Throughout season 2 of Gomorrah, fans have seen Gennaro’s efforts to become a mob boss. He was willing to work with his father, Don Pietro, at first. Surely, father and son would have sought to avenge Imma’s death at the hands of Ciro. Right? Well, not exactly. Don Pietro repeatedly rejected Gennaro. He blamed him for Ciro’s ability to form the Alliance. Worse, he gave him no credit for creating criminal connections with those in Honduras, who provide them with the drugs to sell. Granted, this is not the kind of stuff that would make a normal parent proud. But Don Pietro is a mob boss. Gennaro wrote him off after numerous attempts to win him over.
Ciro and Gennaro Are Linked for Life
During the season, we saw the rivalry between Ciro and Gennaro play out. They both had the chance to kill the other in season 2, and neither went through with it. Then, they realized that they could make more money and keep the police away without stepping on one another. It worked for a short time. When Don Pietro starts messing with the Alliance to try win back his old life, Ciro and Gennaro are drawn together. We saw them meeting every once in a while. Each time, Ciro tried to convince Gennaro to work against his father. Ciro told Gennaro the poison of this situation is eating you alive. Those words were more important than you might have realized. The season finale reunited them in an unexpected way.
Death Is Still All Around
The season finale opens with Lelluccio, Scianel’s son, opining on how Ciro is a traitor. All the while, he’s snorting cocaine. Next thing you know, he and his henchmen take bullets through the window. They were all dead in a flash. Ciro and his young daughter Maria Rita are still in their house. But they are mostly locked in.
He has security guards and three cars taking her to school every day. Don Pietro starts earning more money now that he’s getting more people to join his squad. And he has eliminated everyone else. But one problem remains – Ciro. He tells Malamore to destroy him. Meanwhile, Patrizia is always present.
Instead of killing Ciro, Don Pietro has Malamore kill Maria Rita. It’s dramatic. They shoot up the cars as she heads to school. You think she might get away with her driver. But Malamore rams into the car with his vehicle, hops out, kisses the crucifix around his neck, and shoots the little girl in the backseat. At least he looked pained when doing it. I have to admit, so far, that was the hardest scene to watch.
Ciro attends Maria Rita’s burial alone with his security guards. Then, he heads to the roof. The guards come in and see his apartment in complete disarray. They run to the roof and find Ciro at the edge. He tells them he is setting them all free. He directs them to split the money in the safe between themselves and to go away. He stays on the roof.
Even if these mob bosses have lots of people around them doing whatever they say, they end up alone. On the other hand, Gennaro has family. When we last saw him he was getting married to Azzurra. Many wondered why he and his bride never showed up to the reception. They were off having dinner. Meanwhile, her father got arrested at the party sans couple. Gennaro was testing his new wife. It reminded me of how his father explained the recognition that Imma would always be loyal to him.
Turns out Gennaro’s antics at the wedding had greater significance. In this episode he visits his father-in-law in jail. Dad says the newlyweds offended him by not showing up to the reception. Gennaro responds, “I don’t want to share Azzurra with anyone.” The father then implies Gennaro was the snitch. Back at home Azzurra comes to the same conclusion. Indeed, Gennaro tells her, “Your father was making me a minority partner and that made me mad. You and I have to be in charge of our own destiny.” She agrees and reminds him that she’s betraying her own blood for him.
After Don Pietro has Maria Rita killed, Don Pietro has fireworks go off. Literally. It was sick. Gennaro tells him that no one will let him get away with killing a child. He seems to be angry about it. His father says that Ciro killed “my Imma, who was my whole life.” Patrizia is standing there to hear it. Don Pietro shuns Gennaro again when he insists on getting paid for the drugs he’s delivering to his dad’s men. Don Pietro tells him, “You are the son of Pietro Savastano and nothing more.” Gennaro leaves. The chances of reconciliation seem slim.
Patrizia tells Don Pietro that Gennaro has grown into a man, and he should treat him that way. She also reminds him that she betrayed her siblings. She became his soldier. She was willing to die for him. And now she has even tried to be a good wife. But she wouldn’t compete with a ghost. Then, she storms off.
Later, you see Patrizia in a towel drying her hair. Don Pietro walks in. He tells her he is old, she is young. And that he is offering her a bad deal. But as long as he’s still walking, he says, it is because of her. Then, he hands her a ring to offer marriage. She kisses him. End scene.
Next, Don Pietro calls Gennaro and says he needs to talk to him in person where the white roses grow.
The Perfect Ending
Everything was leading up to these final moments of season 2. Don Pietro has Malamore and a driver bring him to Imma’s grave. There, he expresses his sorrow at her absence. He asks forgiveness of her for turning to Patrizia. He says he can’t stand to be alone anymore.
Meanwhile, Gennaro finds Ciro in the corner of the roof like a sick dog. Gennaro has a gun in his hand. You wonder if his father has convinced him to kill. Ciro says, “I wanted to turn the world upside down, but I failed.” Gennaro hands the gun to Ciro and says, “Now, you have one more thing to do.”
At the same time, Azzurra goes into labor. Gennaro is in the delivery room with his wife. Ciro shows up at Imma’s gravesite. Don Pietro says hello to him. Ciro, gun in hand, returns the greeting. Don Pietro says, “In the end, this is all there is.” Ciro agrees and shoots him in the head. Ciro walks away. Malamore and the other guy run to a dead Don Pietro. Gennaro’s son is born. The nurse asks what to call the baby. Gennaro answers, “Pietro. Pietro Savastano.”
The latest episode of Gomorrah focused on family life. But it’s not what you’re thinking. Again, the writers had viewers pondering the personal lives of mobsters. Despite their callousness, they sometimes show glimmers of humanity. We’ve caught glimpses of that in the last few episodes. Also, some important pivotal happenings took place. All this is setting us up for a riveting season finale (to air June 21 on Sundance TV at 11 p.m. ET). Here’s what you need to know:
Gennaro and Ciro Have Another Meeting
These two are like magnets. Or the writers keep creating scenes with both of them because they know that’s what the audience wants. But they just give you a taste. The reunion is never more than a couple minutes. This time they meet in the streets, on the steps of some building. Gennaro wants Ciro to wish him well as he sets off to get married and anticipates the arrival of his baby. Gennaro adds that his father Don Pietro’s antics are only hurting Ciro. He says that he doesn’t care about what happens in Naples and that he is capable of selling his “stuff,” which refers to drugs, without the Alliance or his father.
Ciro tells him that this situation is eating him up inside and that Gennaro is the one with the most to lose. He explains that if Don Pietro ends up losing, everyone will say it’s Gennaro’s fault for screwing everything up while dad was in jail. If Don Pietro loses, Gennaro will be left with nothing. Ciro has a point. The last thing Ciro says to Gennaro, however, is what stings the most. “You’re just like me, Gennaro. You’re just like me.”
Gennaro Gets Married
A mob wedding always lives up to the hype. The bride is gorgeous in a stunning dress that perfectly shows off her baby bump. The groom is going full Napoletano with his suit. Anyone who has been to a Neapolitan wedding (or had one like me) knows what I mean. But the wedding was more for Gennaro’s father-in-law. In fact, the couple joked that they didn’t know anyone coming to their nuptials. So, they took off after the ceremony to have dinner just the two of them. While they were away from the reception, the police showed up. They arrested the father of the bride.
