The Breakdown

The episode opens in 1944 with Joe and Jasmine still married and asleep in their bed.  Joe has returned from the war but he hasn’t come back unscathed.  He is suffering from PTSD and on this particular night has a nightmare so severe that when he wakes up  choking Jasmine.  The incident leaves them both shaken up as Joe runs into the bathroom.

Cut to 1947 where one of Siegel’s enforcers answers a phone call.  The guy on the other end is Siegel’s mole in the Mob Squad (still unidentified) who calls to tip off the enforcer about the location of the safe house where they’re keeping Steckler.

Meanwhile, back in Joe’s apartment, Sid has him handcuffed to a radiator and begins interrogating him about Steckler’s location.  After initially getting nowhere with Joe, Sid then threatens to tell the cops the truth about what happened with Hecky which would put Joe in prison for life.  Joe still refuses to talk prompting Sid to beat him with a baseball bat.  Joe tries to talk Sid into leaving but Sid points out that since he’s already facing a murder charge, he’s got nothing to lose.  It’s at this point that Sid informs Joe that he knows about his relationship with Jasmine.  He gives Joe an ultimatum and makes him choose between Jasmine or Steckler.

A couple of Mob Squad detectives are looking after Steckler at the safe house and prepare him for Siegel’s hearing the next day.  As that’s happening, two of Siegel’s enforcers enter the house disguised as uniformed cops.

Sid continues his interrogation of Joe by egging him on about the fact that his wife left him for a loser like Hecky.  This makes Joe angry enough that he tries to rip off his handcuffs.  Before Sid can get anything out of Joe however, the phone rings.  Sid answers the phone call which turns out to be one of Siegel’s assassins calling from the safe house.  He tells Sid to stay on the line and that he’ll like what he hears.

The safe house becomes uncomfortably quiet when Siegel’s enforcers suddenly begin opening fire while Joe and Sid listen on the phone.  What follows is a very intense shootout and once the smoke finally clears, Steckler is dead along with a cop and one of Siegel’s enforcers.  The other cop is left in critical condition while the second assassins gets away shortly after being shot in the leg.

As Sid hangs up the phone, he realizes there’s no longer any point in questioning Joe, so he gets ready to leave.  Before he gets the chance to do so however, a still handcuffed Joe fights with Sid.  As the two are trading punches, Jasmine arrives to check on Joe.  Sid orders her inside at gunpoint as he dials 911.  He gives the phone to Jasmine and orders her to tell the cops that she hears neighbors fighting and to ask them to come to Joe’s address.  Shortly before Sid leaves he tells Joe and Jasmine that they should burn their wedding album so that no on else finds out about them.  He also says that he’s willing to keep it a secret as long as Joe agrees to back off from now on.  Sid calmly walks out of the building and turns himself in to the responding cops and claims that Joe abducted and tortured him.

In the aftermath of the safe house shootout, the Mob Squad is out for blood but Parker says they’re going to take them out by the book.  Unfortunately, now that Steckler’s dead, their case against Siegel is kaput.  Their only chance for a conviction now is if the surviving detective Tug can identity the shooter.

Joe visits Jasmine’s apartment and tells her about Steckler’s death.  He feels responsible since Steckler tried escaping through the bathroom window but couldn’t because Joe had it nailed shut to keep anybody from getting in.  Jasmine begins to feel guilty herself as she tends to the wounds Joe received from his confrontation with Sid knowing that he got them because of her.  The two then agree to sleep together on the condition that neither of them expects anything afterwards.  As this is happening, Leslie is watching them both from the fire escape.

At Bunny’s Jungle Club, Bunny and Ned hold a meeting between Cohen and Dragna in a last ditch effort to prevent a war between the two mobs.  While there is no love lost on either side, Bunny and Ned are able to get them agree to a rather shaky truce.  Both sides agree to pay five grand each to the family of the guy that got killed in the previous episode and half of the property damage and Cohen agrees to pay for the dead guy’s funeral.

As Joe gets ready to leave Jasmine’s apartment, she is able take her train station locker key off his key-chain.  Just before he leaves, Joe promises her that he’s not “that guy” anymore.

As the Mob Squad visits a recovering Tug in the hospital, they try questioning him about the shooting.  Tug tells them that he got the surviving gunmen in the leg.  Unfortunately, he can’t identify the shooter because he lost his glasses during the gunfight and his vision was too blurry to get a good look at him.  Due to a lack of evidence in the case, Siegel and Sid both go free.

As Cohen is planning an acquittal party at the Clover Club he makes his way into the building’s darkroom.  He notices the red light on inside and ask the photographers what it’s for.  They tell him it’s so they can see the photographs without damaging them and that it’s standard equipment for a darkroom.  Remembering the red light bulb from Jasmine’s bathroom he now realizes that she was Hecky’s photographer in the blackmail scheme.

