Another great episode as the plot thickens for both Tiago Vega and his partner Lewis Michener. In the last episode we left off with the LAPD vs. the Mexican Americans of Belvedere Heights. The big moment was when Tiago ended up shooting his brother in order to stop him from killing his partner Michener.
The episode begins a short while after the confrontation in Belvedere Heights with Tiago and Lewis heading into the hospital. Lewis has been shot and needs to be looked at, but with the current climate Lewis thinks that maybe Tiago should make his entrance around back. Tiago refuses and heads in the front down with Lewis. He explains that if he goes in the back this time he will always have to, he is taking his stand as both a Mexican and a detective, something we have already seen him struggle with. Of course, he is going to continue to struggle because the other officers, especially Officer Riley who spits on him. We already knew that Riley was shady and racist but that is only going to be displayed more going forward.
Inside they run into Vanderhoff who is trying to figure out what happened, even though he was there. It seems no one really remembers what happened or they just aren’t talking about it. Both Michener and Tiago know that it was his own brother Raul that killed the officers and shot Michener, but they are keeping it quiet. Michener seems to really have a soft spot for Tiago and really wants to not only protect him but his family as well. I think he knows that Tiago shooting his own brother is going to take a toll on him and he doesn’t want to make it worse. He then encourages Tiago to go see his family that are here with Raul.
I’ll talk more about the Raul situation in a moment, but there was this scene in the hospital where Tiago came across a room full of dead Mexicans. I know it has already been made clear in this hospital that the white victims are receiving better care, but I think this really hits home with Tiago just how little his own people are thought of. He then heads to see his family and then after has another meeting with Vanderhoff.
In the meeting with Vanderhoff he talks about his worries of a race war. Not only do they have the fighting over the Arroyo Secco roadway, but they also have this homicide of a rich white family with clues that obviously lead to a Mexican killer or killers. He gives orders to Michener and Tiago that he wants this case concluded, not necessarily solved, with a Mexican head on a platter to cool the tensions.
Joyful Voices Ministry
Tiago and Michener have already looked extensively into the Hazlett’s affairs, with the exception their church. In the last episode two things stood out that made it obvious they were devoted Christians the painting above their fireplace and radio preaching. Michener makes it comment about this particular church being cult-like which becomes more apparent in this episode.
When they arrive at the church, they ask to speak with Sister Molly, who is a young girl and the public face of the church. Instead they are taken to her mother Miss Adelaide and head of the church. It is obvious upon meeting her that she is a hard woman to crack. When they ask about the Hazlett’s all they get is that he was a Deacon in their organization. Miss Adelaide says that he was a valued member of the church, but also that she has not been to his house because they refrain from personal relationships with the members. Lewis the has Miss Adelaide take him to Hazlett’s office while Tiago stays behind.
In Hazlett’s office he asks about any enemies that he may have had, even though the murder seemed to be done by Mexicans. Lewis then takes several of the books within Hazlett’s office for a closer look while Miss Adelaide warns him that he doesn’t know what he is doing.
Meanwhile, Tiago finds himself wondering in the back ways of the church until he finds himself on the side of the stage watching Sister Molly giving her performance which is a mix of story and singing. She is obviously young and beautiful and Tiago seems to be pretty into her performance.
When leaving the church Michener asks Tiago if he has ever seen the film Beau Geste. This story becomes the story within a story and we hear it again later from another character. The basics of the story are that there are three men in the French Foreign Legion for in the middle of the desert. All the other soldiers are dead and they are about to be attacked by the Arabs. They three men then put the dead bodies around the fort so that the Arabs think that they have more men then they really do. Lewis sums up the story by then saying that is was all basically a con, which he fells is the same thing that is happening with the case. The paint and the message were all a con to accuse the Mexican community of the killing but he thinks that once the con is peeled away, they will find their case is something else entirely.
Dead People Lie Down
The second time we hear the Beau Geste story comes from a scene with Peter Craft. He and his two sons, Tom and Trevor, are at the beach enjoying his Monday off when he sees in the crowd that Elsa and her son are there as well. Now, we know from the last episode that Else is a version of the demon Magda and her son is really this part of her that she will later absorb back into herself. Peter walks over to say hello and invites Elsa’s son Frank to place with his two sons while he and Elsa talk.
Together Elsa and Peter talk about their lives after WWI. She then asks about Peter’s wife. He explains to her that his wife burns easy and isn’t a beach person, more like his wife is an alcoholic. Elsa says that her husband also doesn’t like the beach but that she loves the ocean and dreams of one day traveling to a place like Tahiti. She then goes on to say that after the war she was living in this basement with her sister and little to no food. That is where she met her husband, an American soldier. While she had no desire to be with him, she did because she needed to eat. She makes a show of crying during her story to really pull on Craft’s heartstrings.
Meanwhile, the boys were all playing together making a sandcastle. Tom then relates their sand fort to the once in the Beau Geste Film and then spread toy soldiers all around the fort while explaining the story to Frank. Frank then says the title of the episode. ‘Dead people lie down’ and then begins knocking the soldiers over. It is obvious both in this moment and when they are saying goodbye to Else and Frank that Tom is concerned over what Frank said and may even be suspicious.
In a later scene, Craft is making love to his wife and begins to imagine that she is Elsa. Things then…heat up… much to his wife’s disapproval. I think the point is that Elsa is getting into Craft’ mind by playing a victim in order to manipulate him, and it is working.
A Grieving Family
Back to the hospital in the first scene. Tiago stopped in to check on his family. Maria spends her time on her knees at the end of the bed praying to Sante Muerte to save Raul. Josephina is terribly upset and crying. Tiago talks with them only briefly before returning to work, but Mateo makes it clear to him that if Raul dies then Tiago is no longer apart of the family. Mateo did see that Raul was killing officers and did yell for him to stop. It seems that isn’t enough for Mateo to justify Tiago’s actions if Raul dies.
