[I know I posted them out of order, this time. But you can still find the Gossip Girl Recap for "The Jewel of Denial," HERE.]
And in that moment, Larry the Flying Lobster beat out Sebastian from The Little Mermaid for the honor of Best Performance by a Crustacean in a Film or Television Production.
Jealousy and regret. We’ve all experienced both, at one time or another. It’s easy to look at someone else’s life, and covet that which isn’t yours. And it’s just as easy to look back at the past, longing for a time when things were simpler, and less complicated. This week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire finds all of our characters feeling, in some way or another, uncomfortable in their own skins . . . or, in Commodore’s case, in his own Loberster Thermidor-covered lap . . .
“Why is there a claw in my crotch?”
Let’s review, shall we?
(Special thanks to rawrcaps.net for the screencaps you see here.)
Nelson Van Alden: A Real Fun Guy
Sorry . . . I just couldn’t resist.
Our tale begins in a creepy boarding house, where Crazy Pants Van Alden is scraping butter onto his toast, and looking out a dingy, dust-filled window onto the world. In waddles a SUPER pregnant Lucy to announce, in her bizarro voice, which sounds like a cross between Wall-E and Miss Piggy, that “It is kicking again.”
“I think it’s the baby, but it could just be a really nasty case of crabs . . .”
A clearly aggravated Nelson is quick to remind Lucy that “it” is actually a baby. But, honestly, I can understand Lucy’s confusion. I mean, any living being spawned from Crazy Pants and Madame Sluts-a-Lot has an exceptionally good chance of being born with fangs or a tail.
The future Baby Van Alden
Last week, we learned that Lucy was hanging around the boarding house, and Nelson was paying her. However, this week, we got to dig a bit deeper into the happy couple’s “business agreement.” Apparently, Nelson is paying Lucy a “salary,” to stay in the boarding house, and not leave it, until their little demon baby is born. Once she’s given birth, Lucy is free to return to her so-called “normal” life.
Of course, this begs the question of what will happen TO THE BABY. Will Nelson give it up for adoption? Will he bring it back to HIS wife, and claim that he adopted it for HER? One thing is for sure, Nelson definitely isn’t going to want Lucipoo to have anything to do with the kid, once it’s wrenched from her alcohol and cigarette-scented uterus . . .
Lucy is understandably feeling a bit stifled by her new living arrangement. After all, not too long ago she was Nucky’s #1 whore! She wore fancy dresses, partied seven days a week, and had lots and lots of undoubtedly unappetizing looking sex with THIS GUY . . .
Now, she’s stuck effectively living under house arrest (not unlike a puppy who hasn’t yet been potty trained and is, therefore, forced to do its business on a stack of old newspapers).
Lucy tells Nelson this, in no uncertain terms, remarking, by way of example, that she can’t even listen to music, because, unlike the neighbors, she and Nelson don’t even have a victrola in the house. Nelson doesn’t know what a vitrola is . . . probably because it’s not mentioned in the bible . . .
Nonetheless, Crazy Pants Van Alden HATES the idea of being compared negatively with his adversary Nucky. After all, Mrs. Van Alden lives EXACTLY like this. And Nelson never hears complaints from her! Lucy is clearly just spoiled with all her crazy notions of, you know, actually LEAVING THE HOUSE, and stuff . . .
“You better behave, or I’ll baptize you.
(And we all know what happened to the last guy I baptized . . .)“
“Between ordering murders, and rigging elections, I’m sure [Nucky] showed you a real good time, ” scoffs Nelson sarcastically.
“Say what you will about Nucky, but at least he
has a really big weiner was FUN!” Lucy pouts.
Honestly, Lucy’s got a point there. With a name that looks and sounds so much like “nookie,” how could you be anything BUT FUN?
See? This guy’s a BLAST!
Speaking of fun, Lucy’s pal, Eddie Cantor — who is based on a real-life comedian, and Broadway performer, who was probably way too cool to actually hang out with a weirdo like Lucy –is his OWN party!
“Oh, Lucy! You and I are going to have so much fun (once I used the restroom . . . I have to piss, like a racehorse).”
He pops by the boarding house with a bottle of booze
(As if this baby’s life, wasn’t ALREADY guaranteed to suck, let’s give him an alcohol problem, and possible congenital disease), some hilariously exaggerated facial expressions, and a real snoozer of a play entitled “A Dangerous Maid.”