Jasmine hears somebody inside her apartment and at first she thinks it’s Joe but it turns out to be Leslie.  Not only is he expecting her to make good with the blackmail payoff but he’s now holding her six year-old neighbor hostage for insurance.  At first his plans are to have her call Siegel for the terms of the blackmail but she tells him that the cops have his phones bugged so she suggests approaching him at the Clover Club in person since Siegel already plans to be there for Cohen’s party.

Morrison tells Joe that they’ve written down a list of the people who knew about the safe house in an effort to figure out who ratted to Siegel.  They’ve come to the conclusion that the most likely culprit is Joe with one detective believing that Sid might have beaten the location out of him and just won’t admit it.  While that’s going on Jasmine enters the Clover Club which doesn’t go unnoticed by the Mob Squad detective listening to the bug in Cohen’s office.

The second Jasmine enters the Clover Club, she gets called into Cohen’s office.  Cohen tells her that he knows she’s the one that took the blackmail pictures.  She admits to it but tells him that she’s the least of their problems and that she also has prints of the pictures and duplicate negatives.  She says they can have the pictures if they agree to get Leslie off her back.  As she says all of this, she remembers Joe had told her earlier about the bug in Cohen’s office and looks at the ceiling light knowing there’s a cop listening to every word being said.

As Joe continues to be questioned about his loyalty to the Mob Squad he receives a phone call from the cop listening to Cohen’s bug.  He warns Joe that Jasmine is in trouble and plays back the bug recording to Joe.  Joe immediately hangs up the phone and gets ready to leave.  The other cops try to stop him but Joe is having none of it and tells them that they’re going to have to pull a gun to stop him.  They reluctantly let him go but one of them is immediately sent to follow him.  He doesn’t get far though as he turns a corner only for Joe to quickly knock him unconscious.

At the train station, Jasmine and Leslie make their way over to her locker where Sid and his goons are already there waiting for them.  Jasmine opens up the locker only to find out it’s empty.  Leslie is furious and gets ready to kill her but Sid shows up to intervene.  In a last ditch effort to save his hide, Leslie pulls a grenade.  Before Leslie can do anything with it however, Joe comes in from behind and quickly subdues him.

Sid’s goons take Leslie away but the matter with the blackmail pictures has yet to be resolved.  Joe tries to make a deal for the pictures in exchange for Jasmine’s life.  Jasmine says it would be a waste of time figuring that the same thing that happened to Hecky would happen to them.  It’s at this point Sid realizes that Joe never told Jasmine the truth about who really killed Hecky making him laugh hysterically (or least at least as hysterical as you could ever get from Sid).

Once Joe and Jasmine get out of the building he tells to her to take a train out of town.  Before she leaves though, she demands to know just what Joe is hiding from her.  He says that the second he saw Hecky holding the negatives he knew she was the one that took the pictures.  He says that if he had arrested Hecky like he had originally planned she would’ve been dead within the week and that if he let them leave town it would’ve only been a matter of time before the mob found and killed them both.  It’s at this moment that Jasmine realizes Joe was the one that killed Hecky.  She slaps him in the face several times but Joe stands by his decision because he believes it was the only way he could keep her safe.  She slaps him one last time before getting on the train.

As Siegel is celebrating his acquittal party, Sid has made his way back to inform Ned and Cohen of what happened at the train station.  Ned convinces Sid and Cohen that the smart thing would be to just give Joe what he wants so they have Ned arrange a meeting between Joe and Siegel.

Parker is drinking alone in his office when Mayor Bowron stops by to see him.  Parker understandably assumes that Bowron has come to fire him and gets ready to face the music.  To Parker’s surprise, Bowron is actually grateful that Parker was willing to take the blame for the whole fiasco and says he wants him to become the chief of police.  Parker is quick to point out that they already have a police chief.  Bowron counters that Chief Horrall was all too happy to throw them both under the bus to the press and that it’s likely he’s already planning to unseat him as mayor.  Bowron tells Parker that he wants him to bring Horrall down once and for all and that if Parker can do that, he will do everything in his power to make him the new chief.  Parker agrees to it but he insists that he’s not in it for the promotion.

Ned meets up with Joe at Bunny’s to discuss handing over what’s left of the pictures.  Joe says he wants to meet with Siegel in person to make his case.  Ned warns him that it’s a risky move but nevertheless tells him they’ll be in touch.

Joe meets up with the Mob Squad detective (I finally found out his name is Eddy) that tipped him off about Jasmine’s predicament so that they can finally discuss just what is going on.  Eddy tells Joe that he’s known about him and Jasmine for some time ever since they questioned her about Hecky’s murder.  He noticed that when he brought her coffee he didn’t ask how she liked it, indicating that he already knew and therefore they probably knew each other.  From there he did some digging and found their marriage license and divorce decree.  Joe asks Eddy why he decided to help him and Eddy insists that he understands his instinct to protect the woman he loves.  Eddy quickly warns Joe however, that people are going to find out about her eventually and that the best thing he can do is turn over the photos to Morrison.  Joe says he’ll think about it and leaves.

