Vegas Season 1 Review “Past Lives”

You can never outrun your past. No matter how hard you try. That’s a lesson that a couple of people found out the hard way in this episode of Vegas.

A few thoughts about “Past Lives”:

The case of the week was a direct result of Agent Byrne’s overzealousness to take down Savino. I’ll get to Byrne in a minute, but let’s start with the case. A man, Ned, was found shot dead and floating in his pool. When Ralph and Jack started the investigation, they were kind of confused because they couldn’t find any information on Ned that was more than ten years old. Since Ned worked at The Tumbleweed, Jack decided he would go ask Mia if she knew anything about him.

Unbeknownst to Jack, Mia had been taken hostage by Harry, one of the craps dealers at The Savoy. He demanded that Mia have $20,000 dollars sent up to him from the count room or he would kill her. Apparently, ten years earlier Harry and Ned owned a clothing store in Philly that had burned down. Someone died in the fire and instead of standing trial, the two of them ran and had been hiding out in Las Vegas. Ned was nervous that Agent Byrne’s investigation would reveal their true identities, so Harry killed Ned.

When Jack showed up unexpectedly to talk to Mia, she was able to alert him that all was not well. However, Harry caught on and he also took Jack hostage. When the kid from the count room brought the cash up to the suite, he noticed that something wasn’t right. However, when he tried to run, Harry shot him. Jack was able to talk Harry into letting them call an ambulance for the kid, but Harry took Jack and Mia with him when he left the hotel. Harry asked his wife to go on the run with him, but she refused. Ultimately, Ralph caught up to Jack and Harry and they took Harry into custody.

The primary reveal from the case of the week is that Mia is still very much in love with Jack. She was cool, calm, and collected throughout the whole hostage ordeal until Jack got her released and he rode off with Harry. She tried to remain stoic, but she had tears in her eyes because she thought she would never see Jack again. Up to this point, Mia has been trying to keep Jack at arm’s length. She never really stopped loving him, but she was (justifiably) angry that he’d lied to her about killing her father. It seems that she’s realized that life is too short to hold on to anger though. She and Jack still have some relationship and trust rebuilding to do, but at least Mia is now willing to admit that she is indeed still in love with Jack. I wonder how this relationship is going to work with Mia having a bigger role in running The Savoy. How will Chicago handle Mia dating Jack?

Jack and Mia weren’t the only ones to face some relationship adversity. Dixon and Yvonne ran into some problems while they were out on a date. Dixon wanted to go to a movie, but Yvonne talked him out of it because Yvonne would’ve had to sit in the balcony. She didn’t tell Dixon why she didn’t want to go, and I don’t think he even gave it a second thought until she mentioned it to him later. She seemed like she wanted to end things with him because they were “too different,” but Dixon told her that he wasn’t walking away from her.

Vegas hasn’t really dealt with a lot of racial issues throughout the course of the show, but it’s kind of been the elephant in the room. At least for me. There are no regular African-American characters on the series, so the show has been able to pretty much sidestep the whole issue of segregation, discrimination, and the Civil Rights movement. With only a couple of exceptions, all the African-Americans we’ve seen on the show have been in roles consistent with the time period in which Vegas is set. They were janitors, maids, or casino entertainment. They have never been guests at any of the casinos nor have we seen any minorities in the cafes or restaurants. It’s interesting that the show would bring this up with Yvonne though. I’m not overly familiar with the struggles of Mexican-Americans in Nevada during the 1960’s, but I would imagine that they weren’t all that different from African-Americans. I like that the show isn’t trying to go too broad with the racial issues because it’s such a heavy issue that it could overshadow the story that Vegas is trying to tell. I like that racial inequality is addressed within the context of this new relationship between two young people because there is the possibility to get a more personal view of the struggles. Although, I still believe it’s a more “safe” way of bringing racial issues into the mix. Yvonne could just as easily be Italian or European, so although she self-identifies as Mexican-American, most people looking at her wouldn’t know that. I like that the show is finally addressing this issue, even though they have taken the safer route with it.

I am really sick of Agent Byrne and his ridiculous haircut. Byrne pulled in all of the Savoy and Tumbleweed employees and threatened them with tax evasion charges if they didn’t give up information on how Savino was running the skim. The problem with that is he pulled in maids, kitchen workers, and card dealers; a whole bunch of people who would have absolutely no way of knowing anything about how the casinos were run. Those people needed their paychecks, but the casinos wouldn’t pay them until they got the tax stuff cleared up. Which they couldn’t as long as they weren’t getting paid. When one maid went to Byrne pleading for him to fix it so she could get her paycheck, he just said there was nothing he could do and walked away. Ralph and Catherine tried to help because they knew she was a widow with a young baby she was trying to take care of. But there’s only so much the local sheriff and ADA can do against the feds. They actually cared about the woman. Byrne didn’t. That’s the difference between being the sheriff and being a federal agent. The sheriff knows and cares about his citizens. The federal agent just cares about taking down the big fish and he could care less about the people whose lives he ruins in the process. I guess I was supposed to feel bad for him when the widow shot him, but I didn’t. He brought it on himself. He turned her into a desperate woman, and desperate people do deadly things.

Vince is forever scheming. Vince wasn’t able to implement his plan to rob Porter Gainsley blind because Gainsley kept such a close watch over everything at The Tumbleweed. Gainsley also had his lawyer thoroughly going over Vince’s books to make sure everything added up. Naturally, Vince was extremely frustrated about all of this so he decided to take action. However, when he went to threaten the lawyer, Vince found out Gainsley’s dirty little secret. Apparently, the silver mines that made Gainsley so rich and powerful in the first place were now a thorn in his side. There was a cave-in at one of his mines and 29 people died. The court ordered Gainsley to set aside $3 million dollars to pay the families of the deceased, but Gainsley never paid the families. He had used that money to fund renovations and so forth on The Tumbleweed. Making The Tumbleweed profitable was the only way that he was going to be able to get the money back into the fund before the court found out what he’d done. Vince made an “anonymous” call to the FBI and informed them of Gainsley’s activities and the FBI shut down The Tumbleweed on account of fraud. I don’t think it’s going to take long for Gainsley and his cronies to figure out that Vince is the one who ratted them out. When they do, it’s probably not going to go well.

I really enjoyed this episode and it was one of the better ones of the season. There was a lot of action, but it was never so much that the viewer would get confused. And I also really like Dixon and Yvonne together. I hope they make it work. So what did y’all think of this episode of Vegas?