My new favorite couple on this show . . .
Lucy complains to her pal about wanting a man who wants her for more than just “makin’ whoopie.”
(The fact that Mr. Cantor didn’t bust into hysterical laughter, upon hearing this, makes him a WAY better person than I am.)
Later, Nelson comes home, and is shocked to find Lucy “rehearsing” for “A Dangerous Maid” in front of the bedroom mirror. “You wish to perform in this spectacle?” He inquires, which causes Lucy to pout and mug at the camera a bit
(a.k.a. her only workable facial expression).
Nelson actually tries reading the play out loud with her for a few minutes, before losing his temper, and tossing it at her. Clearly, their little baby-making arrangement did not involve momentarily pretending you didn’t look 8.5 months pregnant and could actually star in a play! How dare Lucy do such a thing!
But Lucy has gotten through to Nelson more than she knows. While at work, Nelson asks a co-worker? “Do you think I’m fun?”
The fact that THIS co-worker also did not laugh in Nelson’s face makes HIM a way better person than I am. (Man, I must truly suck as a human).
Meanwhile, back at the boarding house, Lucy is crying over her naked massively pregnant body in the mirror.
Because, heaven forbid we go through an episode where Lucy doesn’t get naked at least once. She even goes as far as to try to throw herself down the stairs . . . either to lose the baby, or commit suicide, not quite sure which.
“Don’t worry, I’m not trying to kill myself. I’m just teaching myself how to fly.”
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your particular thoughts about Lucy), Lucipoo’s epic Stair Dive is interrupted by a delivery person, bearing a gift from Nelson, or, more accurately, the fake name Nelson is living in the boarding house under. It’s . . . wait for it . . a victrola. He comes home later to find Lucy listening to the victrola, and happily dancing around the house, as if she is giving the furniture a lap dance. (Just like Old Times!)
“I’m a GREAT dancer! I can pat my head, and rub my belly AT THE SAME TIME!”
Nelson’s face, upon seeing this spectacle is inscrutable. Is he overtaken with feelings of love, and pride, for this strange woman carrying her child? Is he aroused by her naked body? Confused as to why anyone would enjoy music that couldn’t be found in a hymn book? Relieved that he has successfully prevented his Baby Maker from escaping with the child? Perhaps, he is a little of all of these things . . .
Then again, maybe he’s just really, really constipated . . .
Speaking of poker faces . . .
Peggy Rowland Margaret Schroeder
. . . aside from someone who can really hold her liquor . . .
Margaret continues on her quest to be the dutiful not-wife to Nucky, during his hour of need. Concerned about their finances, Margaret returns some of the fancy jewelry Nucky bought her, despite the latters repeated (though not very believable) protests that “everything is going to be fine.”
“Hang on to the jewelry, now. We may need to sell it on the streets, later, when we are poor and destitute . . .
along with your body.”
Of course, Margaret has more to worry about than just Nucky’s continued financial health. A letter has arrived at her home from a local detective agency. As it turns out, the agency has tracked down Margaret’s family in Ireland, and they have since emigrated to nearby Brookyln.
Margaret reluctantly reveals this fact to Nucky, when he finds her flipping through their photographs in bed. He is suprisingly kind and supportive of Margaret’s discovery, and even encourages her to arrange for a family reunion. “We didn’t leave on the best of terms,” Margaret admits.
“Golly gee, Boss! This is fun! Who do we get to prank call, tomorrow?”
Later in the episode, Margaret commandeers her busy little maid, Katie (she of the crappy coats), from last week’s episode, to call the house where Margaret is staying, and ask for Peggy Rowland. When she does, Katey is informed that “Peggy,” died twelve years ago. Margaret copes with this discovery, by crying by herself in her bedroom. The outburst does not go unnoticed by an increasingly suspicious Katey.
Later Margaret makes the odd choice of trying to “revisit her roots,” by trying to hang out with the maid staff, while they are drinking booze and gossiping down in the kitchen. Perhaps, she feels this will help her to assauge the guilt about her own family. She tells the girls to call her Margaret, and pour her a shot. However, drinking with Margaret, feels to the girls a bit like drinking with their boss . . . or their own mother. And so, the fun in the room, quickly, and humiliatingly dies.
MARGARET: ”Ladies, I was thinking of playing a rollicking game of strip poker. What do you say?”
KATIE: “If we say no, do we get fired?”
