(NOTE: For those of you who might be poking around for a certain Gossip Girl recap, I PROMISE it’s coming. I’m just a day behind in my recapping schedule. Check back here around this time tomorrow, 9/28, and you’ll most definitely find it . . . Thanks for being patient! )
“The new season of Boardwalk Empire starts this week. Gotta look HOT! You just know all the ladies love Buscemi!”
Greetings fellow Boardwalkers! Welcome back! Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve talked to you! I can’t believe it’s been an ENTIRE year since I last used THIS animated GIF . . .
For the record, I plan to use it AT LEAST two more times in this recap . . .
Did you watch the Season Premiere? If you didn’t, you missed a good show! Let’s see . . . people got blown to pieces, and had their necks slashed . . . there was some very awkward sex in a hotel room . . . we got to hear an interesting discussion about Jimmy Darmody’s winky . . . that tubby old guy with the glasses did hilarious-looking exercises in his living room. (By the way, if anybody has a picture of this, please send it my way, and I will be forever indebted to you!)
All in all, it was a fitting end to an interminable hiatus. And I’m very eager to discuss it with you.
Maybe a little too eager . . .
So, pop that cork, and load that gun, because we are about to have some fun . . .
The rhyming . . . it was too much, right?
“When you get what you want, you don’t want what you get.”
“I’m not wearing any underwear! WOOHOO!”
Boardwalk Empire is nothing if not cinematic. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s produced by FRIGGIN MARTIN SCORCESE! They don’t get much more cinematic than that . . .
“Are you talkin’ to me?”
The opening sequence of the episode, along with the song that accompanies it, pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the hour. Four months have passed since we last spent time with our Boardwalk Empire crew. And though many of them seem to have achieved what they “wanted” last season, few of them appear to be genuinely happy with the results.
New address . . . nicer clothes . . . better hair . . . same perma-b*tchface.
The year is 1921. Prohibition is technically still in effect. Except, it’s about as well-enforced as the “No Underage Drinking,” regulations at a present-day frat party, or the “No Pot” laws at a Dave Matthews Band concert. A new shipment of booze has just come to shore. And a bored-looking, recently-married, Jimmy Darmody, along with his trusty facially-challenged sidekick Richard Harrow, direct the cargo off the boats and into cars, where it will be shipped to Chalky White’s distillery.
There, it will be watered-down significantly, and rebottled, so that restaurants and bars around town can pay twice what it’s actually worth to serve it. And Average Joe American can pay double THAT price to drink it.
Meanwhile, the no-longer arsenic-poisoned Commodore is doing what appears to be Tae Bo in his stuffed animal-infested living room. Also in this sequence, we get to see a very sad Margaret Schroeder (Isn’t she ALWAYS very sad?) waking up alone in Nucky’s big empty bed, while he canoodles with a new trampy-looking lady, at yet another
high class Atlantic City Orgy “business meeting.” (Well, that certainly didn’t take long!)
“What can I say? I’m irresistible!”
Lest you think this entire episode is going to be all broody and contemplative about the “meaning of life” and “true happiness” and such, we are about to get to the GOOD STUFF . . .
Those Pesky Sheet-heads are at it again!
OK . . . this next part . . . I’m not going to lie . . . It’s kind of awesome. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t condone violence at all. Who am I kidding? Fake violence RULES! So, Chalky is at his warehouse, overseeing the delivery of his alcohol shipment . . .
First of all, loving the outfit. That hat? The red jacket with the fur collar? The solid gold tie? This guy is a TOTAL PIMP!
. . . when suddenly there’s a knock at the door. It’s THIS GUY . . .
“Dead YOU (and me).”
Yep . . . so much for a security guard. Those sheet heads from the KKK have come to crash this Jamaican Rum Party. (Perhaps, the Rum Runners should have had a little CAPTAIN in them?)
“It’s just a Halloween costume. I don’t know why you guys are getting so upset.”
The Sheet Heads are shooting down the doors. People are DYING! One of the guys even has the NERVE to hold a gun to my darling Chalky’s beautiful head . . .
Fortunately, like all bigots, Sheet Head is a TOTAL MORON. And instead of, you know, actually DOING WHAT HE CAME TO DO, he starts making the classic cartoon villain mistake of MONOLOGUING about the murder he’s about to commit. This gives the Bad Ass Chica in the background the opportunity to fire a round right into Chalky’s would-be murderer’s shoulder, and TAKE THAT RACIST ASSHAT OUT!