Uh oh! It seems Ciro had a point that things might not work out as Gennaro expected. The father had been linked to a murder, a slip up that Gennaro had offered to clean up earlier in the episode. The father-in-law didn’t think it was necessary. After talking to the lawyer, Gennaro walks into the room with all the wedding gifts. He’s alone. He opens a painting of him, his late mother, and his father, Don Pietro. He punches his own portrait in the face. You get the sense the self loathing is real. And Ciro is right that this situation is eating him inside out.
The Alliance Goes Down
The episode began with Mulatto, one of the members of his alliance getting killed by his own security guards. Scianel was sent to prison the episode before. And we learn there’s virtually no one left in Ciro’s Alliance. Don Pietro is systematically ridding of them. He’s using the Alley kids to help him. Ciro’s closest allies want him to leave his home and go into hiding. At first, he says no. The Gypsy changes sides. Don Pietro says he’ll accept him only if he brings Ciro to him. He fails because Ciro figures out what he’s up to. Don Pietro has Malamore kill the Gypsy. By episode’s end, the tables have turned. Ciro is in hiding, and Don Pietro is back in his old house.
Crazy Love Or Something Like That
I made a grave mistake in writing about last episode. I suggested that Don Pietro thought of Patrizia as a daughter. Not exactly. In this episode, she is helping him reorganize the house that has been closed up for some time now. He makes a remark that it feels as though nothing has changed. Indeed, she replies that she should probably stop working with him because he doesn’t need information from her anymore. Her siblings want her at home more. And they are angry with her for getting involved with these dangerous criminals. But Don Pietro responds that he’s wrong. Everything has changed, he says. He tells her he wants her to move in with him. When she does (as if she had a choice), he comes into her room and puts his hands on our shoulders in a way that says she’s replacing his late dutiful wife. Well, well.
Mob marriage has been a subject of analysis for years now. At first, viewers might not have noticed love as a subplot in Gomorrah. But episode 9 throws it in your face. Anyone who thought this was going to be about the other deadly sin, lust, should think again. Once you see the storyline in episode 9, you realize that this conversation about love and marriage has been going on all along.
A Look Back, A Look Forward
What has been fascinating to me is that the Sopranos showed how most of the mobsters had a wife and a girlfriend. People are always assuming Europeans and particularly Italians have affairs. But none of the mob bosses in Gomorrah are cheating on spouses or longtime girlfriends. I’m not sure if that’s the reality in the real-life Camorra. But that’s the depiction.
Our first encounter with mob marriage is Don Pietro and his wife Imma. They are clearly in love. She wholeheartedly supports her husband’s criminal lifestyle. She takes over when he goes to jail. She does everything to turn their son Gennaro into a hardened criminal. Then, she makes the ultimate sacrifice. She gives her life to the cause. She knows full well Ciro is going to have her killed. She lets it happen to protect her son and support her husband. When Don Pietro breaks out of jail, we see him visit her gravesite. He is moved. And he wants their son to have Ciro eliminated as revenge. There’s a rift between them when Gennaro refuses.
Gennaro and His Baby Mamma
Gennaro and his girlfriend, with whom he lives, seem to be mirroring Imma and Don Pietro. She too is a child of a mob boss, but they are in Rome. Her father approves of Gennaro; he considers him the future of the family business, in fact. Now, Gennaro and this woman are expecting a baby. Gennaro seems committed to her and the baby.
She is from a different culture, though. This was brought up in an episode in which she throws him a birthday party in Rome. His friends from Naples come and rob someone there. It doesn’t go over well. But it depicted the distinct division between those from the south and those from further north, beginning with Rome.
The most profound moment was when Gennaro needed to go home to Naples. His girlfriend did not want him to go. He held her close and said:
You are my life. But never come between my family and me.
Ciro Kills Love
One of the most profoundly disturbing parts of season 2 was when Ciro killed his wife Debora. We learn in later episodes that they were childhood sweethearts. He cries as he is strangling her on the beach, what should have been a romantic setting. He is emotional when he cares for their mourning daughter. And he tells Gennaro to kill him because he murdered the mother of his child.
The point of this was to show that no one is immune in this sick world. Death is all around these people. And ambition in this business could literally kill you or your loved ones. It drove Ciro to murder his only love, after all.
Marinela Sets the Record Straight on Love
Early in season 2 we get to know Marinela. She is female mob boss Scianel’s daughter-in-law. Her husband, Scianel’s son Lelluccio, is in jail. While he’s away Marinela is her mother-in-law’s slave. The relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law in southern Italy has long been an issue. Men live at home for far longer than they do in the United States. Their mothers can be overbearing. They never think young women are good enough for their sons. They also always believe the women have ulterior motives. Some of this goes on in every culture. But it’s exaggerated because many extended families live together in southern Italy.
Often, MILs mistreat their daughter-in-law. They might slight them. They criticize their housework and cooking. They might suggest they are unattractive or don’t dress well. Well, Scianel takes this abuse to a whole new level. She literally keeps her daughter-in-law under lock and key. She also “teaches” her how to cook. She tells her to be more like Patrizia, Marinela’s friend who no one knows is Don Pietro’s informant. Those are little snubs. She is also threatening and makes Marinela serve her constantly. She rarely leaves her alone.
A Passionate Affair
Marinela only really gets to see one other person on a regular basis. Mario, Scianel’s driver, is also with them often. A few episodes ago, viewers saw Mario and Marinela making love in the backseat of the car. Scianel was off on one of her nefarious errands. They express their love for one another. End scene. Scianel doesn’t appear to suspect.
In episode 9, however, she catches on. She overhears Marinela on the phone with Mario and realizes her daughter-in-law is cheating. She starts to notice the way the two look at each other. Scianel purposely gets another driver to take her to see Ciro and tells Mario to take Marinela home. Then, she follows them and sees them making love in the car. Marinela tells Mario that it’s over because Lelluccio is getting out of jail. But it’s too late.
The Stench of Death Lingers
Scianel has Mario killed. She has the killer shoot him in the privates while Scianel looks on. She makes sure Marinela finds out. Lelluccio returns and is furious to learn about his cheating wife. He puts his hands on Marinela’s throat and threatens her. Meanwhile, Scianel and the others celebrate his return. Marinela tells him what seems to be true for everyone in this show:
You want to kill me? Kill me. Go ahead. I’m already dead.
In fact, she also tells him that making love to Mario was the only beautiful thing she did in her life. Lelluccio has sex with a stranger, whose legs viewers see as she gets dressed. He calls Marinela and tells her that sex with someone else wasn’t good. He wants to see her. Scianel wants to kill her. But Lelluccio tells her to mind her business.
Now that the prince is dead, everyone wants to take over the building where he was selling drugs. Scianel goes to Ciro and bids for her son. Ciro agrees Lelluccio will get the building. Trak and the “Alley kids” are angry. They beat up Lelluccio on the night he gets out of jail. The police stop them and take in Lelluccio for the night, which saves his life. It also enrages Scianel. She brutally murders Trak by having someone repeatedly dunk his head in a pool of his own blood and dirty water.
Marinela is trapped. Her mother-in-law wants her dead. Her husband wants her sex. She is in a cycle of abuse and sees no way of getting out. Patrizia is still working at the clothing store, where Scianel shops. She and Marinela remain friends. Patrizia sees an opportunity to get Marinela out of this life and help Don Pietro. He is still trying to make those in Ciro’s alliance turn against one another. So far, it’s working.
