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.”
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.
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.
Gomorrah, the Italian television series based on the 2006 non-fiction book and 2008 movie of the same name, is captivating the United States. The most popular TV show in Italy since its debut in 2012 (and arguably ever), Gomorrah shows the seedy underbelly of Italy’s Napoli and the reality of mob life. The story is important because it shows the ugliness of greed and arrogance, the utter destruction and brutal violence, and the devastation crime syndicates like this can have on neighborhoods and even an entire nation. It is gripping because the characters are so fleshed out and human and flawed. Despite the fact that you find yourself despising their lack of empathy and ability to kill anyone who gets in the way of their dishonest money-making schemes, you want to know what’s going to happen to them.
While many in the United States are drawing comparisons to HBO’s wildly popular Sopranos, there is one major difference. The Sopranos were entirely fictional. Yes, there was research done, and it drew on a reality that still exists to some extent in New Jersey today. But Gomorrah is indeed truth. The book’s author, Roberto Saviano, infiltrated the Camorra (spelled Gomorrah in Neapolitan dialect), the ruling mafia in modern Italy, which has decimated Naples and Campania, its surrounding region. An investigative journalist, Saviano took jobs, such as waiting tables at a Camorra wedding, that brought him close to his subjects. “Gomorrah is a bold and important work of investigative writing that holds global significance, one heroic young man’s impassioned story of a place under the rule of a murderous organization,” according to the Amazon synopsis.
In fact, many of my relatives and friends in Ischia, which is a Neapolitan island, say the book and the show are all too real. Since the book’s release Saviano remains in hiding for obvious reasons. That’s why I feel like it’s an obligation to get to know this content – the book, the movie, the show – because we’re giving away bella, calda Napoli, which raised my family with generous, loving hearts and not this violent destruction decimating the city today. Saviano seems to want to save his beloved home, and so do the good people of Napoli, who still exist. Saviano indeed may have given up his life to save it, in fact. What I find reassuring about the Sopranos and Gomorrah is that both show how unglamorous, depressing, and heartbreaking choosing this criminal life is. There’s absolutely nothing nice about it, and these people are destroying their own home. If you’re familiar with the Italian culture, you will hear Pino Daniele’s “Napul e'” ringing in your head while you watch. You can’t help it. Naples is as much a character as the people.
Without further ado, here’s what’s happened in the first two showings on SundanceTV (which amount to four episodes in Italy):
Episodes 1 and 2: You are first introduced to Ciro (Marco D’Amore), a young up-and-coming gangster, who sees Attilio a veteran henchman, who follows all the rules and seems to be more old-school, as a father. Attilio gets killed by the end of the episode in a shootout with a rival gang and Ciro is visibly shaken. While the head of the mob family makes sure Attilio’s family gets taken care of financially, his widow is devastated to hear that her husband can’t be buried in the church because he was found dead with a gun in his hand. Ciro and Gennaro (Salvatore Esposito), the don’s son, watch the scene from a building across the street because the police are everywhere and they can’t be seen there.
In the meantime, you also meet Don Pietro Savastano (Fortunato Cerlino) and his wife Imma (Maria Pia Calzone). They are fretting about Gennaro’s immaturity and spoiled attitude, which was admittedly of their own making. But Pietro also has a sense that Gennaro is next in line to head the family, and does not have it in him to kill or make the kinds of decisions necessary to keep the crime syndicate going. This is particularly troublesome for Pietro who feels the police closing in on him. There’s a couch in the family’s posh villa, which stands in stark contrast to the dingy apartments that house the henchman, that we later learn Pietro thinks is bugged and so he gives it to Ciro. Imma replaces the couch and her husband and her go back and forth about whether it is comfortable until he finally decides this one is probably bugged, too. Imma consoles her husband and tries to convince him that he’s safe from jail, but he doesn’t think so. We learn that his father spent his senior years in hiding from the police, and Pietro fears such a life.
His paranoia is plastered on the episode. Pietro kills his loyal bookie, who failed to show up to a hit, because he thought the don was making poor decisions. Pietro mistakenly thought he was an informant to the police. On his way out of the bookie’s apartment, he cleans himself up, steps over the body, and puts on the henchman’s jacket. While leaving the scene he learns Gennaro was in a motorcycle crash. Don Pietro bought the motorcycle for his son after he had Ciro take him to make his first hit. Gennaro had fired the first shot, but he couldn’t go on, so Ciro finished the job. But the two agreed to tell Pietro that Gennaro did it himself. After Pietro gives the gift of the motorcycle, he learns of the deception. He makes Ciro drink a glass of champagne and his piss to prove that he can take over should he end up in jail or dead and that he must continue to take Gennaro under his wing. When Pietro learns of Gennaro’s accident, he starts speeding to the hospital. The police stop him and in the bookie’s jacket, they find drugs. They also find a bag full of money in his trunk. He’s going to jail. Imma, meanwhile, ponders whether Gennaro ran the red light on purpose because he wanted to die after his first encounter with murder. Before Gennaro gets on the motorcycle, he visits the scene of the crime, where friends of the deceased have placed a cross and some photos. He seems remorseful and sickened when he jumps on his motorcycle, so you’re wondering, too. Gennaro’s life hangs in the balance at the end of the episode.
