As humans, we’re instinctively against change, even if it’s something we seek. Anything that upsets the natural, assumed order of our lives breeds stress and concern – so in some ways, the idea of changing oneself from the inside is inherently counter-intuitive. Our bodies and minds don’t adjust to change quickly, and in the time in between our old selves and new selves is a lot of confusion and frustration. This idea of change – and whether its even possible in humans – is a question at the heart of ‘Meet The New Boss’, with each of our main characters struggling with their own identities.
‘Meet The New Boss’ is centered around Banshee’s old casino, which Kai Proctor is trying to renovate by bringing a big mixed martial arts match in to appease the gaming commission. We only meet one of the fighters, a guy in a silver suit named Sanchez, who struts around with the typical braggadocio of a coddled, emotionally stunted human being whose got more in life than he deserves. He ends up raping and beating a waitress the night before his fight (after fingering her with coke, which apparently gets one extra fucked up), which of course, angers Lucas (a womanizer who doubles as a woman defender), who confronts Sanchez in one of the most brutal fight scenes ever on television.
However, it’s everything surrounding that fight scene that’s interesting to see. When Kai picks up his niece Rebecca (the girl Lucas has been banging), he explains to her how difficult it is to be shunned by your family, and what he has to sacrifice to do some of the things he does. Not only is it something we needed to see with Kai – who largely walks around with his hands in everything simply because he’s expected to – but it presents the idea that he’s not the all-fearing ruthless commander we all think he is. This man may do everything for his town and his own glory, but his transformation from Amish boy to business elite is one that has a lot of perks and benefits, but not without its devastating internal repercussions (“It’s like a blade in your belly that scrapes you raw” he says with a dead look in his eyes).
But no matter how much we try to change to run away from ghosts and bad memories, they don’t go away. Ana tries to give the diamonds back she stole with Lucas 15 years ago, but Mr. Rabbit isn’t concerned with this anymore. 15 years has festered hate from the man who corrupted his daughter (the episode’s big reveal, teased out early on), and he’s no longer concerned with the life she’s living or that she wants to be left alone. Her name might be Carrie at home, but as she proves hunting Mr. Rabbit down effortlessly, she’s not the happy housewife she’s trying to parade as – and trying to think so might end up getting her and Lucas killed.
The episode runs into a little trouble with Lucas, who suddenly is afraid of a fist fight after he has flashbacks of getting his ass kicked and stabbed in what appeared to be prison. With the amount of fights he’s already been in through three episodes, it’s a little off-putting to have the guy be afraid to fight some punk ass MMA fighter. Eventually he does, of course, but its only through pure will power that he’s able to eventually beat the guy (which I will say again, happens during one of the most brutal fight scenes I’ve ever watched).
‘Meet The New Boss’ posits that people are capable of change – but that change, for all the good it can bring, it also creates a harbor for bad memories and painful regrets to forever haunt us. Kai gave up his family and culture for his success, Ana’s given up her father and her old life (and in the process, put a new family in danger with her secrets), and Lucas is finding that his new life and identity puts him in the same situations he’s always been in – which still erupt the same violent responses, a character trait that is going to dig him a nice, deep hole if he doesn’t straighten it out. An interesting episode that is full of the cable sex and violence we expect, but with a little more going on under the surface than it appears at first glance.
- the cutting between present and future with sex/drugs is a little weird, and it doesn’t serve the scenes very well, when it’s not just a flash, but becomes a scene of its own. Very odd.
- Rabbit loves playing chess, a touch that feels too on-the-nose for an all-knowing Ukranian crime lord. We get it, he sees moves ahead of everyone else.
- two black character on the show so far: Sugar, who is a former boxer/ex-con, and Sanchez, a violent sexual predator who brags and brags, but gets put down by the white man. I’m just saying.
- there’s something being set up with the death of the Senator’s son: only a matter of time before him and Kai are having a conversation together.
- the post-credit tags are another odd touch, something you don’t see often on television: in this one, it’s just Proctor’s assistant standing around covered in blood after assumedly stabbing the shit out of Sanchez’s rage-and-steroid-fueled assistant/trainer/PR guy.
- Ana should not eat sexy strawberries in front of her former lover/robbery teammate.
- was there a hint of incest in Rebecca/Kai’s scene? Weird looks being exchanged between them in the car.