The main story of "Sacraments" is almost a throw away storyline as the personal stories of Nick and the Cassidy situation boil over in this season finale. The punker/grunge/Gothic couple are killing off their parents and all authority figures which they despise. Isabella and Floyd are adolescents gone homicidal, in a mirror of daughter Cassidy gone defiant by refusing to go to college and carrying on with Evan. Nash can tame neither, as the anarchic Floyd blows himself up to avoid capture, but Cassidy does compromise by agreeing to go to college, though she insists on exploring further with nasty boy Evan. The limits of parental authority are nicely fleshed out in an episode which presents a spectrum of adolescent rebellion gone amok and parental authority broken. Is it me or is it no longer shocking when parents are murdered? This precedes the collapse of Nick, forcing Nash to confront his own parent's mortality.
There's almost a voyeuristic glee in violating Nash's commandment that Evan stay away from his daughter Cassidy. The overhead PSYCHO-like shower shot (borrowed from director Alfred Hitchcock to denote extreme peril) of a naked Evan and Cassidy squeezed so tightly together you couldn't slip a leaf between them, is bizarre and literally over the top. The excessive overkill continues with a shot of Cassidy's naked backside as Evan runs his soapy paw over her butt, and the one-two punch continues with a shot of Evan's naked backside with Cassidy's hands running over them buns. All right, we're convinced that Evan and Cassidy have been intimate, but then Joe has to witness this spectacle also. Characteristically and hilariously, a flush of the toilet brings Cassidy out from behind the shower curtain. Evan spends the rest of the episode stressed out by imminent discovery.
Nash the family man and father, re-emerges in these last two episodes. There's some nice heartfelt dialogue between Nash and Cassidy, and between Nash and Nick. They're loaded with emotion, as Nick describes his lost love because of a meddling father: "Those letters. What might have been. Looking at you here. How sad can I be and how thankful at the same time." We know Nash won't do the same with Cassidy by meddling in her love life. The overloaded Nick suffers a physical collapse (A possible stroke? Developed from that nagging toothache which caused infection, sending a blood clot to the brain - this much we know from medical dramas). Is Nick on his deathbed or recovering from a stroke? It looks like actor James Gammon may not return next season.
Nash has been pierced by Cassidy and come face to face with his dad's mortality. Nash's sanction against Evan has been grossly violated - his daughter, my god, his little girl. We can't wait for what delicious retribution Nash will have for Evan next season. Throughout this episode Nash is like a man in quiet sadness and pain, unlike the swaggering Nash we've seen all this season, a supercop almost impatient to declare another case solved. This is also most un-cop like for a police show about hard-boiled rough and tumble cops. The sentimental soap opera bubbles over in this season finale.
This episode was dedicated to the memory of John Nicolella - this name should be familiar to viewers of MIAMI VICE, as his name was often in VICE credits as producer and director of episodes. The very recent passing of Frank Sinatra was sad, but not entirely unexpected. Sinatra lived a rich and full life, but Nicolella was only 53 years young, a life cut short.
For more, see synopsis for Episode 54