'Mob City' Recap: Being Nosy Never Pays Off
'Mob City' Recap: Being Nosy Never Pays Off
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
If ever you find yourself in possession of a time machine and want to know where you should go, the correct answer is anywhere but 1940s Los Angeles. Not only is this place just plain stressful, the life expectancy is also obscenely low. Just ask Abe Greenberg, who is murdered in the opening sequence of "Red Light", the first of tonight's two Mob City episodes.

The sequence is a flashback taking place three weeks before the events of last week's episodes. Siegel kills Greenberg for mob reasons (there are so many to choose from) while Jasmine and Nash sit in a nearby car, taking pictures. Nash knew the murder was going to go down and used Jasmine's photography skills to get his blackmail material, even though Jasmine didn't really want anything to do with it. Should have listened to those instincts, girl.

Los Angeles' Finest

The LAPD certainly have their hands full this week. In the previous episode, Rothman went into a restaurant and shot two criminal informants in front of several dozen witnesses. Now Parker and the mob squad have the job of connecting him to the murders. This is more difficult than it would seem because Rothman has crazy powerful connections, which makes it nearly impossible to pin him or anyone else in the mob to any crime.

The police respond to this by taking in literally everyone involved in Siegel's operations and questioning them, including Rothman himself. This is made truly interesting by the fact that Teague is the interrogator. There's a great sense of tension in the scene, since Rothman could reveal that Teague killed Nash at any moment but Teague still wants to do his job. Teague actually seems like a fairly honest cop who just happens to have one enormous blind spot. There's still a lot of miniseries to go, but I expected him to be a bit less moral after the whole murdering-another-human-being thing.

The police realize that the witnesses coming forward about the restaurant shooting are all working for the mob, and single out one man named Carl in particular because of his criminal past. Unfortunately they no longer have him in custody and now have to find him before Rothman does. Oh, and there's a mole somewhere on the team. Good luck, fellas!

This Part Is Just Straight Up Awesome

Teague visits Jasmine to give her an update on what's going on with the police and to see if he can help keep her out of danger. They don't tell each other everything they know and they're both suspicious of the other. I can see why they broke up. In the middle of this reunion, Mickey Cohen stops by to ask about Nash's pictures. He doesn't seem to think that she took them, but when he goes into the bathroom to wash his hands, he accidently turns on the titular red light used for developing pictures. Curse his OCD!

Sid also shows up and unknowingly alerts Teague to the fact that Carl the potential witness is about to be executed at a carousel. Because Teague is actually not a terrible cop (except when he's killing people, of course), he immediately swoops in and engages in what is one of my favorite onscreen fights ever. Teague uses the working carousel as a weapon and a defense until he's saved Carl and forced Rothman into hiding. If for some reason you are reading this before watching the episode, stop right now and go watch it. If you've already seen it, go and watch it again just for kicks. I can wait.

No Wonder the Mob Runs this Town

The second episode of this week's Mob City installment is "His Banana Majesty." Now that the police have Carl, Parker decides that it's only a matter of time before they find Rothman and make him rat out Siegel. Thus, when Siegel returns from creating Las Vegas and casually murdering people, he arrests him for killing Greenberg. Siegel is not even slightly concerned. He has at least one judge in his pocket and manages to move up his arraignment so that Parker only has a day to find the hard evidence he really should have had before making an arrest.

The police chief isn't thrilled with Parker, both because he potentially ruined a shot at legitimately taking down Siegel and because he has a huge ego and wants to be the one to catch him. In desperation the mob squad bugs Cohen's office, but it appears that Sanderson, one of the officers doing the bugging, might actually be the mole. Long story short, the LAPD is a dysfunctional mess.

Have Your Banana a Different Way

Speaking of dysfunctional messes, Siegel's mob empire is in serious jeopardy now that he's in jail. Jack Dragna, who runs the Italian mob in LA, begins taking over by violently shutting down Siegel's gambling operations. After being pushed around the entire episode, Cohen finally goes down to Dragna's headquarters and lays down the law with some, um...creative banana usage. He's been kind of doubted and laughed at so far in the series so it's good to see a legendary gangster start to come into his own. 

The only guy who maintains any kind of peace, though, is Stax. We didn't get to see much of his character last week, but this week he comes across as a pretty decent guy, despite his professional associations. He tries to prevent people from getting hurt during one of Dragna's raids and gives Jasmine $5,000 to help her out of a jam (more on that later). I'm not sure if he's genuinely compassionate or if he's self-serving and totally playing everyone. I wouldn't even be surprised if he was working undercover for the police the whole time. What I do know, is that Mob City makes each of these options seem plausible, and I love it.

Everything Else

There are two other important plot threads running through "His Banana Majesty." The first is Jasmine's incredibly crappy life. Apparently Nash promised half of his blackmail earnings to Leslie Shermer, another mobster working for Siegel who told Nash when and where Siegel would be killing Greenberg. Shermer has a few screws loose in a way that's reminiscent of someone who spent a lot of time as a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. Jasmine manages to get his price of $5,000 from Stax only for Shermer to up his price to $50,000. She offers to give him the actual pictures of the crime instead, but she has to get the bus locker key back from Teague before she can. Someone please get this poor girl on a bus to Kansas.

The second plot thread is the Rothman/Carl saga. The police set Carl up at a safe house to keep him from being killed before he can testify. These scenes are intercut with scenes of Rothman in hiding, preparing to kill Carl before he can testify. At the end of the episode, Rothman sneaks into Teague's apartment and holds him at gunpoint. We'll have to wait until next week to see what happens from there.

What did you think? Will Siegel get out of jail? What are Stax's true motives? Did Shermer ever get sent home from school for eating all the paste in art class? Share your thoughts!

Mob City airs Wednesdays on TNT at 9pm EST.

(Image courtesy of TNT)