Category Archives: Boardwalk Empire

Should old acquaintences be forgotten? – A Mini-Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s Season 3 Premiere “Resolution”

Pop open that bottle of champagne, and start singing Auld Lang Syne, because another New Year has just begun in Atlantic City.  It’s 1923.  And despite the fact that some of our “old acquaintances” have gone “mysteriously missing” (R.I.P. Jimmy and Angela Darmody) . . .

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Here at TV Recappers, we still think it could shape up to be a pretty awesome year.  Below are ten reasons why . . .

Because (be honest) you didn’t know what a 3-in-1 was either . . .

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Meet Gyp Rosetti.  He just got a flat tire on the way to AC.  To add insult to injury, now one of his henchman is sassing him, by indirectly implying that he’s an idiot for not knowing that 3-in-1 is another name for oil.  (Well, I didn’t know that.  Did you know that?)  So, Gyp Rossetti does what any of us would do in such a situation.  He beats the guy to death with a tire iron, and then “inherits” his adorable dog.  Wait . . . WHAT?

We’ve all seen this kind of thing before, in mob movies . . . a scene designed to show the mobster’s volatile temperament, his mean streak, and his penchant for bashing the crap out of things with tire irons and/or bats and/or pistols.  Deniro did it in The Untouchables . . .

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Pesci did it in Goodfellas . . .

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But neither of them adopted a dog at the end of the scene.  And dogs make everything better, don’t they?  Yes, even tire-iron beatings . . .

Because you are as baffled as I am that Mickey Doyle has managed to survive yet another episode . . .

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From the moment he pulled the trigger on surrogate son, Jimmy Darmody, we all knew it was only a matter of time, before Nucky Thompson fully embraced his gangster persona.  We see that persona, in full force, as we watch Nucky interrogate a rather pitiful looking thief, who had the misfortune of stealing booze from Mickey Doyle’s warehouse, while the latter was out taking a leak.  “Which one of you was doing your job?”  Nucky asks pointedly, in a line of questioning that alternately rewards the thief for his “work ethic,” while decrying Mickey Doyle’s inability to “keep it in his pants” until after his shift is over.

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“Ooh,” we’re all thinking to ourselves.  “Mickey Doyle is really going to get it this time.”

After all, this is the guy that’s been thrown off a balcony by Jimmy, and beaten within an inch of his life, by pretty much every gangster on this show.  Mickey Doyle is a cat with nine lives, but he already seems to have used up at least seven of them . . .

Make that eight, because despite Nucky’s seeming respect for the thief, it wasn’t enough to keep him from having Manny Horvitz shoot the latter in the head, moments after he gave up the name of his accomplice.  And Mickey?  Well, it seems that he will live to be bad at his job, another day . . .

Because Jimmy Darmody would be rolling over in his grave, if he knew his kid was calling that wackadoodle “Mommy” . . .

Oh little Tommy.  I’ve got some good news for you, and some bad news.  The good news is that you’re a cute kid.  Both of your parents were hot, and that makes you a winner of the gene lottery.  Here’s some more good news.  You’ve got the Best Caretaker Ever in Richard Harrow  . . . a guy who, not only, will take you to the carnival, whenever you want to go, he will also win you every prize in the place, because he’s an excellent shot (more on that later).

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But here’s the bad news.  You’re grandmother’s a TOTAL nutbar.  She’s raising you in a whorehouse, and forcing you to call her “Mommy.”  You might not remember this, Tommy, but things didn’t exactly work out so well for the last guy who called Gillian Darmody “Mom.”

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Here are a couple of tips for you, Tommy.  Stay away from the Nutbar.  Keep Harrow by your side.  And emancipate yourself from the whorehouse the minute you’re old enough to buy your own juice boxes . . .

Because you knew Nucky was boning Billie Kent, the minute she drank out of his champagne glass . . .

Every good gangster has a mistress.  Now, Nucky Thompson, is no exception . .  .

I don’t know.  I get that Margaret can be a bit of a cold fish sometimes.  And I’m sure Nucky is still holding a grudge against his wife for the whole “gave my multi-million dollar tract of land to the church” thing.  But I just can’t support this Billy Kent person.  She just seems a bit too Lucy Danziger 2: Electric Boogaloo for my taste.

Maybe he should go a blonde, or a red head, next time . . .

Because Van Alden is getting better and better, every day, and in every way (just ask him) . . .

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It’s not easy being a salesman.  Just ask Arthur Miller, and now, Van Alden, who is still living under the assumed name of “George Mueller” with his baby’s caretaker, who, sometime in the past year, made a little mini-Van Alden of her own with him . . . weird.

The way to every woman’s heart, is her through her lemon . . .

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Apparently, being a door-to-door iron salesman is the 1923 equivalent of telemarketing.  Nobody wants your product, and everyone is constantly slamming the door in your face.  Given all that, you can certainly understand why Van Alden’s “I’m great.  I’m wonderful.  Everybody likes me,” daily affirmations have done little to lift his spirits.

But Van Alden’s luck might just be changing, when he unwittingly saves an enemy of Al Capone’s from meeting his demise on New Year’s Eve.  By way of thanking him, the proud gangster purchases no less than TWENTY FOUR of Van Alden’s ridiculous irons.  (I guess they could be used as weapons . . . just ask Gyp Rosetti).  Van Alden is thrilled, believing that this windfall will be enough to win him the coveted Salesman Prize, which will give him enough loot to buy the “wife and kids” a new house . . .

Unfortunately, just like Charlie Brown, Van Alden seems like one of those guy’s who’s destined to have the football pulled out from under him, just when he’s about to kick the field goal.  One of the poor guy’s colleagues ends up taking the prize, based on a technicality, leaving Van Alden to shuffle home empty handed.

DOH!

Somewhere in Heaven, Agent Sebso is pumping his fist in triumph.  “That’s what you get for baptize/murdering me,” he cries.

Because that little dog is your new favorite character on the show (obviously) . . .

What can I say?  I’m a sucker for a cold wet nose.  And as much as I would have loved to see the tough-as-nails Gyp Rosetti cuddling a cute pooch with one hand, while kicking the crap out of people with another, for an entire season, for the pup’s sake, I’m kind of glad he ended up giving the canine to Mrs. Schroeder-Thompson, toward the end of the episode.  Somehow, I just can’t picture Tire-Iron Killer Guy cleaning up dog poop, and buying kibble . . .

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Because Al Capone and Nucky Thompson make New Years’ Resolutions they know they can’t keep (just like YOU!)

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Forget “losing ten pounds” and “exercising more,” when a gangster makes a New Year’s Resolution, lives are typically at stake, when he inevitably breaks it.   And, if history is any indication, I’m thinking Al Capone’s resolution to “think first, kill later,” and Nucky’s promise to “only sell liquor to Arnold Rothstein,” aren’t going to last much past midnight on January 1st . . .

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Because you’ve been secretly wishing all year that someone would invite you to a party, where they give out free gold jewelry to everyone in attendance . . .

Now, I get that the Thompson’s New Year’s Party was “Egyptian-themed.”  But honestly, couldn’t they have found a cheaper way to pay homage to King Tut, than giving their 100 plus party guests gold baubles.  For example, they could have dressed Driver Eddie up as a mummy, by wrapping him in toilet paper.  Or they could have made everyone wear those stupid pharaoh hats.

Just sayin . . .

Because you are secretly hoping Margaret is still humping Owen Sleater, and you fear this makes you a Bad Person . . .

Right . . . because Owen’s inquiry to Margaret about whether the house needed “more champagne,” wasn’t TOO filled with sexual innuendo, was it?

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I mean, as sexy is This Guy might be . . .

. . . can you really blame Margaret for seeking out the “pot of gold” at the end of this rainbow . . .

Show me your Lucky Charms, Owen . . .

 

Because you may or may not have clapped when Richard Harrow got his revenge against Manny Horvitz, and you KNOW this makes you a Bad Person . . .