Parker makes another visit to Tug in the hospital.  It turns out Tug has turned in his badge and intends to resign saying he isn’t cut out for another night like the shootout and that he never wants to pick up a gun again.  Parker tells Tug that he’s planning to start a new unit that will root out police corruption and that he wants Tug to run it.  He also tells him that it’s a job where he’ll never have to draw his weapon again.  The first things Parker wants him to do is to find out who tipped off Siegel about the safe house and bring down Chief Horrall.  Tug responds by saying “Where do i sign up?”

Meyer Lansky has come to Los Angeles looking for Siegel.  Once he has found him, he says that he has business to discuss with him at the Biltmore.  This forces Joe to postpone his meeting with Siegel but Ned tells him that once Siegel has dealt with his business at the Biltmore, they can straighten things out then.  Joe isn’t happy about this but he reluctantly agrees.

Siegel meets with Lansky at his hotel room and while they’re friendly with each other at first, the two men quickly gets down to business.  Despite Siegel’s assurances earlier in the season, the crime bosses back east are still skeptical about his plans for Las Vegas.  Siegel basically repeats his sales pitch from a few episodes ago but this time around it comes off a little more desperate than before.  Unfortunately for Siegel, his talking has fallen on deaf ears and Lansky tells him the bosses back east have pulled the plug and aren’t giving him another dime.  To top it off, there’s still a million dollars unaccounted for and the bosses want their money back.  Siegel is furious and sees it as an act of betrayal from Lansky and assumes that he voted against him.  However, one of Lansky’s men tells him that not only was he the only one to vote in his favor but it damaged his reputation with the other bosses in the process.

Joe continues to wait impatiently for Siegel.  Siegel is on his way out of the hotel and despite Ned’s warnings to wait, Joe confronts him anyway.  A still livid Siegel takes the blackmail material and severely beats Joe.  Siegel tells Joe that Jasmine is dead either way and it’s up to him if he wants to join her.  Once Siegel and his guys leave, Ned stays behind to talk to Joe.  Ned warns there’s nothing he can do to save Jasmine and that he needs to stay away from Siegel.  Once Ned leaves, Joe follows him to where Siegel is staying.  Joe takes his gun out of his trunk and opens fire on Siegel through a window.  Siegel is hit several times including three shots to the head as he keels over dead.

In the immediate aftermath of Siegel’s shooting, Ned tells Sid to get as far away from the house as possible and to burn the blackmail pictures.  A devastated Sid reluctantly leaves and takes the pictures with him.  As Sid leaves, Joe is sitting in his car waiting for the other cops to show up.  When the cops enter the crime scene, Ned realizes immediately that Joe was the shooter.

Ned confronts Joe at Bunnys and tells him that killing Siegel was probably the dumbest move he could possibly make.  He tells them that Siegel’s death has created a power vacuum and that Cohen and Dragna will likely declare all-out war with each other before long.  He tells him that the cops are about to find just how much of a powder keg L.A. really is.

Cohen meets with Lansky to discuss business now that he’s been appointed to take over Siegel’s operations.  Cohen assumes that Siegel was killed on the orders from Lansky and the other bosses back east but Lansky tells him that while it was entirely possible that would’ve happened soon they weren’t the ones to pull the trigger.  He tells Cohen that he wants to know who killed Siegel and why and that he wants him to “cut us the pound of flesh we are owed.”

The Analysis

This set of episodes was a bit of a mixed bag.  They had the intensity of the third and fourth episodes but also the same amount of buildup from the first two episodes that makes it feel like some sort of prologue to something bigger coming up.

Easily the best scene for me is the firefight in the safe house.  As good as the merry-go-round shootout was, I actually liked this one better.  This shootout was much more intense partially because Siegel’s hit men were noticeably more competent this time around and also there wasn’t any carousel music to undermine the drama.  To be fair, the fact that there was also losses on the cops side this time helped raise the stakes as well.

As for Siegel’s death scene, there’s just something about it that doesn’t quite sit right with me.  Since most of the show has been taking place in the same year that Siegel was killed in real life I wasn’t surprised that it happened but the circumstances surrounding it just baffled me.  Considering the subplot with Las Vegas, it just seems like it would make more sense to have Siegel’s relationship with the mob deteriorate a little more or maybe even have Cohen stage a coup against him instead of just having him killed by a pissed off cop.

The good news is that with the way the episode ended, it’s clear that Frank Darabont already has some sort of plan for season 2 (if and when it ever comes).  It should be interesting to see how the cops try to stop the mob while presumably caught in the middle of turf war.  See you in season 2 (I hope).