Luck – Chapter Seven
We’ve now come pretty far into this premiere season of Luck – we’re seven episodes down which means that only two remain before this particular day at the races comes to a close – and so it is no surprise that scenes are starting to feel a little familiar, especially since this is a show that takes its sweet time to advance its story. This week there’s yet another race, another round of poker, another meeting with Mike and another sweet shot of Ace drifting off to sleep with Pint O’ Plain; these things we’ve seen before and will no doubt see again by the time the finale airs and yet they don’t feel like cheats or like wheel spinning, they just feel like home. When I was watching the pilot I couldn’t help but think of the racetrack as run down and the people that populated it akin to social refuse, rubbish to be thrown away, but now spending time there with them is one of the highlights of my week. I look forward to the riveting races and dreamy denouements almost as much as these people who live for them; I need the next hit and the withdrawals hit hard when I don’t get one. I think maybe I’m an addict. Hi, my name is Luke and I have a Luck problem.
So it’s fare to say that i wouldn’t much mind this repetition regardless, but I’m especially ok with it this week because Milch – the magnificent mastermind that he is – has worked it into the metaphor. This weeks episode is all about repetition. This weeks episode is all about repetition, about re-rolling the die. This weeks episode is all about repetition, about re-rolling the die and making the most of the fact that there always is another race, another round and another day to come on the other side of this one. That is, at least, for most of us. For some, like say Nolte, there is only today and thus we should treat it like there’s no tomorrow. For others, like say Israel, there is only today and thus we should have taken it while we still could. Repetition is a double edged sword: on one side it can save us, grant us the second chance we strive for, but on the other it can double our fall down, accelerating our descent and deepening the depths reached.
We see both sides of the sword’s swing in the episodes many sub-plots: we see it sway the stacks of cash left from the Pick 6 when Foray’s second foray into Colt claiming comes up short of re-capturing the lightning of Mon Gateu and when Jerry’s Jesus-like second-coming in the casino, three or so days since he last left it, nabs him both a treasured ticket and a top broad besides. We see it shape careers when Gettin’ Up Mornin’s rider again becomes ambiguous and this time around luck isn’t around to fix the result; the second time that this question is asked a second answer is given, one that means a second chance for one jockey and possibly the end of the line for another. We see it shape futures when the rather convenient and contrived appearance of a child provides Escalante the opportunity to prove himself a suitable patriarch, which in turn let’s the vet speak a little louder the second time that she tells him about her pregnancy. Then finally we see it shape life when a repetition of the pilots painful on-track accident is allowed to go another way, the jockey having learnt enough from his journey to pull up and spare the life of his steed; and also death when something as simple as borrowed syntax, the rote repetition of a clever little catchphrase, is shown to be strong enough to get a man killed.
The moral of the episode seems to be, if that is indeed the right word to use when referring to Mr.Milch, that second chances are so much more defined by that second word than we realize. A second chance is nothing more than a second bet, another chance to lay our cards down on the table, but it’s still all down to chance. It’s that damn coin again, in that it can all go either way – heads or tails – and we can never truly tell until its far too late. On the surface this week everything seems fine; the colts and cons alike are given a second chance, put out to pasture and allowed to run with the horses, but underneath we see that a storm is brewing and Ace and the gang are going to have to be bloody lucky if their story ends with them riding out into the sunset. Sometimes we set the stakes too high for second chances, we push our luck and lose it all in one stray sentence, one fell swoop of an ashtray and for many of our characters this is becoming the case. Luck though seems safe to me, it hedged its bets and got a horse in every race, the results of which are only just starting to pay off now, but it’s got a jackpot coming to it and I can’t wait to see what.