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Boss

Season Two : After nearly losing his career, his family and his mind, Mayor Tom Kane’s ( ) grip on Chicago is as powerful as ever…

Watch Boss – Stasis Online S01E07

Stasis

Boss - StasisTom Kane may have dodged the latest bullets aimed squarely at his head with the muzzling of Dr. Reyes and the murder of Alderman Mata, but things aren’t as neat and tidy as they appear for the current mayor of Chicago. At the end of last week’s episode of Boss, Meredith propositioned Zajac to drop out of the governor’s race and join the mayoral campaign in a year, only with her aid as she’s determined to take down her husband once and for all.

“Stasis” was easily the most gripping episode of Boss to date, but in the end it feels like a wash, because the excitement generated by Kane’s last-minute triumph only threw the show’s fundamental problems into sharper relief.  Yes, we got the momentary thrill of a few unexpected plot twists and some heart-pounding confrontations, but at the end of the day, Kane is a huge, irredeemable asshole. We don’t know enough about the guy to overlook these flaws, or even to understand what’s driving his obsessive need for power. Without so much as a scrap of sympathy for Kane, there’s not much us to do except root for Kane to lose and/or die–and that’s a weird way to spend a Friday night.

Outside of Kane, nobody’s character is truly fully developed. This episode went at some lengths to show Kitty seriously down in the dumps and it worked and it worked well because it finally made her human and brought her out of the sexy robot state she’s been operating under for the past several episodes. Connie Nielson is probably the character best served outside of Kane. The idea of Meredith, this Lady Macbeth figure who actually has a huge amount of influence and savvy about politics in Chicago is seriously cool and Nielson is good enough to pull her off without seeming a stereotype.

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Watch Boss – Spit Online S01E06

Spit

Boss - SpitMayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) sits like a spider at the center of Chicago’s web of power; a web built on a covenant with the people. They want to be led, they want disputes settled, jobs dispensed, and loyalties rewarded. If he achieves through deception and troubling morality, so be it. As long as he gets the job done, they look the other way.

Yet despite being the most effective mayor in recent history, a degenerative brain disorder is ripping everything away from him. He can’t trust his memory, his closest allies, or even himself.

I noticed a lot of resonance tonight, Kane’s actions serving as parallel commentary on others. The best example of this was Kane’s monologue to a former police detective, now a bartender, who is also probably Meredith’s brother. On a walk through a park, he all-too-easily recounts a story that quickly moves into sinister territory, with Kane describing how he burned down another corrupt official’s house and his future brother-in-law looked the other way in the investigation. That was Kane’s first “necessary act of evil,” but now after many years in office, he can’t tell whether his acts of corruption are necessary or merely “expedient.” It’s a nice moment of clarity for Kane, but one that doesn’t prevent him from asking his brother-in-law for a favor – shaking down Dr. Reyes, the woman who redacted the names of hazardous chemicals in the report that made things worse for Kane last week, and using her mentally ill criminal brother as a bargaining chip to get her to recant her previous statement. She did what she had to do to protect her brother, but lets Kane know what she really feels behind the scenes, with the action that lends the episode its title.

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Watch Boss – Remembered Online S01E05

Remembered

Boss - RememberedThis was probably the strongest showing of Boss to date, despite the fact that Kitty’s boobs weren’t flashed even once. We still got some boobage, don’t worry, but there was still an emptiness left when all Kitty gives us is some extreme cleavage, don’t you think? In this episode we had the water crisis spilling over into Kane’s lap. The most interesting thing about the show so far has to be the inside look into the cogs turning as Kane and his team try to clean up the mess and shift the blame elsewhere. Any episode that gives us more of Kitty and Stone thinking up devious schemes and less of Emma saying lines like “you don’t care who you hurt, what you break, what you take” with all the torment of a woman who just found a yoyo in her cereal box instead of a bouncy ball is an episode that’s on the right track.

My only reservations about this whole storyline is the Sam character. Sam the journalist. He’s so bland and so uninteresting that I just want him to lose by default, I don’t care how many kids get cancer (and yes, just for writing that I feel like an awful human being. Thanks a lot, Sam.) He had one big scene in this episode – the secret meeting with Kane – and he came across as whiny and petulant. I just wanted Kane to strangle him (this happened later, but alas, not to Sam).

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Watch Boss – Slip Online S01E04

Slip

Boss - SlipBOSS Season 1 Episode 4 – There were few long monologues this week though the language was no less force-poetic, and Kelsey Grammar did a much better job of chewing the scenery, but this episode felt like two different shows clashing against each other. One show is the exploration of power and corruption and the underground politics which mar a city as culturally diverse as Chicago. The other is a show about a man with an illness who wants to repair his relationship with his daughter and finish off a legacy before his illness renders him totally incompetent.

Issues between his wife Meredith (Connie Nielsen) and her business partner organization, Scientia, arise as a result of Kane’s past cronyism with Frank Kohler (Christian Stolte) and the symptoms of the disease he suffers manifest. Kane’s choice to support for Governor, State Tresurer Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner), faces hostility as he campaigns in southern Illinois and Governor McCall Cullen’s (Francis Guinan) tries to interfere by instilling doubts about Kane’s motivations for supporting him. Chicago Sentinel reporter Sam Miller (Troy Garity) continues to dig dirt on Kane. As these events unfold, the list of people that could blindside Kane grows just as he’s reminded how the documentation of events could have beneficial and damaging repercussions.

In “Swallow”, things took an almost Cinemax-like turn, with the sex, nudity and monologues at a series high. This week, things seem to settle down as our main character begin to realize that the walls are either already crumbling down around them, our will no doubt begin to do so in the near future.

Fast-forward to Kane’s office, where he begins to set up a computer and webcam in order to monitor what he’s doing and saying, as he continues to have lapses. As it turns out it comes in handy pretty quickly, as Kane accidentally promises a contract for delivering meals to schoolchildren to the wrong person. This is rendered worse by the fact that the other company involved, Scientia, is a client of his wife Meredith (Connie Nielsen), who wastes no time chewing Kane out for his mistake, not to mention for throwing the former mayor and her father under the bus for a whole toxic water deal (more on that later), conveniently while Kane wears one of his father-in-law’s ties.

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