Review of "Masquerade" episode of "Vegas"

Masquerade episode 1.9

Where Ralph and Katherine share a moment, Dixon has a fear of spiders and Benny Binion gets a shout-out!

Got your drinks? Let's review!

It was a typical episode of Vegas with the crime of the week centered on the murder of a showgirl. We see the showgirls on stage at the Stargazer (it’s a lame name). Almost as lame as the drummer who accompanies the music. But, fakeout! It’s just a rehearsal and the director, Max, begins berating the lead dancer. He tells her to  basically get her act together or he’ll have to drop her "cute little bottom" from the show. Ah, the 1960s.

Meanwhile we get a look at the exterior set of Downtown/TheStrip with Vegas Vic, the neon cowboy, makes a cameo appearance as well as a long, vintage caddy. In a walk and talk, we learn from Vince that the Missus and the kids are on holiday and from Mia we learn that Daddy Rizzo is in Los Angeles on business. Seems Daddy Rizzo’s union friends have arranged a screen test or two for Diane (the singer from the last episode two weeks ago).

Much more interesting than the walk and talk is the set design of the interior of the Savoy and vintage slot machines. While the count is down 12%, Vince isn’t worried because he has stolen a whale away “the Dunes and into our house”.

Out on Fremont Street/The Strip, the new Mayor Grady is getting his picture taken ala Oscar Goodman with some comely showgirls. Ralph watches, amused. Seems Grady wants to start a tourism campaign and needs a slogan. “Did you really ask me out here about tourism?” Ralph asks. Seems the mayor won’t be inaugurated until next week. In the meantime, though, he has “a vision that I want every Las Vegan to share.” Drink if you know what that means.

As the new mayor is trying to sell his spiel to Ralph, Dennis Quaid does us a solid by smiling, widely. Drink! Ralph’s suggestion for a slogan, “Welcome to Las Vegas” (Shades of Betty Willis, though I think we will all be up in arms if the show makes it look like Ralph’s slogan inspired Betty’s sign). The new mayor is less than thrilled with the slogan but damn if we don’t hit the jackpot because Quaid doesn’t care and he smiles again!  Drink!

Vince approaches them, “Sheriff, did you come to kiss the ring?” he asks, to which Ralph replies, “No, what did you come to kiss?” and smiles again!  Drink! Quaid is much more relaxed and charming in the first five minutes of this opening than he has been all season long. Hopefully, this portends a trend.

Back at the Stargazer the lead showgirl is dancing alone and the music abruptly stops. To her credit, she grabs her things and tries to make good her escape. Drink if you knew her death was inevitable

When we return from commercial, we’re at the Sheriff’s Office where Jack is busting Dixon’s chops. Meanwhile, Miss Sanchez is searching for something, seems she’s misplaced “a personal item”.

The call about the dead showgirl comes in and they go to the scene. They meet Katherine there. Plus the dead showgirl has been re-dressed in her costume. Katherine notices that and Ralph comments that she “is a trophy”. Katherine believes the young girl has been raped.

The questioning of the usual suspects begins. The director is a jerk and continues to be a jerk. But he did give the young girl a $300 advance for reasons unknown.

Back at the Savoy, they are waiting for waiting for the whale, Clay Stinson, who is arriving by rail in his own private car (as if he is foretelling the arrival of Howard Hughes six years later). Vince ‘s crew is not impressed by Stinson and they haven’t even met him yet. First thing Clay (a big, tall Texan) eyes is Mia. Drink if you know what one of his first requests will be. That is one giant piece of turquoise on the bolo tie that Stinson is wearing. Making up for other shortcomings perhaps?

Has the show gotten a new hair stylist? Both Ralph and Dixon seem to be sporting better ‘dos.

Vince is trying to keep Clay happy and in his cups. But we are about to get the highlight of the season, the mention of Benny Binion! For a show set in Las Vegas in 1960 and whose action is supposed to take place mainly downtown, there has been no mention of any of the colorful characters that ran downtown, especially the larger than life Texan who ran the Horseshoe and would take anyone’s bet. Clay reminds Vince of this and Vince’s reply, “Well, Benny can be a little crazy”. I guess we can only hope that the writers of this show will continue to populate their scripts with some of the historic larger than life characters that are part of the tapestry of Las Vegas history. It’s probably a long shot, but I guess we can always hope.

In the meantime, Vince lowers the limit that Clay can bet on a hand. Clay then surprises Vince and Mia by betting a cool half mil. He’s doing it to impress Mia. Drink if you saw that one coming even during the second swoon of mentioning Benny’s name. Vince covers the bet and Clay wins. Vince almost plotzes when Clay splits and the ante goes up to million. Clay wins and Vince looks short of breath.

Ralph and Katherine check out the dead showgirl’s apartment. There’s a Bob Fosse poster from Broadway on the wall (Hopefully for Redhead and not Sweet Charity). It’s the most Katherine has had to do in a few weeks. She reminds Ralph that “bad things happened in this town before the casinos”. And someone wrote in lipstick on the dead girl’s make-up mirror, You Shall Be Forgiven.

Back from commercial, Vince is paying Clay his cool million. And in addition to his winnings, Clay wants Mia, “a night with Miss Rizzo”. Vince refuses. “Everyone has their price.” Clay tells him.

