Big Love
Miami Vice: “Streetwise”

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Mr. Sobell: A | Grade It Now!
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The Hapless Hooker Goes To Miami
I wish had the vocabulary to describe just how transcendently awful Philip Michael Thomas is in this scene. Normally a non-entity of an actor even under the least challenging of circumstances, Thomas takes his non-game here to new levels of unachievement. Not only do you not believe for one second that Philip Michael Thomas is an undercover cop posing as a pimp, you begin to doubt the very existence of cops and pimps. And God himself. Philip Michael Thomas is about as menacing as a warm bath, as street as Sesame, and as Caribbean as that pirate ride at Disneyland. Actually, the pirate ride is filled with more lifelike characters. In the time it took me to wrote that paragraph, Tubbs finally manages to overcome Carla, and she resigns herself to her forthcoming whooping. "Don't hurt me too bad," she squeaks with an air of resignation. That cuts Tubbs to the quick. Gone is his crafty, clear-as-Saran-Wrap disguise, away goes whatever island accent he had settled on at the time. He takes out his badge and tells Carla that no one will hurt her. Strangely, she does not seem terribly reassured. Tubbs calls Lt. Castillo to say that his cover's been blown and he's the one that blew it. "Looks like the only way to play her now is to lean on her for being with Roxanne," Tubbs says. "Charge her as a co-conspirator." Castillo glowers that there may be another option. To the Crockett Signal! It's a lot like the Bat Signal, only it's the outline of a pair of shades and a mullet. That's Sonny's cue to go over and self-righteously lecture Bill Paxton for what seems like the eleventy-third time this episode. Bill Paxton must feel the same way, because when he opens the door to find Crockett, he looks disappointed that it isn't someone trying to sell him $5 candy bars to help at-risk youth. "Carla's looking at a conspiracy charge that no one wants to stick her with," Crockett huffs. "So that gives you one chance to get your act in gear." Bill Paxton offers to do whatever he's told to help -- it is unclear, thanks to the lack lighting for this scene and Paxton's monotone delivery, as to whether he's doing this out of his love for Carla, his professional obligation, or just to get Crockett to shut his yap. In a luxury sedan on the other side of town, Mr. Leo is overseeing his burgeoning cocaine empire -- if you care, it appears that the source of the pharmaceutical-grade cocaine is an academic with massive gambling debts -- when he gets a call from Wesley Snipes. Mr. Leo is the kind of an up-and-coming drug lord who insists on hearing bad news immediately, so Wesley Snipes spills the beans on Tubbs's courtship of Carla and subsequent refusal to part with that pound of Mr. Leo's blow. "We can't have everyone knowing our business," Mr. Leo sighs. "I'll take out this Burnett." But what of Tubbs, Wesley Snipes demands to know. "The girl and him are on you," Mr. Leo says, hanging up. That's the secret to any successful entrepreneurial enterprise -- an ability to delegate.

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Big Love

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