Review of Vegas episode 1.2, Money Plays, is here!

This week's episode of Vegas, Money Plays!, premiered on Tuesday. The story centered around a series of burglaries in town and the bad guy from last week parlaying his insider's knowledge of Savino's operation into an agreement with the Feds. Of course, Savino can't let the guy live and can't let the guy sing to the Feds about what he knows. So, a good portion of the hour was spent on the various ways Savino tried to set up a hit on his former employee. Oh, and a new character came to run the count room at the Savoy. Sarah Jones (late of Alcatraz) joined the cast as Mia Rizzo, the daughter of the Chicago mobster who Savino works for. She has some ideas of how the hotel should be run and she and Savino clash before the episode is over.


Thoughts on this week's episode:

The coffee shop where Ralph was having breakfast, should have been in the Horseshoe. Speaking of the 'Shoe, why is it missing from Fremont Street? Even if they couldn't use the name they could have a similar gambling joint ala The Mint masquerading as The Dice Club.  Where’s Benny Binion (or a fictional character based on Benny)holding court with Dobie Doc in the Horseshoe coffee shop? Those two real-life larger than life characters would add to the story.

Speaking of missing characters- Where’s Miss Pearl (Mahlon Brown's grandmother)?  The older female with deep ties to the community who worked in the Sheriff’s office, knew Ralph and kept the place running. Would have made a great role for Margo Martindale.

Where’s the Strip?
The Savoy is on Fremont Street ( you can see the Golden Nugget sign outside Savino's office) but seems very out of place for Fremont Street.  It should be on the Strip. The interior screams Strip. The porte cochere screams Strip. Speaking of interiors, why do the interiors of the Fremont Street joints all look like they should be on the Strip? Did no one check out the photos on this site, the State Museum or Special Collections to get an idea of what Fremont Street gambling joints looked like inside? The sawdust joints of Fremont Street looked nothing like the interiors of the Strip.

 “Where you headed, Pop?" Dixon Lamb asks his father after Ralph and Jack Lamb have taken down a would-be jewel robber at the top of the show. "Downtown” replies Ralph.  WTF???? Ralph is already downtown, in fact, on the main street of downtown. He’s on Fremont Street.

I would hate to believe that the producers want us to believe that Ralph was on the Strip at that moment because that dog won't hunt. Speaking of the Fremont Street exterior set, I really miss the neon Santa Fe sign at the end of Fremont Street, especially during the night scenes.

A manager of the count room who lived in Henderson in 1960? Really? Henderson was the bastion of factory workers who worked at Titanium Metals back then. The manager would have lived in town either in apartment or a small house near downtown.

A female to run the count room? WTF??? Sarah Jones looks like she is playing dress up.

The music just seems added to remind us it’s the early 1960s not for any reason to drive or compliment the story.

Nice touch of being able to see the top of the Fremont Hotel when Chiklis is attacking a fire hydrant on Ogden Street.

This is basically NCIS in 1960 but the cast isn’t as cohesive or has the chemistry of that show even in the early days. The main cast seems to be trying but they are being let down on the story.

There’s no subtlety to the storytelling. Every ten minutes, punches are thrown rather it needs it or not.
It wouldn’t have been that difficult to get more of the history and historical production design right.
Outside the main cast, everyone looks like they are playing dress up and not concerned with characterization.

But the focus of the story isn’t on telling a compelling or nuanced story but more the crime of the week. Tis a pity. And it is possible to tell a compelling, nuanced larger story while dealing with a crime of the week.  Person of Interest also on CBS, does it every week. We had plenty of colorful real-life characters who could have added so much to the story but are being ignored. These characters are playing archtypes, black hats vs white hats, instead of characters. And I think many of us would prefer the engaging characters that are only being hinted at.

Hard to believe that this is the story that Nick Pileggi has wanted to tell for the last decade.