The Black Donnellys
It's the classic unreliable narrator with some crook in gaol being questioned by the police about some bodies. The narrator, Ice Cream, tells us about four brothers, Jimmy - the bartender with the bad leg (due to a mysterious hit and run accident when he was a kid), Kevin - the hopeless gambler, Tommy - the smart one, and Sean - the ladies man. Kevin's in serious debt to a bookmaker, but he's not the only one in trouble; Jimmy's stolen a truck full of hawaiian shirts but left a witness who can identify him. Jimmy, Kevin and Sean kidnap the bookmaker, but he's the nephew of the head of the Italian crime family in the city, and they clearly want him back.
Jimmy wants to ransom him, and although Tommy spends the episode trying to calm things down, the guy running crime in the Irish neighbourhood seems to be working at cross purposes to him. The Italian guy (Sal) has a right hand man who isn't exactly working from the same page either. The ransom goes down, but the right hand man doesn't bother waiting for the release of the bookmaker, instead taking it on himself to beat up Sean, putting him in hospital. Jimmy shoots the bookie in retaliation, but Tommy relieves him of the gun before he can be caught with it.
The Irish guy sells Jimmy out, setting him up to be killed by Sal. Tommy shops Jimmy to the police so he's out of the way (and into rehab for his drug problem), and then he and Kevin go and deal with Sal and the Irish guy (Huey). Unfortunately for Tommy, that leaves the loose cannon in charge of the Italians (Nicky), and him in charge of the Irish. Ice Cream's told the cops about the bodies (which the Italians have clearly cleaned up by this time), but that's apparently not the bodies the cops were asking about... Oh, and that mysterious hit and run? A very young Tommy was the driver - it was that that kept him straight through all the intervening years, but Jimmy's managed to drop him right back in it...
Other than the recurring joke of Joey Ice Cream being everywhere and no-one noticing him - how else can he tell his lawyer all these bits and pieces if he wasn't there? - this is a very 'nothing' episode. Kevin and Tommy clean themselves up after the shooting at the end of the previous episode, going to great lengths to get the same clothes they had on so no-one notices. Then they find that Jimmy was stupid enough to dump the bookmaker's body in the dumpster behind the bar! So they have to steal a truck and come up with a way of getting rid of it, eventually resorting to a sledgehammer and an oil drum. Tommy proves rather ruthless at this.
Meanwhile, Jenny's discovered the blood in the basement of the bar and sets about cleaning it up - and doesn't bother to tell any of the brothers she's done it. Tommy returns the ransom money to the Italians, clearing the debt between them, and claims that he let the bookie go. Then there's just the small matter of the Irish, and Huey's brother wants to know if Tommy knows anything. Tommy manages to sleep with Jenny, but she tells him she can't see him.
Again with the nothing happening. Huey's brother, Dokie, and Nicky meet with the head of the Italian mafia. But there are no answers there as to what happened between Sal and Huey. Dokie has a habit of taking an axe to people's toes when he doesn't get his way. Nicky meanwhile wants to take over Sal's business, but there's a cloud hanging over his head, especially as the bookie hasn't turned up yet - the thirty thousand Tommy paid back keeps Nicky above ground for a while, but it's not going to be enough.
The doctors want to move Sean out of ICU, but their mother's worried that he'll die if he's moved to a ward. So Tommy had to try and get Sean's insurance reinstated so he isn't moved (which he fails at), and then watch as Sean almost dies on the ward. Kevin, meanwhile, tries ridiculous schemes to get the money to get Jimmy out of gaol, against Tommy's wishes. When he finally goes to confront the witness to the truck robbery, he gets a beating for his troubles... but the witness gets hit by a bus, letting Jimmy out on the streets... where he immediately starts looking to sate his drug addiction, just as Tommy predicted.
Tommy's in something of a pickle - Huey's wife has asked him to host the wake at the Donnelly's bar! And Dokie's poking around trying to get to the bottom of what happened still. His search would have been stonewalled, but for Jimmy shooting his mouth off about his brothers killing somebody for him. Fortunately, Tommy manages to talk his way out of it by admitting they killed the bookie by accident and Huey had a connection with the Italians and he was going to try and get them out of trouble. Lets see how long that story holds up with Nicky still coming around looking for money...
Sean's getting out of the hospital, but doesn't want to see anyone because he thinks he's disfigured due to his injuries. Yes, he has quite the Doctor Doom complex. Jenny regrets sleeping with Samson, and the priest suggests she get an annulment of her marriage so she can at least choose between the men in her life. Jimmy finds the bookie's cellphone and decides to pick up the money people lost on their gambling debts! Nicky wants his money, and Tommy's going to have to find it, as he's threatening his family. But his tuition money has already been cancelled by Dokie, and the only way Dokie will give him any money is if he acquires a box from Huey's widow.