Episodes 3 and 4: You quickly learn that Gennaro has survived and is recovering. Pietro is making his way through prison and the guards warn him there’s no special treatment for mobsters like there was in the old days. But the inmates greet him like he’s a god. They follow his every lead. He takes a liking to a young kid, Pasqualino, who I think reminds him of Gennaro but with greater gumption. Still, he’s a junkie, who botched a jewelry heist and faces sentencing. Pasqualino is down about it, and Pietro gives him his expensive button-down shirt to wear in court. He still gets 10 years. Pietro feels terrible for him and suggests that they pursue home incarceration and rehab. Pasqualino sees no way out and uses the shirt to hang himself despite Pietro’s efforts to save him.
Ciro starts to show Gennaro some of the pleasures of being on top of the crime family. He helps him organize a private concert for some of his friends and win the heart of a girl, Noemi, he had been admiring from afar. Pietro is relying on Rino, a corrupt cop on the inside, to continue to conduct business. He brings him a phone, and he sets up a meeting with a possible other network to carry out a drug route in his absence. Then, African immigrants, who have set up their own mob for selling drugs, tire of offering Pietro such a high percentage of their earnings. So, they send one of their best men into jail to cut a new deal. Pietro is angry they are doing this, and goes on a racist tirade, which leads to violence. People are getting stabbed, and the warden is often putting Pietro in solitary confinement. He has Rino transferred to another jail.
Pietro loses contact with the outside and starts relaying messages through his wife, who visits him. Pietro has the inmates cause lots of trouble to the warden’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Pietro decides to feign a deal with the African inmate, and together they start a prison riot, replete with burning mattresses. The warden allows him to believe he has won, and Rino returns. Ciro gives him a gift of money to thank him and a phone to smuggle into the jail. Pietro uses it to call Ciro and tell him to shoot up the African neighborhood to show them who’s boss. The scene was horrific. Gennaro is with Ciro and is supposed to stay in the car with the motor running. He leaves and looks at the carnage. Ciro is furious with him, but they get out alive and before the police arrive. They burn the car they used and take off. Gennaro gets home and can’t stop vomiting. His mother tells him he has to toughen up as word of the innocent Africans murdered in the street plays on the news in the background.
Turns out the new phone from Rino was bugged. The police hear Pietro telling Ciro about the hit on the Africans. All hope of getting transferred to an easier prison or getting out any time soon goes out the window. Pietro is headed to a maximum security prison and possibly solitary confinement, which Pietro says will be the end of him.
UPDATE ON 9/8/2016 – Episodes 5 and 6: We learn more about Pietro’s financial adviser, who is far away from Napoli in Milan. Last week Ciro told Gennaro that his family and him owned this guy and everything he had. Now, we really get to see this for ourselves. Pietro sends the word that Gennaro and Imma need access to cash. But in Pietro’s absence, the financial adviser, invests in a company believing he can make some cash for himself. He has nothing to give them, and he recognizes the anger on the part of Donna Imma. So, he tries to sell his share of the business quickly for cash. But the potential buyer finds a problem in the audit and the deal falls through. Next, he tracks down the auditor and tries to bribe him. He wants no part of it, so he threatens him and his family. That guy calls the police, and the financial adviser ends up in jail, too. Imma explains to Gennaro how awful this guy is because he took their money (which they, of course, had taken illegally from so many others) and now he got himself arrested besides. She would have to send Pietro’s lawyer to help him, too.
Once they get him out of jail, Imma breaks bread with him. It’s intense. She’s eating linguine con le vongole and he is blubbering. It is unclear what she has asked him to do exactly. But he says he’s done wrong and can try to fix it. She says he can’t and her way is better. Then, Imma tells him to puts all the accounts in his wife’s name, so the funds can be unblocked and she can get Pietro’s money back before the government sequesters it. He continues crying, and Imma tells him to pull himself together and do this for his family, which includes a baby on the way, because it’s the only way they can live in peace. She also promises that they will never be in want of anything; she’ll be sure of it. Do you believe her? Anyway, the financial adviser goes to this warehouse, where everyone is celebrating his step-daughter’s 18th birthday (which is like a sweet 16 in Italy but both males and females celebrate them). It’s a posh affair, and he apologizes to his wife and step-daughter for being late. They sing happy birthday and he slips away to a balcony, where he jumps off and commits suicide. I couldn’t watch.
