Tony Dracon is the top dog in NYC’s organized crime scene. His protection rackets are second to none, and nobody muscles in on his territory. Until now. Word on the street is there’s a corrupt cop who wants a piece of the action. Who is this dirty cop? None other than Detective Elisa Maza. Besides threatening innocent bar owners, she’s also neglecting her relationship with Goliath. The clan senses a disturbance in the Force. Dracon’s about to find out what real strong-arming is, courtesy of Goliath and Broadway.
Last week’s ep was nicely creepy => Upgrade episode review.
Spoilers are in the 20/20 moments. Info from Ask Greg is in the According to Greg bits.
Season 2, Episode 18: Protection
Reason(s) for existence: To explore the theme of protection (not that kind of protection). To show Elisa’s skills as a cop. To show Broadway’s detective skills. To prove Goliath can be cunning. To continue Dracon’s story.
Main antagonist(s): Tony Dracon and Co.
Time(s): December 19th, 1995
Location(s): New York City, New York
An Offer You Can’t Refuse
At Lois and Art’s restaurant, the owners are closing up shop. Lois says they should pay the protection fee. Art says they don’t need no stinking protection. They find a briefcase but figure someone will come for it tomorrow. They leave.
Unsurprisingly, the case was a bomb.
Elsewhere in the city, Dracon gives Glasses a lift. The lieutenant says the explosion would send a message. He also says there’s a crooked cop who’s trying to muscle in on Dracon’s protection turf. Well, they need to send him a message. Ah, but wait, it’s a she, not a he.
At the clock tower, Goliath and Broadway are watching Travis Marshal on the news. He’s interviewing Art and Lois, who refuse to talk about what happened. Travis reports that the witnesses are afraid, showing the protection racket is the elephant in the room.
When Broadway explains what a protection racket is, Goliath goes off. “This is protection?!” He wants to know why Elisa hasn’t done something about it. Huh, that’s interesting. Normally Goliath is saying he should be out taking care of biz. Now it’s suddenly Elisa’s job to stamp out every criminal activity in the city? Um, Dracon is a big-time crime boss. You mess with him, and you’ll be feeding the fishes from the wrong side of the water.
Speaking of the detective, the gargs haven’t seen her in days. Odd.
The Set Up
Matt and gangster Joey, one of Dracon’s crew, walk into the station. Chavez accosts them, asking about Elisa. Matt hasn’t seen her.
Matt goes to interrogate the hood about his involvement with the explosion. Joey suggests he ask “a cop on the take” about it.
But before he can get too far, Elisa busts in and kicks him out. Um, are you suddenly on the case? And let me again ask, what exactly is her division? Homicide? Vice? Violent Crimes? She says she has questions that Matt, “Mr. Clean,” doesn’t want to hear. Eh?
Elisa tells Joey to deliver a message to Dracon. “His territory is my territory.” Ooh, tables turned! That she’s running her own protection scheme.
Chavez calls her out and upbraids her. There have been reports that she’s a dirty cop. The cap takes her gun and badge. Elisa leaves in a huff.
Joey hears all this. Well, this looks suspicious.
In the clock tower, Goliath and Broadway watch her go. They sense something amiss. They’re perceptive like that.
Joey reports to Dracon it’s Elisa.
Rescuers Up Over
In a seedy bar and pool hall where Elisa is apparently the only customer, she demands protection money from the bartender. He’s just called Dracon, though, and Tony has him stalling her. She threatens to call the inspectors to shut the place down. Um…as a cop, she should probably do that anyway.
The barkeep agrees to pay up.
Glasses walks in right about then. He orders her into the car outside.
Goliath and Broadway are following. They assume the worst and promptly wreck the car and pull the thugs out. Elisa tells them to back off and stop following her like “puppies.” The gargs are mystified. The gangsters are impressed.
So away she goes with her new friends, leaving Goliath and Broadway in the street. Goliath thinks it’s a magic spell. …Because Dracon uses magic all the time, yes, G. Broadway, who’s more street smart thanks to film noir movies from the 1940s, figures she’s undercover.
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
At Dracon’s pad, Tony is trying to be smooth and charming. He just comes off as sleazy and lame, as well as dated. He calls her Sugar. Seriously? She doesn’t appreciate that, either.
He’s understandably pissed about her cutting in on his territory.
Elisa comments that he’s a slick player, since he’s free so soon after kidnapping two COPS. Yeah. My thoughts exactly. “Power, money, good lawyers?” Ok, I get it that he has those. But…if Xanatos, the richest man in the world, can’t avoid jail time for accepting stolen goods, and if Fox, his girlfriend, can’t avoid prison time for taking a hostage in front of a monster, I don’t see how Tony Dracon was able to get off so easily. Seems a bit convenient, aka contrived.
In another part of town, Mr. Jaffe the storekeeper who gets robbed by everything from thugs to werefoxes, is starting a sting with Matt. Matt is pretending to be a store clerk. Matt’s been coming into the store since he was a little boy.
Well, this clears up what I was wondering: Is Elisa doing this on her own?
I don’t know if we the viewers are supposed to fall for Elisa being a crooked cop, or if we’re supposed to suspect she’s setting up a sting? The only thing I was wondering about was if she did this with or without police backup.
Tony Dracon and Co are their usual selves. Dracon is one of the most 2-D antags of the series. He’s got some nice family history, with Dominic Dracon and his partnership with Mace Malone, yes. But he himself just isn’t that compelling. He tries too hard, pushing his cockiness way past the Xanatos level of charismatic snark and into being insufferable. And he’s too sane to be really surprising in his plans. He’s a gangster, that’s it.
Thus far he hasn’t initiated any plans against the gargoyles, which I guess is one of the big problems I have with him as an antagonist. If the protags butt in to stop an antag plot, that lacks punch. If, however, the antag initiates the game – like Demona, Macbeth, and Xanatos do – that’s a whole new ball game. You can have real fun with those plots!
Tune in Friday for the conclusion, where we learn how Elisa and Co trap Dracon and Co. What do you mean, That’s not very compelling? Look, we all know they catch him. He’s like the Joker of the series in that he gets out of prison by the next ep.