Talk about standing by your man (or . . . someone else’s man . . . whatever)! I haven’t seen this much self-sacrificing bravery since Rupert Murdoch’s wife dove into that PIE, during the congressional hearing . . .
Unfortunately, she got blown up about two seconds later . . .
R.I.P. Little Miss Awesomesauce . . . I’ll still remember you as the best thing about this episode.
And then those damn Sheetheads got away! But not before a thankfully ALIVE Chalky got one more parting shot at them . . .
I may or may not have cheered, and raised a fist in triumph, when this happened. Does that make me a bad person?
“Let’s SCHOOL these crackers!”
Nucky arrives home from a long HARD night of getting wasted and banging whores planning Atlantic City’s future, when he gets news about the shooting. Since the KKK are a fairly influential group in Atlantic City at this time, and Chalky is an important ally of Nucky’s both in the illegal liquor business, and in his ability to secure for the politician the much-prized African American vote, Nucky finds himself between a rock and a hard
racist place. And so he decides to visit Chalky at his home, along with his turncoat soon-to-be dead, just like Fredo brother, Eli.
All in all, it’s a rather uncomfortable meeting, that begins with an uncomfortably long piano solo by Chalky’s suprisingly preppy son, and continues with an uncomfortably awkward meal. Nucky is frustrated with Chalky for shooting at white people, without consulting him first, because that makes HIM look bad.
Seriously, Chalky, had you texted me, when all this was happening, I would have totally told you to hold your fire. Wait . . . sorry . . wrong decade.
(Ummm . . . yeah . . . it’s called self-defense, Nucky . . . learn it . . . live it . . . love it.)
Chalky wonders why this happened in the first place, especially considering that a big part of the reason he allied with Nucky in the first place, was to get protection from gun-toting wackadoodles like this. Chalky’s plan is to crash a Klan meeting, guns blazing, and “SCHOOL THE CRACKERS.” And this is just such a cool phrase, I’d totally have it printed on a t-shirt, if I didn’t think that would probably get me beaten up in the city . . .
I was just kidding about the t-shirt, Chalky. I swear!
Nucky promises to do a less sucky job protecting Chalky in the future. However, he cautions him to hold off on the “Cracker Schooling,” lest he accidentally get himself killed. Nucky also agrees to refrain from arresting Chalky until further notice. All in all, it seems like a pretty level-headed compromise on BOTH sides . . .
But things become even more complicated when, during one of Nucky’s community forums, one of the KKK members barges in to announce that a member of clan has died, due to wounds he sustained during the shoot out. Coincidentally, this is the same guy that ALMOST killed Chalky, but was taken out by Little Miss Awesomesauce (R.I.P.).
“I should be
in a brothelhome having sex with a random slut my wife, right now.”
Nucky, who had begun his speech, diplomatically condemning BOTH the African American Rum Runners and the KKK for their actions, finds himself forced to secretly arrest Chalky . . . “for his own good.” Something tells me Chalky isn’t going to like that very much . . .
Why PETA HATES the Commodore . . .
So, you like to shoot animals, and stuff them, huh, Old Man? Well, STUFF THIS!
Back at La Casa de Commodore, Jimmy’s heretofore absentee dad is hard at work Lady Macbeth-ing his ambivalent son to usurp Nucky’s control over Atlantic City. (It’s pretty strongly implied that Commodore and Co., were behind the KKK raid of Chalky’s warehouse, and his attempted assassination.) Some of Commy’s advice makes sense. For example, he tells Jimmy to start forging his own business connections in the liquor trade (a good idea), and to start developing a more positive public presence in the community, by shaking hands, kissing babies, and such (another good idea). Then he starts point out all these creepy dead animals hanging around his house, and talking about how he killed them . . .
I don’t get it . . . and I don’t LIKE IT!
He starts telling one story in particular about shooting a bear in the stomach, while looking him straight in the eye, when he was 10. And I think it was supposed to be “metaphoric” about how you should, confront your enemies, and show no fear, and other such bullsh*t. But, honestly, I was so disturbed by that poor teddy bears horrified visage, that I wasn’t really paying attention . . .
In my defense, I don’t think Jimmy was either . . .