Don’t wait up, Mrs. Manny Horvitz.  Something tells me, the Butcher won’t be home for dinner . . .

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Until next time, my fellow Boardwalkians . . .

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The Unforgiven – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s Season 2 Finale, “To the Lost”

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Television show writers always walk a fine line when drafting a game-changing season finale for a series they know will be returning in the fall.  On one hand, there’s a lot of pressure to “go out with a bang,” and “shock people.”  And modern TV viewers are notoriously jaded, and hard to shock . . . because, basically, we’ve seen it all before.  So, if you really want to get people talking about your show over a long hiatus period, you can’t pull any punches.

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On the other hand, if you go too far, or change things up too much, you risk alienating the very audience you worked so hard to keep.  After all, your fans have certain expectations regarding shows they love.  And they need to know that the show to which they are returning is the same one they fell in love with, in the first place.

Undoubtedly, this is the quandary Terence Winter and Co. found themselves mired in, when drafting “To the Lost.” It was, by all accounts a spectacular season finale, one that will undoubtedly have fans talking about it long after the final credits have rolled.  But now that things have changed so dramatically, will fans have a reason to return?

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Let’s review, shall we?

“Welcome back, fellas!”

Jimmy Darmody spent this episode much like Queen Latifah’s character did in “Last Holiday,”  (only without the fancy dresses   . . . and all the food  . . . and certainly without Cuba Gooding Jr.)

What I mean, of course, is that Jimmy spent the entire episode behaving as a man who knew he was marked for death.  He tidied up his affairs.  He righted wrongs.   He gave people important pieces of advice.  Jimmy assured himself that when he left this world, he would do so with as few regrets possible, given the life he lived.

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“I’m no one’s idea of a hero, least of all mine,” Jimmy said to the masses, during his impromptu speech on Veterans Day.

But Jimmy sure seemed like a hero, this week, which is how we all pretty much knew he was a goner.  Let this be a lesson to you actors, out there.  If you ever get a script, where your typically flawed, or under-used character, suddenly starts looking like the Messiah, chances are you aren’t making it out of the our alive .  . .

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I just realized he’s still wearing his wedding band .  . .

Anyway, the episode begins with Jimmy and Harrow fulfilling their promise to Chalky White, by hand-delivering to him and his men, the three KKK members responsible for shooting him, and his family.

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“We gonna SCHOOL THESE CRACKERS SHEET-HEADS!”

 In addition to these fine specimen, Jimmy also offered additional money to the families of the people the KKK had murdered during their raid.  In return, Chalky agreed to end the labor strike,  and broker a meeting between Jimmy and Nucky.  Now, I’m not usually one who condones violence, but I have to say, I got a bit of thrill watching Chalky and his former-foe-turned-bestie,  Purnsley, gleefully kicking the crap out of these racist bastards.  Those sheet-heads had it coming . . .

 

They sure are dapper and perky, psycho killers,  aren’t they? 

As Harrow and Jimmy drive away from the fray, Harrow turns to Jimmy and tries to offer him some sage advice / tough love.  “You know, no matter what you do, he’ll never forgive you for everything you did,” he says, clearly referring to Nucky, and Jimmy’s newfound, almost compulsive need to make things right with him.

And how does Jimmy respond to his most loyal comrades eerily prophetic words?  “Let’s get some steak,” he says.

“I wouldn’t, if I were you!” 

It sure is good to see that Jimmy has his priorities straight.  I mean, you can’t eat when you’re dead, right?

Meanwhile, Nucky is meeting with that poopface, Angela-killer, Manny Horvitz, who is seeking the opportunity to kill his bitter rival, Waxy Gordon, in exchange for allowing Nucky to kill Jimmy.  Nucky doesn’t seem particularly interested.  At least . . . not at first . . .

“Might I instead interest you in a fresh cut of man meat?” 

After his meeting with Poopface, Nucky arrives home to find Dangerous Maid Katie, and Anonymous Maid helping Emily walk with her new braces.  He asks where Margaret has gone.  Dangerous Maid and Anonymous Maid don’t know.

But we do . . .

“Set yourself free.”

One thing I definitely won’t miss about Boardwalk Empire is that ugly ass hat Margaret’s been wearing, ever since she got enough money to afford it.  I HATE that hat!  You know what else is kind of annoying?  That self-assured, independent Margaret suddenly needs to consult her priest about every single decision she makes.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he also accompanies her to the bathroom . . .

“Fa-ther, should I wipe myself with my right hand, or my left?” 

So, Margaret ended up paying the federal prosecutor a visit, after all.  And she did so, with her trusty priest at her side.  That said, I found it a bit suspicious that the priest, of all people, seemed to be the one trying to convince Margaret not to speak.  This makes me wonder if Nucky has this guy in his back pocket too.  (Nucky’s back pocket is a crowded place, indeed.)

It was interesting seeing Margaret face off against Assistant D.A. Esther Randolph.  After all, in many ways these two women are alike: intelligent, strong, judgmental to a fault, and somewhat cold and aloof.  But they have vastly different value systems.  As a result, the strategies these two women use to succeed in the male-oriented world in which they live are diametrically opposed to one another . . .

Margaret attempts to engage Esther in conversation by asking her whether it was difficult to become a lawyer.  “Not if you are willing to do what it takes to achieve it,” replies Esther staunchly.

And yet, later she admits that it was, in fact, difficult for her to achieve.  Margaret has little trouble admitting to Esther that her first husband was a drunkard, who beat her and her children.  However, she becomes noticeably uncomfortable, when Esther notes how much better Margaret is doing for herself, now that her first husband is out of the way.  “He’s never been cruel to me,” Margaret says of Nucky, clearly already having doubts about the decision she’s made.

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“Though, admittedly, the sex leaves a bit to be desired . . .”

“But he’s been cruel to so many others,” Esther retorts.

“I’ve never seen it,” Margaret replies.

“But you know it to be true!”

The conversation really reaches its breaking point, when Esther suggests its wrong for Margaret to not testify against Nucky, because this would be better for her children.  “You would put their well being above all others?”  Esther asks.

Obviously for Margaret, as I suspect, for most mothers, the answer to that question is “yes.”  And this is where Esther loses Margaret.  Because of all the “sins” for which the latter feels guilty, protecting her children is definitely not one of them.  (At least, she’s not . . . you know . . . kissing their winkies  . . .or anything like that)

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 “Set yourself free,” Esther says, in a last ditch effort to convince Margaret to testify against her funny-looking gangster lover.  “You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.”

And Margaret does end up “setting herself free,” by the end of the hour . . . just not in the way either Nucky Thompson or Esther Randolph would have expected . . .

Elsewhere, Nucky is meeting with his lawyer, who is instructing him that he needs to “take care” of the Margaret situation, before she ruins everything for him.  But could Nucky really murder his Margiepoo. . .

 . . . or does he have a more peaceful solution in mind?

“Let me make things right.”

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Jimmy Darmody is smoking by the window, and looking decidedly broken, beaten and bereft but still hot.   When Nucky’s car pulls up in his driveway, his first instinct is to grab a gun.  (It’s a good instinct.)  But Nucky’s new driver / Number 1 Henchman, Owen, a.k.a. Jimmy 2.0, also has a gun, and this prompts Jimmy to put his down.  (Though, if it were me, I would probably have the opposite response in this situation.

“You can wait outside.  It’s OK, I used to do your job,” says Jimmy, a statement that is equal parts friendly and patronizing.

You’re the reason I’m doing it now,” retorts Owen, as he reluctantly leaves the house.

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Touche, Sexypants!

Solemn and respectful, Jimmy pours his former father figure a drink, and proceeds to tell him about all his dearly departed family members, and who is responsible for each of their deaths, “To the Lost,” he toasts, holding his tumblr aloft.  (I smell an episode title!)

