The Black Donnellys 1.2 "A Stone of the Heart" Recap
The Black Donnellys 1.2 "A Stone of the Heart" Recap
Originally aired Monday, March, 2007

Episode Rating:  3 out of 5 stars ***

Episode Overview:  Kevin and Tommy have to clean up Jimmy’s bloody mess, while Jimmy is locked up safe in jail.  Sean remains in the hospital with his mother Helen keeping a vigil.  Jenny and Tommy take their friendship to the next level.  Tommy focuses on protecting his brothers and stands up to Nicky Cottero and the Italians while Hughie’s brother is breathing down his neck.

Episode Highlights: A half-naked Tommy hacks away at Louie’s body and ultimately dumps him into a river.  Tommy and Jenny consummate their friendship/relationship and just as quickly things dissolve.  Joey Ice Cream is always around for some laughs.

We pick up where we left off last week with Kevin and Tommy walking away from shooting Sal Manetta, the boss of the Italians, and Hughie Farrell of the Irish mob.  It’s hard to believe that they are kids who have just murdered two of the biggest names in the neighborhood because even though it doesn’t seem like this has ever happened in their past, Tommy seems to handle it well. 

They return to the hospital to visit their badly beaten brother Sean and solidify an alibi.  When Helen Donnelly sees blood on Kevin’s shirt she just pushes his sleeve under his coat, acknowledging and at the same time ignoring what she must know her sons have been up to.  Now, if this was The Sopranos that might seem realistic, but these are some kids from New York and I can’t truly believe in her reaction.

Jenny, who is connected to Tommy on a much deeper level than just friendship, knows that something is wrong.  So she gives him the third degree but he tries to act aloof.  That fails and he starts to cry so she kisses him to make it all better.   It’s the first physical acknowledgement of their feelings for each other, which had been insinuated in the pilot episode.  It also shows Tommy’s duel personality: cold-blooded killer and soft romantic.

As Jimmy waits in prison for someone to bail him out, the Donnellys hear that Sean will probably pull through.  Of course, he can’t die in the second episode of the whole series based on his family!  We get another glimpse of the matriarch of the family, Helen, as she reigns over Sean’s bed and barely acknowledges his girl of the moment, Tommy’s ex, Kelly.

In continuing their quest to cover up the shooting, Tommy and Kevin do some sly shopping or rather shop lifting.  In a method new to me, they wrap clothing in aluminum foil to protect it from the security detectors and walk out with another, cleaner, outfit.

When Kevin and Tommy go to burn their clothes, they find the body of Jimmy’s ransom victim: Louie.  There is some heavy and seemingly unnecessary dialogue about how to dump the body until the phone rings and it’s Jimmy who wants to be bailed out.  Jimmy tells Kevin where the ransom money is and he takes it to go bail him out with but Tommy won’t have it.  Kevin is either a pushover or Tommy is too domineering, either way it is hard to see any character development in Kevin.  Joey Ice Cream just shows up at random times for some comedic relief.

Tommy and Kevin steal a van to dispose of the body. Of course Chuck Barry’s “Louie Louie” is playing in the background.  The “abandoned swamp” that Kevin suggested turns out to be a Howe’s, so they have to make other plans: burning the body.  But his feet stick out of the trash can so Tommy leaves Kevin with the body to go back to the Howe’s and pick up a hammer and they strip down to smash him to bits.  Kevin can’t stomach the breaking bones and blood spatter so he throws up while Tommy is unfazed. Tommy keeps going with the brutality, a complete bloody mess, and then rolls the drum with the body into a river – Tommy's covered in blood and dressed in only his underwear.

After we see Jenny cleaning off the blood in the Jimmy's bar’s basement, Tommy is hosing off his own blood spattered body.  Kevin apologizes for not helping in the beating but Tommy isn’t interested. They fight each other over the ransom money and though Kevin points a gun at Tommy, he just has an emotional breakdown.  That is understandable considering they just disposed of a dead body.  Tommy takes over and burns the van, hopefully eliminating all evidence of the crime.

Tommy goes to see Nicky Cottero to talk and says he let Louie go and that he doesn’t want bad blood so he gives back the ransom money.  Nicky says he’ll take the money but that he wants 1,000 per week until Louie gets back.  When Nicky threatens Jimmy’s life to seal the deal, Tommy informs him that Jimmy is in jail, smiling after that statement on the way out.  I have to admit, it was a clever plan; almost too well thought out for college student in Manhattan.  Joey Ice Cream is in the background again – a theme that’s getting old.

Tommy goes to the diner (along with Jimmy's bar, this is going to be one of those Peach Pit spots) to see Jenny and they end up making love in earnest as he tells her that he loves her.  She seems a bit cold afterward and then tells him that she can’t be with him, after she just had sex with him. He’s just as shocked as am I.  You can’t do that!  I don’t think this is anywhere near over, their relationship seems like it will be a large focus of the show, the only non-violent part about it thus far.

As Tommy leaves the diner, Hughie’s brother stops him in the street to talk about who killed Hughie.  Tommy keeps his cool and doesn’t let on that  he knows anything or that he is, in fact, the murderer. He just keeps eyeing the axe that Hughie’s brother is holding in the car.  They end their conversation peacefully but I can tell that it is only the beginning of that saga.

The show is very dialogue heavy but very cinematic. I can definitely see Paul Haggis’s directorial influence in almost all of the scenes.  I’m not sure how I feel just yet about these Donnelly brothers; they seem to be getting in a lot of trouble for just being young boys living in the city.

-Cameron Curtis, BuddyTV Staff Writer

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