FEED THE BEAST Review: “Tabula Rasa”

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Still reeling from the results of a violent shootout at Thirio’s soft opening, Tommy, Dion and the crew slowly realize their customers aren’t coming back any time soon. Tommy finally confronts Dion about his potential relationship with Rie, while Patrick demands the “product” he left in Dion’s care.

One of my biggest issues with is that outside the small drama of Tommy, Dion, T.J. and their restaurant, the world feels pretty small. We rarely see the rest of New York City or even the Bronx, and similarly, the supporting characters come off like caricatures, cardboard standees with nothing behind them. This is more evident than usual in the opening scene, as Dion and his kitchen crew commiserate about their slow business day. The kindly black man, the tough lesbian, the bearded guy with an accent; they’re just set dressing for Tommy and Dion’s story. And if you don’t care about Tommy and Dion’s story yet well, tough luck.

Getting a bit of internal drama out of the way, Tommy asks Dion point blank if he slept with Rie. With the backing of his nondescript kitchen friends, Dion insists that nothing happened and the guys hug and make up. Crisis averted.

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New crisis: Dion must make peace with a celebrity in order to bring the restaurant some cred. His target, Dante DiPaolo, whom Tommy calls his muse but who actually seems like more of a mentor? DiPaolo claims he groomed Tommy for greatness, but now a stolen recipe and a lot of testosterone stands between them.

Elsewhere, it still feels like we’re following Patrick Woichik just because we don’t have anything better to do. Patrick’s hospital visits with Ziggy are included only as an opportunity for him to monologue his motivations for semi-believable reason. But this time, Patrick finds Detective Giordano on the scene; the two men argue, Patrick brandishes his pliers, Giordano has a gun, you get the idea. The good news is, with Giordano going directly to the source maybe we’ll get fewer of those cringe-worthy scenes between him and Dion. The bad news is, we don’t really get to see that plier vs pistol fight we’ve been promised.

At school, things between TJ and the bullies come to a head when Andre graffitis all over TJ’s mural. Parents and counselors mediate, but it’s clear Andre comes from a violent family tree.

Dion rendezvous with Patrick to deliver the cocaine and decides to come clean, he’s been selling it off to pay Patrick’s extortion money. In retaliation, Patrick takes Dion for a long ride in the black van and makes him an offer – they partner on a new restaurant venture on a prime spot on the Bronx shoreline or…well the “or” isn’t really clear but it probably has something to do with teeth pulling, death and destruction.

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Aidan sorts out financial issues that may threaten Thirio’s cash flow, then gives TJ a gun cleaning lesson. After a grief group meeting gives him an idea, Tommy takes Pilar on an impromptu roof date. Thankfully, we don’t have to see much of the romance that everyone saw coming, because of something no one saw coming: DiPaolo, in Thirio, for dinner.

“You go be brilliant,” Pilar says in a sweet but kinda sickening way, as Tommy and Dion call all hands on deck. DiPaolo samples the tasting menu but it really comes down to desert, which is in short supply at Thirio. Dion crosses a line when he pulls a chocolate cake out of the trash and repurposes it. It’s gross, but like Pilar did say to be brilliant, and it wins over DiPaolo and his vast social media following.

Unfortunately, the mobster sub plots are back in full force this week. While Tommy and Dion sort out their restaurant woes, we cut away to a pretty unnecessary scene of Giordano and Marisa; Woichik is threatening both of them now. Giordano comes up with a plan and loops in Dion – they’re taking Woichik down.

While DiPaolo single handedly saves Thirio’s reputation, he also reveals a secret that will alter Tommy and Dion’s friendship, for good. The reveal is the one saving grace of this episode, and for that reason it doesn’t deserve to be spoiled.

 

 

 


Season 1, Episode 7 (S01E07)
Feed the Beast airs Tuesdays at 10PM on AMC

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Heather makes things for TV by day and writes by night (also sometimes by day). She is a fan of all stories that reflect life, but it doesn’t hurt if they’re set on another planet or in another time.
Twitter: @Elianarra

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