The conversation quickly turns to Jimmy’s father, and murder victim, the Commodore.  “I should have killed him the moment he suggested betraying you,” Jimmy admits “And I did kill him . . . it just happened to be a few episodes too late.”

Poor Jimmy . . . sexually molested by his mother .  . . this was clearly a man in need of a healthy parent-child relationship.  And you can’t help but feel bad for him, when he confides in Nucky that he was nearly brought to tears when the then-ailing Commodore once told him, “You’re a good son.”

“He was your father.  Nothing trumps family,” Nucky says, echoing Margaret’s sentiments from earlier in the episode.

In hindsight, this statement was a hefty little piece of foreshadowing.  But more on that, in a bit . . .  “What can I do?”  Jimmy pleads, seeking forgiveness from Nucky, as if the latter is his personal priest.

“Tell the truth,” Nucky exclaims.

“I was angry,” is all Jimmy can say in response.

He does manage to tell Nucky that the shooting was all Eli’s idea, which, of course, we know it was.  But whether Nucky truly believes this of his own personal Fredo, will surely be a topic of discussion, over the next few weeks  . . .

“Let’s make things right  .  . . as right as they can be,” Jimmy insists, finally.  “Tell me how to help you.”

I know how I can help you, Jimmy.  Here’s a little piece of advice:

“If there really is a god, would he have given me this mug?”

As big of a crock of sh*t as Nucky’s tail-between-his-legs, “I need you to marry me, so you can’t testify against me, due to spousal privilege . . . so I’m basically going to blow all this religious smoke up your ass that I don’t really give two craps about . . . but, hey, at least I’m not going to MURDER you . . . YAY!” speech to Margaret ended up being, it gave me a lot of respect for Steve Buscemi.  I mean, clearly, someone wrote that script with the actor in mind.  Especially since, from what I’ve heard, the real Enoch Johnson was quite the looker, back in the day . . .

My favorite people in the world are the ones who can laugh at themselves.  Obviously, Steve Buscemi is one of these people . . .

While Ugly Mug Nucky is trying to “make things right,” on his end, Jimmy is busy preparing for his future, or rather, his lack of one.  When the Late Commodore’s lawyer, Uncle Junior from The Sopranos, tells Jimmy that the bastard left all his wealth to the maid that may or may not have tried to poison him, Jimmy proceeds to RIP UP THE WILL, while Uncle Junior watches, secretly impressed.

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“I’m strangely aroused.”

Jimmy’s morbid inquiry as to whether his son will inherit the Commodore’s money when he dies, does give that baby f*&ker Gillian some pause.  But the big dollar signs in her eyes prevent her from giving the matter the attention that it deserves . . .

After disposing of the Commodore’s will, Jimmy meets with the alderman who will be testifying against Nucky, and politely asks them to recant their statements.  An offer they all, at least, initially refuse, though one of them, might end up being sorrier about that decision than the others . . .

Meanwhile, Margaret awakens to see Nucky helping Emily walk with her leg braces.  She’s so touched by the gesture that she ultimately agrees to marry Nucky, provided she can make a full confession to her good pal, the Priest first . . .  (See what I mean, about her consulting that guy about EVERYTHING!)

“Fa-ther, does marrying Nucky mean I can’t have delicious sex with Owen, anymore?” 

“Nahhhhh!” 

“I’ll take the ducks” 

The opening statement / wedding / murder montage was probably my favorite part of the entire episode, because it reminded me so much of the last twenty minutes of all three Godfather movies (even that super sh*tty third one), as well as some of my favorite Sopranos episodes.  The montage begins with a nervous, but fiercely determined, Esther Randolph practicing her opening statement against Nucky Thompson, in front of her bedroom mirror.

While she rehearses, her case slowly unravels, right before our eyes.  First we see Margaret give her confession, and marry Nucky, with Owen and Katie, of all people, as witnesses (AWK-WARD!)

As for Esther’s former star witness, Van Asshole, he’s taken his sweet little foreign nanny, and baby Abigail to Cicero, Illinois, where they will live as husband, wife and child, under the name “Mueller.”  (Wow!  I wonder what he told that Nanny to get her to agree to that?   Surely, the explanation didn’t involve the BAPTISM FROM HELL!)

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Harrow storm into the courthouse, like the bad asses they are, promptly securing seven recantments from all of the Alderman’s set to testify against Nucky . . . well make that six recantments, and one . . . SUICIDE NOTE.

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Should have said, “Yes,” the first time he asked you to recant, Neery!

At trial, Esther is both furious and humiliated by this recent turn of events.  The judge gives her two options, proceed with her now-joke of a trial against Nucky, or come back later, once she has her ducks in a row. “I’ll take the ducks,” replies Esther.

Good choice! 

Speaking of lame ducks, it’s not easy being a Friend of Fredo!  While Eli was released from jail, immediately after the trial, it was the beaten-up and extremely pathetic-looking Deputy Halloran, who ended up taking the fall for him.  (And I mean that, literally.  The guy could barely stand up straight.)

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 Deputy, something tells me you will be “sitting there” for a looooooong time.

“Et tu, Eli?”

Oh, Eli!  You’re so lucky to have a brother like Nucky.  Not only does he let you get off, more or less, scot-free for TRYING TO HAVE HIM KILLED, he also provides you with valuable lessons on classical literature . . .

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A true expert at trying to save his own ass, the fact that Eli tells Nucky that he wasn’t the one behind Eli’s attempted murder is not surprising.  What is surprising is that Nucky actually believes him.  Or does he?  You recall that earlier in the episode, Nucky told Jimmy that there is nothing more important than the bonds of family . . . that blood is thicker than water.  So, perhaps, it was ultimately that rationale, which prompted Nucky to choose his blood bag brother, Eli, over his watery-eyed erstwhile protege, Jimmy.

In the scene that follows this one, Nucky calls Arnold Rothstein, while the latter is discussing heroine with Meyer and Lucky.  He asks Rothstein, though not in so many words, whether he would care if Nucky wacked Manny Horvitz.  In response, Lucky and Meyer snicker, which, is more or less what these two massively underused characters have been doing all season . . . snickering . . . at everything.

(They’re still kind of sexy though.)

Rothstein pragmatically replies that he has no opinion, one way or the other.  But he does offer Nucky some sage advice, “Flip a coin, when it’s in the air, you’ll know which side you’re hoping for.”

On it’s surface, it seems as though the statement is referring to whether or not Nucky should kill Manny.  But in hindsight, it seems more like Nucky is trying to decide whether to kill his own brother, or Jimmy.  After all, Rothstein’s statement sounds surprisingly similar to the one Jimmy uttered to Nucky, right before the latter was shot.  “It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, as long as you make a decision.”

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Nucky might know that it’s wrong to trust Eli over Jimmy.  But, rest assured, when that coin is up in the air, he’s hoping his brother’s side comes out on top . . .

Speaking of Jimmy . . .

“It’s time for you to come home.”

There’s a definite wistul nostalgia surrounding Jimmy, when he takes his son out for a pony ride, and regales him with stories from some of the brighter moments of his childhood.   Jimmy probably never expected to be a father as soon as he was, and he wasn’t a perfect one, by any means.  But it was always clear that he loved little Tommy deeply, and raised him the best way he knew how . . .

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When Jimmy gives Tommy his dog tags, it certainly feels like he’s saying goodbye to his son, forever.  And when Tommy immediately selects the solider hat, over the cowboy hat to wear while riding the pony,  Jimmy is both proud of him, and afraid for him, at the same time.  Though, if I was Jimmy, I’d be much more afraid of leaving him with that wackadoo mother of his, than about his possibly dressing up like an army man for Halloween.

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Back at home, Jimmy and Harrow are drunkenly reminiscing about their days as soldiers in the war, an experience that broke them both beyond repair, and yet, at the same time, bonded them for life.  Harrow admits that being at war was the only time that Harrow truly felt like he belonged, and that sometimes he feels like he’s still at war . . .

