Magic City: Swimming With the Fishes

Magic City S01E02: “Feeding Frenzy”

“Feeding Frenzy” cut right to the gratuitous nudity with a happily naked chick swimming gracefully outside those fancy underwater windows in the Miramar Playa’s Atlantis Lounge. Those are...well those are special, aren’t they? They sure are.

Fresh off last week’s New Year's Eve party, it was right back to work for Ike, who very much wanted to host the Miss 1959 pageant at the Miramar Playa. He wanted it bad enough to pawn the beautiful bottle blonde Judi Silver off on the schmuck in charge of picking the venue, and where had we seen Judi before? Mike Strauss’s bed, just before Ben Diamond’s goons showed up! Judi is a busy girl. But fortunately for Mr. Schmuck, Ike didn’t shoot him with anything more damaging than a camera, blackmailing him into handing over the Miss 1959 Pageant. I think Judi deserves a raise.

I think she’d settle for bail money, though. The police narrowed down their suspects in Strauss’s disappearance to Ike and Ike with a side order of Ben Diamond. Head Cop in Charge is played delightfully dickishly by Matt Ross, who we last saw on American Horror Story as creepy Doctor Montgomery. I like Ross-the-Dickhead. He’s going to give Ben and Ike a run for their bloodstained money, and he’s not exactly an upstanding guy himself. When Sterling Voss, the young clerk at the hotel Strauss was taken from, was busted for soliciting sex from an undercover cop in the park, the police had no qualms about using their leverage to make a deal. Voss ratted out Judi, giving them the connection to Ike they were looking for. It appears that the Miramar Playa’s foundation is already starting to erode, and it probably doesn’t help that Mike Strauss’s father busted into the Atlantis Lounge solely to call Ike a murderer within the first five minutes of the episode.

In “Feeding Frenzy”, Magic City reveled in its love of dichotomy by contrasting the police efforts to nail Ike with the utterly saccharine tale of Lauren Evans and her quest to get her grandfather to attend her Bat Mitzvah. It was like watching two completely different films spliced together Tarentino-style, and it went a long way toward developing Lauren, the youngest member of the Evans family, past her unfortunately unflattering introduction in the series premiere—in which she came off as a brat, bitter about her father’s remarriage. It would have been so easy to leave her there, the spoiled princess to Ike’s reluctant king, but Magic City is a better show than that. She even bonded with Vera, unthinkingly calling her “mom” in front of her friends.

Of course, Vera had to go and ruin it when she admitted to Ike that she was touched and all, but it didn’t really count, since she’s not Lauren’s real mother. I really hope Vera gets to do more than pine for a baby of her own all season long. I get that we’re pre-Feminine Mystique, but still.

But by far, the most entertaining aspect of "Feeding Frenzy" was the scale of batshit insanity that Ben “The Butcher” Diamond managed to blow completely off the charts. I mean, we understood that he was evil from the get-go. It was a no-brainer. “Audience, meet Ike. Ike will be your conflicted hero for the duration of this series. Audience, meet Ben. Ben is the Bad Guy.”

We even picked up on the fact that Ben was crazy, or at least a little unbalanced. But this week, this week, Ben Diamond embraced his lunacy for the entertainment of us all. Let’s see, we saw Ben throw a fabulous party on his yacht with the main entertainment consisting of naked women shooting at sharks. We saw him shoot his dog in the head in front of his wife when it wouldn’t stop barking during a phone call. And my personal favorite, mostly for its sheer THAT JUST HAPPENED vibe (God I love premium cable. It’s so gleeful about doing everything basic cable isn’t allowed to do!), Ben gave a monologue fit for every creepy creeper who ever creeped about his incredible ability to predict when Lily is about to get hit with the crimson tide based on how she smells, and he doesn’t mean her hair. Just to make sure we were all on the same page, he shoved his fingers up her birth canal for emphasis. Classy.

I’m going to love hating Ben Diamond this season. He’s proving himself to be one of those amazing characters who are both utterly repulsive and incredibly entertaining at the same time.


What did you think of this week's episode?

Comments (11)
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Second episode felt slightly boring I guess series gainin' its steam slowly. I'm still tuned in for more. But they need to create stronger storylines for other characters (especially Vera and Lilly and Steve) besides Ike dealin' with mafia thing. For now I don't see where it's going other than more creepier Ben antics.
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The first picture is ew, ribs much?
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Well, she's definitely not into feeding frenzy...
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Excellent review! It really reminded me of a few good reasons why I should keep watching the show. I felt a little bored at some points, but the critique did catch interesting character nuances, and just that makes it worth it checking the rest of Magic City.



Poor Jeffrey Dean Morgan! In Supernatural he makes a deal with a demon. Now, in Magic City, he makes a deal with the mob. His characters have poor judgment in terms of foreseeing the consequences of their deals...



After watching the pilot, I thought, well, it's *obvious* the mob will want to take over the hotel. As it is *obvious* Ben Diamond will find out his wife's affair with Stevie. I thought too many obvious plots lay ahead of us.



Then I thought in the second episode the mob, once it was called in, simply wouldn't leave the hotel. But of course we need an excuse for a longer story, so things sort of cooled off a little. So, apparently Ike is as in control of his hotel as he ever was. But we all know it's just appearances.



So, as a mentioned before the way the main story lines were set was a bit obvious, but the character development isn't, and I'll keep that in mind.



The show really abuses of eye-candy situations. For men, at least. We, guys, can enjoy the ravishing trio: Lilly Diamond (Jessica Marais), Judi Silver (Elena Satine), and Vera Evans (Olga Kurylenko). Not fair for the girls, who don't have the same motivations to watch the show. But then they have a longer attention span than we guys, so for them probably focusing in the story and characters will be enough.



Anyway, after watching the pilot, I felt compelled to revisit the characters in episode two, and then easily moved on to three. And now I miss more episodes! So I guess the slow-burning tension is really working.
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How long will we have to be plagued by this kind of spam? Can't the site administrators do anything about it? What's the point of flagging such comments if they keep showing up?
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I agaree. They can filter out swear words so why not have key words which are always used by spammers?
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Ben is the whole show and Judi is the only interesting female character. The whole Stevie-Lily thing is too soapy for my taste, but I'm looking forward to watching Ben feed her to his pet sharks.
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completely the opposite opinion for me...
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I'm in love with Steven Strait.
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The characters in the show have a lot of potential. I still don't think Stevie is a great character, that might be because of the character or the actor. But the rest, especially Ben Diamond they are rife with talent and it could be great.
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It was a great episode, I have seen the first three and Starz definitely has another hit to go along with Spartacus. The characters on the show are fantastic rich and deep especially Ben diamond. I look forward to seeing the rest of the season of what looks to be so far a great series.
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