So, Patrizia tells Marinela to call this phone number to gain her freedom. Marinela eats dinner with Scianel. Scianel tells her,
Women can’t have freedom unless they never marry…Once I got used to the beating, I gave in. I became a good wife and a good mother.
Then, Lelluccio calls his mother. He tells her he is coming over. He wants to see Marinela. That’s when Marinela calls the number Patrizia slipped her. The men tell Marinela to bring Lelluccio downstairs. Just as she is taking him out for a walk, she says she forgot her purse and to meet her downstairs. She takes two steps and they hear gunshots. She runs down and sees someone else is dead. She flees for her own life. Scianel tells her son they have to lay low until they figure out what this “disgusting whore” is up to. Marinela walks into the police station.
The End Is the Beginning
The end of episode 9 brings viewers back to the start of the series. Back then, Ciro and Gennaro were not at war. Ciro was Gennaro’s mentor. They seemed to genuinely care for one another. Or at least as much as anyone in the mob could care for anyone else. Ciro shows up at the airport where Gennaro is arriving to see his family – the girlfriend and her father. Ciro tells Gennaro that he knows about his deal with the prince, who is now dead. He also reminds him that they were once friends. He says, “Together, we could have turned this world upside down.” He points out that if they get Gennaro’s father out of their way, they still can. He asks Gennaro to think about it. I think we’ll all be thinking about it until the next episode.
Gomorrah is riveting. It’s not because of the thrilling storyline. That certainly helps. But it’s because of the profound characterizations of each personality in the show. Every viewer naturally gets to be an armchair psychologist. At this – the midway point of season 2 – you start to wonder if all the main characters are really the same person, just at different stages of life. Then, you start to think that the war they’re all having with each other is really just symbolic of the internal struggle we all face as we grow older. Sorry, but I had to wax philosophical. It’s the only way to live with what I’m seeing on screen. Believe me, you have to live with what you see. It’s like a scar on your memory that you can’t scrub away.
Still, watching is holding up a mirror to your face. It’s looking closely at every line and flaw and stray hair. It’s admitting there was a reason so many of our families ran from southern Italy, made lives elsewhere, and never looked back. Every once in a while, that’s important. Episodes 5 and 6 immediately addressed food and family, the driving forces of everything that happens in Italy.
La Fame Is the Plight That Leads to Destruction
“Fame” means “hunger” in Italian. My husband says “la fame” is what hooks even seemingly innocent people into the disgusting life of the Camorra, the mafia in Naples. In the last episode of Gomorrah, which focused on Italy’s obsession with religion, you saw drug dealers smashing statues of the Madonna to get to their stashes. In this one, you see the dealers opening pineapples to get to the drugs. And the old man, Don Aniello, is eating an apple as he oversees them. He talks about how much he likes fruit.
The fruit is highly symbolic and sets the tone for the rest of the episode. The warring families now run by Ciro and Gennaro (and perhaps to some extent his father Pietro Savastano) have to find peace, so money begins to flow into their neighborhood in Naples again. Until then, the people are forced to live with la fame.
In various scenes, throughout both episodes, you see the ups and downs of the drug business symbolized by full dishes of pasta on the table. Don Pietro throws his dish of pasta across the room in an uproar over his son taking over their mafia family. You see Ciro and Rosario (the Dwarf) eating spaghetti with tomato sauce contemplating the future of the “dogs,” old friends of Gennaro’s who are still wet behind the ears and trying to play both sides. These junior mafiosi – Trak, Little Bird, and Bomber – are hungry for money. They live in a shack of an apartment that looks like a jail cell only grimier. They speak of the people starving in light of current events with the mob families.
Let Them Eat Spaghetti
The trio act out by viciously robbing people at different points in the show. They clear out an entire apartment building to claim it as their own place to deal drugs. The bookie is making tomato sauce when Trak comes to shoot him in the head. In the end, the trio betrays their old friend Gennaro, who comes unarmed to woo them back to his side. They shoot and kill Angelino and injure Malamore, confidants of Gennaro’s father. But they refrain from killing Gennaro as per the agreement the two sides made with Don Aniello. At the end of the sixth episode, “the dogs” are still holed up in that prison of an apartment. But with their guns by their side for fear of retribution, they are finally eating. They too have dishes of spaghetti with tomato sauce in front of them.
That dish – spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce – is poignant. After all, that is the most basic of meals for an Italian. It is representative of the bare necessities. Being able to have that is why so many people in Naples and the rest of hungry southern Italy are willing to put up with the atrocities of the Camorra. It feeds them.
Father and Son, Papa’ e Figlio
In the Sopranos, you always had the feeling that Tony wanted a different life for A.J. You got the sense, in fact, that he wished his father had wanted better for him, too. In Gomorrah, on the other hand, you get the feeling that Pietro wants Gennaro to be more like him and that he doesn’t want this criminal life enough. Pietro meets with his son at a store that sells bombonieri, favors for Italian events, such as weddings and baptisms. He explains to Gennaro that he bought 500 statues of the Madonna (of Mount Carmel) as the bombonieri for his son’s baptism. It was what his late wife wanted to thank the Madonna for the miracle she gave to them – a baby boy. Pietro tells Gennaro that his mother wasn’t supposed to be able to have children. And his Nonno wanted Pietro to find another woman because the Savastano crime family needed a male heir. Pietro was in love and insisted on marrying Genny’s mother. That’s why they were rewarded with him.
Of course, then he described how he has let him down. He feels as though Ciro and Co. are attempting to humiliate him, and his son is going along with it. After all, Ciro asked to have a meeting with him about peace, not Don Pietro. By now, Gennaro has abandoned his father to Naples (as his father wished). He is living a new life with his girlfriend, whose father works with Don Aniello in Rome. He has impressed the Romans with the cocaine supply he has coming from Honduras. His reign seems to be apparent.
Raising Children in this Sinister World
At the same time, viewers are seeing Ciro’s 10-year-old daughter for the first time since he killed her mother. She is watching her father pack to leave for this meeting with Gennaro. She tells him that the new house doesn’t feel like home because the old house made it seem as though her mother was still with her. His face looks pained. He hugs her and tells her it will take time to get used to the old place. Once he arrives at the hotel, he speaks with his daughter on the phone and they express how much they miss one another. It’s one of the few times you see a loving side to this cold, calculated murderer.
Not long after that Gennaro sneaks up on Ciro in his hotel room. He seems like he might finally kill him, which is what his father told him to do when he sent a gun made with a 3-D printer. (Oh yeah, technology is revolutionizing crime syndicates, too.) Ciro tells him to shoot already because he’s sick of this life and of himself. He explains that he used his own two hands to kill “Debora mia,” his wife. Gennaro asks how he explained the death of his wife to his daughter. Ciro says that’s his business and to just shoot him. Instead, Gennaro throws the gun at him and says, “Remember this as the day I could have killed you but I didn’t.”
Letting Go of Your Babies
The next day, they sign off on the peace treaty, which includes Ciro’s team buying drugs from Gennaro’s people, in front of Don Aniello. Ciro returns home and spoons his sleeping daughter in one of the few images of love apparent in this series. The agreement also has Don Pietro and his few henchmen imprisoned in one little part of town. This sends Don Pietro into a rage. Gennaro had previously told his father that their real problem was he never trusted him. Now, Gennaro was getting the family business in order – not to mention having saved his father’s life in Germany.
