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Ace Counters Smythe's Move with His Own - Recap

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The scene opens with an agitated Ace waking up the day after Nathan's suspicious disappearance with one thing on his mind. "Did we hear from the kid yet?" he asks Gus, who isn't yet around; Ace looks visibly worried. Cut to early riser Smythe, who's watching a fishing boat head out of the harbor. His partners in crime are already on the move: Cohen is off to the Indian Gaming Commission to elbow in on Ace's deal and DeRossi is on his way to play dumb with Ace and Gus about the missing kid; so he isn’t doubted in any way. Out at sea, the fishermen decide to chop up whatever's in the bag and send it to the bottom with some heavy weights, so nothing floats back to the surface. They spare us the grisly dismemberment, but the bloody deck certainly confirms our suspicions that it was a body, most likely Nathan's, from the look of things.

Not long after, Gus receives an email purportedly from the kid, explaining that he wants out of the deal, and that he doesn’t want to have anything further to do with Ace or his associates, thus clarifying his position. "They killed him, Gus," Ace concludes, after assessing the whole situation. "They f---in' killed him." To his credit, Ace later shoulders some of the blame, because there has been plenty of build-up that indicates that Ace recognized this was a possibility; and thus could have probably prevented it from happening in the first place or at least done something about it. In fact, his rational response to the murder reinforces the suspicion that this was all a part of Ace's plan, from how things have shaped up.

When DeRossi shows up, though, Ace doesn’t hesitate to express his skepticism by inviting DeRossi to accompany them to the track and cryptically promising that "Gus will find everything out." At the track, Gus literally pulls Escalante aside and asks if he has a place where he might be able to have some privacy for a meeting with Mr. Bernstein's friend; as he wants the meeting to be absolute hush hush. The millionaire chauffeur manhandles the trainer, with a firm grip on the neck; thus driving home his point quite assertively. Hence it is a request he can't refuse. So Gus and DeRossi end up in a dark abandoned horse stall (shredded with bullet holes?). In another area of the stables, Dr. Jo is examining a horse with a bruised rear foot. Not far away, Walter Smith is sputtering about the legal challenge to his ownership of Gettin' Up Morning. The lawyer for the miserable son-in-law who now wants a piece is skulking around the track, saying "That horse is mine, old man! Miiiiiinne!!"

Apparently, he has some affidavit from an incarcerated guy that he thinks strengthens his case -- or at least will pressure Walter into settling; thus letting him get his way. No dice. The informal track tribunal rules in favor of Walter, but Bowman isn't giving up, he seems completely determined to have his way. Adding even more agitation to Walter's life is another difficult starting position as Gettin' Up Morning draws the rail for the $1 million Western Derby. (Starting in the next slot will be Pint of Plain.) In addition to his baby mama being kicked in the uterus and helping Gus arrange a possible rub-out, Escalante has actual track business to attend to. Leon's weight is no longer something he can ignore, so he tells Joey that the bug can't ride Mon Gateau; as he is a bit too heavy.

But what about Rosie, Joey's new client? "She won't hurt you none on the odds?" enthuses Joey, who can't believe his luck. "Holy cow!" Escalante replies. "I never think of that." Gus' interrogation technique leaves a little to be desired -- but then, Ace doesn’t really need to know what precisely happened to Nathan. All that matters is the kid is gone, and Ace has already moved on to the next step of his plan. While Gus occupies DeRossi, he confronts Smythe on the yacht. Though Smythe feigns ignorance, Ace cuts through the bull but declines to seek retribution. Instead he shares the DVD of Cohen attempting to bribe the Indian casino chief and simply says that Smythe and his cronies are out of the deal: "You ain't my partners no more." "Be well, my friend," Smythe says coolly, but probably doesn’t mean one word of it; a fact clearly visible from his expressions.

Leon's weight struggles have become all-consuming; he is shown absolutely obsessed with it. When he walks out of the bathroom stall in the jockey room, he wipes his chin as if he'd just dumped his breakfast in the toilet; he is trying every trick in the book to keep down his weight. He doesn’t take the news well that his five-pound weight violation cost him a mount, especially when Joey tells him that his girlfriend is his replacement; much to his surprise and anger. Rosie, on the other hand, is ecstatic; she is clearly overjoyed at being offered such an opportunity. Sure, she hesitates for a second when she thinks of Leon's misfortune, but only a second; her joy has clearly overshadowed her guilt at being offered the same job as her boyfriend.

Ronnie is back in the saddle, too, working out Gettin' Up Morning, and riding his first race since the "accident." He and his horse set a rapid pace at the front before they seem to run out of gas, from the look of things. "Thank you, Ronnie Jenkins, you washed-up, run-out has-been," sneers a track official as Ronnie drifts back into traffic, and seems all poised to lose. "Hang on, oh ye of little faith," answers another official, as Ronnie breaks the spirit of his rivals with a final kick that propels him to the wire first; much to everyone’s surprise. "That Jenkins fellow is a maestro," marvels Rosie; with absolute delight and amazement. And perhaps he is not a complete derelict either. Later at the bar -- where all recovering alcoholics hang out -- he refuses to hook a desperate Leon up with "the most specialist" weight-loss pills.

And then he leaves. When Ace returns, they let DeRossi leave unscathed. The stooge is still hoping for some good news on their joint project and thrilled that he is still breathing. "Gus and I just killed the clock, just sat here and no one said nothing," he tells Ace. "Yeah, see how that sounds on the boat," Ace answers. In his debriefing on the yacht, Smythe reveals that their plan is now "to take over and multiply Ace's plans," but DeRossi practically jumps out of his seat when Smythe circles behind him. He might be in as much danger as Ace, who Smythe has already decided to kill, as he feels that’s the best solution to all his problems. That photographer who snaps shots of Ace glad-handing the chief last week? A Chicago-based hitman, says Gus later. "My thought, Nick," says Smythe, when DeRossi asks what Ace would be doing while they take over, "would be doing nothing at all." The episode ends on this note.

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