So Tommy goes over there on a subterfuge, helping her clean out Huey's belongings, and he steals the box while he's there. The box turns out to be full of money, but Dokie doesn't want to completely free Tommy from Nicky's hold, only giving him enough for this week's payment. Fortunately, Tommy's smart enough to get out of Nicky's clutches on his own - he knows that the head of the Italian mafia doesn't know Nicky took it on himself to beat up Sean; he also knows where Nicky's mother lives, but that's neither here not there. Oh, and Kim, the girl who was with Sean when he was attacked and tried to stay by him throughout his hospital visit - the Donnellys' mother thinks she's the reason Sean got beaten up!
Jimmy's still trying to collect from the bookmaker's lost bets, and this week it's a friend of the Donnellys, Maxwell, who owns a printing shop in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, he's rather against paying, and the fact that Tommy's sweet on his wife doesn't make the collection of the money all that easy. Meanwhile, Sean finds out what his mother said to Kim; Jenny has to struggle with the fact that her father, instead of making the weekly deposits to the bank, has been dropping the money in a mailbox instead, clearly losing his mind... and the mailman claims ignorance; and Jimmy and Kevin decide to ditch the bookmaker's phone and start their own book.
Of course, the guy they pick to start their own book with, Whitey, is a sleaze of the highest order, but he does just about know what he's doing... can't imagine this'll last long though, especially as Ice Cream's story from prison this week is about how Jimmy and Whitey's relationship ends in one of the bloodiest knife fights the neighbourhood has ever seen. Oh, and there's a brief contretemps between Nicky and Dokey - Nicky has a bunch of the Irish unionmen bumped off and it makes the papers - he gets beaten up by the head of the Italian mafia for his trouble, while Dokey gets a stern talking to from a highflying Irish councilman, the only one standing from a former friendship between the Councilman, the Donnellys' father, and Huey.
Bob the Mouth, a notorious loan shark, is dead, and the police want Ice Cream to tell them how it happened. Turns out Bob The Mouth is Whitey's uncle, and they borrowed 10 thousand dollars from him to get their bookmaking operation off the ground. But Kevin let a mysterious unknown guy gamble and now needs to collect the money... even though he doesn't know where he is. Jenny's father makes a deal with Dokey to bail the cafe out from its debts, but he wants part ownership. Tommy agrees to try and get Jenny the money, so she can turn down Dokey's loan. So Tommy's plan? Join Kevin in collecting the gambling money, the take it himself and give it to Jenny! Meanwhile, Sean wants some money so he can move out of home because their mother is insisting he go back to school and he can't tell her no.
Unfortunately for all concerned, it was Kevin who was the mysterious gambler, and he doesn't have the money... and they can't collect enough from the other losers to make up the difference. So Kevin and Tommy come up with the stupid plan of betting it all on a horse... and Tommy is astute enough to go with the horse Kevin doesn't pick. But when Jimmy tells him who the money is owed to, Tommy gives the money up... because he doesn't know Jimmy previously confronted Bob The Mouth, and Bob's now dead. That allows Jimmy to give the money to Sean. Tommy, still wanting to help Jenny, borrows the money from Huey's widow, who clearly wants more from the relationship with Tommy...
Tommy's getting requests from people for help. Initially it's an old woman who wants drug dealers removed from her building... which he eventually does with the help of Kevin, Sean, and some baseball bats. Then it's Huey's widow, Kate, who wants him to play with her son... but Dokey doesn't want him doing that. Meanwhile, Jimmy has moved on to collecting protection money from the neighbourhood, and the last place on the list is Reilly's Diner. Now, Jimmy also likes Jenny, but thinks Tommy betrayed him with her when they were kids. Dokey still wants a piece of the Reilly Diner, but he's having to resort to threats now his money isn't needed. Sean buys a car.
The old woman Tommy helped? Turns out she's also a drug dealer, so Tommy goes back with his brothers and takes the door to her apartment to try and stop her selling. He then ignores Dokey's wishes and goes back to Kate and Michael. Kevin, meanwhile, hasn't ditched the bookie's phone, and he's been getting calls all week from some guy trying to make losing bets... this isn't a set up is it? Oh, yes, there it is, the loser on the phone is Nicky, who's clearly got his own problems because Aloe (the Italian mob boss) and Dokey are meeting with the Irish Councilman.
Tommy's got an internship with an artist... but he's getting all the scut work and doing no painting. Nicky's pushing hard over the bookmaking, making Jimmy look foolish, and Jimmy hates looking foolish. He's also after Whitey, hoping to find out what happened to Bob The Mouth. Meanwhile Kevin helps Jenny out - her father's wandered off and they can't find him anywhere. Tommy eventually gives up on his dream of becoming an artist when he has to leave to get Jimmy out of trouble - he has to meet with Nicky so Jimmy doesn't try and shoot him.