Patrizia, Don Pietro’s messenger, says, “My father always said, ‘Young children need you to give them milk. Grown up children need you to give them trust.'” Don Pietro agrees that he will give Gennaro trust. He tells his men to follow the rules. This works out until Gennaro’s meeting with Trak, Little Bird, and Bomber ends with two of Pietro’s henchmen shot. Then, he says his son’s words don’t mean anything anymore. We’re left to wonder what their divisions will mean for the extended mob family.
Criminal Catholicism refers to how mafia, such as the Camorra in Naples, defiles religion. In season 2 of Gomorrah the subject of how mob bosses and their loyalists relate to the Catholic Church is jaw dropping. Already in season 1, viewers observed Don Salvatore’s devotion. He would go to church, pray, and indulge his mamma’s religious pursuits. Yet, he was a vicious mob boss, who murdered anyone who crossed him, including a young boy. He often invoked Jesus, even when intimidating and threatening fellow mobsters.
The Boiling Point
In season 2, the writers of Gomorrah put Don Salvatore’s bizarre religious rituals into focus. At the start of a pivotal episode, he serves as the godfather to the son of a henchman. During this time viewers learn something that the other characters never find out. Don Salvatore is gay. Or at least he is attracted to a transgender woman. He seems to have a real affection for her. But criminal Catholicism and society make him hide his true feelings in public. At the baptism, for instance, he turns away when his transgender partner is performing a song at the party. Later, he brings the transgender partner’s sister to his own birthday party and introduces her as his girlfriend. He sometimes kisses her in the street to show others he’s with a woman.
Things Get Interesting
Don Salvatore’s mother gets word her son is seeing a woman in the “blue houses” and asks to meet his special someone. He tells her they will meet when he is sure it’s a serious relationship. We learn from the transgender woman that Don Salvatore does not drink alcohol, do drugs, or have sex when she jokes about it with her family. We also see a scene in which the transgender woman tries to entice him to make love by taking off her shirt. He says she’s driving him crazy, but he can’t. They sweetly part. But he takes her sister outside to make others believe that is her real girlfriend.
When the transgender partner shows up to sing at Don Salvatore’s birthday party, one of the henchman makes many loud, vulgar jokes about the transgender woman’s “pesce” or “fish.” The transgender woman and her sister posing as the girlfriend run out in tears. When the cake comes out, Don Salvatore takes the knife and coldly stabs the hand of the comedian henchman. Don Salvatore later explains he did it because the transgender woman was the sister of his girlfriend, and it was disrespectful. The henchman begs for forgiveness. But Don Salvatore takes away the henchman’s drug-selling piazza as a punishment.
Bringing on the Traitors
Despite a large transgender and gay population in Naples, homophobia is largely accepted. Part of the problem is the church’s criticism of the gay lifestyle. Don Salvatore prays and prays. He’s constantly making the sign of the cross. He has his henchmen hide drugs in religious statues that are his cover business. They smash Madonna statues numerous times in this episode. Indeed, the symbolism could not be more obvious.
But stabbing that guy over the homophobic barbs would prove Don Salvatore’s fatal mistake. Ciro and Don Salvatore don’t like to share and it becomes clear one of them is going to take the other out. Ciro moves in to talk to the stabbed henchman and his best friend to get them to turn on Don Salvatore.
The End Is Near for Someone
The criminal Catholicism is never more obvious as it is at the end of episode 3. Don Salvatore is present when the two henchmen declare to Ciro on the phone that they want to kill their boss. Don Salvatore restores the stabbed henchman’s drug selling post to thank him for his loyalty. Viewers are left to believe that Ciro is going to sleep with the fishes. The men had invited him to off Don Salvatore after a religious ceremony in his mother’s town in which he participates every year.
This is where stuff gets weird. The ceremony has Don Salvatore’s mother helping to dress him in white sheets (including a hood reminiscent of the KKK, which was meaningful to an American like me who related it to the maltreatment of gay and transgender people). He also carried a sponge with pricks in it that the men marching in the procession would use to slam their own chest. Don Salvatore kissed his mother, participated in the procession, cleaned himself of the blood from pricking and turned to his men.
Ciro and the two others watched him. Then, the men held Ciro down on his knees while Don Salvatore told him of his oncoming demise. Finally, Don Salvatore commands the stabbed henchman to slit Ciro’s throat. Just as he is about to do it, he refrains and moves the knife up to Don Salvatore’s throat and quickly slashes it. Ironically, Don Salvatore dies with a pool of blood around him on the altar of the church.
Dead or Alive?
Don Salvatore’s death revives other mobsters. Don Pietro of the Savastano clan sees this death as his moment to make a comeback. He returns to Naples with the help of his henchman Malamore. First, Don Pietro tells his son Genny of his plans. But he is still distrusting of his boy. The tension between them is more than palpable. We also see Don Pietro visit the grave of his wife, who Ciro had killed. He promises her he will never leave her again. This kept up the theme of mutated love that we’ve been witnessing in season 2.
Malamore brings his innocent niece, Patrizia, into the business by having her become an informant to Don Pietro, and they are holed up in an apartment of a retired couple, who were left with no choice but to take them in. What’s noteworthy about this is that the girl has a lion tattoo because her father, who was dead, had called her a lioness. Don Pietro tells her the tattoo would be unnecessary if she really was a lioness. So, she burns and mutilates her arm to remove the tattoo. This wins the trust of Don Pietro.
Viewers also get insight into Scianel, the only woman participating in Ciro’s newly formed family. She’s particularly cruel and heartless with her daughter-in-law. While Scianel’s son is in jail, his wife is servant to his mother, who treats her like garbage. The girl is having an affair with one of the other henchmen and calls her MIL a witch behind her back.
By episode’s end, Ciro has arranged to meet with the Savastano family to devise a peace accord and avoid total war again. Much to Don Pietro’s surprise, Patrizia informs him that Ciro has asked for Genny and not him.
Gomorrah is the No. 1 TV drama in Italy, and it airs with English subtitles on Sundance TV every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.
Gomorrah season 1 recap is my gift to those who are just tuning into Italy’s No. 1 TV drama. In it, you will find links to the descriptive recaps I wrote after each and every episode of the first season. The show is based on the critically acclaimed book Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. It has been captivating Italians since 2014. Recently, Sundance TV introduced Americans to the show about the Camorra, the mafia ring that began in Naples but has infiltrated many parts of the world.
While the show and the book have unearthed the seediest elements of Naples, Italy, and mankind, I still recommend both. These are works of fiction based on fact. Indeed, much of what is portrayed on screen happened in real life. The book and show help consumers understand the back story of corruption. What leads people to this life? Why the desperation? Astute viewers will make connections between this world and the economic woes facing Italy. You might even better comprehend the division between north and south in the Boot.
Gomorrah Season 1 Changed the World
I’m down with the Italian culture. My parents tuned into RAI my entire life. Now, I married a native of Italy, so I know a bit more than your average American about pop culture Italian style. I’ve never seen a phenomenon quite like the popularity of Gomorrah. All my Italian friends and family could talk about was this show when it first aired. This was especially true on social media. Viewing Gomorrah is like a cult. It is more than must-see TV. It is TV that reflects the reality of their nation and their world in Naples. I think that’s what makes the violence and immorality so difficult for me to see. Truly, this struggle is real.
