Savino's Tumbleweed plans are continuing apace, working with the Mormon banker who's less than a stickler for the moral character of his business partner. But the Mormons do want to see that Vincent is a good family man, which means Mrs. Savino is on her way. They have what appears to be an arm's-length marriage, in the sense that Laura doesn't want to know anything about the dirty business he does. He tries to sell her on the legitimacy of his new project and of the opportunities that abound in the desert. She mostly falls for it, too, at least until she notices the bullet holes in the upholstery of her husband's car. Still, she dutifully plays the good wife for Savino at the country club, sealing the deal; given what a focus that was of the episode, I found it more than strange that we didn't actually get to see that scene, but I imagine Chiklis and Quaid in a producer's war every week, ensuring they each get equal amounts of screentime.
Much like Skyler White on Breaking Bad, she demands he keep no more secrets from her, a promise I'm not sure he's actually willing to keep. He's dealing with the Milwaukee fallout of whacking Davey Cornaro. The Happy Days mob sends an enforcer named Jones to come look for him, a bespectacled, formally mannered and affected thug that seems like a lite (in more ways than one) version of The Wire's Brother Mouzone. Savino orders his crew to make it appear that Cornaro skipped town so as not to touch off a gang war between Chicago and Laverne and Shirley. They plant Cornaro's car at the airport (after having the poor honest chop-shop owner put it back together), successfully fooling him and putting the police off the trail of Cornaro's disappearance too. Well, except for Ralph, of course. The discovery of corn in the car's axle or fuel tank or spark plug or whatever makes him decide Cornaro is buried in a cornfield, which is great, because there has to be a couple Savino-Lamb glare-offs in every episode.
But the centre of the episode is the kidnapping of the son of a member of the gaming commission. It's handled a little melodramatically -- the slow motion revolution of the boy's hula hoop, dropped by his mother when she sees a rogue pool-cleaner make off with her -- but is mostly compelling, apart from the problem that you're never convinced Ralph and his men aren't going to rescue the kid. There's a shootout at a motel, and then Ralph poses as the boy's uncle -- who turns out to have orchestrated the kidnapping for cash to convince his brother-in-law to grant a gaming license to a casino that can't get it honestly -- to exchange the money for the boy. That would have gone south -- the kidnappers intended to kill both the uncle and the boy -- if not for Jack's sharpshooting. Not along for the gunplay: Dixon. Despite his growing aptitude for police work -- and in Vegas, that can put you in the path of the mob -- Ralph is more and more reluctant to let him out in the field. “I'm his father, you're his uncle. It's different,” Ralph tells Jack when Jack sticks up for Dixon.
The kidnapped boy's father -- played by serial-drama stalwart and fan favorite Greg Grunberg -- is naturally effusive in his gratitude, perhaps convincing Ralph that this town does, in fact, need him, as the mayor tells him at the outset. Hizzoner wants Ralph to put his name up to take over the job permanent-like (not to mention lend his support to the mayor) but Ralph's not committing just yet, fearing that the thing the mayor says makes him a good sheriff -- the way crimes eat at him, keeping him up at night -- will change him into a different person. Vegas, writ small.
Daniel is a writer in Newfoundland with a wife and a daughter. His general rule is that if you save his life by shooting someone in the back, you get to accompany him everywhere. Follow him on Twitter (@DanMacEachern) or email him at email@example.com.
Savino's meeting with Leo Farwood again, and things seem to be going well investment-wise for his Tumbleweed club plans. There's a little dancing around the unsavory nature of Savino's line of work, but Farwood says Mormons are all about relationships. I guess that means as long as you look a man in the eye when you shake his hand and don't murder him, that's good enough for him.
Now, choosing an unsuitable wife? That's another matter. Farwood says the type of wife a man chooses says a lot about him. I don't know that anyone should be taking character advice from this guy, but it turns out that Savino's wife Laura will be here in time for the dinner at the country club tomorrow. Then Savino presents Farwood with a huge Tumbleweed cake, carried by two showgirls, and pretends to be surprised when Farwood doesn't start having sex with the showgirls right there in the restaurant.
Later, Laura shows up -- she's somewhere south of "enthused" to be here -- and gets the royal treatment from Vincent as well as the staff, and meets Mia, who she knows largely through her father, it seems. When Laura asks how he is, Mia gives a cheery-but-noncommittal "Same as always," -- which I guess means "still prone to violent outbursts" -- and to show Laura around town tomorrow. Laura accepts, giving the sense she feels like she's being pawned off by Vincent.
Ralph comes into the office to find ADA O'Connell draped all over his desk, because she and Dixon are trying to locate Davey Cornaro (with some utterly unnecessary background given to Ralph, clearly shoehorned in for viewers) and wonder if Cornaro might have been bribing Sheriff Clyde as well; if so, his arrest records might show it. O'Connell praises Dixon's police work, and Jack comes in so everyone can chortle about brains or whatever skipping generations, and then the mayor comes in and Ralph boots everyone else out.
The mayor's there to get Ralph to put his name up for election, as Clyde's term is about to run out and Jack would be unopposed. That might be a little presumptuous, but Ralph's non-committal, claiming to want to keep his options open. At the very least, the mayor wants Ralph to stand beside him at an Elks Lodge fundraiser, and it turns out Ralph can be bought: by the promise of chili omelettes. Might as well open all the windows in the sheriff office now, damn.
And then we get to the case of the week: An adorable nine-year-old tyke named Tim Larson arrives at his '60s-trendy home with his mom, where his dad and Uncle Andy are going over documents with some other suit, something having to do with highway lanes, establishing that the dad is not willing to scrimp by cutting a lane here or there to save some money. This is going to be by the book, dammit! That would be Uncle Andy looking to save money.