Las Vegas
Decks and Violence

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Swizzle shtick

Mike's schooling of Ben continues in a cocktail lounge where, as luck would have it, there's an Elvis impersonators' convention taking place. What does that say about a show when the Elvii Summit is considered less plot-worthy than the swizzle twits? This is a test; it is only a test. Mike asks the assorted Elvii questions, and Ben is supposed to determine whether they're lying or not. Ben fails spectacularly. Mike sighs, "Guess we got a lot more work to do."

And now, the dénouement of the swizzle shtick. Loretta is denying she took Shrub's swizzle, and Monty is pursing his lips in censorious disagreement. Danny breaks out the surveillance footage and shows Loretta for the lying thief she is. Monty looks shocked to have his suspicions confirmed. Loretta looks taken aback for a moment, and then reaches into her purse to pull out the swizzle stick. Both Danny and Mary smile discreetly at this; Monty lunges for the tchotchke and compliments Danny on his work while Loretta's shoulders heave with guilty sobs. Monty asks Loretta to surrender her Sassy card, and as she does, it is as if a great burden has been lifted from her: "All those years collecting swizzle sticks. The single-minded focus it demanded. It's like I've been in prison -- a prison where the bars are made from swizzle sticks. But now, I'm free. Oh, thank you!" She plants a full-on kiss on a bemused Danny's mouth while Mary, who has been exchanging eye-rolling grins with Danny, laughs.

Mike tests Ben on yet more tells by having him quiz showgirls on how old they are. To a woman, they say they're twenty-two. To a woman, they're lying.

Big Ed tracks down the waiter who brought Vera her last martini. Within moments, he determines that yes, the waiter broke protocol and brought the martini to Vera on a cart because he was helping Vera escape. Big Ed's all, "How much is she paying you, Billy?" Billy's all, "Pay...ing...me?" Big Ed replies, "Yes, paying you. It better be a lot, because after I get through with you, kid, you'll never work in this town again." Billy's all, "I love her!" This throws Big Ed for a loop.

Off we go to the no-tell motel. Vera comes out of the shower, pleased to see Billy. She is not nearly so pleased to see Big Ed. Ed asks Billy to leave so he and Vera can have a grown-up conversation. Vera explains, "I had to get away -- the show, the life, the marriage." Big Ed replies, "It could have been a little simpler. You could have quit the show, filed for divorce..." Vera counters, "You know those young couples who come to see us on their honeymoons -- the ones who think we're going to bring them good luck in their marriages? Well, I'm tired of being held hostage to the primitive credulity of strangers!" Or maybe she just tells Big Ed that it's a lot of pressure being the talisman for the willfully deluded. And there I go editorializing on superstitions again. Whoops. She explains, "Things haven't been good between me and Vanko for a long time, but if I divorced him, I would be the most hated person in Vegas. A marked traitor, like, um, oh...Demi Moore in that movie about the pilgrims." Big Ed replies, "The Scarlet Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote that." Vera, who never met a book she didn't ignore, replies, "Yeah, yeah. I think it was Robert Duvall." James Caan almost reflexively cringes over this mention of his former Godfather costar, and just goes with Vera's monologue, rawten Noo Joisey accent and all. We find out that poor Billy is just going to be discarded like an empty martini glass. Vera honks into her hand towel that she really does love Vanko and their excessive Las Vegas life, and asks Big Ed to help her think of something.

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Las Vegas

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