The First Episodes
Gomorrah, the TV show, was applauded Stateside, too. The New York Times named it among the best international shows in 2016. Fans of the Sopranos, frankly, won’t want to miss it. This show gets at the underbelly of the mafia in a way even Sopranos could not. Indeed, there’s nothing glamorous about the life of a gangster anymore, if there ever was. If you are ready to join the other viewers, here’s to catching up on Gomorrah season 1.
I am angry with the world right now, and watching Gomorrah season 2 is not the best idea. Every character in the show relies on festering anger to culminate in a capacity for evil that is unthinkable among civilized people. Still, I can’t help myself, so I watch it like a train wreck. Or at least I watch it whenever my son is sleeping or at school. After all, this is not viewing material for kids. I’m not even sure I’m old enough to watch it.
What Is Gomorrah Season 2?
Gomorrah is a TV show that is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Roberto Saviano. While the story depicted in the series is fictional, it is based on real life events. The book and TV series allow the public a firsthand look at the ugly and vile life of those who join the Camorra, one of Italy’s most infamous gangs. Much like the Sopranos, which depicted the American version of this life, Gomorrah does nothing to glamorize the mafia. And Gomorrah season 2 takes the de-glamorization to the next level.
Catch Up On Season 1
For a full description of individual episodes, read the Gomorrah season 1 recap. By the end of season 1, you had already bid arriverderci to Imma Savastano, wife of Don Pietro, the head of the Savastano clan, which was in a war with the Conte clan. You saw Don Pietro break out of jail. His top clansman Ciro Di Marzio was the one who had Imma killed. Not surprisingly Ciro switched sides and works for the Conte clan now. Many of Don Pietro’s men, in fact, ended up dead as war broke out in their family and continued with Conte and Co. Season 1 ended quite dramatically with a shootout at Ciro’s daughter’s school. There, where the children were performing a play, Ciro shot Gennaro, Imma and Don Pietro’s son, who had inherited responsibility of the “family business.” He seemed dead, but we weren’t quite sure. What would happen next? That was anyone’s guess. But it sure wasn’t going to be pretty.
Gomorrah Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2
The beauty of Gomorrah is the in-depth characterization of each personality in the cast. This is not your typical TV show. And in season 2, you really get an up-close, emotional profile of the characters. More importantly, you could spend days analyzing their relationships with each other. I felt almost as though I was coming up with conversation for a book club meeting rather than a rundown of a TV drama.
A warning to those reading, the TV show is really, really, really violent and gruesome. I have to shut it off and take a break sometimes. I definitely closed my eyes more than once in these first two episodes, and some people will find it difficult to watch. But this is the reality that many people experience in Naples and actually other parts of Europe and the world as these gangs branch out.
What Happened Next?
Don Pietro is out of jail, learns of his son’s hospital stay, where he’s near death, and is forced to run away because so many of his men have been gunned down by the Conte clan. Ciro and his wife Debora and daughter Mariarita are also kind of on the run but still in the Naples area. They are mostly escaping the police, but there is always fear someone from the Savastano family will be back for revenge. Debora is terrified and angry with her husband for putting their daughter and her into this position. While many are treating them like royalty now that Ciro seems to be ruling the land, Debora is not having it.
She wants to run far, far away. She’s worried about someone trying to kill them, and she’s most concerned with their daughter’s safety. She argues with Ciro, who is positioning himself within the Conte family. The Conte clan is clearly taking over the drug dealing and everything else the Savastano clan previously controlled. By the end of episode 1, we see Genny open his eyes. He’s alive. And Ciro has killed his wife by choking her with his bare hands. He feared she was going to the police with his guilt about the school shooting. While Debora had considered it, she did not go through with talking to the police. But anyone who had watched the Sopranos will automatically make comparisons to when Adriana was killed. This was even harsher because Debora’s own husband was the murderer.
The second episode of Gomorrah Season 2 is more focused on Genny, who has been out of the hospital for a year but has a noticeable scar on his face. He is back in Honduras, where he had been sent by his mother and first killed a man on his own in season 1. This is important because this time around Genny forces a military captain, who is locked up by a drug cartel to hack up one of his own soldiers. It’s a horrific scene that will be burned into your mind. After Honduras, he returns to Italy, where he is trying to pick up the drug business and has a rendezvous with the daughter of a drug partner.
Next, he is reunited with his father. The two of them eventually have a falling out about who’s to blame for the state of affairs and Imma’s death. They can’t reach their money, they can’t go home, and they must work with people who are on the outs with their own gang. Indeed, Mico, one of the men who was getting arms to the them, gets shot and killed while they are all at dinner together.
Genny and Don Pietro have to flee. They steal one car and then have to run again when they encounter a road stop with more police. Don Pietro is taking medication (for what we don’t know), and he gets sick while they are fleeing. Genny carries him on his back and then car jacks someone at a gas station to get another car. He forces the guy to join them and help him bring his father to the car. Then, he kills the guy on the side of the road as though he was picking up Tylenol for dad. Really disturbing.
Foreshadowing of What’s to Come
In the end, the Genny and Don Pietro sleep on the floor of an abandoned shed like farm animals. Don Pietro seems a little healthier, however. He calls someone to come pick him up. Don Pietro tells Genny his own time will come but now they must part ways. Genny seems frustrated. Dad seems relieved. One can only guess what’s going on with Ciro at this point. We’ll probably find out next week. You can watch a new episode on the Sundance channel every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET.
For anyone just waking up to the phenomenon that is Gomorrah in Italy, here’s a quick rundown. The book Gomorrah, which was an investigative, first-hand look at Naples’ Camorra mafia, became a movie and the movie became a TV show. The book, movie, and TV show are hugely popular in Italy. People simply can’t get enough of this view of the intense, violent, and despicable life of those in the Italian mob. SundanceTV shared the series with viewers in the United States every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET. The first season has ended, and you can get recaps to catch up on what happened in the first six episodes, episodes 7 and 8, and episodes 9 and 10 right here on Italian Mamma. Without further ado, here’s what happened on the season finale, which aired Sept. 28:
Episodes 11 and 12 (season finale)
This show makes me sick to my stomach, yet I can’t turn away. It’s not that surprising considering in the course of season 1 a number of the characters in the film, mostly those who are novice gangsters, vomited themselves. Although I had heard a bit about how things would unfold before watching these last two episodes, I was still in shock about how it all went down. At the start of this season, Imma, the wife of the head of the Savastano clan, was all about making a man of her son, Gennaro. She wanted him to toughen up. Then, when she sent him to Honduras and Ciro to Spain, it seemed as though she just wanted to get rid of them. Both of them could have easily been killed on their trips. For one moment, Imma cried when her visiting her husband, Don Pietro, in jail and asking if she was doing the right thing with Gennaro, their son.
I know Italian moms, and I never understood this one. I know she really exists out there in Napoli and other parts of Italy, too, for that matter. But I had never seen her come out of the darkness. It was a shock to say the least. This woman wanted her son to be a killer and put his own life in danger for the sake of money and some perverted sense of prestige and power. All the Italian mammas I know did the exact opposite; they wanted to preserve the life of their children at all costs. After all, a mother gives you life. Finally, in these last episodes, you understand that in her own way and in this criminal world Imma was doing the same for her son.
