Kritique II - 91 Days Ep2 ("Phantom of Falsehood") Review
"Game of Thrones, is that you?" This was my first thought after completing the second episode of the action-packed, crime thriller, 91 Days. Tensions escalated between the Vanetti and Orco Family prolonging their war for control of Lawless and the bootlegging market. Avilio got closer to achieving his goal of joining the family. The contents of the letter he received were revealed; a mystery I didn't expect to be solved so soon. And the writers of this show proved that anyone can be killed off, no matter how much you like them; much like Game of Thrones.
This episode kicked off with Vanno Clemente, Nero Vanetti's right hand man, and his driver Tronco speeding away with a truck full of booze that belonged to the Orco family. They used one of their established routes to sneak the booze across the border and avoid the cops that have a new Federal Bureau of Prohibition head named Scusa. Scusa was corrupt and charges the Orco's, and anyone else bootlegging, a small fortune to get their booze across the border and into town. The Vanetti's understood that they've lost ground in the city and wanted to show that they were not just going to roll over and give their town to the Orcos.
Things were going smoothly until they ran into trouble. The Orcos set a trap for Vanno, got the drop on them both and took back their booze. Vanno was almost killed by Fango's right hand man Serpente but was able to escape. His driver Tronco wasn't so lucky. Tronco wasn't the first man from the Vanetti Family to be killed by the Orcos and I'm sure he won't be the last. The Orcos however were the least of the Vanetti's problems. The real threat was the Galassia Family.
The Galassia Family was a mafia organization based out of Chicago that controlled the alcohol trade there and the city. They dwarfed the Vanetti and Orco Family in terms of power and influence. They called the shots and both the Vanettis and Orcos respected and feared their authority. In an effort to gain the Galassia Family's favor, Don Vanetti, the man who killed Avilio's family, allowed his daughter Fio to marry the nephew of Don Galassia, Ronaldo. A political move made to protect the family and maintain their standing in Lawless. The reality was the Vanettis were losing more ground everyday in Lawless and they needed the Galassias protection in order to maintain their position.
At the wedding, Vanno expressed his desire to go to war with the Orcos as retaliation for killing Tronco. The Vanetti's and Orco's were forced into a stalemate however by the Galassias who demanded peace between the two families for the sake of business. Don Vanetti reminded
his sons that he didn't have much time left to live and wanted to leave the family on solid ground before he died. In order to achieve that, he wanted to avoid a war. Nero's younger brother, Frate, was on the same page as his father. He advocated for working with the Galassias and Ronaldo so the family could survive. Don Galassia gave them three months to make peace, just in time for the completion of "Vanetti's Playhouse," a large theater the Vanettis were building. Don Galassia, Orco and Vanetti had to make an appearance at the playhouse to solidify the peace deal. Nero wasn't on board with being the Galassias' puppet. He expressed his displeasure with their lack of action against the Orcos and their cowering in the face of the Galassias. He put Corteo's booze in front of his father, offering him a path to independence and power for the Vanettis.
This scene was important because it highlighted the different ideologies and visions the Vanetti men had for the family. Vincent, the Don, just wanted his family to survive and thrive after he was gone. Even if it meant swallowing his pride and brokering a peace deal with his enemies. A symptom of old age and impending death in my opinion. Frate wanted peace and was content with being the Galassias puppet. He trusted Ronaldo and it was clear that he had a chip on his shoulder when it came to his older brother Nero. Nero was ambitious and believed that the Vanetti Family should stand on its own two feet or die trying. Being a puppet to a larger family and making peace with an enemy was not something that appealed to Nero. But at the end of the day, he respected his father's authority, for the most part.
Meanwhile, Avilio and Corteo got closer to the Vanetti Family. They showed up to the wedding with a case of Corteo's alcohol. There they met the brain of the Vanetti's moonshine operation, Barbero. Barbero sampled Corteo's brew and was immediately impressed.
He and Corteo talked about mass-producing his alcohol for the Vanetti's exclusively. Avilio showed his courage by standing up to Ronaldo, who took pleasure in flaunting his uncle's power and insulting Vanno, the Vanettis and Lawless. This brought Avilio and Vanno closer together due to Vanno's intense loathing for Ronaldo and the Galassias.
Vanno brought up retaliation again at a private dinner with Nero, Barbero, and their driver Tigre. Barbero reminded Vanno that even if they took out the Orcos, they wouldn't stand a chance against the Galassias. Nero however was on board with killing Fango as long they weren't the ones pulling the trigger.
Vanno enlisted Avilio to carry out the hit on Fango while he was with his mistress Lacrima and the reward was a one way ticket into the Vanetti Family. Avilio immediately accepted the job, against Corteo's wishes. Corteo had stayed consistent since the first episode. Even as he was slowly being pulled
deeper into the family, he continuously urged Avilio to get out before it was too late. It was here that Avilio showed Corteo the letter. He told him that the person who sent the letter claimed to be a friend of his late father, Testa Lagusa, he wanted to help him complete his revenge, and gave him the names of the men involved in the murder of his family. The contents of the letter were revealed but we still don't know who sent the letter.
The night of the hit, Avilio and Vanno bribed Cerotto, an Orco errand boy, to distract Fango's bodyguard Serpente long enough for Avilio to get into Fango's apartment building. Cerotto succeeded and Avilio was able to sneak in. He found Fango being whipped by his girlfriend Lacrima.
Turns out Fango was a hardcore masochist and she was a sadist; a match-made in heaven to be honest. Avilio was unable to get the drop on Fango however and he escaped. Avilio and Vanno were able to capture Serpente however who turned out to be Tronco's killer. Vanno was more than satisfied with this capture. He took Serpente to a secluded graveyard where Tronco's body was buried. He said a prayer for Serpente and executed him in front of Tronco's grave despite his pleading for his life.
Unbeknownst to Vanno, Avilio was hiding behind a tree watching this all go down. He then pulled out a gun and shot Vanno in his stomach. A flashback revealed that
the letter Avilio showed Corteo had Vanno's name written down as one of the killers from that fateful night seven years ago. Avilio revealed his true identity to a shocked Vanno, who immediately remembered that night, and shot him in the head. In an after-credits scene, Avilio informed Nero of Vanno's death. Nero was enraged and demanded Avilio take him to the murder scene.
Avilio blamed Vanno's death on Serpente to relieve himself of suspicion. When they got to the graveyard however, Serpente's body was missing. The only one left was Vanno's, making Avilio the prime suspect for his murder.
The pacing, writing and structure of this show is incredible. Even among all of the information, action and emotion thrown at the viewer in twenty minutes none of it felt rushed in my opinion. It all flowed seamlessly and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen for a second. Both the Orcos and Vanettis have lost key players in their organization. The Vanettis have also retaliated against Fango so it's safe to assume there will be even more bloodshed in the near future between these two families. Amongst all the chaos, Avilio was able to cross a name of his revenge list and established his position in the family. With Serpente's body missing though, it's unclear if he will survive long enough to cross the other two names off. I'm extremely excited for episode 3 and I'm curious to see how Avilio can wriggle his way out of this predicament. I also want to know who took Serpente's body and for what purpose. Hats off to the 91 Days staff for another great production. This episode is King Kritiques approved!