Mickey returns to Ian at the Kash & Grab frazzled because he can’t find Frank to kill him. He has scoured over the entire neighborhood, going door to door, frantically trying to track down Frank. He is worried Frank is going to mention walking in on him with Ian and frightened it will eventually get back to Terry. He’d rather commit murder than face the wrath of his own father. Mickeys shirt even reads “Death Before Dishonor” which is the name of a band, but also has an extremely significant meaning in the context of the story.
Mickey enters the scene from under the half closed retractable door, he is visibly flustered and upset. They are inside the storage room now, where it’s dark, cramped, and small. This is reflective of how he feels in this moment – trapped in this predicament with limited options. He demands to Ian, “Where is he?” Ian replies emotionless, “I don’t know.” Mickey is persistent, his tone escalating as he begins to unravel from frustration.
“He’s had 24 hours to run his mouth already. Where is he?!” Ian replies simply, “He won’t.”
The meaning behind an 8 ball symbol is “a difficult position from which it is unlikely one can escape.” In the game of pool, a ‘behind the 8 ball’ position leaves a player in a difficult position or ‘in a tight spot’ from which ‘one is unlikely to win.’ The 8 ball has the advantage which is why Ian presently appears less concerned than Mickey.
No matter the outcome, in his mind, he has less to lose because he isn’t worried about his relationship with Mickey being discovered. He is more concerned about actually losing Mickey.
He’s not particularly alarmed by the thought of Frank potentially getting killed; or perhaps doubts Mickey’s ability to find him. As Ian stands up and begins walking away from him, Mickey starts to loose control.
Mickey angrily cries out, “If my dad finds out about this, he will kill me himself! Been to 16 bars, the homeless shelter, shantytown under the ‘L’, batty Sheila’s, WHERE IS HE?”
Notice in the smallest details of this particular shot, Mickey is behind Ian and they are boxed in by the narrowness of the room. Similar to how another pool ball may be trapped behind the 8 ball in a corner pocket, this gives the illusion of Mickey’s position right now were this a game of pool. He views Ian as an obstruction in his plan, he believes Ian is helping Frank hide, and he is stuck because of it. There is nowhere for him to go unless he can get around Ian.
As they exit the storage room and enter into the openness of the store, Mickey grabs Ian by the shoulder and whips him around, effectively getting ‘around the 8 ball’ and gaining the upper hand. He accuses Ian of warning Frank and hastily heads to the cash register. “I ain’t stealing this. This is less than what I’m owed for my hours this week. I’m done. Done. Done.” He marches toward the door. Now, he has the physical and the emotional advantage over Ian.
No longer the cool and collected, the tables have been turned, and Ian starts yelling at Mickey that,
“Frank’s walked in on Fiona and all her boyfriends, Lip and his girls. We got nothing to be ashamed of.”
Mickey turns on him and flatly replies, “What world do you live in?”
Ian panics and attempts to reason with him, “You can’t— You can’t– You know, I don’t want you to–”
Mickey shuts him down again by coldly stating, “What did I say to you? Done is done. You think we’re boyfriend and girlfriend? Your nothing but a warm mouth to me. Sorry I gotta kill your dad, but I’m doing a lot of people a favor. Including you.”
Mickey turns and exits, a clean shot out the door. But at the end of the scene, Mickey makes and very unlikely decision.