Margaret’s attempts at closeness, however, do strike a chord with Katie, who stops her on the staircase, at the end of the episode, to confirm a suspicion she has, “YOU’RE Peggy Rowland, aren’t you?”
“The minute I get upstairs, I am SO unfriending you on Facebook.”
Well, so much for being friends with the help! Margaret metaphorically shuts the door on a friendship with the maid, by coldly shooing her away. However, based upon her sudden change in demeanor, we can tell that what Katie said was absolutely true. Margaret had, for some reason, changed her name from Peggy Rowland, when she left the states. And, because of that, her family either THINKS she’s dead, or is behaving as if she is dead, out of resentment. Either way, it is quite a blow to Margaret, and pretty much makes her the “Don Draper,” of Boardwalk Empire . . .
Oh, how I miss you, Don Draper!
Al C. and Jimmy Irish: Reunited and it feels so good!
Al Capone is BACK AT THE BOARDWALK!!!!
And he’s got a special message to deliver to Nucky Thompson on behalf of Joe Torrio: Chicago and New York are no longer in the liquor business together. This is because Chicago is now in business with Some Annoying Dude from Pittsburgh Who Refer to Himself in the Third Person. Nucky is extremely insulted that Torrio sent his emissary, as opposed to delivering this information by himself. And he tells Capone as much.
“You ditched me for someone who refers to themselves in the third person! People who do that don’t deserve to LIVE!”
Nonetheless, Nucky IS curious, given his recent struggles, with the business, how,his counterparts are fairing in other cities, “How is Torrio handling the competition?” Nucky inquires, as Capone prepares to leave.
“We’re killing ‘em,” Capone replies with a wry smile. (Well, that IS one way to get rid of them . . .)
But politics and platitudes never much interested Capone. He’s much more interested in his bromantic buddy Jimmy Irish, a.k.a. Jimmy Darmody. “You’ll have to ask him, himself,” Nucky replies coldly.
So, Capone DOES! The next time we see the inimitable Capone he is in Jimmy’s living room, charming Jimmy’s wife and son in the way only he can.
“Hey little guy! Want me to tell you a story? It’s all about this guy I whacked, back in Chicago . . .”
When Jimmy returns home, the two share a drink and catch up on where their respective storylines have taken them, since they last saw one another. Both men are moving up the ranks, in their respective crime families, Jimmy due to his father’s greed, and his cunning, and Al, due to his strength, and seamless ability to whack the competition, without experiencing an ounce of guilt. Case in point, when Jimmy tries to explain to Al the political coup he, the Commodore are planning, to oust Nucky, Capone is mystified. The whole thing just seems like so much unnecessary work! “Why don’t you just have Frankenstein here, put a bullet in his head?” Capone asks, motioning to Harrow, who has been silently listening to this conversation the entire time.
Meh . . . I don’t really see a resemblance.
“I won’t do that,” replies Harrow sternly. (Wow . . . it looks like our Family Coveting SUPER Hitman has gone and developed some scruples. This can’t be good!)
(All together now . . . AWWWWW!)
When Jimmy rushes to the living room floor to cuddle his son, and help him tie his shoes, both Capone and Harrow watch him with matching looks of envy, Harrow, because he has no wife and kids, and Capone, because his son is deaf, and therefore, can’t converse with him, like Jimmy’s can. Harrow breaks the awkward ice by asking after that “lovely prostitute,” Odette, that took his virginity last season. “She’s a WHORE,” Capone replies. (I guess he’s not real big on “small talk.”)
“That’s the last straw. I’m totally taking Al Capone out of my Family Scrapbook! No one calls my prostitute girlfriend, a prostitute, and gets away with it!”
Later, we see Jimmy getting a manicure from Mama “Kiss His Little Winky” Darmody. Jimmy muses to her about Al Capone’s late father, who was a barber, and wonders whether he might have been meant for a simpler life. Mama clearly sees her son as someone who’s Little Winky is destined
to explore hot women for great things. And she’s more than happy to be the woman behind that Winky . . . well, aside from HIS WIFE, of course.
“I do hope you’re treating your little winky, better than you are treating these nail beds. Mind if I check?”
It’s evident in this scene that Jimmy is already beginning to question his allegiance to the Commodore, who his mother used to call “The Lech.” When questioned about this, Mama notes that forgiveness is a virtue. And this undoubtedly causes Jimmy to wonder why he should be forgiving COMMODORE and not Nucky, who effectively raised him, while Commodore was out exploring his “other interests.”