Besides forcing him to toughen up and become the leader of this family in his father’s absence, she was willing to die for him. In this final showing in season 1, things come to a head with Ciro, once Gennaro’s best friend and right-hand man to Gennaro’s father. Imma and Gennaro may have miscalculated shunning him. And I think Imma was counting on Ciro getting killed and Gennaro sticking around after Spain and Honduras respectively. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t work out that way.
Episode 11 opens with the funeral of Daniele, the young kid who got killed by Don Conte for offing his henchman Tonino Russo. Daniele did this because Ciro told him Gennaro wanted the hit, but that wasn’t true. Before getting killed he told Conte the truth. Conte understood that Ciro was doing this, so he could start a gang war and change sides. Gennaro and Imma had pushed him aside and started treating him like one of the young delinquents just starting out. He resented it, and he might have even been hurt by Gennaro’s maltreatment after all he had done for him leading up to this point. Then again, it’s hard to imagine any of these people have true feelings, especially Ciro, who grew up as an orphan, and thus far has shown little in the way of sentimentality. All I keep thinking is that he swallowed Don Pietro’s urine to guarantee his spot next to Gennaro in this family, and it didn’t matter. He drank the pee pee for naught. Can you imagine?
But I digress. Daniele’s friend Bruno has disappeared for fear someone will discover he helped hide Daniele in those few days before he was found and taken out. We also learn that Daniele’s brother, who had been shot while driving appeared to be dead and forgotten still in the car in an empty field. Bruno’s mother, however, found her son’s phone and heard the message Manu, Daniele’s girlfriend had left on his phone. Manu, 15, was tortured and killed because she would not and could not tell Ciro where Daniele was hiding. She was a true innocent and knew nothing. Her phone message caught the start of her hell with Ciro, beginning with him tricking her into his car and beginning his threats. The mother shares the message with Imma, who is outraged and quickly decides what she has to do.
In the meantime, this plan to start a war is working. The young friends of Gennaro are annoyed by the old men, who seem to be more loyal to Ciro and want to do things in a more honorable way. Well, they want to do things in a way that is honorable for criminals anyway (not using drugs themselves, keeping their promises to fellow criminals, and never killing wives and children). The new generation doesn’t get any of this. When Zecchinetto, one of Don Pietro’s closest allies, fumes out loud about the new course of the Savastano family and this desire to continue the war, Gennaro’s henchmen go and kill him. One of the murderers was a nephew of another of the henchmen, who couldn’t believe one of his best friends was killed by his nephew for this one disagreement. Gennaro asks Ciro to talk to the old guys. The old guys ask Ciro to talk to Gennaro. He’s playing both of them like a fiddle to drive the war. And he starts talking to Salvatore Conte, the head of the rival family, who had been working with the Savastano clan since Ciro negotiated with him in Spain. Crazy!
Things are starting to catch up with Ciro, though. Imma calls a private meeting with him, and she knows she might get killed over this. She tells the woman who has been driving her around to take the recording of the phone message to her lawyer if something happens to her. She adds that she has to save her son’s life. Ciro meets Imma, and she plays the message for him. She tells him, “You killed a young girl, and you betrayed everyone.” She offers him the chance to make good by killing Conte and ending the war. But he’s not stupid. He knows she knows he’s not with the Savastano clan anymore. He takes the phone with the message on it. You’re pretty sure Ciro’s going to kill Imma, but you don’t realize how quickly it’s going to happen. The two leave the bar and go in different directions. Shots ring out and Imma falls to the side of the road. She’s gone.
Shortly after Imma gets killed, viewers see one of Ciro’s guys carrying another woman’s body under an overpass with tons of garbage and covering it with plastic and other rubbish in the area. Next, the guy breaks the CD that Imma had given to her driver to bring to the lawyer. Driver’s gone, too. And the lawyer never heard the message. For a moment, you think Ciro is somehow going to get away with this. Aah, but even from beyond the grave, Donna Imma is a force to be reckoned with. She left another CD with the copied message in the fancy purse Gennaro bought for her in Spain before he had found himself as a criminal mastermind. Gennaro found it when seeking the clothes for her to bring to the funeral parlor. Of course, she knew he would. The envelope read, “Per il mio Gennaro,” which means “For my Gennaro.”
Gennaro listened to the recording and got serious fast. Prior to this, he had been teary eyed. After all, despite having been angry with his mother and having a few words with her when he first returned from Honduras, they had become a team in his father’s absence. She made him. Viewers were certain of this during the mayoral election episode when Gennaro took his mother’s arm at the reception. Mamma e’ sempre mamma. Mamma is always mamma. Presumably he had also realized his mother gave her life to save his. Now, that’s something every Italian mamma I know would do.
Earlier in the episode, Gennaro goes to visit his father, Pietro, the leader of the family in jail. He is bearded and looking unwell. Gennaro uses the metaphor of two parties – his and a friend’s – being on the same day to ask him for guidance about the potential gang war. Pietro doesn’t respond and seems incapable. Gennaro says nothing to his henchman in the car. But he does share it with Imma before she gets killed. Imma tells him to tell no one about Pietro’s mental state. He doesn’t.
With Imma dead, the folks in the jailhouse have to break the news to Pietro, and he still shows no emotion and says nothing. He is a shell of a man, especially compared to what we saw in the first few episodes. Perhaps, jail has broken him. After Imma is dead and he knows about it, viewers see him getting transferred to another jail in cuffs and a maximum security truck with a cell inside it. Only another car comes heading for the truck. People start shooting at the cops and glass shatters. Everyone dead, and Pietro is completely stoic. He seems unaware of the carnage around him. Then, the gunmen set him free. You see a little light in his eye. Maybe he’s not completely gone. We should note that in the previous episodes leading up to this one, viewers are given the sense that Imma and Pietro – despite their ugly lifestyle – shared profound love for one another. Sick or not, they seemed to care for one another.
Gennaro, for his part, puts on a good show for Ciro. He invites him to be with him in the funeral parlor and even in the car on the way to the burial site. Ciro seems concerned about this sudden return to their previous rapport, but he plays along. In the car, Gennaro asks Ciro if he’s a believer in God? Conte, who is religious, had asked Ciro the same thing. The religious symbolism continues. Gennaro continues to say that “Only God knows how their story is going to end,” after he reminds Ciro of how he covered for him with his father back when he was too scared to kill the first guy when his father ordered him to do it. He also mentioned several times that God sees all and knows all. It was as though he was telling Ciro to his face that he knew he killed his mother. Once the pair arrive at the burial place, a typical outdoor Italian mausoleum, Ciro stands back, away from Gennaro. They stare each other down.
Then, Ciro’s right-hand man, comes over and points out that none of Gennaro’s young henchmen are present for the funeral of Imma. Ciro suddenly understands they are out killing the old guys. When Ciro’s wife Deborah and their 10-year-old daughter arrive, he quickly ushers them away from the scene before they can even give their condolences. Gennaro had previously given the order to make sure all the older gangsters were present to bid farewell to Imma (so they would know where they were). Ciro and his family run and start packing bags and fleeing as people come searching for them. The henchmen shout that they will find him and that he’s a walking dead man.
The new blood in the clan go house to house as the old guys return from the funeral and gun down everyone. Much like in the Sopranos, important characters were fair game. The only difference is that in Gomorrah, everyone gets killed in the same episode. No one is left of the old guard but Ciro. At this point, we know that he promised his daughter he would be at her chorus recital.
