In 1922 Los Angeles, three kids try to rob the ticket office of a local movie theater in broad daylight armed only with a baseball bat. Two cops happen to be across the street and immediately respond to the robbery in progress. Two of the kids get away while the third is apprehended. The kid that gets arrested is none other than ten-year old Mickey Cohen and this is the same robbery alluded to by the now dearly departed Hecky Nash in the previous episode.
A young Bill Parker witnesses Cohen get arrested across the street and he says that it was a good thing the cops showed up. However, a woman is quick to point out that the cops aren’t any better. Parker seems to agree with this and the woman tells him that if he’s such a boy scout then he should set them straight.
Five years later, Parker becomes a rookie officer with the LAPD and quickly builds a reputation for being a little too by-the-book especially after arresting his captain’s drinking buddy for drunk driving.. Shortly afterward, the cops are involved in a hostage situation and the suspect appears to be especially trigger happy.
The sergeant in charge says that they need someone to go in and negotiate. The other cops are quick to volunteer Parker for this mission and the less than courageous sergeant is all too happy to agree with them. While Parker appears well aware about why he’s being sent in, he still doesn’t hesitate to go anyway. While the suspect continues making his demands, Parker pretends that he can’t hear him so that the perp has no choice but to open the door. Parker uses this opportunity to get the drop on him and quickly take him down. Since the other cops don’t like Parker very much he is far from commended for his bravery but at the same time no one calls him “numb nuts” anymore either.
In 1947, Bugsy Siegel meets with Cohen and Sid at the Clover Club to discuss the blackmail exchange with Hecky. While Sid is able to retrieve the incriminating film negatives, he’s still angry about Joe showing up to the payoff and therefore not being to kill Hecky.
Ned joins the party soon after to inform them that while Hecky may have been able to avoid getting gunned down by Sid, he wasn’t quite so lucky with Joe. While the others are happy about Hecky being out of their hair for good, Sid is less than thrilled about Joe doing his job for him and being kept in the dark about this scenario being a possibility. Of course. when Ned returns Siegel’s blackmail money that Joe turned down, Siegel immediately becomes suspicious about this and asks the same question I’ve been asking myself since the show began “Who the hell is this cop?”
Meanwhile, back at the LAPD, the cops are questioning Hecky’s girlfriend Jasmine Fontaine who also happens to work for Cohen as a hostess at the Clover Club. While the cops suspect that she knows something, she doesn’t tell them anything they don’t already know (other than Hecky was allegedly a stamp collector). The detectives are still suspicious of Jasmine so Parker orders her to be tailed for the next 48 hours and Joe is assigned the first shift as punishment for letting Hecky get killed under his watch. Just as Jasmine is about to leave the station, Parker and Morrison insist that Joe give her a ride home for her own protection and she reluctantly agrees.
Despite Ned’s efforts to calm Siegel and Sid’s suspicions about Joe, they understandably find it extremely odd that Joe is willing to bump a guy off for them but then refuses to take the money for it. Siegel knows Joe is hiding something and he orders Ned to find out what it is or Sid will do it for him.
As Joe drops Jasmine off at her apartment, they have a brief conversation that makes it clear the two of them have a history together (more on that later). As Joe begins his stakeout on Jasmine, she quickly makes her way to her bathroom which is also being used as a poor man’s darkroom. Inside the bathroom are dozens of photographs and negatives. She gathers them and her camera equipment and puts them all in a bag which she quickly stashes in a train station locker. All the while, she appears completely unaware that she’s being tailed by Joe. As Joe follows her back to his apartment, he’s unaware that he’s being watched by a third party.
Back at police station, Parker is demanding that the detectives explain to him again exactly what went wrong during the Hecky Nash fiasco. While the police still don’t know what kind of evidence Hecky had against the mob, Parker believes there has to be some way to find out. One of the detectives believes Jasmine to be the key but Joe lies and insists she doesn’t know anything. After the other detectives leave, Parker tells Joe that he was on the verge of bouncing him back to robbery-homicide but decided against it because Morrison vouched for him and that Joe should use this opportunity to make it up to them.
While Jasmine continues to be tailed by the police, she makes her way back to work at the Clover Club. Shortly after walking into the club, she is called into Cohen’s office to talk with him and Siegel. They question her about Hecky’s blackmailing, but just like with the cops she insists that she doesn’t know anything and even goes so far as to claim that they actually broke up months ago.
Sid is called over to a small restaurant to meet the uncle of one of Siegel’s bagman named Carl Steckler. Sid is visibly annoyed (I’ve been saying that a lot haven’t I?) because Steckler refused to talk over the phone and instead insists on a face-to-face meeting. Sid quickly changes his tune once Steckler says he knows the location of a couple of guys they’ve been looking to have a word with. In exchange for some employment with Siegel, Steckler informs Sid that the guys are inside the restaurant he buses tables for. Sid puts on Steckler’s apron, walks into through the backdoor of the restaurant and without a word shoots two guys sitting at a table before calmly walking out.
Joe stops by Jasmine’s apartment and offers to relieve the detective currently working her protection detail but he declines. Joe decides to have a drink at Bunny’s instead where he’s spotted by Ned. The two talk about Jasmine and the fact the Ned’s bosses are still trying to figure out why Joe didn’t take the money for killing Hecky. Joe then takes an old picture out of his wallet which quickly makes Ned nervous. Ned has seen this same picture from Joe many times before when they fought together in the war and that it would best for both of them if Joe burned it which he grudgingly agrees to do. The picture is revealed to be an old wedding photo of Joe and Jasmine and that Jasmine is in fact Joe’s ex-wife.
I didn’t find this episode to be quite as interesting as the first. There was just as much sitting around and talking as before, except this time there wasn’t any Simon Pegg. I feel like these first two episodes have mostly been just buildup for a presumably big payoff at the end of the season though I’m willing to forgive that given the serialized format.
On the plus side though, this episode does a much better job on developing Joe and his backstory and this time we actually get to see Siegel and Cohen. Edward Burns is surprisingly good as Bugsy Seigel, though with the way they’re showing Mickey Cohen so far I’m having a bit of a hard time believing that he would go on to run the LA mob.
Darabont has done a good job so far providing the audience with questions. I just hope in the next couple of weeks he can be just as good providing us with answers.