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HBO’s Boss: Just In Time For Election Season

No man no matter how powerful is safe from the swings of fate
by Gelo Gonzales | Mar 15, 2013
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With the elections coming soon, the premiere of the second (and final) season of HBO’s political drama, Boss, couldn’t have come at a better time. The mudslinging and political royal rumble has already started, and if this scuffle between Mayoralty candidates Alfredo Lim and ex-Pres Erap isn’t enough to get you into mood, maybe Boss will.

In this Golden Globe-nominated series starring Kelsey Grammer in the titular big bad boss role as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane, we see a man of absolute power come face to face with the impending loss of control. “Boss is an exploration into mortality," says Executive Producer Dee Johnson.  “It’s about a man who has enjoyed ultimate power, who is now faced with ultimate powerlessness.”

That powerlessness stems from the fact that Kane has been diagnosed of a degenerative neurological disease. In his vulnerability, Kane’s character will now be subjected to its most crucial tests that no maneuvering and machinations might ever be able to topple. In such a dire situation, most of us can turn to friends and family for support. But here’s a little twist: In Kane’s rise to power, he has effectively destroyed any real relationship he might have had with the people surrounding him. Classic trapo move, Mr. Kane!

                                                                        Who's the real boss now, Kane?

But like any veteran politician, the now-mortal Chicago titan isn’t about to just give it all up, and in this second season, he battles hard to fight off the inevitability of his complete collapse. Aware of the circumstances, Kane’s motivations transform as he somehow tries to save his legacy (and whatever dignity he has left), and attempts to right the wrongs that his administration has been embroiled in.  

In the ten-episode second season, Kane’s struggle is a battle with himself as he tries warding off the physical symptoms of his disease with high doses of medication. This leads to side-effects in the form of heightened psychological manifestations of the disease. With his longtime advisors gone, and a wife and daughter who are indifferent, Kane, in his complete vulnerability, is left to fend for himself as he acts fast to save his legacy. He begins cutting the cancers within the political system that he himself helped build, in the process, earning more and more enemies. Perhaps, this is karma at its finest. As time winds down, where will the big bad boss be when the final hammer inexorably falls?

For anyone who's ever had the slightest inkling of running for office, the series may hold a lot of lessons on how everything you've done—the people you've stepped on, the illicit and corrupt dealings you've constructed, the ruthless hierarchy of power you've built—will catch up on you, sooner or later. Cue sinister music.    

Catch BOSS every Monday at 10pm on HBO and HBO HD.

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