Oh, the Commodore did have one thought-provoking line in his otherwise interminable animal-slaughtering monologue. And this was it: “You will be judged by what you succeed at, not by what you attempt.”
Depressing . . . but true.
In other Bad Parenting News . . .
Things you shouldn’t do to your kids #1 – KISS THEIR WINKYS!
So, Jimmy finally decided to make an honest woman out of his lesbian wife, and move her and his kid into a nice big house, thanks to the raise he got from Nucky. Also crashing in this rather sizeable pad, is Jimmy’s pretty, but promiscuous, Mommy, and his loyal sidekick, Richard (more on him later).
“Did you just say, ‘Grandma’s hot?”
The odd little dynamic of this extended family, becomes immediately apparent in this breakfast scene. Mrs. Darmody is clearly the third wheel in her own marriage. First Mama Darmody insists on making Jimmy’s eggs, since SHE is the only one who knows how he likes them. Then, when Jimmy suggests taking his son bird hunting, just as Nucky took him, back when he was young (important later), and Angela protests, Mama Darmody jumps right in, and sides with her son.
I have to say, as much as I found the character of Angela Darmody to be a HUGE bore, back in Season 1, I was pretty proud of her, this week. In most shows where the Mother-in-Law babies her son, and passive-aggressively lashes out at her daughter-in-law, it can takes WEEKS before the wife has the (for lack of a better term) balls to actually say something about it. Angela confronts Mama Darmody immediately (as soon as Jimmy leaves, of course) about undercutting her authority. To this, Mama Darmody casually replies that when Jimmy was a baby, she used to kiss his winky.
Now, for a while, a lot of fans have speculated as to the nature of Jimmy’s relationship with his mother . . . specifically, how Oedipal it might be. Some have even gone as far as to suggest that their relationship is a sexual one. Maybe I’m just being naive here. But, while I think that Gillian and Jimmy DEFINITELY have an inappropriate relationship — one borne out of her having given birth to him at the tender age of 13, and her constant need to be found desirable by ALL men, even her son – I don’t think it quite rises to that level of gross misconduct.
You know how dogs mark their territory, to silently inform other dogs that they should back off?
Yeah. I think it’s safe to say that Gillian was metaphorically peeing on Jimmy here, to send Angela a message
, which coincidentally, is probably exactly what Baby Jimmy would do to Gillian, if she ever got NEAR his winky to do anything other than change a diaper.
Things you shouldn’t do to your kids #2 – Give them wads of cash for trying to SET THEIR SCHOOL ON FIRE
“You just keep lighting those matches, Kiddies. Mama needs a new pair of shoes!”
So, remember back in Season 1, when Nucky used to get all weepy, while looking at thost baby incubators . . . and he boo hoo hooed, about wanting to start a family, and got all upset when Margaret tried to Lysol herself in to contraception? Yeah, those days are clearly over. Nucky’s cool about being a dad, when it comes to reminiscing about the “good old days,” of going duck hunting with Little Jimmy. But when it comes to Margaret’s kids, he pretty much can’t be bothered . . .
This leaves Margaret to cope with the unsightly bruises popping up all over her son, Teddy’s hands, and the fact that he’d rather hide under the kitchen table all day than go to school. As it turns out, Teddy’s been whacked by his nun . . .
Teddy insists that he did nothing to deserve such treatment. So, Margaret, who seems to be a fairly adept, if slightly cold and Betty Draper-esque mother herself, heads to the school to confront the Slugger Nun. As it turns out, Slugger Nun hit Teddy because he was playing with matches in the school closet, seems obsessed with fire (FORESHADOWING!), and would have likely been expelled, were it not for Nucky’s high holy connections within the school. Margie is a bit humiliated now, but relieved . . . apparently, being a ”play toy” for a powerful man has its perks . . .
But as kept a woman as she has become, Margaret Schroeder is no dummy. And so the next time she hears Nucky moaning and carrying on about how Jimmy won’t call him Daddy anymore, she cleverly suggests that he start fathering HER son. He can start by telling him to STOP TRYING TO BURN THINGS.
Only YOU can prevent Boardwalk Empire Fires . . .
I was saddened, and a bit disturbed, by the fact that, the minute Nucky entered Teddy’s room, he immediately started stripping down to his boxers. For one thing, it reminded me that Margaret’s first husband was abusive to her, and likely was abusive to her kids as well. It also reminded me of Gillian’s winky comment . . . which gave me the shivers . . . if you catch where I’m going with this . . .
