“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
I think I’ve figured out why this series is called “91 Days”. It was rather perplexing to begin with, I mean, they never even say anything in regards to there being a time limit to Avilio’s plan for vengeance, nor is the term used anywhere in the series so far. And yet, it’s the title of the show–why? Well, after looking online and over some clues that I had actually mentioned in the narrative, I discovered that we actually HAVE heard the term “91 days” already. We just heard it in another form and unit of time.
In the first two episodes, Nero and Vanno have mentioned in passing that there is an opera house that the Vanettis have been restoring and that it will be ready in three months time. At that time, there will be a grand event where all three families, the Vanettis, the Orcos, and the Galassias, will all be in attendance. This is an unprecedented event and one that is both a giant risk and giant opportunity for any family that wishes to take it. And let’s not forget our wild card…
“Did you ever hear the story of the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted?”
In the first episode, that event was said to be three months away. Three months =13 weeks =91 days. In 91 days with an episode for each week, at 13 weeks, we have 13 episodes (9 now) before this event goes down and before this series ends. Yes indeed, this series is actually going in real time (minus flashbacks) with every week being an actual week later in the series time as well, except of course this is all taking place in the year 1928.
So now that that’s solved, what is Avilio going to be able to accomplish in that amount of time? Well, he’s already off to a swinging start in taking out Vanno already, but now he’s got to take a step back as these next steps are rather critical. Taking out a henchman is much easier than taking out the Don’s son, and especially the Don himself. And now we have another major issue in that there appears to have been a fourth person who is responsible as well. This sudden news that slipped from Nero actually changes all the rules of the game and has made things quite a bit more complicated.
Pity is meaningless
After the cliffhanger of the last episode, we were all beginning to question if we had all been seeing things. This isn’t a sci-fi series, so a corpse shouldn’t just get up and walk away! But now that we’ve gotten the whole story, it really seems like Angelo got a bigger break than I had thought. I mean, I had honestly thought that Serpente or Fango were going to show back up and try to blackmail our main character. But thankfully, it was just a bit of gang politics with the corrupt government agents trying to get a piece of the action, and a little sniveling weasel just being greedy. It all ends up leading to the Vanetti family having to denounce Vanno’s actions and Nero having to go on the run in order to escape any of the Orco or Galassia families asking for his head on a platter.
This is actually quite a tense scene that hiding behind a seemingly friendly chat.
While all of that runaround was going on, it was really the relationship between the characters that really made the biggest impact in episode 3. The most compelling moment in that episode was at two separate points. The first was in the beginning of the episode when Avilio and Coreto are talking and the former questions the other on his whereabouts. You can feel the tension begin to seep within the scene as Avilio is just staring at his childhood friend and calmly (too calmly) asking him if he had been at the house the entire time. It was at that moment that I began to fear for Corteo’s life and for Angelo’s soul. I honestly think that Avilio might have threatened or even killed his old friend if he had indeed been trying to interfere with his plot for revenge.
There is a sliver of Angelo left in Avilio’s cold, dead body, but as he tells him in a very well done heart-to-heart between the two in episode 5, vengeance has become his raison d’etre, and without it he has no meaning. It’s telling that Corteo has begun to call him “Avilio” now, and it’s not just to keep his secret.
The second most poignant scene, is again in episode 4, when Avilio and Nero are sitting around a campfire. This is in conjunction with two other earlier scenes when Avilio watches Nero grieve over Vanno’s death, and when he watches him interact with innocent children in a park. In all those scenes you somehow get the feeling that Avilio was judging Nero and found him wanting…
How dare this man who took away his family cry for the loss of his own? How dare he care for children when he took away his and his little brother’s childhoods? How dare he be such a hypocrite?
There’s actually a lot of hypocrisy going on in this series. From Vanno to Nero, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that we have a lot of characters who will say one thing and do another. At least, with Avilio we know that while he might put up an act to get what he wants done, he’s never deterred from his goals and never presents them as something else.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, Avilio’s should be an inferno.
I had thought that as time went on and Nero and Avilio would end up making a connection and forming a friendship, eventually leading to a mental conflict for Angelo later on at the climax. However, the more I watch, the more it looks like there’s not enough life in Avilio left to form that kind of relationship. Every time you sense that there was a closeness that’s forming between the two, Avilio gives us a look…a stare…a smile–that tells us that everything that we just saw, whatever warmth there might have been, was all an act.
