla ice cream over chocolate. What the what, Grace? You can tell this woman who means nothing to you except for the bare minimum of friendship your darkest secret but you can’t tell your own boyfriend? Ridiculous, Grace. Utterly ridiculous.
What’s also ridiculous is that Franco isn’t working for Moretti. He isn’t even working for Constantine. He’s working with the cops! He’s an undercover cop, a colleague of Detective York (who reminds us in this episode that he worked on the Severino case). How ridiculous is that? I don’t think undercover cops are supposed to play three sides. No one can do that. It’s hard enough to play two.
Another ridiculous thing in this episode is Moretti and Constantine’s relationship. Moretti is easily the best mobster on this show because he acts like what you expect. Constantine you can’t really take seriously, even though he’s acted very well. The message the show sends undermines the great acting–Constantine is being portrayed as a saint among mobsters. Supposedly, he helps keep his neighborhood safe, has been instructed by Grace to help the grieving mother (what a bad mistake–put an innocent woman in league with the mob), etc., etc. But–newsflash–there are no good mobsters! Constantine’s not Robin Hood, here. He’s a dirty man wanting to take back what he calls “his city” and control it. He wants to have politicians and officials on his payroll. He’s not a good guy. He’s a terrible guy. He’s just as bad as Moretti. The only difference is that Moretti is more brash and wields his power around like a thug. Constantine wields his power like a gentleman. It’s like comparing The Joker to The Penguin.
I will say the scene involving Constantine stabbing Moretti’s hand with a fork was expert (even if doing it in a restaurant during business hours is a little suspect). Moretti’s eventual downfall and arrest was actually a classy way for Moretti to go out because when he comes back, he’ll have an even better reason for wanting to get back at Constantine and Grace. What wasn’t expert was the CG blood that spurted out of people’s gunshot injuries during the warehouse ambush. Also not good–the CGI camera images of Paige’s insides. And those iPads-as-medical-equipment are getting on my nerves now. Why doesn’t my hospital have this type of technology? And what was with the humor in this episode? There a lot of lines (such as Franco and the henchman’s conversation about a sandwich with Provolone) that could have been taken out. The last thing this show needs is humor.
Next week, we see the incomparable Jennifer Beals. She seems like she’s going to really chew up the scenery and wring it for all it’s worth (and her fur coat is very Glamour Mobster). I hope she can pick up where Moretti left off, since he was really the only thing that made the show fun.