To this, Jimmy responds, by giving himself a sage piece of advice that, had he himself, been able to follow it, his life might have been very different, indeed . . .

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Giving Richard permission to “come home from war,” is Jimmy’s first parting gift to Richard.  His second may very well be the gift of life.  When Nucky calls the house, instructing Jimmy to meet him in a remote area, at night, in the rain, Harrow offers to go in his place, or, at least, accompany him.   But Jimmy refuses the offer, telling Richard that, “This is something I’ve gotta do myself.”

When Jimmy leaves out the back door, so as to prevent his mother and child from knowing where he is going, Richard knows for certain that he’s never coming back.  In a way, he knew it the minute he told Jimmy that Nucky would never forgive him for the crimes the former perpetrated against him . . .

 

And when Gillian finds the dog tags around her grandson’s neck, she knows it too.  “You’re going to be an important man, some day . . . just like your father,” Gillian says to Little Tommy.  (For Tommy’s sake, I sure hope not . . .)

“I’m not seeking forgiveness.”

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Jimmy arrives at the meeting spot, unarmed, and ready to die.  He is not the least bit surprised to Eli, Nucky, Owen, Manny, and a couple of random goons with guns lying in wait for him.   “I died back in the trenches,” Jimmy admits.

He no longer fears death.  In fact, he may even welcome it, or feel like he deserves it.  And when Jimmy learns that Nucky will be the one to kill him, he seems almost proud of that fact, as if taking the final bullet from anyone else would be an insult.  It sort of reminds me of how Tony killed his cousin (also played by Buscemi) in cold blood, because he didn’t want anyone else to get the chance.  In an odd way, Jimmy himself predicted this, when he made this bold statement to Nucky toward the end of the first season . .  .

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If it wasn’t so slit-your-wrist depressing, it would be almost comedic how Jimmy seems to be coaching Nucky in the art of murdering him.  “Just breathe, Nucky.  You’ll get through this,” he says.  “The only person left to judge you as you.”

But Nucky doesn’t seem to find this advice helpful at all.  In fact, it only makes him madder . . .

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For a second there, when Jimmy started gurgling, and coughing up blood, still clearly alive, having not been shot in the head, but, rather, in the mouth  (He DID tell you to breathe, Nucky!  Maybe, if you did, you would have been more efficient.), I actually got all excited, thinking my guy might just make it through this, after all.

But . . . then he shot him in the head . . . and that was the end of that.

“He’s reenlisting.”

As awful as it was to see Jimmy ripped from this world, and this show, the fact that Nucky was so smug about it the next morning, at the breakfast table with Margaret made it ten times worse.  Talk about embracing your gangster side!  But when Nucky announces that the reason he was out in the rain in the middle of the night was because, “Jimmy decided to reenlist,” Margaret finally figures out that all the religious bullcrap he laid on her to get her to marry him, was just a bunch of lies . . .

But it seems Margaret might be the one having the last laugh.  Remember when Nucky signed all his property, including that massive land mass on which he wanted to build a major money making road to Atlantic City?  Well, Margaret just signed away her rights to it . . . and deeded them over to . . . wait for it . . . THE CHURCH!

It looks like this kitty just got claws . . . make that a machine gun.

Somewhere in Heaven(?) Jimmy Darmody just gave Margaret Schroeder a big ole’ high five . . .

And that was season 2 of Boardwalk Empire in a nutshell.  But here’s my question: where do we go from here?  After all, Jimmy Darmody was just as much an anchor to this show for two seasons as Nucky Thompson.  Is Steve Buscemi strong enough, or likeable enough to carry this show on his own?  Do any of the pre-existing characters have the charisma or the fan support necessary to take Jimmy’s place?

For the show’s head writer, Terence Winter’s take on this, feel free to check out this interesting, if a bit frustrating, interview from Entertainment WeeklyAlso, check out this “scandalous” article on TVline.com, which not-so-subtly alludes to a possible less-than-kosher reason why the writers might have decided to axe the Darmody character.   As for me, I’m going to hold my tongue, and save my most opinionated rhetoric for the comment section (should anyone decide to comment ;)).  For now, I leave you with an absolutely hilarious musical number from that dude that used to play Agent Sebso on the show.  Seriously, he’s AWESOME!

Hey, Erik Weiner, if you’re reading this, CALL ME! ;)

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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BAD MOMMY! – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s “Under God’s Power She Flourishes”

[Hey Gossip Girl fans, be sure to check back here, tomorrow evening (December 6th) for a recap of the mid-season finale episode, "Riding in Town Cars with Boys."  Thanks for your patience!]

OK, Michael Pitt . . . the good news is that you get to have sex with the beautiful Gretchen Mol on cable television  (you know, where they can actually show all the dirty stuff) The bad news is, she plays YOUR MOTHER . . .

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Want to know who’s probably not getting a Mother’s Day card, this year?  THIS LADY . . .

 Happy Motherf*&ker’s Day?

We’ve all that suspected something more than a bit un-kosher was going on between Gillian Darmody and her son, Jimmy.  But man . . . there was just something about seeing it up close and personal that really did a number on my retinas, you know?

Personally, I think the fact that the characters are played by two extremely attractive actors, who, in real life, aren’t all that far apart in age, made the whole thing so much worse.  Because, in any other situation, that scene would have actually been kind of hot . . .

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here.  Though it’s quite hard to believe, there were actually other things that went on in this episode.  Let’s talk about them briefly, before we get to the main event.  Shall we?

Run, Van Alden, RUN!

So, it turns out, Van Alden’s parents were part of one of those creepy religious cults that make you sell all your worldly belongings, in preparation for The Armageddon . . .

 (Holy crap!  Until I uploaded this poster, I had no clue that Steve Buscemi was actually in Armageddon.  Is it A SIGN?)

So, Van Alden was actually spawned by religious nutbars.  It’s a wonder he turned out so normal, right?

So, remember back in Season 1, when Van A$$hat was all in luuuuuuuuve with Margaret Schroeder . . . so much in love, in fact, that he wanted nothing more – after a long hard day of busting up liquor joints – than to look at a picture of her at age 16, and . . . um. . . WHACK OFF?  (See image above.)  Well, Van Alden is going to hope you forget that little tidbit of info.  Because, when asked by the Federal Prosecutor about his “opinion” of Ms. Schroeder, he claims to have formed none, one way or the other.  Poor Margaret!  I guess Van Asshole is “just not that into you” anymore . . .

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I know, you’re all torn up about it.  But try to stay strong . . .

Van Alden may be becoming more discerning about the people with whom he wants to slap himself silly spend his spare time.  However, plenty of folks want a piece of him, this week.  We’ve got his baby nanny telling him that he’s a “good person,” in one scene. And that Human Punching Bag with the Woody Woodpecker voice, Mickey, trying to  strike a clandestine deal with him in another.

“Just another day at the office, HEHEHEHEHEE, OWWWW!” 

Speaking of Mickey, his cuts and bruises from the past two weeks, seem to have healed rather quickly.  Unfortunately, it’s done nothing to earn him any respect among his hoodlum peers.  Thrown off a balcony by Jimmy, strangled by Manny, and virtually cut out of liquor deal by Capone, Luciano and Lansky, Mickey seems willing to do anything to get back whatever little manhood he has left . . . even if that means ratting out the rest of his crew to Van Alden, in exchange for both men partaking in a $150,000 a piece.

Van Alden ultimately turns down the deal.  But something tells me, by the end of the episode, he’s going to wish he took it.  After all, $150,000 can buy you and your bastard child a WHOLE LOTTA LEMONS . . . especially when you’re ON THE LAM.

But Van Alden’s creepy crush on Margaret, and sticky fingers’ tendency to steal cash while on the job, aren’t the only secrets that come back to haunt him, this week.  Remember the BAPTISM FROM HELL?