The deal on the table? Nicky wants someone he can work with, and he thinks it's the Donnellys. In return he'll bump off Dokey. But Tommy knows that if he takes the deal, Nicky will kill Sean, Kevin and Jimmy, because it's only Tommy that he can work with, the others are loose cannons. So does he take the deal? We'll have to wait and see...
Jenny's father shows up, and after a stupid fight in the restaurant, she gets him checked over by doctors and he admits he has Alzheimers. Meanwhile, Samson's turning all stalker-ish. Tommy, having turned down Nicky's deal, knows they have to make their own deal with Dokey, taking over the four blocks they live in, and donating 30% of the takings to Dokey. However, their first job is clearing a bunch of people out of an apartment - a bunch of disabled people. Nicky's putting the pressure on Councilman Jack Trevor's chief of staff - she's got city workers performing renovations on her building when they're supposed to be out on some other job.
Dokey sets up Whitey and Jimmy in conflict over the death of Bob The Mouth, leading to the knife fight foretold in an earlier episode. Meanwhile, one of the building residents Tommy, Kevin and Ice Cream are evicting turns out to be a veteran in a wheelchair, who hasn't accepted the money to move out... so Tommy decides to help him. Unfortunately, Kevin tries to get his own back for the balloon filled with urine that was thrown at him and ends up in a fight with the veteran, who's determined to kill him, forcing Tommy to kill him.
Mr Reilly wants the Donnelly's help to save his diner, as he's received a condemnation notice from the council. After much hot-footing it around, Tommy discovers that the notice is a fake, paid for by someone who's having a large number of buildings in the neighbourhood condemned. Nicky also lucks into finding out about the land deals going on - a partnership between the Italians and the Irish to acquire a couple of blocks worth of property to put high-rise buildings on.
Samson's still stalking Jenny. Jimmy has Whitey's body to clear up, but he doesn't make much progress on that front. Sean's making friends with the girl from the jukebox company. And we get to the bottom of what happened to the Donnelly's father - their mother insisted he go to a meeting with Huey and Sal about the land deal; he went, refused to be part of the deal, and Huey, to prove his loyalty, had to deal with him, and had him beaten to death.
The police find Jenny's husband's body (although they take all episode to confirm it). Tommy and Kevin have kidnapped the building inspector who can get Reilly's diner uncondemned, Anthony Lino, but they have to take the long way around to do it, including stealing a BMW to get past one particular hurdle. Sean's going back to school, and appears to be hitting it off with the jukebox girl quite admirably... although Mrs Donnelly is initially frosty.
Jimmy tries to renegotiate the deal with Dokey, who initially claims he'll renegotiate after Jimmy performs a job for him... but the job's a set up to get him drunk, shave his head, strip him to his underwear, cover him in motor oil and drop him at the side of the road. He's not going to be all that happy about that turn of events. Meanwhile, Tommy makes a deal with Nicky - Lino for the identity of the guy who killed his father - and guess who it is? Dokey. However, dragging him out of a bar at gunpoint and shooting him in the street probably isn't the smartest move... leaving him alive probably isn't much better!
So Dokey wants them dead. Tommy has a plan... okay, it's running away, but it's still a plan! Unfortunately, corralling everyone to leave proves tricky. Sean doesn't want to leave the jukebox girl. The gift of grenades and a rocket launcher have given Jimmy ideas, and he's trying to track down Dokey to kill him. And their mother won't leave unless all of them go. Dokey's having his own troubles - most of his guys aren't answering his calls, but he does eventually manage to call them all together, where killing three of them appears to persuade the rest to side with him.
Nicky manages to poison Alo at a meeting with him, but needs a quick rush to the hospital because he ended up having to drink the poison as well... we presume he makes it, but we don't actually see. Samson, meanwhile, has ingratiated himself back into Reilly's diner, and threatens Jenny's father unless she sleeps with him again. Jimmy's attempt to kill Dokey goes wrong when the grenade doesn't go off, but Tommy arrives in the nick of time to provide them a getaway.
So they're leaving the neighbourhood - Jenny misses Tommy's invite because she's off bludgeoning Samson to death - but everyone else is in the van... and so gets caught in Dokey's roadblock. Tommy approaches unarmed, and Dokey agrees to let him leave if he answers one question - did he kill Huey. Tommy answers that he did and is allowed to leave... but Dokey shoots their mother and forces the boys to run the roadblock... they do shoot Dokey in the ensuing firefight though.