Gennaro and the younger gangsters, who are just getting used to the stench of death, are holed up in an apartment building. Tension is running high. One of them hears a noise at the door and starts shooting. He kills a dog. The owner, Diego, is about 10 years old himself and is devastated. Gennaro learns that Diego’s father had died recently and he had given him the dog. His mother forces Diego back in the house and away from the dog and yells, “You don’t want to end up like the dog, do you?”
Later, Gennaro gives Diego a video game console and game after his mother tells him she doesn’t want to accept the gift. She tells her son that these are bad people and to stay away from them even if they gave him a nice present. Later on, Gennaro shows up at Diego’s house while his mom is picking up groceries. He lures him to come with him to a chorus recital and insists. When his mom arrives, she intervenes and forbids Diego from going and tells Gennaro to leave her son alone. He gets Diego to go with him. Diego disobeys his mother, who is physically trying to get to him and is blocked by one of the henchmen. While Gennaro is in the car with little Diego, he tells him he has a score to settle. He asks Diego what he would do if a person he trusted betrayed him and killed his mother. Diego says, “I’d kill him.” Gennaro says, “You’re a good boy.”
When they arrive at the recital, Gennaro pretends that Diego is his kid and that he needs to get on stage. While Diego is standing backstage and Ciro’s daughter and the other children, dressed like angels, are singing to the audience, Gennaro walks in and catches Ciro’s eye. They are far apart from one another and they begin shooting into the crowd. The others flee. Ciro’s wife and daughter escape. Gennaro is hit and falls to the ground. Ciro runs out and commands his wife to get in the car with their daughter. She grabs their daughter and tells him he’s crazy for having a shootout amid a children’s recital and that she’s not listening to him anymore. She runs off with their daughter. Ciro gets in the car and runs off with his henchman, presumably the only one left or one of a few left.
As for the new regime behind Gennaro, they were driving on the highway presumably to help Gennaro when they were ambushed by Don Salvatore and his henchmen. Ciro is in this weird transitional period as he crosses over to this other family, and Salvatore wasn’t sure he could trust him, especially since he had promised that Gennaro was out of the picture when he wasn’t yet. So, Salvatore threatens to cut Ciro’s throat. Presumably, Ciro helps him track down these younger guys and he believes Gennaro. I don’t think anyone expected that Gennaro would try to pull off the hit during the recital with all those children around. When Salvatore ambushes the group, everyone gets killed. None of the young guys are left by the end of the episode either.
In the end of the first season, Ciro and Pietro seem to be the only ones standing…until you see Gennaro’s arm move. He just might be coming back from the dead. Who knows what will happen next?
For anyone just waking up to the phenomenon that is Gomorrah in Italy, here’s a quick rundown. The book Gomorrah, which was an investigative, first-hand look at Naples’ Camorra mafia, became a movie and the movie became a TV show. The book, movie, and TV show are hugely popular in Italy. People simply can’t get enough of this view of the intense, violent, and despicable life of those in the Italian mob. Now, SundanceTV is sharing the series with viewers in the United States every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET. The first season is well underway, and you can get recaps to catch up on what happened in the first six episodes and episodes 7 and 8 right here on Italian Mamma. Without further ado, here’s what happened on the Sept. 21 showing:
Episodes 9 and 10
For me, these were the most difficult episodes to watch, so far. The characters are so evil and their actions so gruesome that I begin to lose all faith in humanity and certainly in my Neapolitan roots, which normally draw great pride. As I saw it, these two episodes gave viewers insight into how decent young kids get lured into this life of crime and how predictable and tragic their end will be. There is no doubt, once you are in the mob, you are only getting out by death (usually heinous) or prison. And most of the people never get to taste power or riches. It’s a sad and lonely existence without love or joy. It’s an ugly and scary world in which they must live. Frankly, that’s not the Italy – or even the Napoli – I know, thank God. But it’s real. What makes Gomorrah more important than your usual gangster entertainment is that it holds up a mirror to the devastating reality being lived out in southern Italy, and it forces people like me to see the side of this place they never see. It hurts, but it’s the only way to bring about change, and it’s a new kind of journalism that actually fictionalizes news stories, so the public pays more attention to them and better understands what’s happening. In fact, the story is so real that the young man, who portrayed Daniele in these episodes, was chosen because his family did have connections to the Camorra. In a sad turn of events, shortly after his appearance in the show, the real actor, Vincenzo Esposito, ended up in jail for a violent mob attack that saw a man get stabbed 10 times, according to the Daily Mail.
Now, exactly how did these episodes make such statements? Well, it all begins with Daniele, the teenage boy Ciro had recruited in the last episode. We quickly learn that Daniele has a girlfriend Manu with whom he is in love. She’s a disciplined young woman, who works in a hair salon and lives by her father’s rules. She’s on the straight and narrow and isn’t the type to hang out with any Camorristi. Daniele never tells her what he has gotten involved in, but he does give her a rose gold ring with a fake diamond (after he makes a little bit of money from Ciro) and asks her to marry him. She replies, “Yes.” Aah, young love! But, of course, fate will get in the way of the romance.
Ciro is using Daniele (surprise! surprise!) to push Gennaro, who has quickly devolved into Ciro’s arch enemy, into a war with a rival gang, run by Salvatore Conte (from the previous episode when Imma sent Ciro to Spain to kill or be killed). He tells Daniele to kill Tonino Russo, one of Conte’s senior consiglieri, who was getting chummy with Gennaro, who had promised the two clans would work together and show loyalty. But Ciro doesn’t tell the young Daniele who he was killing. He just says Gennaro wants the man dead because of a debt he owes and that he’s a “nobody.” We learn that Daniele’s mother is worried about her older son, who is gone for months at a time. It turns out he is the driver for Conte, who Ciro had encountered in Spain, too. So, you start to connect the dots.
Well, Daniele kills all the people in the warehouse, including Tonino Russo and is in a bit of shock. He doesn’t go home as Ciro advised. Instead, he sneaks away with Manu for some loving. That’s when he gives her the ring. Then, the two go to a bar, where Ciro sees the news and learns who he has killed and the fact that this death is likely to ignite a gang war. Furious, he calls Ciro and demands to know why he didn’t say who it was. Ciro tells him to get home. He leaves Manu at the bar stranded but promises to get his friend Bruno, a good kid, who works in a fish market, to pick her up. When Daniele returns home, he finds mobsters outside his door talking about how they are going to lure him to kill him. He escapes and goes into hiding. Meanwhile, Manu is getting concerned no one is picking her up. Ciro has seen her picture and rolls up. He picks her up and takes her to an empty lot, where he tortures her in the hopes she’ll break and tell him where Daniele is. She, however, honestly doesn’t know. In the end, Ciro violently burns Manu and the car they were in. All that remains is the ring, which the authorities try to use to identify her when reporting the crime to the public. Ciro then shows up at the factory where Daniele’s mother works and puts pressure on her to call him if she hears from Daniele. Ciro has no choice but to tell Gennaro that Daniele made the hit and therefore it has the Savastano clan name on it. Gennaro is outraged and tells Ciro to find the boy. Genny tries to clear up matters by visiting Russo’s wife at the house after the funeral and insisting that his family did not do this and that he’s truly sorry for her loss. She doesn’t buy it but remains completely silent.
