Aside from Flags of Our Fathers, “Down Will Come” featured more flags and/or fathers than you’re likely to see in a given hour of televised entertainment. The stars and stripes are littered throughout the Vinci P.D. precinct, various apartments, random billboards (and last week’s episode “Maybe Tomorrow“, which aired one day after the Fourth of July, even had an American Sniper billboard). One of the many, many (many, many, many) guys that Frank Semyon tries to squeeze for extra cash has a little lawn flag sticking out of the pencil holder on his desk. There’s more national imagery in “Down Will Come” than any episode of the second season so far, but at least it’s more subtle than earlier lines like We were working for America, sir, which just land with a leaden and damn-near unpatriotic thud.
But far more interesting are the father-son (or -daughter, in Ani’s case) dynamics packed into the fourth hour, which begins with Semyon and his wife griping over their lack of offspring. Jordan proposes adoption, Frank scoffs at the idea of raising someone else’s
sinner child; Jordan insinuates she might not be able to have children after “the operation”, Frank suggests more tests; ultimately, Frank pushes the issue off because of all of the other stuff he has going down at warp-speed, kicked off by Caspere’s murder and the sudden dissolution of his once-stable empire. Frank’s the kind of guy who needs his empire to sprawl, he needs land, he needs people to know his name, he needs legacy that lasts and refuses to be satisfied until he has it in full. Ironic, then, that a guy obsessed with his own empire can’t figure out what every emperor before him has discovered: those one-off kings who had no offspring to carry on their names? Those guys who stood in as buffers between one massive dynasty and the next? History isn’t so kind to those guys.