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Boss Recap: Episode 4 - "Slip"

By Michele Lenni in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 14, 2011 7:00PM

image via Starz website
Episode four of the Chicago-based political drama Boss, entitled "Slip," very much lives up to its title. Each character manages to slip up at one point during the episode, making a choice that is simply out of character, intentionally or no. It is an episode that some audience members would probably consider a bridge between stories or full of filler content, but this is simply not the case. It outlines true flaws within each character, which we have a feeling will become very important later in the season.

Mayor Tom Kane's (Kelsey Grammer) battle with Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), a disease that eventually leaves one with no motor skills nor memory, becomes increasingly apparent. During a meeting with Frank Kohler, a city contractor for the Chicago Public Schools lunch program, Kane slips deep into one of his spells, which appears more like a trance. Kohler, who is upset by the board's choice to take a lower bidder for drivers on the program [a company with the support of Meredith Kane (Connie Nielsen)], comes to Kane to try and get him to override the decision. Kane awakens from his daze and says the matter is out of his hands. Or so he thinks.

After this confrontation with Meredith, Kane, who's started recording meetings using the his laptop computer camera, reviews his meeting with Kohler and is shocked to discover he told Kohler his original contract would be honored.

Kane's daughter Emma (Hannah Ware) decides to reconnect with her father after learning of his diagnosis with DLB; another uncharacteristic "slip" within her character's judgment. When Kane and Emma meet he manages to talk her into getting some drugs for his ailment from her via her drug dealing boyfriend. (Ed Note: The dealer introduced to Kane by his aide Ezra Stone was murdered by Stone's mysterious assassin after he tried to use Stone's name to get out of a bust by police. - CS) Emma mentions to Kane a visit from her mother where Emma is questioned about the well-being of her father.

Kane continues to position Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner), the fresh-faced Secretary of State, as his candidate for governor. He sends his top aide and Zajac's mistress Kitty O'Neil (Kathleen Robertson) with him to a meet and greet with farmers in Danville to better coach Zajac on hot topics within the community. Zajac encounters a very bitter farmer, who even goes as far as to dub himself "Joe the Plumber," during a press op at a Danville restaurant. The farmer, who is extremely angry about the loss of his farm after attempting to use genetically engineered seeds recommended by the state government to small family-owned farms to help them better compete with large-scale farming operations. Zajac takes this opportunity to take the farmer aside, visit his farm and have a one-on-one with the man, promising him that he will no longer participate in the empty promises of his predecessors. This instantly wins over the embittered farmer. Uncharacteristic to most politicians, he slips and does all of this without cameras rolling, losing what could have been a key campaign moment.

Journalist Sam Miller (Troy Garity) continues his quest for the truth about the questionable O'Hare Airport expansion. Miller, who has found that deadly contaminants dumped illegally into the ground during construction, finds that several children in Bensenville have contracted cancer from the contaminated water they drank. Just as his story is to go to press Kane announces to the press that he has knowledge of toxic chemicals being dumped during the expansion, de-emphasizing any effect they may have had on the environment, including the deadly carcinogens, which have seeped into the ground water, and deflecting responsibility onto his political mentor and father-in-law. Miller throws a tantrum in his editor's office, who later runs the story about the children and their dire diagnoses.

The episode culminates at an event held at the Field Museum to raise funds for Zajac's candidacy. Perhaps the most thrilling moment of the episode is when Kane's wife Meredith notices the sexual tension between Kitty O'Neil and Zajac and confronts O'Neil in the Egyptian exhibit. Meredith bluntly hints to her intuition of their not-so-subtle sexual relationship.

"You know when a pharaoh dies his hand maidens are buried with him. The end of his life is seen as the end of their" she tells Kitty. "I guess that is one way to ensure allegiances, even past the grave. I guess this would disable them from wooing the next leader, but not for lack of trying."