It kind of makes me wonder whether Jimmy will ultimately decide to return to Nucky, even if it means giving up the opportunity to ascend to power. And if he does make this decision, will he be able to do so, before it is too late . . .
Speaking of paying one’s dues to one’s elders . . .
Making the Cheshire Cat Frown
Oh no! Why so serious, Meyer?
Ahhh . . . that’s better.
Lucky and Meyer are sitting down to a very uncomfortable dinner with Arnold Rothstein and Mr. Mazzeria, the Lower East Side Crime boss, who’s henchmen’s throat’s Jimmy slit last week. Mr. Mazzeria is clearly pissed about this, especially considering that it happened on, what he considered to be his turf. Apparently, Mazzeria is well aware of the card game Lucky and Meyer run, fairly close to where his men were killed. Rothstein, ever the businessman, offers to make amends, by having Lucky and Meyer pay a lump sum to Mazzeria for the two victims families, as well as 10% of their card game wins, going forward.
Lucky is furious and moves to protest, but is quickly silenced by Rothstein, and the more cool-headed Meyer. As he is leaving, Mazzeria notes in Italian to Lucky that he should be working with a fellow Italian, like HIM, as opposed to two Jewish men. Lucky seethes at this, but does not respond. With Mazzeria out of the picture, Lucky turns to Rothstein out of sheer frustration. “We already give 50% of our earnings from that game to you!” He complains.
“And now you know why,” Rothstein says coolly.
Do you smell a rebellion? Because I think I smell a rebellion . . .
Since we’re on the subject of rebellion . . .
A Face Not Even a Father Could Love . . .
“If I just move that pillow ever-so-slightly over his face, and press down really hard, no one will ever know . . .”
Oh, Eli! Poor sniveling Eli! All he wants to do is FINALLY wear the Big Boy Pants, and step outside of his older brother’s shadow. But while Eli is taking car of his senile, emaciated father, who is staying in his house, the only name on that man’s lips is Nucky. “How can they do that to him? You have to help your brother,” says Papa Thompson, looking frantically into Eli’s eyes at the newspaper detailing the election fraud charges recently lodged against Nucky by Eli, himself, among others.
Is it just me, or does Nucky look kind of hot in this picture? It’s just me? Yeah . . . I thought so . . .
But then Papa, in his senility begins to believe he’s talking to Nucky. “You have to help ELI, he’s not like you. He’s weak and has no sense,” Eli’s father says . . . or something to that effect.
“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up . . . oops . . . wrong line.”
OUCH! When you’re 80-something year old dad thinks your a loser, you’ve REALLY got problems. It looks like Eli won’t be stepping into those Big Boy Pants anytime soon . . .
Speaking of surrogate sons . . .
Jimmy Darmody 2.0
“I’m pretty sure I just fell in love with you . . .”
So, remember that cute Irish guy from last week named Owen Sleater? Well, it turns out he’s a lot more ambitious than his baby face would suggest. Having landed a job at nearby casino, thanks to Nucky. Owen overhears the alderman nagging his boss for being short on Nucky’s “take” of the profits. The boss gripes that, since he’s not getting any liquor, and drunks gamble more, and LOSE more, he’s suffering from a serious case of the Myfundsarelow Disease. Sleater puts two and two together, and realizes that Nucky hasn’t been able to deliver his liquor to his patrons, because SOMEONE has been intercepting it at the shore, in order to sell their own. *cough Commodore cough*
“Wow, Nucky, your desk is a mess. I don’t think that woman, Katie, you hired as a maid, does a good job cleaning up around here. Would you like me to spank her? Because I would very much like to spank her . . . among other things.”
Sleater sees this as an opportunity and quickly goes to see Nucky about it. Sleater tells Nucky that he’s good at “making people stop doing things that other people don’t want them to do.” It’s a bold move for someone who’s still clearly at the bottom of the food chain to make. And Nucky seems equal parts intrigued, amused, and skeptical of the offer, which he neither accepts or rejects outright.
“Hmm . . . well, you’re definitely young and hot, like Jimmy is, but I’m not quite sure you really have what it takes. Let me see your Little Winky, so I can know for sure.”
