Magic City: The Body Count Rises

Magic City S01E03: “Castles Made of Sand”

“And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually.”

That’s a line from the Jimi Hendrix song “Castles Made of Sand,” and invoking a tune that didn’t appear for almost a decade after tonight's episode Magic City, “Castles Made of Sand,” was supposed to have taken place had me scratching my head for a moment—I like everything to match. But I have to admit, it was a very apt song for the episode.

As far back as the pilot, it wasn’t hard to find the cracks in the Miramar Playa’s foundation if we looked hard enough. Just being involved with a mob boss with a personality as volatile as Ben Diamond’s was a pretty big fracture to the stability of Ike Evans’ world. The act of building on the beach itself symbolized the precariousness of King Ike’s place in Miami nobility. Hurricanes, high tides, and erosion all conspire to wipe the coast clean at the first opportunity. It takes a lot of hard work to maintain a palace by the sea, and sometimes the very actions taken to preserve it inadvertently destroy it—consider the attempts by Fort Lauderdale in the '70s to facilitate the growth of marine life by building reefs out of old tires. The intentions were good, but the result was decades of ecological disaster.

The Miramar Playa is no stranger to the brink of disaster. It seems to have perpetually taken up residence there since the very beginning of its existence. But in “Castles Made of Sand,” the already narrow space between success and ruin shrank even more when Mike Strauss’s body floated up from the bottom of the ocean to, it was implied, be discovered by a passing airboat driver.

We’ll have to wait until next week to learn the full ramifications of the discovery, but clearly, it won’t be anything positive.

Entirely unaware of his harbinger of ruin floating lazily to the surface, Ike spent much of the episode wooing a conservative senator in hopes of swaying his negative stance on casino gambling and coordinating the successful execution of the Miss 1959 Pageant (which the Miramar Playa won the right to host in last week’s “Feeding Frenzy”). It was a little weird, right? Seeing that dude in the ridiculous '50s bathing suit, complete with hiney flap, swimming playfully in the Atlantis Lounge’s Naked Lady Window?

Ike also gave Mike Strauss’s widow a job at the hotel after she confronted him about leaving envelopes of cash in her mailbox. She told him that she fully believes in his innocence and it was awkward. I think, when the full story of Mike Strauss’s murder inevitably comes out, I’m going to feel the worst for her.

Ike sicced Victor on Sterling Voss after learning that Voss would be testifying about the night Strauss and Judi Silver checked into his own hotel. Victor and Ike threw some money at the problem, hoping it would go away—and it did, sort of. Is the blood still on Ike’s hands even if he didn’t intend for the solution to involve a corpse? It’s one of many questions at the heart of Ike Evans’ character. Even concerning his involvement with Mike Strauss’s murder, Ike knew what he was doing when he asked Ben Diamond for help, but part of him hoped Mike would turn up alive and well, even two episodes after the fact.

Elsewhere, Stevie and Lily continued to tempt fate with their liaisons. Ben is totally onto them. Totally. At one point, he summoned Stevie to his cabana to berate him on the topic an elusive thief hitting rooms in the hotel via the balconies. Despite the fact that this wasn’t really a Stevie problem, and even though Stevie assured Ben that Victor and his father were on it, he squirmed through the entire inquisition like the guilty party that he is. I’m sure that’s exactly what Ben had in mind. Good job signing your death warrant, Stevie.

Lily also faced Ben’s scrutiny. When she insisted on borrowing a car for a late-night hair appointment/sex-with-Stevie session, Ben saw right through the B.S. and asked how long she could hold her breath, revealing her former job as a mermaid at the Weeki Wachee (that sounds classy!). She said she could hold her breath for three and a half minutes. Ben said, “Not long enough.” Oh snap.

But because we need this story, if only for the gratuitous boobage I’ve come to expect from Magic City, Lily and Stevie overcame their unfortunate interactions with Ben Diamond to squeeze in some naked cuddle time before “Castles Made of Sand” concluded. It’s not that I don’t like Stevie and Lily as a couple, it’s that I don’t like their incompetence when it comes to hiding their constant copulating. Lily, for god’s sake, stop making googly eyes at Stevie when you’re sitting next to your criminally insane husband.


1. In between wooing the senator and babysitting the Miss 1959 people, Ike also met with his former sister-in-law to talk about selling her 49 percent stake in the Miramar Playa. They don’t seem to get along particularly well. What do you think Ike’s motivation is for this? He was awfully specific about the percentage he was willing to sell.

2. On that note, do you think he let Meg see the actual books? I suspect those were fakes.

3. How much chaos do you think the discovery of Mike Strauss’s body will cause? Do you think all roads lead to Ike, or will he have some time to dig himself a deeper grave?

Comments (3)
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Apr 23, 2012
I don't know but something was off about this episode for me. It s kinda weak again comparing to pilot. No interesting new secondary characters no tense plotting no nada. Stevie Lilly subplot is weak (so these characters have nothin' to do at all except screw each other?) And Lilly character is weird coz in pilot she kissed stranger Steve out of nowhere and I thought she is kinda daredevil or likes to fool around to risk and now she is like "what am I doing I'm screwed!" And Stevie is total fool it's just happened so fast their affair (or love even what? already?) If he fools around with mob wife(!) how he not expectin' that he could be dead already and not act more cautiously? I don't get this thing. So stupid my god. And of course mobster've already found out about his wife affair. So what now? it's only 3d episode guys.

And Vera character I don't know something is off with her too. may be with acting. not a natural acting i guess. what would you expect from ukranian model? except for beauty? I don't know. So i guess now we have some crack in Ike and Vera relationship. It's interesting to watch. But that's it for now. And yeah Hotel problems Ike problems. but this is a long arc. so not much here.
Apr 22, 2012
Excellent review for an excellent show. I'm just concerned that because of the low number of comments, this show is not getting the attention and audience it deserves, which is not good for its future.

Your questions...

1- Ike's motivations are obvious. He wants not to depend on the mob anymore, and assumes his sister-in-law will be easier to control. Speaking of control, this is why the 49%; Ike still gets 51% and the final decision power. The big question, however, is Meg's motivation? Why does she want to be "in bed" with Ike? Somehow I don't think her motives are the most honorable ones and she might turn out to be an even worse partner than Diamond. Anyway, I suppose that for Meg to buy Diamond's part, he first needs to want to sell, but I don't see him doing that. Am I missing something?

2- I think the real books are very well hidden and only a few can see them. Meg not being one of them.

3- The discovery of Strauss's body will get Ike closer to a turning point in his life. Maybe he'll have serious problems with the law, maybe he'll have to turn against Diamond and help the Law, maybe he'll depend on Diamond even more and will have to react violently. It's hard to predict. But whatever happens, it won't be right now, because they'll make this indefinite situation last until the end of the season at least.
Apr 21, 2012
I think Ike's motivation is to get Diamond out from on top of him. Diamond responds to money and if she buys his share plus whatever else he doesn't have to deal with diamond or at least has deep pockets with ties to government behind him in hopes to convince Diamond to leave due to scrutiny. 49% is a lot of money however not controlling interest so that he can still run the miramar as he sees fit. As for her not liking him I am sure it has something to do with the death of his wife/her sister.

Of course they were fakes. I am sure he is leveraged to the hilt and he doesnt want anyone to know it. As he stated in the pilot to the union guy he is going to do anything too provide for his family.

I am sure finding the union guys' body will be a huge hit. Which will send him deeper in with Diamond.

As for Stevie I agree he is a wussy. Lily however is brave. Both are kind of dumb trying to,pull one over on diamond. I am sure it will cost them but I doubt this season.

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