Nero is only a target and a tool, one that he’s determined to use to get to his other more protected targets (Vincent and the 4th murderer). Any sort of kindness or levity or loyalty that Nero extends, Avilio only sneers at in contempt. You have to wonder then how exactly this will all play out in the end. Avilio will not forgive the murder to his family, and Nero will not forgive his best friend’s murderer. Will it all be tragedy from here?
If looks could kill, Avilio would be a mass murderer by now.
How far will Avilio go? It’s not really clear. I love how the series slowly shows you rather than tells you want that fateful night seven years ago did to Angelo. You don’t even realize how much such an event had destroyed him until you see the evidence of the changes in him. His entire future was destroyed. He no longer had a home, could go to school, or had any of the parental or even familial protection that he had been accustomed to all his life. He was literally on his own with no money, nothing to his name, with only a child’s skills, and not a single person who was by his side to help or take care of him.
You know all this in the back of your mind, but it’s not until you see the results of such a life that Angelo had to live in the hardened Avilio, that you really begin to truly realize all the hardships he was put through at such a young age. In episode 3, you see that while he’s not used to killing, his heart has turned cold to death and murder simply from having become used to it in his short life. In episode 4, you realize just how young Angelo survived into adulthood, by becoming a pickpocket and thief to the point that he is now an expert, and learning to make a bed out of anywhere that he can. In episode 5, Nero asks him how he cannot complain about having the same food every day, and all he says is that “you’ll get hungry later”. Food is a luxury to those who have experienced long term starvation.
I think you forgot this.
Well, Avilio’s plot for revenge actually ends up taking a back seat to the catalyzed gangster politics. It seems there’s a lot of moving around in the mafia, with the Vanettis and Orcos at each others’ throats and the Galassia looking down on them all and deciding to bulldoze their way in. After the Mexican Terminator humor from episode 4, I was wondering how that was all going to lead back into the plot. Who sent him? Well, for me it became obvious the moment that Nero mentions the gulf that has appeared between him and his little brother. And surprise, surprise, I was right.
Hey, what’s killer maniacs and a little fratricide among friends?
Frate is a doormat with a confidence issues. He’s a boy who wants to be a man, and going about it the wrong way. He’s voluntarily becoming the Galassias–um–female dog…and is willing to be used by them simply because he’s fallen into a defeatist mentality over the future of the family. He’s even willing to commit fratricide because some other family demanded it. I honestly could only look at him with pity. You know that he’s going to die at some point as his kind of cowardly character never survives these kind of stories, the only questions are who is going to do the deed and when is it going to happen. I never expected him to try to gun down his own brother in an ambush, but thankfully, Nero is not as stupid as he sometimes appears to be.
So, what’s for dinner?
And then there’s Fango. That weird character is as crazy as you’d expect him to be, at least until this latest episode where you find him being a little subtler and smarter than he had ever displayed previous. I will have to question the writing a little with his character, as his sudden development was rather rushed and actually done off screen! In episode 3, Fango your psychotic, barely leashed rabid hound dog of the Orco family who is literally bloodthirsty. And yet, by episode 5, he’s staging a coup against his own employers and actually wants to take over the Orco family, and is charismatic and leaderly enough to get a group of people to follow him and hold off all other mafia families coming against him. Since when did Fango want to become a mafia don? The last time we saw him, he was simply salivating over getting to participate in a gang war. Since when did he want to get into mafia politics?
Well, this is going to be interesting.
But thankfully he did, since at this point, Nero and friends don’t have anywhere else to turn to. Avilio decided to make some allies out of enemies, and use his knowledge of mafia politics and pride to their advantage.
We’re coming to the middle of the road with this series and we’ll be running into some interesting meeting going forward, especially now that Nero has to ask for help from Fango. So what is Avilio’s plan for taking out Don Orco (who seems to have some strange obsession with lasagna…maybe his first name is Garfield?) and how will it connect back to his revenge plot? Who is this 4th person who is trying to pull the strings here. Whoever it is is trying to benefit from Avilio’s desire for revenge and is trying to get all the heavy hitters out of the way without implicating his own guilt. Right now, I DO have a particular character in mind that seems to fit all the parameters of being the right age, having a lot of the family’s trust, would perhaps benefit from their deaths, is smart enough to have found Avilio’s hiding spot and put together this whole plot, and is right now, trying to stay slightly to the background. Also, he happens to be voiced by a voice actor that has a reputation for voicing silver-tongued backstabbers. We’ll have to see if I’m right.