THIS GUY does . .  .

Or, at least, he would, if VAN ALDEN HADN’T DROWNED HIM, IN FRONT OF A WHOLE CHURCH’S WORTH OF PEOPLE.  Coincidentally, one of the people who watched this take place, just so happens to be one of Nucky’s employees.  And this employee is more than happy to turn this information over to Nucky, to show him gratitude for keeping him employed during the strike.

At least HE won’t be getting whacked for Christmas . . . 

Nucky’s newer, younger, smarter attorney is quick to pounce on this information.  He gleefully turns it over to the Feds, even going so far as to dig Sebso’s clothing out of the water.  (Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!)

In an oddly hilarious turn of events, Van Alden arrives at work, only to be confronted with his crime, and arrested on the spot (just about a year too late).  When cornered, the doofus shoots the Assistant Prosecutor in the tummy, and dashes off awkwardly, like a tubby kid being pelted by dodgeballs.

I knew I should have began an exercise regimen . . .

Somewhere in heaven, Agent Sebso is pumping his fist in triumph, not to mention laughing his ass off . . .

“Who have you cheated on?”

Don’t mess with CRAZY EYES!

In what was probably the most annoying storyline of the evening except for that scene with OWEN, TV Recapper likes Owen . . . A LOT!, Margaret continued her lame attempts to “save” Nucky, by helping him find religion, just as she found it, two episodes ago.  (Maybe Margaret has more in common with Van Alden and his parents than we thought.)

If the ugly hat fits . . . 

Call me a sap, but I actually really liked the Priest’s story about the people in Heaven who all fed eachother with their abnormally large spoons.  I thought it was adorable.  And yet, Nucky’s inquiry as to why the people in Hell couldn’t just hold the spoons differently, so they could feed themselves, also made a lot of good sense to me.  (Actually, I would say they all should just eat with their fingers.  Spoons are overrated, anyway.)

Nucky Thompson personally invites you to take your abnormally large spoon, and shove it up your . . . lobster.

Speaking of spoons, Margaret might be wishing she thought twice before spooning with Sexy Owen, especially, now that Dangerous Maid Katie seems wise to their “one-time” indiscretion.

 “So, tell me Margie, was he as good for you, as he was for me?”

It all started when Owen offered Margaret a helping hand with little Emily’s polio braces.  (As Owen knows full well, when trying to get back into a woman’s panties, it’s always helpful to remind her how “handy” you are.)

“Do you think about me?  Because I think about you,” Owen admits, in a confession that is equal parts oddly romantic, and shamelessly flirtatious.

“I have a big gun, and I’m not afraid to use it.”

When Margaret patronizes her former sex buddy, by telling him she will “pray he gains the strength not to think about her.”  The cocky, confident Owen is unfazed, cheekily responding that, if she prays for him, she WILL be thinking about him.  Katie overhears this, and stalks off, undoubtedly to write in her diary about two-timing poopyhead scoundrels who’s names start with “O” and end with “wen.”

“Can I, perhaps, interest either of you in a threesome?’ 

Later that night, Margaret is drinking hard liquor, all in a snit, because she’s been subpoenaed by the Feds on account of that whole “Nucky had her drunk abusive husband killed” thing.  She starts rambling on to Nucky about how the two of them are living their lives in sin, and blah, blah, blah.  But things start to get messy, when Margaret decides to use Nucky as an impromptu Priest, randomly confessing to him that she has stolen, deceived, and cheated.

Nucky’s no dummy.  So, he inquires as to the specific circumstances behind each of the aforementioned sins.  Interestingly enough, Nucky barely reacts to the realization that Margaret has stolen money from him.  (Why not?  Everybody else does.)  He also fails to react to Margaret’s silly non-confession that she has “deceived anyone who has ever thought of her as a good person.”

But things get interesting, when Nucky asks Margaret who she cheated on.  There have been a few instances, throughout this season, where Nucky seemed to somehow know of Margaret’s X-rated rendezvous with Owen.  And this was just one more telltale scene to add to the pile.  “Just say it,” Nucky challenges, as if already anticipating her response.

How could you possibly want more than THIS? 

However, Margaret has conveniently decided she’s done confessing her sins today.  Instead, she turns the tables on Nucky, blatantly accusing him of having her husband killed, and basically threatening to testify against Nucky in court.  Mind you, this is AFTER Nucky pretty much told Margaret that if he ever went to jail, he’d make sure she got all of his assets, to be spent on her and her two children, one of whom HAS POLIO.  I mean, being ungrateful and self-righteous is one thing, but being stupid is quite another.

“I gave you everything,” exclaims Nucky, before stalking out of the room, seeming more hurt than angry, at his lover’s surprise betrayal.

Hey Margaret, Nucky’s feeding you with his BIG SPOON.  You’d be wise to fill your mouth with food and keep quiet . . .

And now, the storyline you’ve all been waiting for . . . TV Recappers Anonymous proudly presents to you, Oedipus Darmody: Atlantic City Edition . . .

“One day soon, he won’t be a little boy, anymore.”

When we last left our antihero, Jimmy he was headed to his alma mater, Princeton, the school whose motto is the title for this episode.  Jimmy had big plans for Princeton . .  . plans that involved unloading a carload of heroine and some quality booze on a bunch of wealthy Ivy Leaguers.  (That Jimmy . . . always giving back.)  Then, those plans got shot to Heaven . . . literally, when his wife and her lover both met the business end of Manny Horvitz’s gun, all on account of Jimmy’s unpaid debt.

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Now, all that lovely white powder is up Jimmy’s nose, instead of in some smart kid’s pocket..  Now, he’s hallucinating / remembering those good ole days .  . . you know, back when he was in Princeton, the place where he met his wife-to-be, and, f*&ked his mother for this first time.  Ahhh memories . . .

Things started out pretty well for Princeton Jimmy, actually.  He had a cute waitress girlfriend, who drew pictures of him while he slept, and even liked his floppy hair.

He was also the teacher’s pet in his Dead Poet’s Society-esque English class, which was taught by a teacher who was significantly less hairy than Robin Williams.  Some of his pals from that class were enlisting in the army, because they had brothers who died on the Lusitania.  But not Jimmy.  Jimmy could care less about sticking it to the Kaiser.  After all, he’s from the A.C., and soldiering is just not how they roll down there . . .

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Then, we find out that Angela’s pregnant.  And we think . . . uh oh . . . here comes the CRAZY JIMMY we know and love.  But actually . . . he’s TOTALLY COOL WITH IT.  She’s a nice girl.  He figures they’ll get married, move back to A.C. together, pop out a few puppies, and most certainly NOT involve themselves with sapphic adulterous relationships, or organized crime.  NO SIR, not these two good kids.

But then . . . MOM COMES TO VISIT!  *insert horror movie scream*

She begins her reign of terror, by liquoring our boy Jimmy up, even though he has a PAPER TO WRITE!

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Then, she patronizes his girlfriend!

Then, she goes to his school mixer and hits on all his friends, and his DEAD POET’S SOCIETY TEACHER!

“Hey, Professor.  Look how high I can lift my leg.  Do I get an A?” 

Next, she gets fondled / possibly raped by that same Dead Poet’s Society Teacher.  (Robin Williams wouldn’t do that!)  This causes a weirdly jealous Jimmy to kick the sh*t out of not-Robin Williams, thereby facing possible expulsion from Princeton.

Oh, but it gets worse.  Mama Darmody proceeds to get herself wasted.  So, she stumbles back to Jimmy’s dorm room, requests his help undressing, falls into bed with him and . . . HAS SEX WITH HIM, while the train passes by.

 

(And based on the sound that train made, you could tell it was just as disgusted as we were!)

“There’s nothing wrong with this,” says Mommy Dearest, as she bumps and grinds with Sonny Boy, as if she was doing nothing more taboo, than having a glass of wine with lunch.