Later at the hospital Mateo ventures down to the cafeteria to get a soda for his sister when he has a run in with Officer Riley. It is unclear if he knows that this is Tiago’s brother, but I also don’t think it matters much to Riley, he hates all the Mexicans. The altercation here does turn physical and for a moment it seems like Riley is going to take out Mateo’s eye unless he screams, however, Mateo refuses to give him the satisfaction. They are then interrupted by Fly Rico. In the last episode they Tiago and Michener briefly talked about the Pachucos and I explained that they were a Mexican American subculture or better yet, a Latino ‘Zoot Suit’ gang. Well, Rico is the leader and obviously much have a reputation because Riley recognizes him immediately. We briefly saw him in the music shop last episode when Mateo through out the guy feeling up his sister, but now we see him brandishing a switch blade threatening to take on the four officers if they lay another hand on Mateo.
When the officers clear out Fly Rico then buys the soda for Mateo and asks him why he refused to scream. Mateo plays it off that he was too busy trying not to wet himself. However, Rico knows better and invites him to come see him at The Cat. The Cat seems to be a Pachuco hang out because when Mateo asks why, Rico’s response is, “Because you didn’t scream. You’re a Pachuco, baby.”
The Food Bank
While Michener plans to investigate the books he took from Hazlett’s office, it is Tiago’s job to find a way to talk with Sister Molly. He finds his opportunity at a food bank ran by the Joyful Voices Ministry. He carries in a crate to gain access to the back and then approaches Molly as she is doing dishes. He makes it clear from the start that he is a detective and has questions about Hazlett, but then helps her with the dishes why they talk. She tells him almost the same thing her mother did, that he was a Deacon at the church and that they do not like getting to close to Parishioners. However, earlier Miss Adelaide said that they had never been to the Hazlett’s house, Molly tells them that they were there about two years prior for a dinner.
While talking they are approached by Molly’s virtue police, but she assures then that Tiago is fine and they continue with the conversation until after the closing of the food bank. Molly tells Tiago that her calling is pastoral and that she only wants to help people, but that her mother also had her doing the revival circuit since she was four. She then goes on to tell a story about one of her congregants become ill after Tiago tells her about his brother. She was taken there because the mother wanted her to heal the boy in an iron lung, but Molly does have healing powers nor does she pretend to. However, she went to see the boy and prayed with him. She says in that moment she thinks that the boy knew she had hoped he would die so he could move on from his pain and be with God. She then asks Tiago if he prays for Raul, he not only tells her no to that but also that he doesn’t believe in miracles or God either. She then tells Tiago that he needs to find his grace and to help his brother find it as well. She says that when she was with the boy, she couldn’t find her own grace so how could she help the little boy find his? She then admits to going home and cutting her wrists. She makes Tiago promise that is Raul dies, he come to her.
The conversation then ends with Miss Adelaide coming in and taking Molly and escorting Tiago out. She makes it clear that he is not to talk with Molly again and if he has further questions to talk with their lawyer, then drops the card on the ground.
In Honor of the Fallen
Outside of the body count, there are more consequences of the rising race tensions. It seems at first like Councilman Townsend is writing off the Arroyo Secco as a loss, but with the help of his assistant Alex (Another version of Magda) he realizes that his motorway dreams are not over yet. Alex reminds Townsend of Richard Goss’s offer and that while four officers dying is a tragedy, its also an opportunity. She then pushes for him to get himself out there.
This results in a press conference at City Hall with Alex, Richard and Kurt in attendance. He holds up the blood-soaked uniform of one of the dead officers along with the widow standing close by. Townsend demands justice and as a symbol of that justice he is going to continue to build the Arroyo Secco as the Maynard West Memorial Motorway.
Stopping the Third Reich
Michener is a busy guy not only is he working on the Hazlett case, but in his spare time he is taking on the Nazi’s. In the last episode I mentioned I thought Michener must have a personal reason for his discomfort with Craft at the part and then his person investigation. Now we know that this is because he and his family are of the Jewish faith and have a personal interest in seeing that the Third Reich doesn’t spread to the Americas. In this episode he and his family are staking out a diner where Goss is meeting with a young man. When Goss leaves the diner, his family splits up to follow both Goss and the kid. Michener instructs Sam and Anton to follow Goss while he and Dottie follow the kid.
Following of the kid leads him and Dottie to Caltech where the kids goes into a lab labeled to contain explosives. This means that the Nazi’s are probably planning something major. The kid seems upset about what he was asked to do, but it was probably made clear to him that he cannot refuse. We see the extent of what Goss and his men are capable of in the next scene.
Sam and Anton follow Goss and his driver through the hills into Pasadena with Anton constantly telling Sam that they are following too close. Eventually the car with Goss inside comes to a stop on the side of the road with Sam and Anton stopping as well. The driver, Kurt, gets out and shoots both Sam and Anton several times. Then he pushes the car over the edge of the hill where it then catches on fire. Well, that escalated quickly.
Holy Angel, Mother of the Dead
The very last scene of the episode takes us back to the hospital and leaves us on a cliffhanger. Maria is still at the hospital praying at the foot of Raul’s bed. Now that night has fallen, she lights a cancel and begins to pray to Sante Muerte like she did in the last episode. Again, Sante Muerte comes to her and Raul seemingly disappears. Maria gets up and looks around with Sante Muerte behind her and always out of her sight. Then Raul is standing there in front of her alive.
This makes me think about the conversation with Molly and Tiago. Was Maria’s grace being enough to help Raul find his own? Or do you think this is Sante Muerte’s way of hopefully stopping the end of the world since technically brother has not killed brother? Let me know what you guys think!