A week went by and the only thing I had going through my head was “Guess this means we’re off the wagon”. I mean, is there anything other reason to get this hyped up than Nick Sax apparently taking off the kids gloves, and for the right reasons this time? I’m still quite shocked thinking that what comes next could actually be considered going off the wagon in contrast to everything else Nick has done so far!
Now before I get into this one, I do have to say that the make-up job on Nick was impressive. For a guy that was able to walk away from a brawl with a basement full of inmates, he did not win without some battle scars. Sometimes it says a lot when he also isn’t seen so invincible. They drove the point home and then some.
What killed me this week was that this was the first week where I had some kind of expectation of an episode, only to find myself walking away let down. Not by the whole episode, but only for the fact that there wasn’t really an off the wagon for Nick. With this show being what it is, that will most certainly come in the next episode or so, but last week’s episode led us to believe that we should prepare ourselves for Nick getting into some off the wall craziness as he tries to save Hailey and kill Sonny. Now if I was being fair, then I would say that they did well at the very least being unpredictable. You braced for one inevitability, and quickly ran into another which was also admittedly a new experience for Nick in this show. He’s never run into this kind of trouble either when working outside of the law.
If one thing did catch me off guard, it was how big of an episode this turned into for Smoothie and Hailey. More so Smoothie who sends you on a whirlwind of emotions. I mean by the end of this episode I still couldn’t entirely tell if the origin story we got out of him was true or false. In terms of the game played in this show, he is playing the strongest because he always knows the right strings to pull to get what he wants out of people. In this case he did so through appealing to the naive side of a kid. The side that would believe just about anything told to them if it is sincere enough. Indirectly we learned just as much about him just through the reactions from the rest of the town around him.
At this stage in the season, the only character who had me worried was Merry. It was hard to tell if there was a true endgame to her involvement as someone who is really working up a hill to beat Sonny. This week proved that she is not someone to underestimate when she knows how to play a game too. The best thing ever for her character was seeing just what she could accomplish when she was playing by the same rules as everyone else. Her actions were bolder, as well as the risks she took. One of which landed herself and another in one heck of a close-call. There wasn’t much action in this episode, but they made it count when it mattered most. Even if it was one of the oddball scenes that left you going “WTF”.
What I will say about the overall writing is how the quality greatly improved with more cohesion to the storylines. Normally it doesn’t hurt to have a bunch of moving pieces that don’t connect, but for this plotline it benefited to have more characters crossing paths and having influence over what each other can and can’t do.
Happy! “A Friend of Death” really got the ball rolling even though some of us may have really wanted to see old Nick in action this week rather than the next. Till then, this was another entertaining episode that had fun with the lengths these characters will do to get what they want. Smoothie in particular was the standout character this week for reminding us of just what kind of guy he really is underneath this charade he’s carrying on.