Red isn’t happy because Clay’s entourage will drink free booze and trash their hotel rooms. But Vince says Clay will gamble again and big as long as they can keep him in the hotel. That’s Red’s job. Drink if know how easy that will be.

The Lamb brothers discuss the case and Quaid smiles again! Drink! Katherine joins the conversation and tells Ralph that the killer has done this before, especially in Kingman. We get a shout-out to Boulder Highway! Drink! Ralph won’t let Katherine go along but asks her to follow up on the Kingman lead by making phone calls. She’s not happy.

Clay is trying to leave the hotel and go to a well-known French restaurant on First Street. Vince convinces them to go to Savoy restaurant and he’ll have a private meal made special for Clay and his entourage.

Ralph and Jack check out a lead in an oil field. Yeah, oil and Las Vegas. You’ve heard of the rich oil fields of Southern Nevada, right? They break up a shoot with a couple of young chippies and a leering film director. The young chippies look like they were acting out a roman scene, girl on girl. But nothing that hot because it’s CBS.

Ralph threatens the leering director and shoots between his legs, telling him to get out town.

Over at the Savoy, Clay liked his dinner but he plans on leaving because “You gotta go before the thrill wears off”. Vince isn’t happy.

Katherine meets with the dead showgirl’s father who drove in from Cedar City (another shout out that is correct). Katherine tells him that his daughter was murdered. The father is upset. Drink if you figured that would happen. The father blames his daughter and tells Katherine not to contact him again. Katherine is upset.

Miss Sanchez is still trying to find whatever it is that she lost. Dixon offers to help until he discovers it’s a spider. Seems Dixon has a fear of spiders.

Katherine talks to Ralph. Seems Ralph doesn’t want to have to worry about Katherine putting herself in dangerous situations. Ah, he cares about her! She tells him “I refuse to stand over the body of another young girl”.

After the commercial, Clay is leaving and Mia becomes aware of what Clay wanted. Mia’s a big girl. In a strange cut, it begins to rain, the caddy and Clay come back. Vince made it impossible for his private train car to leave.

The Lambs are hot on the trail of another clue. Drink if you realize that there is another 15 minutes left and this clue won’t pay off. Besides, Chris Stengel is a young woman not a young man. And Chris and the dead showgirl were girlfriends (in the 21st century diverse America meaning).

Seems she was working on her own act with someone from the Stargazer show. Ralph returns to his office to find the new mayor there.  The new mayor is feeling a lack of respect. He tries to convince Ralph that he’s not Savino’s dog. Ralph pulls out three cases, all dead, that were friends of Vince. “I’d hate for you to become one of those friends.” He tells the new mayor.

Grady leaves and Katherine comes in. They have a heart to heart. Katherine tells Ralph the story of her cousin Joan who visited when she was 15. Her cousin was raped by a ranch hand. “That’s the shame of it” she says. Seems the ranch hand quit and then “a year later I saw in the papers he raped a girl in Henderson. I should have done something when I had the chance.” Ralph assures her they’ll get that chance for the dead showgirl. Quaid is not only quite good in the scene, he smiles!  Drink!

Over at the Savoy, Mia reports that Daddy Rizzo is returning from Los Angeles because Diane’s screen test didn’t go well. They have two hours to win back all the money from Clay.

Katherine gets a lead on the jerk director, Max. Katherine offers to go to the showroom and talk to the showgirls. Ralph and Jack discover the director didn’t do the crime. Oh no, the killer is still out there!  Drink if you knew that.

Katherine talks to the piano player/drummer.  Da, Da, Dum!!!! While the piano man is talking, Katherine realizes he is the killer. She starts to leave and piano man grabs her by the throat. Throttling her, she stabs in the leg with a letter opener.

She tries to make good an escape. But piano man grabs a knife and talking to Katherine he confesses the crime. Katherine throws a cut glass bowl to distract him and Ralph shows up and drops the guy with a well placed bullet that doesn’t kill the piano man. He embraces Katherine.

Over at the Savoy on Fremont St/the Strip, Clay is packing up and leaving but not before playing a hand of poker with Mia. Each put up a cool mill. She didn’t tell Vince she was drawing the money from the cage. Mia has a pair of eights and Clay only has a busted straight. Mia wins. Before he and his entourage leave he promises Mia he’ll be back. Seems the chips were show, the real bet was for something else. Either way, Clay lost a mill and still didn’t get Mia.

Over at the Sheriff’s Office, the spider is walking across the floor. Quaid smiles again!!!! Drink! Miss Sanchez rescues the spider, Dixon gets busted for being afraid of spiders and the episode ends.

While it was a typical episode, some good things happened. Especially the character development between Ralph and Katherine.  This show isn’t anywhere close to Justified or Mad Men territory in terms of story telling and acting but Dennis Quaid is either getting comfortable with the character or the director has realized that Quaid is more than a one note actor.

And the historical shout-outs are much appreciated and we hope they continue!

There will be a holiday episode next week that looks like it includes some steamy moments or at least a few romantic ones.

So, we’ll be back to bring you the recap/review!

In the meantime, hit the comments and let us know what you think!