The next morning, Jimmy wakes up hungover, wanting to bleach himself out of existence.  Instead, he enlists in the army . . . claiming he has no living relatives, and a brother who died in the Lusitania.  Basically, he’s claiming to be somebody else, because, he desperately wants to be anyone but himself.  (Can you blame him?)

And that’s how Jimmy ended up in World War I.  The rest is Boardwalk Empire history . . .

Eventually, Jimmy returns home, drugged out, and highly emotional.  His creepy sicko mom should have seen the signs that this guy was a bomb waiting to explode.  But no.  Instead, she sits calmly, working on her needlepoint.  She then carelessly assures Jimmy that, in one month, Little Tommy won’t even remember Angela, anymore, and will likely come to view Gillian-Winkie-Toucher as his real mom.

Well . . . that does it.  Next thing you know, Jimmy’s got his hands around Gillian’s neck, and is screaming repeatedly.  “But I’ll remember.”

Deja-vu? 

For a few seconds there, it looks like he might actually kill her.  But then, in comes the Commodore to Gillian’s rescue.  Because, if anyone could relate to a fellow pedophile, it’s him.  You’ve got to admit, for a stroke victim / old tubby guy, that Commodore’s got some real “get up and go.”

Size does matter. 

He stabs Jimmy with a poker, and is about to complete the job, when Jimmy STABS HIM in the gut . . .

“Anyone up for a nice game of checkers?” 

There are few seconds there, after Jimmy has pulled out the knife, where the Big Happy Family all stare at one another in shock . . . possibly considering hugging it out, and having a big laugh over all of this.  (Just another great story to tell at Christmas dinner, right?)  But then, Gillian tells Jimmy to “finish it,” like she’s the announcer in some random father/ son wrestling match, or the computerized voiceover at the end of that game, Mortal Kombat.

And Jimmy actually does it . . . he finishes it, stabbing Commodore again . . . in the heart, this time.  You can’t undo that . . .

Time passes, and a dazed Jimmy awakens to find Richard, once again cleaning up his bloody mess.  (In an earlier, truly poignant scene, we see poor Richard — who has genuinely become the heart of this show – falls to his knees in anguish, upon touching the blood of Angela Darmody, the only woman, since his sister, who really seemed to care for, and understand him.)

In the chilling final moments of the episode, we see Tommy calling for his mommy, and Gillian answering the call.  She promptly picks up the small child,  as she undoubtedly did many times with Jimmy, during his youth.  “One day soon, he won’t be a little boy anymore,” says Gillian cheerfully, though, coming from her, it sounds like a threat.

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As grandma and kid climb the staircase, Jimmy watches, broken, beaten, and clearly terrified.

But you know who I’m most terrified for  . . . Tommy Boy.  Kid, if you know what’s best for you, you will run as fast as those little legs will carry you.  (And while you’re at it, you should really consider picking up Baby Abigail Van Alden.)

“HEEEEEEEELLLLLP!!!!” 

And that’s all she wrote on the penultimate episode of Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire.  Next stop, the finale . . . See ya then!

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[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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When Life Gives You Lemons . . . – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s “The Age of Reason”

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I continue to learn a lot from Boardwalk Empire.  For example, this week, I learned that the Age of Reason is seven-years old (which sucks, because I was really hoping I hadn’t gotten there yet).  I also learned that you should always brush your hair, before giving birth to a baby by yourself in your bedroom.  (You never know who might be stopping by.)

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“Her hair . . . it was just so . . . UNKEMPT!”

Additionally, I learned some very interesting things about kosher meat preparation.   Also, did you know that it is possible to seduce someone, just by offering to sweep up their cornflakes?

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Because it is!  (Owen, you sneaky STUD, you!)

Finally, I learned that, if you make out with your mom in public, Uncle Junior from The Sopranos will TOTALLY judge you!

You should be ashamed of yourself, you Mother Pucker! 

Let’s get on with the recap, shall we?

“I’ll Keep You, My Dirty Little Secret.”

Pyromaniac Teddy has to make his First Confession this week.  So, why is Margaret the one who’s panties are all in a bunch?  Could it be because SHE has been doing a little sinning of her own?

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“I am not having sexual thoughts right now.  I am simply stroking this broom up and down repeatedly, because the friction helps me to clean better.  Yes . . . that’s it.”

After spending some quality time with the priest, Margaret arrives home to enjoy what has become her favorite past time over the past few weeks: namely, The Passive Aggressive Verbal Assault of Maid Katie.  Truth be told, Margaret seems to have had it out for this Dangerous Maid, ever since the latter learned the truth about her “secret” identity, and the family she left behind.  This week’s jabs are directed at the highly spirited naked aerobics noises Margaret heard coming Katie’s room, in the last episode.

MARGARET: “I just want to let you know that I think your loud sex moans are totally fake and unnecessary.  This is HBO, not Skinemax.” 

KATIE: For your information, my moans are totally real.  Perhaps, you’ve just never had a partner that was good enough to make you scream like that.”

“HEY!  I heard that!”

“Your behavior . . . there are children in this house, as you are well aware,” snorts Queen Mother Margaret, as she stalks out of the room.

Cut to the next scene, where Nucky is riding Margaret, like she’s one of those coin-operated horses you see outside supermarkets.

Aside from showing Margaret’s apparent hypocrisy .  . . as far as sex scenes go, this one is pretty darn ugly . . .  with Nucky flopping all over the place, like a fish out of water, and Margaret, lying there, more or less immobile, with a look on her face, like she just smelled something skanky.  Then it ends, and Studly Nucky lights up a cigarette, while patting himself on the back  for a job well done . . .

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NUCKY: “Was it as good for you, as it was for me?”

MARGARET: “I plea the Fifth.”

Though Nucky would probably like nothing better than to roll over like a dog and go to sleep, after his 30-second exertion, he notices that Margaret looks upset.   (Isn’t she always?)   So, he decides to ask her what’s wrong?  Just like the insecure school girl, Katie seems to turn her into, Margaret begins awkwardly fishing for compliments from her current lover.  “Do you not find me attractive?” Margaret asks poutily.  Um . . . Margaret, perhaps, the better question is, “Do you actually find Nucky attractive?”

George Clooney, he ain’t!

“We just made love,” Nucky offers soothingly.  (That’s right, Nucky, because no man has EVER screwed a woman he DIDN’T find attractive.)

“Sometimes it feels like you are elsewhere,” Margaret admits.

Margaret then reveals to Nucky the true source of her stress.  It involves the Confession she is expected to give to the priest prior to Teddy’s First Confession, so that she can “set a good example” for her probably already a sociopath / future serial killer son.  Nucky tells his “lover,” in no uncertain terms, that she should NOT reveal anything to the priest about his and Margaret’s “shared history,” which could be described as “morally ambiguous” to say the least.  “How Catholic are you, really?”  He asks casually.

“Catholic enough to shove this halo up your ass . . .” 

However, the accusation and paranoia creeping into Nucky’s voice when he says this, is not lost on Margaret, who retorts, “If you are feeling guilty, perhaps you should take that up with the priest yourself,” she replies.

Game . . . Set . . . Match.  Margaret: 1, Nucky: 0 (actually negative 1, for being bad in bed).

Later, Owen pays a visit to Margaret to defend the honor of his Lady Love, Katie.  After taking FULL responsibility for the Dangerous Maid’s EXTRA LOUD moans of erotic passion, this Pimp Daddy proceeds to cleverly fondle Margaret’s hands and arms, under the guise of “helping her sweep up the Corn Flakes.”  (So, that’s what the cool kids are calling it, nowadays!)  Poor Margaret is total puddy in this guy’s hands, and immediately starts swooning, like a school girl, whose nursing a major crush on the star quarterback.

