‘Magic City’ Season 2, Episode 5 Review – A Dream In Tatters

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:24 am,

Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Magic City World in Changes Magic City Season 2, Episode 5 Review – A Dream In Tatters

After a season premiere that was the Magic City equivalent of being shot out of a cannon (i.e., lazily rolling out of bed and lighting a cigarette with a lot of style), the plot of season 2 has slowed to the point that most characters are spending entire episodes talking about what they plan on doing. As a matter of fact, the storyline has begun to offer its progression in the form of the TV currency known as suggestion and possibility – which isn’t the same as the show actually presenting real change, but if the plot ever does begin to move forward, things won’t feel so completely random.

Unlike last season, there has been a particular focus on the younger Evans boys and their increasingly divergent paths – though in the case of Judi Silver, it may be more a case of the younger brother following in his sibling’s vice-soaked footsteps – which, unsurprisingly, has them traveling in opposite directions as it pertains to the law and their respective mentors’ unique perception of societal rules.

On the one hand, there’s Danny trying to understand just what Jack Klein wants from him and why everything Klein comes right out and asks of him feels so much like turning away from his kin. In fact, Danny’s so busy being lured into turning on his father and body-checking a trigger-happy States Attorney that he’s barely had time to notice Mercedes Lazaro has fallen under the spell of a passionate anti-Castro revolutionary and, perhaps the idea of revolution itself.

On the other hand, there’s Stevie, the son who seems to suddenly want something he can call his own that didn’t require asking his father first.  Stevie’s mild adversarial relationship with Ike is arguably a lot of what draws Ben to him (other than the private room screenings of Stevie’s dalliances with Lily, but more on that later). It’s as though they’re kindred spirits in that sense: Both want what Ike is unwilling to give them.

After being given a taste of Ben’s world (knowingly or otherwise), Stevie finds himself asked to move up from bartender in his father’s hotel and occasional dealer in one of the Butcher’s illicit poker games to a full-fledged partner in Sherylin Fenn’s new brothel that’s just broken ground.

Esai Morales and Shalim Ortiz in Magic City World in Changes Magic City Season 2, Episode 5 Review – A Dream In Tatters

These two storylines feel like they have the right stuff to be compelling offshoots to the larger Quest for the Miramar Playa plot that’s been turning since the series began, but they’ve yet to muster up much of anything beyond the suggestion of familial betrayal and the question of where true loyalty lies. Either way, soon both boys may find themselves in a sticky situation, which should amp up the drama somewhat. But as demonstrated, Ike’s arrest at the end of season 1 wound up being resolved about as fast Stevie shooting a guy was forgotten, so best not to hold your breath.

The only characters who don’t seem to forget, or to have things blow over nicely for them all the time, are the Lazaros – whose main purpose in season 2, apparently, is to suffer loss after loss and become angry enough to act, or otherwise show some vocal support for the pending battle between Carlos ‘El Tiburon’ Ruiz and Castro’s men. That is, if they ever get enough weapons off Ben, now that he’s ostensibly eighty-sixed Nicky Grillo for daring to sell weapons to the Cubans (or anyone, for that matter) in his town.

Michael Rispoli and Danny Huston in Magic City World in Changes Magic City Season 2, Episode 5 Review – A Dream In Tatters

And despite Ike’s corralling of the new Secret Six, or organizing Cuba to rig its national lottery, no one has become more influential on the series than Danny Huston’s scenery chewing Ben Diamond. Ben’s actions this season have been far more dominant than last – he’s done a whole lot more than smash things and set tables on fire – but it’s also been something of a mixed bag.

While his brutality and penchant for violence has been on full display, there’s no suggestion any real meaning behind it beyond initial shock. Sure, Ben’s a menace when summarily executing Theresa even took Bel aback, but the threats he’s leveled against Lily for failing to bring Stevie to her bedroom have begun to feel like little more than mere provocation on the part of the writers.

Although it is borrowing story elements from the Big Book of Historical Stuff, Magic City remains a small, individualized story, something that helps justify how all the talk of revolution can be boiled down into a single character’s minute changes and have those changes (or the suggestion of them down the line) seem astronomically large. The larger elements of the season have yet to pan out, so right now, it seems that seeing a character like Ben begin to live up to his villainous potential is at least a sign of a positive alteration, provocation or not.


Magic City returns next Friday with ‘Sitting on Top of the World’ @9pm on Starz.

TAGS: Magic city
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  1. While his brutality and penchant for violence has been on full display, there’s no suggestion any real meaning behind it beyond initial shock. Sure, Ben’s a menace when summarily executing Theresa even took Bel aback, but the threats he’s leveled against Lily for failing to bring Stevie to her bedroom have begun to feel like little more than mere provocation on the part of the writers.