But Nucky didn’t want to hit Teddy . . . which was good. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to PARENT him either . . . which was bad. After boredly and awkwardly telling the kids that he should . . . you know . . . not burn stuff anymore, Nucky actually digs into his wallet, and hands Teddy a sizeable bill. (I think it may have even been a TWENTY . . . which was SOOO much money back then.) “Run along to the candy shop,” says Nucky to a surprised looking Mini Schroeder.
Hey Nucky, if by chance you are still alive when this comes out, I have a great movie recommendation for you . . .
(Hey, I just remembered something, didn’t Little Teddy watch Nucky burn down his father’s house, last season? Uh oh . . .)
Meanwhile, at the complete opposite end of the “warmth” spectrum . . .
Why Richard Harrow needs a HUG . . .
Poor Richard Harrow! Talk about a serial killer with a heart of gold! My heart started to go out to the guy, the minute I saw him, sadly pushing his food around his plate, so as not to burden the Darmody family with his inability to hide his disfigurement while eating. To Jimmy’s credit, he immediately senses his friend’s discomfort, and tells him not to worry about his appearance. And when that doesn’t work, he kindly offers Richard the option of taking some biscuits back to his bedroom. An offer Richard accepts gratefully . . .
Richard’s inquiry to Jimmy about what it feels like to have everything, is an equally sad moment for both characters. After all, what Jimmy has that Harrow wants is so minimal . . . a family who loves him, a home of his own, and a full-face. And though Jimmy has all of these things, we know that he isn’t happy. He wants more for himself, but isn’t quite sure what that entails. His mother and father are pushing him to usurp Nucky’s position of power. However, he seems ambivalent about such a future, and slightly troubled by the personal betrayals he will inevitably have to exact, in order to obtain it . . .
“I’m just a boy . . . with a knife . . . and a lot of guns . . . waiting for somebody to love me.”
Later we find Richard upstairs reading . . . Oh, wait . . . he’s not reading, he’s cutting pictures of families and happy couples out of magazines and pasting them in a book. OMG! It’s a DREAM BOOK! Richard Harrow READS THE SECRET!
Did I just undermine this sweet, and incredibly poignant moment, with a lame joke about a self-help book? Yeah, I think I did. Moving on . . .
Why people who repeatedly refer to themselves in the third person don’t deserve to LIVE . . .
“Yeah, there are these words called ’I’ and ‘me.’ Learn to use them, or ’I’ will shoot off your face.”
In case, I haven’t mentioned it before (and I know I haven’t), AL CAPONE’S BACK!
Having said that, the one scene we got to see him in, was actually pretty random. It featured this annoying guy who insisted on talking about himself in the third-person, like the dude ”Jimmy” from that one Seinfeld episode they always play on TBS. Al Capone didn’t like him, and neither did I. But apparently, this Third-Person Talker guy used to work for Torrio. Now he has his own business in Cincinatti, which is apparently, a hot spot for liquor. Torrio and Capone decide to STOP getting their liquor from Nucky, and START getting from this guy, which I guess is just another nail in Nucky’s already VERY HOLEY coffin.
Never . . . gets . . . old.
More importantly, my man Capone is responsible for breaking the bad news to Nucky. So, we will DEFINITELY get to see more of him next week . . .
Can I get a HELL YEAH?
Wasted Tablecloths and Misguided Wedding Gifts
I’d say Jimmy’s line about the Sheet-Heads was my favorite of the evening. How about you?
So, remember when I said that the Commodore told Jimmy he should start schmoozing more? Well, apparently, that meant attending that Almost-Nucky-Murdering Bastard’s funeral. Nucky, who is schmoozing king, was, of course, also in attendance. That’s one of the things I love about all these mob shows and movies, they always view funerals as marketing opportunities . . .
JIMMY: “Hey Nucky, doens’t Chalky have that exact same outfit in red?”
NUCKY: “Yeah, it also comes in purple, green and hot pink. Would you like one, I have a coupon in my pocket?”