Owen also makes sure to purposefully accidentally refer to Miss Schroeder as Miss Thompson to REMIND her that she is NOT a married woman, and, therefore, has no LEGAL obligation to continue having bad sex with Nucky, when she can be having GREAT sex with this tall glass of Irish Whisky.  Message sent and received . . .

At confession, Margaret speaks NOT of all the criminal activities she’s gotten up to with Nucky, but rather  of the erotic feelings she’s been having for a “very bad man,” who provides her with “nothing.”  Though she doesn’t mention that man’s name, I think it’s pretty safe to guess that it probably rhymes with Mowin’ Cheater.  Sorry, Nucky!  It looks like this honeymoon is OVER!

“Anyone know how you spell Margaret’s last name?  How about Owen’s?”

Meanwhile, in Creepy Crazy Van Alden Land . . .

“I Know Who What You Did, Nine Months Ago”

“Peekaboo!”

Lucy is SUPER tired of being preggers, and is seriously craving some lemons.  Van Alden, being the real sweetheart he is,  promises to get her some, after work.  Today, “work” for Van Alden involves visiting that employee of his that got burnt to a crisp at a liquor distillery, while trying to expose Van Alden for being a total fraud and secret boozehound.  Van Alden stands guiltily over the latter’s now charred and grotesque form, blubbering on about how the man’s fate is now the Lord’s hands, and what-not.

But then, the Human Bacon Lookalike starts chanting ominously, “I see you.  I know what you did!”

This freaks Van Alden out, BIG TIME.  So, he rushes outside in the hallway, where he is met with (GASP!) a flickering lamp. Oh no!  It MUST be a sign from the Lord that the hospital needs to hire better maintenance people Van Alden is about to be punished for his EVIL WAYS!

Frantic, Van Alden calls his wife, whining that he is a BAD MAN, who doesn’t deserve her, and isn’t fit for his job.  (Tell, us something we DON’T know, Van A$$hole!)  Mrs. Van Al-turd is understandably disturbed by her husband’s uncharacteristic demonstration that he might actually have a soul.

There’s something fishy going on.” 

“I’ll say!”

Meanwhile, Lucy’s water has broken.  And no one is around to get her to a hospital.  She tries to get the neighbor kid to do it.  But he takes one look at Lucy, and hides behind a curtain.  (Honestly, can you blame him?)  For most of the episode, we are “treated” to extremely uncomfortable interludes of Lucy, doing nothing but squatting awkwardly on various pieces of furniture, and moaning . . . (and I’m not talking about the GOOD Katie and Owen moaning, either).

“Please, make it stop.” 

Then, she brushes her hair out in the mirror, and proceeds to give birth to her baby, all by her lonesome.  (But, who cut the umbilical chord?)

“Dr. Jimmy, at your service!” 

Back at the hospital, Van Creepo is completely unaware of the fact that he has just become a daddy.  However, he has received some other good news.  As it turns out, The Human Bacon isn’t REALLY the voice of the LORD.  Rather, he is just some delirious, close to dying, DUDE, who spout out random crap at completely inopportune moments.  We see that, when he tells the NURSE that . . . wait for it . . .”He sees [her].  And knows what she did.”

But wait . . . it gets better.  Here’s what he says next: “You ate all the pie!  I’m going to tell MA!”

Suddenly, Van Douchebag’s conscience is clear!  (HOORAY!)  He comes home lighthearted (with his bag of lemons, of course!) to find broken glass all over the floor.  But before he can beat Lucy to a pulp, for being such a pig, he finds her in bed, nuzzling their newborn evil spawn.  “I did it all myself,” says Lucy.  “It’s a girl.”

Since Van Wackadoo is incapable of showing any genuine emotions, aside from anger, and discomfort, the Agent awkwardly excuses himself to get a doctor.   When he returns, he is shocked to find the lemons he bought, placed neatly in a bowl . . .

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The broken glass has also been cleaned up, and Lucy’s bloody nightgown soaking in the sink.  (Really?   Because, I would throw that sh*t out, SO FAST!  Can you imagine wearing that again?)

Van Doofus is SHOCKED.  “Wow,” he thinks to himself.  “That Lucy is pretty amazing.  She just gave birth, without a doctor, and still manages to find the energy to clean the house!  What a saint!”

But, then, he goes back into Lucy’s room and finds .  . . HIS WIFE, THERE.

DOH!

Van Cheater is in BIG TROUBLE.  “This child is FOR YOU!” He offers, pleadingly, as the two wrestle against the wall.  Then, Rose BITES HIM ON THE WRIST, vampire style, before storming out of the boarding house.

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Whoops!  So, much for a family reunion.   I hope you’ve saved up for a good babysitter, Mr. Van Newly Single.  Because, something tells me that you, and Lucy Can’t Close Her Legs are going to need one . . .

Speaking of plans gone awry . . .

Green Shoes and Legal Blues

Nucky’s Evil Genius Plan to get his Election Fraud case moved to federal court, where (he thought) it would promptly be dismissed, gets off to a good start, when Ugly Green Toad Shoes, Esquire succeeds in getting the case removed from state court.  But then, Nucky’s BIG BAD ENEMIES, Senator Hedge and Mr. Cincinatti / I Only Talk About Myself in the Third Person, Remus . . .

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 . .   band together to blackmail Nucky’s allies into hiring a more vigorous prosecutor to throw the book at Nucky.

This means Nucky might actually have to defend himself in court against a REAL lawyer.  He’s SUPER PISSED .  . . so pissed, in fact, that he tosses Ugly Green Toad Shoes, Esquire right out of the Ritz Carlton, without even waiting for him to finish screwing the whores he hired at Nucky’s behest.  Now . . . that’s just bad manners . . .

Finally, let’s check in on Jimmy D . . .

“Not Every Insult Requires a Response”

Simon says, stick out your arm.  Simon says, hold up your gun.  Now, SHOOT . . . (MANNY!  I didn’t say “Simon Says!”  You’re out!)

Jimmy, Gillian, and a still not particularly communicative Commodore, are meeting in the Commodore’s living room with Uncle Junior from The Sopranos, who doesn’t seem nearly as torn up as you would think he would be about his friend’s unfortunate scalping, last week.  In fact, he seems much more disturbed by the big wet one Mommy Dearest leaves on Jimmy’s lips, as she exits the room.

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JIMMY: “If he’s that grossed out by this, what would he say, if he knew she used to kiss my winkie, when I was a baby and still does.”

Though highly socially aware in most circumstances, this really does seem to be the first time Jimmy sees what his bizarro relationship with his mother, must look like to other people.  “She just does that sometimes,” he tells Uncle Junior, with an embarrassed look on his face.

“I’m confused.  Doesn’t everybody’s mother try to make out with them, every once in a while?”

Fortunately, for Jimmy, Uncle Junior isn’t here to talk about incest.  He’s here to discuss Jimmy’s leadership techniques, and how they could stand some improvement.  “Not every insult requires a response,” notes Uncle Junior cleverly.

In other words, it is not necessary to scalp every old man who tells you that you lack respect for your elders, and proceeds to hit you on the head with a cane . . .

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Overreact, much?

By way of example, Uncle Junior notes how Commodore was a big blow hard as a County Treasurer, while Nucky was more prudent, ambitious, and not afraid to grease a few wheels to get what he wanted.  This , he explains, is why Nucky was more successful than Commodore in his position.

“Oh yeah?  Well, I bet HE can’t hold a big fat phallic elephant tusk over his head!  Oh wait . . . I can’t do that anymore, either.” 

Jimmy gets a chance to use what he learned from Uncle Junior, soon enough.  It begins, when he’s walking on the boardwalk, and sees Nucky walking with known mobster, Waxy Gordon (enemy to JIMMY’s new ally Manny Horovitz) and Manny’s associate Traitor Herman.

To ensure he hasn’t been seen, Jimmy plants a big sloppy tongue kiss on his lesbian wife, in order to hide his face.

Smooth move, Romeo!  (Just don’t tell your Mom, or she’ll get jealous.)

