My summary for this episode would be “That Elias situation escalated quickly”. This is the episode that got me to *really* stick around. Not just for what I knew about season 3 or 4, but for the actual plot I was seeing at the moment. Good stuff.
The number of the week is
Keith Mars Charlie Burton! He is a teacher who witnesses a mob hit at a bodega (which is a sort of convenience store run by latinxs, or specifically Dominican folks, if I understand correctly), so now the Russians are out to get him, since they were the ones to kill an LCN don as retribution. Retribution for what? A hit was ordered by a man leading the LCN back into business, and that man is Elias. Yup, the same Elias we’ve heard about before. *MYSTERY*.
I have watched the whole show before, so SPOILERS MIGHT HAPPEN. Big spoilers will be blanked out but references and irrelevant spoilers are going to be out in the open.
John gets to Charlie before the Russians do, but they do shoot Burton on the shoulder, so they hide in a rundown apartment, patching him up with cocaine and some glue, like a professional. John and Charlie bond a little, and John shares that Charlie reminds him a little of Harold. We will talk more about this later.
There is also some foreshadowing going on as far as Elias goes, when the dead LCN don’s wife says that Elias will reunite the 5 families, take out the Russians, and that the cops will answer to him. All in due time, though.
Fusco and Harold meet for the first time, since John’s phone is not working and Harold needs some help.
Fusco: So you’re his guy?
Harold: No, I believe that’s your role.
Oh Harold, you stabby, sassy motherfucker.
So, while John and Charlie bond, Harold tries to find out who else is after Charlie, who he thinks is probably Elias, and what he might look like, since nobody knows still. He spots a cop who isn’t really a cop and listens in, hearing that they are coming after the witness. Is that Elias?
Harold tells Fusco where to meet John and the witness, but also finds out Elias knows, and blames Fusco. Poor Lionel, he didn’t do anything wrong. But then who told Elias?
So, near the end, we have two things happening at the same time: Carter is questioning Peter Yogorov (who was after the witness, and Elias) about what happened at the shooting, and John is being questioned by the other Yogorov brother (who John captured for some reason), about how John could work for such an absolute monster. John and Carter are clearly confused, and so am I. What the hell is this shit?
Peter Yogorov: You really don’t get it, do you? You really think we’d go through all this trouble for a witness?
I love that scene with Carter’s mind being blown. Followed by John’s mind buffering the information, just as he hears the gun click: Elias, who is Charlie Burton, who is Elias, is pointing it at him. Elias shoots Laszlo in the knee as a message, and thinks about shooting John, but doesn’t, because that would be ungrateful. So you see, even if he pretended to be a history teacher to Russian kids to get close to his enemies and learn their secrets for 3 years, and even though he is willing to kill most people, he has his rules and proper mob etiquette, apparently.
Elias: Besides, how do you take the life of someone so talented?
Elias has a crush on John that started the moment John put cocaine on his shoulder. I have zero doubts about this theory.
I love episodes where the supposed victim is the perpetrator or when the victim is actually an asshole or the perpetrator actually has valid points, not because they’re plot twists (although some of them are cool that way too), but because in real life, a lot of us can be both, and people aren’t villains or heroes or whatever. It sounds cheesy, but I like the complicated decisions characters in this show face.
At the end, John is understandably bitter about having saved a murderous mob lord, the Yogorov boss (the father) is killed by Scarface – the fake cop that Harold thought was Elias, but is actually Elias’ right hand man. With the Yogorov brothers going to jail, we are left with Nina Simone’s ‘Sinnerman’ as the perfect soundtrack to Elias’ rise to power, and like he himself says: this is just the beginning. Of a beautiful relationship and a wonderful story.