After Jimmy and Nucky pay there respective respects, they engage in an uncomfortable, but meaningful conversation about the fact that Jimmy has pretty much cut Nucky out of his life, apart from the most rudimentary of business transactions. Nucky is clearly hurt by Jimmy’s recent chilliness, particularly his decision not to consult Nucky about, or even invite him to attend, his recent nuptials. However, he’s also a bit paranoid (and rightfully so) that Jimmy might be plotting against him with the Commodore. “He’s a very duplicitous man,” Nucky warns Jimmy, before heading back to the funeral. “[Now] you’ve been told.”
Later that evening, Jimmy arrives home to find a “wedding present” from Nucky. But instead of buying him plates, or His and Hers robes, Nucky buys him a rather ugly looking statue, featuring a father and son type hunting. The significance of the statue is not lost on Jimmy, who clearly has fond memories of his childhood outings with his former surrogate dad, who he is now trying to majorly screw over.
And yet, Jimmy’s facial expression upon receiving the gift is fairly inscrutable. Does he feel guilty about what he is about to do? Or is he annoyed at Nucky for trying to manipulate him this way? Either way, Jimmy literally and metaphorically casts aside his surrogate daddy, by hiding the statue away on the top shelf a closet . . .
Speaking of things best kept hidden . . .
Hot Times in Atlantic City with Mr. and Mrs. Creepy Van Slappy
Name: Mrs. Van Alden; Turn-ons: Jesus, churches, warm milk, long walks on the beach, alcohol raids . . .
After an entire season of being tucked safely away in the suburbs, Mrs. Van Alden has FINALLY come to visit her Creepy, Crazy, Back-Slapping Murderous Husband. First he takes her to his office at the Bureau, where he finds two of his men, homoerotically wrestling eachother on the floor . . . and act he pretends to be annoyed by, but actually finds quite titillating.
Hey, try not to be so hard on yourself, Psycho. Your secret is safe with us.
(By the way, have you ever noticed that Nelson Van Alden looks perpetually constipated?)
Hoping to win back the points he just lost from his boss, one of the wrestlers, knowing how religious the Van Aldens claim to be, hands Mrs. V a pamphlet entitled “If Jesus came to Atlantic City.”
The problem of course, is that, while purporting to be a religious guide to the city, the pamphlet is actually a listing of every WHOREHOUSE and NUDEY BAR in town! Careful, Wrestler Cop, remember what happened to the LAST GUY who tried to “help” Van Alden with his “religous desires?”
R.I.P. Agent Sebso!
While reading about whores, Mrs. Van Alden remarks that perhaps it is a good thing she can’t have children, since a world where people have sex for fun, is CLEARLY not a place to raise a godfearing kid . . .
At a swank restaurant, Mrs. Van Alden finds herself once again APPALLED when a sweet and efete-sounding waiter fairly blatantly offers the couple ALCOHOL!
Creepy Van Alden initially doesn’t seem to surprised or upset by this inquiry. He simply orders himself some warm milk, and is ready to call it a day. But one look at his wife’s judgy eyes tells him that he must do something about this MORTAL SIN the waiter is committing. And so he calls his cronies at the Bureau, and stages a loud and over-dramatic raid on the restaurant . . . one that includes punching the poor waiter in the face, as well as raiding the restaurants massive liquor stash, and filled coffers . . .
Now, THAT looks like my kind of party!
Van Alden then takes a totally-aroused Mrs. Van A back to a seedy hotel (He can’t take her back to his boarding house . . . we’ll learn why in a bit.), and proceeds to have the unsexiest sex EVER with her.
The next day, Van Alden drops his wife off at the bus station and returns home, with the cash he stole from the restaurant during the raid. He is not alone. SOMEONE IS SLEEPING IN HIS BED . . .
Apparently, Van Alden has been boarding that evil slut Lucy (who is now VERY pregnant with his creepy spawn), and paying for her living expenses / doctors bills with money acquired from illegal raids. Jesus would most certainly NOT approve, Nelson!
Uh oh . . . I hope you can get a refund on that extra movie ticket, Margie!
The episode ends with a doleful Margaret watching Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid,” with her children, and staring at an empty seat next to her. It appears her loyal and loving . . . whatever it is these two are to eachother now . . . Nucky has stood her up. In Nucky’s defense, he actually has a pretty good excuse. You see, he’s recently been ARRESTED FOR ELECTION FRAUD!
And that was the Season 2 Premiere of Boardwalk Empire, in a nutshell? So, tell me, what did you think of the episode? Was it Jackpot . . . or a disappointing Bust? Sound of in the comment section below . . .
Until next week . . .