Daniele’s brother is chauffeuring Conte from Spain to Italy because he wants to find out who killed one of his top men. He believes it was Gennaro, but he can’t be sure what’s happening. Early in the trip, the driver gets a call from his mother concerned about where his little brother, Daniele, is because he never returned home. The elder son thinks she is overreacting. Then, he gets a call from his brother, who he keeps brushing off because he doesn’t want to upset Conte. When they finally talk, the brother can’t believe Daniele’s part in these murders. His response is to try and kill Conte, who fights back and gets the brother to spill the beans on what happened. It’s important to note that Conte is a man of faith despite or perhaps because of his criminality. He brought this up to Ciro in the first episode he was in, and viewers watch him say the Rosary and pray for strength in a gang war at church in this one. Conte tells the driver he understands his brother committed the murder under orders and didn’t know what he was initiating. He promises to help them both and put them in hiding with their mother as long as the brother takes him to Daniele, who is holed up in an abandoned factory where their father had once worked. When Conte and the driver arrive, Conte tells the brother to thank God for putting him in the Conte car because he’s going to save them. He gets out of the car. At first, Daniele is concerned and has his hand on his gun. Conte promises him that everything is going to be okay, that he can trust him. He gets closer to him and promises that the worst is over. He asks Daniele to come in for a hug to get his forgiveness. At first he hugs the young boy hard, and you wonder if maybe he really is going to help them. But then he grabs the gun from Daniele’s pocket and blows his head off. His brother in the car is next, but he takes off. It’s unclear if he got hit or not. Conte stands alone. End scene. End episode but not before you get a view of the young Daniele’s lifeless body amid his own blood and gravel.
For anyone just waking up to the phenomenon that is Gomorrah in Italy, here’s a quick rundown. The book Gomorrah, which was an investigative, first-hand look at Naples’ Camorra mafia, became a movie and the movie became a TV show. The book, movie, and TV show are hugely popular in Italy. People simply can’t get enough of this view of the intense, violent, and despicable life of those in the Italian mob. Now, SundanceTV is sharing the series with viewers in the United States every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET. The first season is well underway, and you can get recaps to catch up on what happened in the first six episodes right here on Italian Mamma. Without further ado, here’s what happened on the Sept. 14 showing:
Episodes 7 and 8
The real basket of deplorables are the characters in the TV series Gomorrah. First, Imma sent her son Gennaro to Honduras to kill or be killed and Ciro, her husband’s beloved henchman, to get lost in Spain. Both defied the odds and returned to Naples and Imma. Ciro, grateful to be alive, was keen on getting back his place in the top of the family, alongside Gennaro. But Imma had other ideas. She stepped on Ciro and had him running the new post for selling drugs, a job usually reserved for young boys. Gennaro, known as Genny to friends, returns a new man, more like a monster. This is a testament to the impeccable acting on this show. Sporting a new mohawk, the kid who vomited at the sight of someone else committing murder, walked in his mother’s house and killed her new dog, who had bitten him. When his mother got up to see what happened, he told her he should have killed her, too. Even his eyes were those of a murderer. It was terrifying.
Back at the shop, an apartment complex and park, replete with the Virgin Mary statue, the junkies are making too much noise and upsetting Ciro. His anxiety and disappointment is evident when he punches one of these guys and knocks him to the ground. The competition gets wind of this family taking over on their turf and begins to fight back. They burn a car. They chop off the head of the Virgin Mary statue. Imma replaces the statue and has it blessed by a priest in a ceremony that disrupts Ciro’s drug sales. This all began because Imma wanted a new cop-free zone to sell drugs. So, she scouts locations and finds a great spot but needs people to let her into their apartments, so she has a view of the park below. A lesbian, who dressed like a man most of the time and called herself Luca (a male name in Italian), approaches Imma and explains that her father’s bridal shop owed this guy $70,000, so her father had killed himself and now she was stuck with the debt. In exchange for Imma’s help with this guy (Imma kills him when he doesn’t rid of the debt), Luca lets Imma’s men sit on her porch. Then, the girl kills for Imma. She shoots two guys while they are watching a children’s soccer game. The people run away and leave the two men dead on the bleachers. Luca, while trying on a wedding dress in her father’s shop, is met by two men with rifles, who chase her into the butcher shop and murder her. The blood spills all over the white dress.
Now, the men – Ciro and company – want to retaliate and it’s looking more and more like a mafia war is coming. Many say that this would not be happening if Don Pietro wasn’t in jail. Imma silences them all. She tells Ciro he is going to do what she says, period. Then, she has them arrange a meeting with these competitors – anywhere they want to meet even on their turf – and she goes. Imma tells the men that her son, with his work in Honduras, is responsible for getting them good products at low costs and they are going to have to accept this family is in control now. And she tells them they are mistaken if they think because she’s a woman, she won’t kill. That’s the end of that problem.
In the meantime, Gennaro is a completely different person now. Why shouldn’t he be? He was holed up in a shack and forced to kill a person by chopping him up. He didn’t know if he’d live or die. Back in Napoli, he is downright cruel to Ciro, once his best friend and confidant. He has it out with his mother, who says she abandoned him in Honduras to make him stronger and turn him into the boss. He accepts and the two become partners in crime (literally) by the show’s end. The men have a meeting with Gennaro and without Imma at a restaurant. It was supposed to be his homecoming of sorts. The waiter knows Gennaro from school and is a little loud. He tells the story of how he used to call Genny the red pepper because he would turn red and was a little chubby. And he asked about getting another job because waiting tables since he’s been out of jail has been tough. Genny says they’ll talk later. After a few moments, Genny gets up and the men hear gunfire. He shot and killed the waiter. Then, he tells Ciro he has to clean up the mess and get rid of the body. At one point, he tells Ciro, it’s my turn now. My father is gone, and I’m the boss. Gennaro also gets his buddy who we’ve seen partying with him in the club and is a City Council member, to run agains the mayor. Note that Gennaro declines to snort cocaine, which is an indication that he is more serious about business Now, the current mayor is a friend of Gennaro’s father and has always been on the family’s side. But Gennaro wants to show who’s in charge now. He gets all the guys to help him rig the ballot box on Election Day. And he uses force to sway voters. He even goes so far as to break the glass table of the current mayor.
Most disturbingly, he starts a romantic relationship with the daughter of a doctor, who is on the city council and doesn’t want to give his votes to this new opposition to the mayor and wants no part of the mafia. He has sex with her on numerous occasions, and she seems to really be interested in him. He strong-arms the doctor and agrees to quit dating his daughter if he hands over the votes, which he does, of course. Gennaro holds his end of the bargain but not before sleeping with her and telling her father in great detail about it. Disgusting. Disgraceful. Deplorable.
There were a couple of things worth noting in the episode. When preparing the park for selling drugs, the men are polite to the tenants of the apartment complex and help the elderly and women with children to cross the street and get through the construction zone. At another point in the episode, one of the henchmen tells Gennaro that, yes, they have to make money but everyone in town has to eat. You get the sense that some of them think they are doing good for their community by being these kinds of criminals. That might be why Italy has had such a hard time getting rid of these gangsters.
Also, I took note of how the drug dealers often hid behind saints while running from the competition or cops. The symbolism of Italy hiding behind its religion, and the Virgin Mary getting beheaded was not lost on me. The whole insight into the corrupt political system combined with these other messages are difficult to watch. The truth really does hurt.