However, later, back at the casino, Owen gets the opportunity to exhibit his skill, when he stops the Commodore’s liquor delivery to the casino, and ends up in an at gunpoint standoff with none other than Richard Harrow. The two regard eachother as equals, with a matching twinkle in their eyes, and neither of them pulls the trigger. “Why didn’t you shoot me?” Owen asks, a valid question, but also a REALLY stupid one, if you think about it.
“Would this be a bad time for me to ask you whether you have a Twitter account?”
“I may yet,” says Richard, with a half grin, before exiting stage left, with his unloaded liquor.
Needless to say Owen’s boss isn’t going to be too happy with him, when he learns that his casino will be forced to, once again, stay dry, as a result of his new employees scare tactic. But Owen is betting on the fact that Nucky will be take notice of what he did, and be pleased. After all, he does seem to be in the market for a Jimmy 2.0 . . .
As for Jimmy 1.0 . . .
My Two Dads
JIMMY: “Mmm . . . you smell nice, have you purchased a new cologne, since I betrayed you?”
NUCKY: “Why, yes, it’s called Eau De I’m Going to Kick Your Ass.”
After spending some time in the pokey, and some more time in self-imposed exhile, Nucky seems super excited to have a night on the town with Margaret, his sole remaining political ally, Mayor Bader, and the Mayor’s wife. The two couples head to their favorite nighttime spot, Babette’s only to find that their usual table is being occupied by, you guessed it, the Commodore, Jimmy D, and some Senator the pair are trying to butter up. Nucky seethes, but says nothing, that is . . . until it comes time for the foursome to order their meals.
Margaret makes the HUGE mistake of ordering lobster thermidor. This prompts the waiter to inform her that the last lobster was just sold. Cut to Nucky’s eyes honing in on the Commodore, who is currently shoving a HUGE LUMP OF LOBSTER in his fat mustachioed mouth.
“Mmmmmm . . . LOBSTER . . . DELICIOUSSSSS!”
“Hey! You spit that out! That lobster belongs to my lady!”
I think this is the first time in a LONG TIME, where we really see Nucky lose it. He stomps over to the Commodore’s table, and hilariously flips that lobster plate, sending it flying across the table. Quite frankly, it’s AWESOME!
“Weeeeeeeeeeeee! I’m flyinggggggggg!”
But Nucky’s not finished. “I will ruin you,” he says determinedly. “ALL OF YOU,” he concludes with a glare at Jimmy.
A bit embarrassed, and not sure how to respond, Jimmy stays silent . . . for now. So, Nucky focuses his ire on Commodore, who chastizes him for acting like a child. “You’re an expert on children,” he replies brilliantly.
(Ooh, that was a good one.)
But things get REALLY intense, when Nucky tells Jimmy that the Commodore didn’t even ask for his mother’s NAME, before he slept with her. Instead, he just pointed to her, and said, “That one.”
Jimmy rises to his feet, and the two erstwhile comrades in crime, are now eyeing eachother with hatred and accusation. It is the Commodore, who eventually prevents Jimmy from getting physical with Nucky.
“I want my daddy . . .*sniffle*”
Later that night, when Jimmy is alone in his kitchen, we see the emotional and physical toll this evening has taken on him. He is half asleep with drunkenness, and his head is heavy with sadness and regret. Jimmy’s wife enters the room, and, seeing the state her husband is in, offers him a comforting hand on his shoulder, which he accepts gratefully. “How was dinner with your father?” She inquires.
“Which one?” He replies glumly . . .
You know, a lot of commenters have griped about Michael Pitt’s performance as Jimmy. They’ve claimed it to be wooden, and uninteresting. Now, maybe it’s just because I’m insanely attracted to the actor, but I have to respectfully disagree. I love the understated way Pitt addresses this role. The character of Jimmy Darmody is at a crossroads. He can become a hardened criminal, a slimy politician, or a true hero . . . right now, any of these titles is ripe for the taking. And, quite frankly, he’s not sure which one he wants.
To me, that’s what makes Jimmy SO interesting. He always seems to be calculating his next move, and you just never know which version of him, you are going to get, at any particular moment. It’s exciting . . . and sexy.
“Whatever, Recapper . . . you’re just saying that because you want to jump his bones.”
(Yeah . . . probably)
OK . . . I’m off my soapbox now, and done with my recap. So, what did you think of “The Dangerous Maid?” Has it turned you off to lobster thermidor for good, or are you hungry for more?