In the meantime, Ciro and Imma are fighting for Gennaro’s ear. Gennaro doesn’t really notice at first because he’s head over heels in love with Noemi, the girl he had Ciro help him win over. He puts her up in a small apartment he calls their love shack. They spend a lot of time together, and in one scene it appears they are doing cocaine. There are many scenes showing how Gennaro is a bit spoiled and immature. He’s fully clothed and jumping into pools with his friends. He is singing Italian rap songs with them. And he’s trying to live large, but he’s not really interested in doing anything being asked of him. Gennaro does, however, blow up at Ciro saying that both him and his mother keep telling him he’s the boss now that his father is in jail, but then they try to tell him what to do. It’s an a-ha moment for Ciro, who is beginning to realize he’s in a power struggle with Donna Imma even though Pietro asked him to call the shots in his absence. Imma does not like Noemi and thinks her son lacks the maturity and strength to run a business, even if it’s criminal activity.
Things just get crazy after this. Gennaro in his anger and delusion sends Ciro to drive his mother to the prison to see Pietro, who can only have one visitor at a time in the maximum security prison. This was a big deal. Gennaro refusing to go was his way of saying, “I want the glory, but I don’t really want to be involved with this work.” It angered Ciro, who recognized that Gennaro was giving his mother the power. In the meeting at jail, Ciro reminds Imma that Gennaro and Ciro are in charge and to keep it that way. They have to be subtle and mysterious in how they discuss this because there’s a guard with them the whole time. Imma’s response to this is outrageous and unexpected. She divides Ciro and Gennaro, who seem to have made peace.
Imma sends Ciro to Spain to make peace with a dealer of hashish, whose mother’s house Ciro had burned in Episode 1. Then, she sends her own son, Gennaro, to Honduras to basically take over another drug business. Without actually saying it, both men think they are being sent to their deaths. As a viewer, you’re kind of wondering, too. Just like that, there’s a Godmother in town. Gennaro doesn’t leave for Honduras until the end of the episode, and he is unable to explain where he is going or what he is doing to anyone. Noemi is devastated, and the two have a terrible argument. Gennaro tries to make up without telling her the truth, but she is disappointed that his mother seems to rule his every move. As they are about to kiss and make-up, Noemi suggests he leave her something – his seed – to keep her waiting for him while he’s gone. Just like that Gennaro proves he is not as stupid as we think. That’s it, he’s done with Noemi. Buh-bye, I’m not going to be your baby daddy. After squeezing his mother and admitting he will miss her terribly, he heads off to the airport with his friends, who drop him off. His mother seems less sad or concerned about his departure. Strange for an Italian mamma.
For now, Ciro is facing much more serious danger. From the moment he arrives in Spain, it is clear that he is in enemy territory. The dealer puts him up in a hotel that he owns. He asks for a different room, but it doesn’t change the fact that they lock him in and cut off the phone lines. He sleeps on the floor by the door with a gun in his hand. He strong arms the driver, who finally picks him up, into bringing him directly to the dealer, Don Salvatore. He brings him on a boat and takes him into the middle of the ocean. He puts a knife to Ciro’s throat and threatens him for what he did to his mamma. Instead of slashing his throat, he throws Ciro overboard and leaves him there. You’re convinced Ciro is gonna die. Instead, others come to save him and hand him a phone with Don Salvatore on the other side saying he’s ready to talk now. You think the worst is behind him. But oh no. At the nightclub, also owned by Salvatore, Ciro suggests making peace and getting back in business together again. Salvatore gets up to go to the bathroom, and another mobster follows him in. Ciro, who misses nothing, alerts Salvatore’s people of what’s happening. They all go to the bathroom and find the unknown mobster trying to rough up Salvatore on behalf of a Russian mob family, who wants in on the business, too. Salvatore pees on this Russian henchmen. Back at the house, gunfire rains on Salvatore, one of his guys, and Ciro. Ciro and Salvatore are shot but not fatally.
You’re wondering when Ciro’s nine lives are going to run out. He is, too. Salvatore agrees to a deal if Ciro cuts a deal with the Russians, even though he’s never met with him and he has nothing to do with them. Salvatore tells Ciro straight out that he’s sending him because he can’t risk losing one of his own men. Again, Ciro is not sure if he’s going to survive. Sure enough, at the meeting with the Russian, the head of this family makes Ciro play Russian roulette. Literally, he had to put a gun to his head and fire and see if he lived. If he survived, the deal would go through. If not, oh well. Lucky for him (and viewers), the show goes on because Ciro is alive. He jumps into the ocean with all his clothes before returning to Naples. Salvatore asks him if he wants to change families and work for him instead of Pietro, but Ciro declined and added he was “happy in his house.” Salvatore says I hope it stays that way for you. When Ciro gets home, he learns Gennaro is in Honduras and he asks to be brought directly to Pietro’s house. We’ll have to wait to find out what happens next.