In part one, Calderone hadn’t really returned so much as made his presence known again, via putting a hit on Crockett. In this episode, he very much is on the scene again, as is the threat to Tubbs and Crockett.
One of my favourite side characters and weird storylines is introduced in this episode! There’s dancing, love, and the constant presence of death. Let’s dive in.
For a full summary of this episode, see the Miami Vice wiki entry for “Calderone’s Return (Part II)”
Miami Vice was more than just a pastel distraction. It examined some legit issues in both society and law enforcement, had awesome lady characters and people of colour, all while holding fast to Michael Mann’s glorious music video aesthetic.
These posts aren’t really plot summaries, but you’ll find links to Miami Vice wiki articles if you desire all the dirty deets. I’m just going to try and look at some visual themes I’ve picked up after watching the show a half-dozen times through.
We open with Mendez (the driver-pal of the assassinated assassin), being interrogated just a hair shy of illegally. His hand shakes as the weirdest water glass to grace a police station is filled,
And as he hesitatingly goes for a sip, it’s knocked out of his hand and replaced by the furious face of Tubbs.
Mendez insists he has nothing to help them pinpoint where in the Bahamas Calderone is. “I’m not his travel agent, man.” Nonetheless, he finally scrapes up one last fact: the Argentinian assassin still had half his pay coming to him. He offers up the deets and is finally let be as the first unsettling notes of Voices plays.
So Crocket and Tubbs are going to head to the Bahamas. They’re told by a supervisor that they’re only there to observe, as (logically) Miami has no jurisdiction in the Bahamas.
Our dudes look like they’ll legit listen to that advice.
I made a joke last post about them driving to the Bahamas from Miami, but they actually do drive there. Just, in a boat.
We’re treated to flashbacks of Tubbs’ brother getting killed, of the attempted hit on Crockett that took out their Lieutenant, reminding us between beautiful flashes of two dudes in a boat, just why they’re on this mission.
They dock and disembark, in a process probably way less stressful than it is now. I mean, they literally just motor up to the docks of a totally different country and enter via boardwalk. I have to have more ID on me to fly one state over.
Just off the dock is a little bar, because the Bahamas know the value of the vacation dollar. Our dudes settle in before heading to the hotel to check in under the dead assassin’s pseudonym.
They also get introduced to this stoner bro, who came to the Bahamas for spring break “seven years ago” and never left. He lets them know about the upcoming Junkaroo festival and that he can get them some smoke that’ll “dye your frontal lobe technicolour.”
Crockett stops by the local cop station to touch base with this dude Albury, who says Calderone hasn’t been around for a while and that he and his are at their service.
While Crockett is slouching in the office of the chief of police, Tubbs is investigating this lady, Angelina, who keeps coming up in connection to Calderone. They’d been able to learn that she’s an art teacher at the local school and paints at a certain spot on the beach, so off Tubbs goes, well confident of his charms.
We’re treated to some long shots of Angelina painting en plein air and, dear reader, Angelina is the best. She takes a moment to remove her nice gold watch and hang it on the corner of her canvas, she has a Look down that is to die, paints dense abstracts and calls Tubbs a tourista. But like, she is totally charmed, because she is human.
Anyway, a little boat comes up from the yacht in the background and Angelina packs up and is off, dropping her watch into the sand.
Off she goes, her ties to Calderone still uncertain in their nature. Tubbs isn’t certain what to make of her.
Also, random note, he gives “Richard” as a cover name, which is adorable because his name is Ricardo.
Crockett, who’d been watching from the sidelines is amused.
They deploy the ‘nocs and now know where Calderone is, on the big ol’ boat.
Crockett, the voice of reason for a change, reminds Tubbs they gotta go by the book. And Tubbs acknowledges this but also? He feels the vengeance need and he’s going to follow it if Calderone looks like he’s gonna slip away again.
Next day, Crockett is doing push ups and Tubbs brings by a paper that helpfully lists Crockett as successfully dead by Calderone’s assassin. Stage set, cover secured, they’re now just waiting to be contacted by Calderone’s people for the last half of the assassin’s pay.
The stoner hotel guy comes by with a letter and gives some more (totally unnecessary but generally amusing) personal background. He’s writing a memoir that is at 2,127 pages, something with the vibes of both Mutiny on the Bounty and The Road Warrior. Oh, and never write on southerly trade winds, the bad ions fuck you all up. Yeah, that’s the look.
Anyway, Crockett goes off to his meet with Calderone’s contact and Tubbs goes to return a nice watch to a pretty lady.
Angelina is charmed (she is only human) and although she puts off Tubb’s invites at first, she does invite him to dinner later that day.
Side note: I looked up this actress and it’s a crime that she was only ever in two films and this show.
While Tubbs is working his magic, Crockett is wearing some Zito-level shirts in his costume as the Argentinian assassin, doing an admirable job tucking away that southern accent as it’s ah, not quite southern enough.
It seems to pass though, as this henchman is ready to hand over the cash, only! Crockett-as-assassin demands more cash for having to kill a cop. “Same as politicos.”
Henchie is pretty chill about it, and says he’ll talk to Calderone.
Crockett makes sure to note that Calderone pays him in person and I’m sure he knows what he’s doing but his whole sell just sounds “How do you do, fellow kids” as hell.
On Calderone’s boat, Angelina day dreams while he gets a message from the henchman.
