There’s No “Cane” In “Cancer!” Oh, Wait — Yes, There Is … A Recap

Posted by Sarah

Much as I’d like to put another Jimmy Smits picture up here, this episode really belongs to Pancho. It’s been promoted all week as “The episode you can’t miss,” and it lives up to its hype.

Alex wakes up to find Isabel not in bed with him, but rather glaring at him from the chair by the window. She accuses him of keeping things from her, and confronts him with the gun she found in the safe. He lies through his teeth and says he’s not keeping anything from her. The gun’s just a nostalgic thing. Ri-i-ight.

Back at the Samuels’ mansion, the P.I. hasn’t come up with anything to incriminate Alex. Alice tells him she wants Quinonez’ murder pinned on Alex somehow, and after Old Man Samuels chimes in with a surly little line, the P.I. agrees to do his best.

Pancho has asked Frank and Alex to meet him in the cane field. He’s all, “Guys … what’s wrong with you? You disagree! Get over it.” And they’re all, “Fine. Whatever.” Alex says he has to trust Frank because he’s his brother. Frank says he has to be loyal to Alex because he’s his brother. Nothin’ like forced trust and loyalty.

In a meeting with the Senator’s aide, Alex learns that in order to make a success of the ethanol venture, he’s going to have to double his field and harvest commitment. He agrees, even though it means he will have to mechanize. Frank’s happy, because he’s been trying to get Pancho to mechanize for a decade and has failed.

Cop-voiced cop calls Alex and says a body’s been found in the everglades. Since Alex was the last person to see Quinonez alive, he needs to come down and I.D. the body. Uh … no problem, cop-voiced cop. Close-up of Alex’s worried, worried face before we cut to commercial.

Alex and Frank go back to the cane field to tell Pancho that they want to mechanize in order to meet the Senator’s demands. Pancho insists that the harvest will be hand-cut, “It’s not only about tradition, it’s about jobs.” Good point. Alex persists and says that even so, he will seriously consider mechanizing.

Pancho brings his lawyer to his house and says that he wants to add a provision to his will: If there is ever a business disagreement between Frank and Alex that becomes deadlocked, either Pancho’s wife Amalia or Alex’s wife Isabel will have the final say. The women get all the power because they will put the family first instead of ego or profit.

Alex positively identifies the body as Quinonez, and goes to the gun range to blow off some steam. The P.I. shows up and does a whole “I know you and I’m trouble but you don’t know who I am so nyah” thing.

Amalia tells Pancho she knows his cancer is back. She wants him to tell the family; he refuses.

Henry’s club is hoppin’ — he’s got a celeb sighting to bring publicity, and everything’s going fine. Once again, he’s let in Alex’s daughter Katie (who seriously does nothing in this series except take drugs and sneak into Henry’s club). She goes and parties with the celeb — some Paris Hilton knockoff — and ends up crashed into a tree after some camcordered drunk driving. The incident’s not referred to at all after this, for some reason.

In a bedroom argument over mechanization, which Isabel is absolutely against, Isabel hits Alex with “Pancho’s not your real father.” Nice.

An autopsy reveals that Quinonez was killed by a 9mm — just like Alex’s gun. Cut to Alex brooding in his den.

Isabel and Frank both visit Henry while he’s trying to nap on the beach. Each wants him to vote with them on the mechanization issue. He tells both that he’ll do whatever they want as long as they leave him alone. Frank calls him a spoiled Cuban prince who lays around all day. Henry reminds him that he works all night, getting home from the club at 5am and that means he has to sleep during the day. Frank continues to insult him. Great diplomatic skills, there. Way to win a guy over.

Amalia goes to Pancho and says she’s in favor of mechanization. Pancho: “You’re not telling me how to run my business …” Amalia: “I’m telling you it’s no longer your business to run.” BURN!!!!

Cop-voiced cop visits Alex at home, demands he turn over his gun. Isabel watches from the hall.

Supper at the Duque house, and while Pancho goes out for a cigar, Henry and Frank get into a shoving match. Amalia’s had it — she gets up and gives a speech about how the house was built with love and respect, and wonders when business replaced family. Besides, Pancho’s got cancer. So there.

Pancho returns from his smoke to a pity party. Alex says that in light of Pancho’s illness, he’ll vote against mechanization. Pancho says he will not be disrespected by having pity take precedence over good business. He calls for a vote. Isabel is against. Frank and Alex are for. Henry’s the deciding vote, and he’s all, “Whatever. Dad, what should I do?” Grow up! Make your own decision! Think for yourself! (Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “But he runs a nightclub — what could he possibly know about growing cane?”) Henry grows a set and votes in favor of mechanization. Then he tells Katie he won’t let her into his club anymore — he’s got a responsibility to her and to Alex, and to himself. It’s a great scene, and I’m glad Henry gets some development here.

The last scene is Pancho, Alex and Frank in the cane field, telling their workers that this will be their last harvest. It’s my favorite scene of the show, because it’s gotta be tough for Pancho — a man who got where he is by working this field with his bare hands, starting from the bottom and rising to fortune and glory while continuing to cut the cane himself and remaining personally involved with his workers at every level — to tell his loyal, poor, hardworking Cuban workers that they’re being replaced by machines. After a lifetime of solidarity and workers-first mentality, he’s suddenly got to be The Man, because the future of his business requires it. He, Alex, and Frank grab machetes and cut the cane with their workers. It’s a beautiful closing scene.