  2. For the most part I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, primarily due to some memorable scenes; Ike standing up to Ben, poor Theresa’s rubout and subsequent cement makeover, Judy Silver’s bondage scene, and the bizarre “pretty redhead on a leash” sequence ( what was THAT about ?? ). But where, oh where, is James Caan? With only three episodes left, if he doesn’t show up in next week’s show ( and without an appearance in the coming attraction I’m guessing he does not ) I think I’m going to feel not only a little ticked off but duped as well. All indications going into the new season were that he was going to be a big part of the show, and so far we really haven’t seen much of him. I still have hope that his Sy Berman character will make up for lost time, but at this point it wouldn’t surprise me either if we see just a final cameo appearance or two. And again, Esai Morales’ character remains undeveloped in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I still very much like this show, it just seems like there is so much unrealized potential. I hope the final three episodes prove me wrong.

    • Reference the “pretty redhead on a leash: it was stolen from a scene in the erotic novel, Story of O.

  3. While I truly am enjoying Season2 a lot more than Season1 and I loved this episode. I am really confused. Why did Ben have to execute Theresa? She was such a pleasant person and compared to the other ladies on the show I really liked her and her acting very much. RIP Theresa. Stevie asking Lily if she was a whore had my brothers and I laughing. Really Stevie? You are screwing the wife of a mobster and everyone knows it. She screws around for a living. Whil I do feel a tad of saddness for Lily being Ben’s wife, she knew what she was getting into when she married that sick son of a b#$^&. She’s a whore and proud of it. She just finds a young lifeguard that happens to look like Stevie and has him put the screws to her for her husband’s pleasure. Yes Stevie, she is indeed a whore. Probably a bigger whore than any of Madame Renee’s whores. Loved seeing Sherilyn Fenn again. Not enough Judi in this episode. I didn’t get the whole picture taking s&m photo shoot. Felt like a filler. Is Ben suppose to be impotent or something? What is his issue that he can’t have sex with Lily? I don’t get it? Was he always like that? How did his other two wives get pregnant then? How is Lily not pregnant from all the humping she’s doing? I mean this is 1959 and I’m not sure on this, but I don’t believe there was too much birthcontrol back then. Thank goodness Vera won’t dance anymore. I’m sick of Ike acting ‘o holier. I believe we get only 3 more eps. I hope they can end it in a great fashion without too much of the fillers. Why did Danny go to the funeral and tell Mercedes he witnessed her cousins murder? So inappropriate. Wrong place, wrong time dude. You should have waited

  4. What was up with that girl being walked by a leash? Did things like that really happen in the 1950′s? In public no less? I thought that was a more recent thing. I found it strange and outta place. I have a feeling those Cuban lottery numbers aren’t going to be right and Ike is going to lose big time. You don’t mess with the Butcher. RIP elevator girl. I hope Vera dies soon.Not sure if it’s the actress or character or both but I hate Vera. Stevie is a dumbwade. Yeah Stevie ask your whore if she’s a whore. WTF do you think? Smh. Guess what Stevie? You’re a whore also and stupid. Your father needs to slap you up the head a few times. Hello is anyone upstairs? Danny. I like you. You seem to be the only one except for the daughter who has any brains, but really telling your girlfriend you where there at the murder of her cousin at the funeral. Not smart. These Evans’ are really dumb. So Ben had two wives that died during childbirth? But he’s impotent? I don’t get it. Did he whore them out like he does Lily also? I wish we could know more of their backstory and more ofwhy Ben is the way he is. I know he was an Orphan, but what happened to make him hate women the way he does? Kind of hoping the Cubans kill everyone so we can get out of this mess. I enjoy watching it, but the story doesn’t make much sense.

    • Your comment had me dying. Loved it!!

  5. Does anyone know if this has been renewed for a third season?

  6. No word yet on a third season, believe me I google often to check. This show is interesting in that before the first season even premiered it was announced that it was being renewed for a second. Then I heard the ratings were so low that perhaps Starz regretted doing that. I hope it’s renewed because I do like it overall, but with so much potential being wasted it wouldn’t surprise me if it got the boot.

  7. I agree JohnB. I also hope it gets renewed. The acting is great even if the story is weak at times. I do love the clothing, makeup, hairstyles and scenic views.

  8. Oh yeah. Just have to say. Stevie asking Lily if she’s a whore is a genius question…NOT! Come on guy. She’s a married woman and YOUR sleeping with her. WTF do you think genius?!