This face does not say good times are coming.
Our dudes are catching up as they drive into town, both feeling pretty good about the errands they both ran. They’re driving a cute little car and are passed by a righteous crowd of folks packed into the back of a truck, on their way to the Junkaroo.
As the truck passes them, a car pulls up alongside, also full of people with masks. You’d think they’re also on their way to the fiesta, but then they flash weaponry.
Crockett pulls the classic “stomp the brake then the gas” and we get to see his shoes, and I don’t care if they’re perforated, no socks or liners in that just says sweaty foot to me.
They zoom around the revellers and THE CHASE BEGINS.
What I really like about this car chase, the bad guys shooting from an adorable 1970’s box, our dudes high tailing it in a similar boxy little beast, is that the rhythm of Miami Vice car chase scenes is referenced in a twisted and screwed way.
First? Those open American roads that you can zoom about in? Not available in the Bahamas.
Second, our dudes are not in a gorgeous Italian car, they’re in a sturdy little rental Ford that is enthusiastically doing its best to steer quickly and zoom most speedily.
Unlike the lovelies they use on the mainland, these American, heavy-bottomed boxes can rumble (and, production-wise, it’s way easier to fuck up a 1981 Ford Granada than your carefully made imitation racer).
Anyway, whoopsie-doodle and our dudes RAMP into the bay.
Not trusting Lady Ocean to do their work for them, the masked baddies take a few shots and:
That is quite the explosion, to the satisfaction of the baddies.
They casually drive past the destruction they caused, job done.
Don’t worry though, our dudes are okay and the cops are here to fish them out.
They’re also here to let Crockett and Tubbs know that they can’t find Calderone’s yacht. Not for lack of trying, believe them.
(Crockett and Tubbs don’t believe them)
Deciding to play his last card, Tubbs goes to visit Angelina, though their dinner date wasn’t for some hours yet. She opens the world’s tackiest door fresh from the shower.
You know what happens next.
Actually you, don’t. Unless you were expecting a montage suggesting moments of Angelina and Tubbs making a sexual connection double-exposed with scenes of nature.
I love this show.
Post-hookup, Tubbs picks up a picture of a younger Angelina with Calderone from her bedside and makes a joke about her boyfriend being old. She laughs at him and says no, that’s her dad. Tubbs keeps his cool.
Or, he does until he gets back to Crockett on the boat. While they’re making their plans to fake leaving (to throw off the local cops) before coming back to try and catch Calderone, Tubbs reveals his romantic feelings for Angelina.
Our dudes suit up for the evening.
And the hotel stoner brings by their costumes for the Junkaroo, where they’ll meet up with Angelina and charm their way onto her father’s yacht.
Now, some party pics.
Looks like they went for classic calavera rather than the Halloween shop ghoul, which is good, because Tubbs spots Angelina and dancing with the lady you love who also happens to be the daughter of the guy who killed your brother and tried to kill your partner would be weird in a latex mask.
While they’re dancing, Tubbs looks over to Crockett and sees his pal is gone from the bar. Worried, but trying to stay cool, he ditches the lovely Angelina to “get drinks” from the bar.
Which of course is a cover for him to desperately try and find Crockett.
Who is very much being taken aboard a boat by gunpoint.
Grabbing Angelina, Tubbs books it, avoiding more henchmen. The two lovebirds end up on a beach, where she demands answers and he gives them, much to her dismay.
Nobody deals well with being forced to face the fact your dad is kind of a monster who also killed your lover’s brother.
At Calderone’s mansion, Crockett awaits judgement and rescue. Please note the dang bird sculpture on the left.
Calderone gives us a little backstory, casual convo expos. He only had a fourth grade education, but here he is today, the ultimo kingpin who always escapes capture, rich as a god with a daughter he got educated in a way he never was.
It’s a good story, but he’s still a guy who kicks the shit out of a henchman because Tubbs slipped away.
The moment is broken by the sudden appearance of Angelina, who is truly seeing her father for the first time.
And there’s Tubbs, facing his nemesis.
Sonny takes the chance of distraction and appearance of guns to get away from the goons holding him. Bullets get thrown, things are scary and tense and Angelina is going to be fucked up by all of this for some time.
Before Calderone can gun down his daughter’s true love, Crockett takes his shot.
And that’s the end of Calderone.
After, our lovebirds, their wings clipped by reality, are surrounded by non-corrupt police who take in the remaining bad guys. They share some last words, Tubbs apologising but also using his existence as a cop as justification for his actions.
“What you brought to this island was more than your job,” Angelina tells him.
And he knows she’s right.
The episode ends more or less as it began, with our dudes on a boat, flashback clips cementing the feelings felt and moments lived.
Fuck, what a heavy episode, really. We don’t see Angelina for a while, but her love’s ghost haunts Tubbs throughout the show.
And what does the next episode bring? Well, now almost all the things that make Miami Vice are set up: the cars, the tone, the basic characters, the place and the values. But we’re missing one vital puzzle piece. And that’s what the next episode has in store, my favourite little doom cloud.
As much as I’d love to write monographs on this show, I’ve really only got time and energy to cap the shit out of it and share the things I’d be yelling at the TV about anyway. If you like this and want more, become my Patreon supporter to access to posts like these first and also get zip files of the first cull of caps (which is about twice what is used in a post).
Also published on Medium.