This week in cowboys vs. gangsters, the pugilists are back from the Olympics after knocking some patriotic sense into those damn commies, er, Russians. Not too long after a rousing press conference with the boxers where all of the journalists seem to think it’s 1920 as opposed to 1960 (Champ! Champ! Did you have those Russians whistling Dixie after you gave em’ the ol’ one, two?), one of America’s heroes winds up dead in the street. Vegas!
Oh, hey, look! It’s Mike from “Breaking Bad” (Jonathan Banks) as the mob boss Angelo. He’s in town to make sure Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis) is running things properly, and judging by the quality of the oysters (Fat Tony has them flown in every morning from the coast. Yes, FAT TONY.) he’s pleased by what he sees. But, Savino has bigger plans. He wants to open a swanky new restaurant and an arena so he can keep all the high rollers in house. Before he can do that, though, he has to impress another one of the higher-ups in town because, “ … he’s good with numbers.” Who knew the mathematically inclined were so highly respected in the streets?
Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) and the boys find out the dead boxer may have had a bit of a drug problem. They suspect “dope.” Upon further investigation via the team trainer, Tommy (the dead boxer) had a cracked vertebra from a hellish right-hook from the Russian he fought. Looks like those men behind the iron curtain were looking to break America’s back both figuratively and literally.
After nearly coming to the conclusion a fellow boxer killed him via a lead pipe (in the study!) for supposedly fornicating with his wife, we come to find out Johnny the boxer didn’t die from a blow to the head at all, but from a mix of the painkillers and asthma medication. But, Johnny didn’t have asthma. There’s mischief afoot!
Lo and behold, another friend on the boxing team couldn’t bear to see Johnny fight anymore, so he slipped him some of his asthma pills in hope that he’d get a tummy ache and not go punch things. Boy, was he ever wrong. Trinity, or as Ralph knows her, Katherine O’Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss), asked why he didn’t bring wheezy in on involuntary manslaughter. Ralph’s reply? “He’ll have to wake up every morning remembering what he did for the rest of his life. That’s punishment enough.” Apparently, the sheriff is now a judge as well.
Mr. Good With Numbers, or Johnny Rizzo, just can’t stay out of trouble. He was blacklisted by the gaming commission back in the day for taking the craps rake to the eye of a dealer. Now he can’t legally gamble in Vegas anymore, and Ralph knows this. After seeing Johnny on the game floor in the Savoy (Savino’s casino) Ralph decides to take him to jail. Rizzo puts up a struggle, but it’s nothing a fist from our rancher can’t handle. This puts a snag into Savino’s plans, as Rizzo now is very upset with the way he was treated and wants Ralph dead. Savino would rather not have two sheriffs dead within a month, so a meeting of the brain trust is put into order and Angelo agrees with Saviono’s assertion. Our Cowboy is safe for now.
Number of men Ralph Lamb beats up in this episode: Amazingly, only one.
Lines of the night
“Elephants. You know how you eat them? One bite at a time.” – Ralph Lamb discussing his dietary habits.
“Wonder how much it costs for someone to burn your food around here.” -- Ralph Lamb, perplexed at the sight of a baked Alaska.
“I’ve just introduced the Bacharach table. It’s a European game. Just came over from Monte Carlo. Makes the poor saps feel like they’re cultured while they’re lining our pockets.” – Vincent Savino explaining the gypsy game of Bacharach.