Magic City: Swimming With the Fishes

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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.


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