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Luck Review: Everything That Could Be

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Let's talk about that earthquake. It’s evident by now that everything in Luck, down to the smallest details like Ace’s lucky number or a close-up on a horse’s eye, has a purpose, whether it’s clear to us at this point or not. Such incredible intentionality is rarely seen outside of great novels or visionary films, and it opens Luck up to endless debate regarding the purpose or metaphor behind anything and everything. So what about that earthquake?

I can’t think of a better or more literal representation of the world being shaken up, and in this case, it’s for the better. For one brief episode, Luck was focused on what could be... rather than the often harmful self-determinism that haunts many of the characters. 

Luck Scene

In retrospect, Joey has been unraveling since the beginning, but it was only last week that we got a deeper look into his character. Distraught and depressed, he made several unanswered calls to his ex-wife, who we meet in this episode. His conversation with her was heartbreaking, especially when his stutter got the best of him and he almost couldn’t speak when she answered the phone.

It was no surprise that after their call, the camera slowly panned over to reveal a gun. Just as Joey is about the pull the trigger, the earthquake distracts him. The bullet ricochets around the room, and in a Rube Goldbergesque way, finds its way back to him only to graze his cheek. The close call seems to be just what Joey needed - his stutter is gone. Slowly, confidently, and in awe, he repeats his name while sitting on the hospitable bed, his wound bandaged. He is affirming his existence. Joey Rathburn. He is a new man.

Ace also acknowledges this week that he could be different person. He has subtly changed since Claire and Pint of Plain have entered his life. It’s difficult to say which is working more magic on him, so for the moment let’s call them a tag team duo. Pint brings out Ace’s gentler, forgiving side and Claire points it out. Ace and Claire’s conversation over dinner was touching, and certainly hit home for Ace. Their discussion is on Luck's quotes page

Despite Ace going a little soft, his plan for revenge is charging ahead. Nathan finally meets with Mike and co. and the pieces seem to fall perfectly in place. He convinces them that Ace has the Indian Game Board on his side, and Mike offers Nathan the chance to work for him as well as Ace. Nathan accepts. Ace seems to have been expecting all of this, and while it doesn’t make it any clearer what Ace’s ultimate plan is, it’s nice to know we’re getting closer to discovering it.

At the track, Rosie again rides Gettin’ Up Morning to a stunning victory, and as she pulls ahead of the pack she whips the colt to spur him on. Emphasized by the silence and slow motion, the impact of the crop on Gettin’ Up’s flank can be felt by the audience. Walter certainly feels it. Pain and anger creasing his gnarled face, he snaps the crop out of Rosie’s hand after the race and throws it away. After what happened to Delphi, you can’t blame Walter for not wanting to see any pain come to the colt.  

Later, Rosie apologizes because it’s not what should have been. The magical effect of the earthquake has worn off and the characters are back to being consumed by the past.

Confronted by the spiteful Ronnie, Joey finds his lips quivering in that familiar way as words refuse to form. His stammer is back. In a breach of their routine, Ace and Gus skip their bedtime chat. Ace finds himself unable to sleep. In a groggy haze, Gus joins him in the living room as Ace ruminates on what could be, but his reverie is cut short when he realizes Gus has fallen asleep. Luck cuts him off, like it does all of the other characters this week. Their hopes of changing are quashed, at least for the moment, and they find themselves emotionally back where they started this week. 

Stray Observations

  • I was hoping that after the fourth episode there would be a marked increase in the pace, but Luck seems content to continue at a slow boil. I love this show, but I’d also love to see some more action.
  • Hoffman and Farina are fantastic as a bumbling old odd couple. Watching them trying to figure out the meaning of the cake’s message had me laughing out loud. 
  • Foray Stables’ luck continues as Leon rides Mon Gateau to a controversial finish. I was surprised that the stewards let that ruling stand.
  • Mike’s toast was creepy, but fit great with the idea of what could be versus what will be.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
  • 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (5 Votes)
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I was a little puzzled over what happened to Nathan's body after Mike kills him. The next episode shows Mike & Co cutting up body parts and putting them into rubbish bags and throwing them in the ocean and then a couple of episodes we see Ace and Gus at a morgue looking at a complete body that has been washed up on the coast and of course it is Nathan.
I do enjoy the show but would like to see a few more runners in some of the big races. Some of them only have 5 or 6 runners and with the prize money on offer one would expect a few more runners.

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Before your next review you should download the song Great Getting Up Morning. iTunes has many versions, but I think the one by the Golden Gate Quartet from the early 1940's best captures Milch's sense of hope. Understand Walter's horse's name and you will understand how much is really happening and just how high the stakes are. I'm not much up on the bible, but it doesn't take much googling to see the seemingly meaningless start to the series of Gus taking the wraps off the fig trees is really the same as the JFCi start with John's saying "The end is near" Milch is retelling the tale of Revelation, though maybe in this new version the wrong angel was kicked out of heaven. We shall see. Watching Joey watch the bullet bounce around his bathroom it is easy to see there is more than meets the eye here. Milch is taking his que from Gettin Up Morning and starting by blowing his trumpet "calm and easy", but have no doubt it won't be long until he is blowing it "Like a peal of thunder".

Luck Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Nathan: If I'm gonna feel sick all the time, I don't if I'm gonna want to do this.
Ace: Do you feel sick?
Nathan: Yeah.
Ace: 'Cause you're an honest man, so far.

Claire: I've seen people profoundly changed simply by being in proximity to horses. Their size, their virtue, their complicatedness, their renowned patience and something. Don't be afraid of that, Chester.
Ace: Of what?
Claire: Everything that can be.

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