Later, Jimmy rats out Traitor Herman to Manny, who responds by stringing the poor guy upside down in a meat locker.

After getting Traitor Herman to admit that he was conspiring with Waxy to help Nucky secure a liquor shipment, Manny asks Jimmy to slit his friend’s throat, because, as a kosher butcher, he isn’t permitted to kill an already wounded animal.

“This Bud’s for you!” 

It’s a power play, for sure.  But Jimmy only shows the slightest hint of hesitation, before slitting Herman’s throat, in a killing that wasn’t quite as grotesque as the two we saw last week, but still made me hide under my pillow for a few moments, while watching . . .

Later, when Manny, Jimmy and Richard come to intercept the liquor shipment (in a scene echoing the one from the pilot, in which Jimmy and Al Capone did the same thing), they are shocked to find Lucky and Meyer are the ones doing the shipping!  The shock is so great for the usually UBER polite Richard, that it causes him to swear, for what is likely the first time.  This, of course, is oddly adorable, as is most everything Richard Harrow does except , when he scalps people, of course . . .

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Manny wants to kill EVERYBODY, but Jimmy holds him off.  “Not every insult requires a response,” insists Jimmy, echoing the very same words Uncle Junior uttered to him, earlier in the episode.

Tony Soprano approves (even though he hates Uncle Junior) 

That is when Meyer, ever the diplomat and expert negotiator, suggests a plan.  If Waxy and Jimmy team up with Lucky and Meyer in the heroine business, everybody wins.  “Our predecessors’ time has passed,” he remarks prophetically.

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Jimmy and Manny then agree to let Lucky and Meyer complete the liquor delivery, so as not to alert Nucky and his minions about agreement that has just been made.  Then, Manny shoots some 13-year old kid, for sh*ts and giggles, and everybody goes home . . .

It’s just another day on the Boardwalk, folks . . .

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Let’s Not Lose Our Heads Over This – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s “Gimcrack and Bunkum”

[Note:  For those of you looking for a Gossip Girl Recap for "The Fasting and The Furious," check back around this time tomorrow (October 26th) and it should be up by then.  Sorry for the delay! :)]

NUCKY:  “Mirror, mirror on the wall.  Who’s the most badass of them all?  I am, because I beat the crap out of my own brother in the Garden Room.”

JIMMY: “I scalped some old dude in his house, while forcing him to eat a Native American Breach Cloth.”

NUCKY: “DOH!”

Let’s be honest.  Many of us watch gangster dramas for the WHACKINGS. . .

Not THAT kind of whacking . . . 

Sure, we might pretend to be all “evolved and mature” about these shows.  We might even talk a good game about how impressed we are with the “adult things,” like the “cinematography,” and the “symbolism,” and the “character development.”  Yet, in reality, most of us are just secretly waiting for the moment when the character we always knew was a goner anyway, gets murdered in a highly creative and equally disturbing way . . .

And a good gangster drama doesn’t just whack people, wily nily.  There’s got be a build up to the murders . . . some anticipation . . . and longing. So, when the killing actually arrives, you, the viewer, feel rewarded . . . like you’ve earned it.  In short, gangster dramas treat whackings, like teen dramas treat kisses between soulmates.  Technically speaking, both should happen ALL THE TIME, in EVERY episode.  But because they don’t . . . and because you are taunted and teased with the prospect of them, each week, when they DO happen, it is a true Thing of Beauty.

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That’s what “Gimcrack and Bunkum” was to me . .  . a true Thing of Beauty.  Sure, it had good “cinematography,” “character development,” and Richard Harrow being lifted out of an existential crisis by a dog, who tried to eat his “face” off.  But more importantly than all of that, it had two truly spectacular whackings . . .

Let’s review, shall we?

Public Speaking 101

“I’m picturing all of you naked, right now . . . especially you, Jimmy *winks*”

It’s Memorial Day in Atlantic City.  What better day to publicly humiliate a World War I veteran, right?  Apparently, this is what Nucky thinks, when, after saying a few words about the brave men, who fought for his country, Nucky decides to call Mr. Man of Few Words, Jimmy, to the stage for an impromptu speech, and the reading of the names of some dearly departed soldiers.

Jimmy is clearly neither that confortable, nor that experienced with public speaking.  And this, undoubtedly, is precisely what Nucky was counting on, when he made this tactical political and psychological maneuver.  Nucky’s silent message to his former protege turned nemesis is clear: If you can’t even make a simple speech in public, how can you possibly run an entire city?  At first, Nucky’s plan seems to have paid off.  And we watch for a few uncomfortable moments, as Jimmy shakes, sweats, and blinks silently at the waiting crowd.

“I will not puke on the podium . . . I will not puke on the podium . . . I will not puke on the podium, and if I do, I’ll be sure to puke on Nucky.”

But then something happens to Jimmy, as he stands on that stage.  In those few seconds, he transforms from the runty kid, whose father didn’t care about him, and who’s mother used to inappropriately make out with his winky, into a soldier.

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And though Jimmy’s words, may be just as politically motivated, as those of his predecessor, they ring true, in a way that Nucky’s did not, simply because he IS a veteran.  So, when Jimmy talks about fighting for his family and for America . . . and when he pauses in the reading of the names to remark on a fallen soldier he knew personally, we believe him, and find ourselves eating out of the palm of his hand, just like the rest of the watching crowd.

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Match point.  Jimmy: 1, Nucky: 0

Poor Richard (Poorer Squirrel)

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Meanwhile, Poor Richard is looking through his damn “Families are Awesome.  My Life is Sad” scrapbook again.

He then packs himself an apple for lunch, and heads out in the woods to eat bullets from his gun.

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I probably would have eaten the apple, instead.

I’ll never understand why people choose “blowing brains out,” as their preferred method of suicide.  I understand that it’s more error proof than taking pills, or drowning, or shooting yourself in the heart.  But really, I can’t think of a more awful and grotesque way to send one’s self out of the world.  Can you?

So, already, I’m watching this scene through my fingers, hoping we won’t have to see the actual Brain Explosion.  (They never show it on TV.  But that doesn’t ever stop me from fearing that, one day, they will.  This is HBO, after all.)  Fortunately, for us, and Richard, some adorable, but slightly mangy looking dog, interrupts the suicide attempt to play fetch with the Poor Guy’s face mask.

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If you look closely at the dog, he sort of looks like he’s got a mask on one side of his face, similar to Richard’s.  YAY for parallels (and for adorable mask-eating, suicide preventing dogs)!

Now, realistically speaking, you would think that the guy who was about to explode his FACE with gun powder, would no longer have much use for a face mask.  But Richard decides to put off offing himself, to chase the dog, anyway . . .

Richard eventually loses the dog.  But all that running, and NOT killing himself, has made him tired.  So, he chills out by a tree for a bit.  It is there he is discovered by a creepy, but ultimately well-meaning, hunting dude, and another guy who may be his dad, or just  an elderly friend of his.

Just a bunch of guys . . . chilling out . .  . chewing off the heads of rodents . . . 

These two dudes invite Richard to their little bonfire to drink booze and feast on squirrels.  I’ve never seen a roasted squirrel before.  And it surprises me how much they look like pink versions of the Geico Gecko, when de-furred.

“Please don’t eat me.  I give good rates on car insurance.”

It’s gross . . . and sad.  But not as gross and sad, as a headless Richard.  So . . . yay for that . . . I guess.

Oh, and the dog’s there too . . . with Richard’s mask, which now looks a bit more like a doggy chew toy, than half a face.  If I were him, I would have rinsed it off with the alcohol, before putting it back on.  Because, really, who knows where that dog’s mouth has been?  Anyway, apparently, the dog does not belong to either of the two men.  Rather, he is a SOLDIER *cough symbolism / foreshadowing cough*, and a fighter, who survives, by living every day, as if he is at war.

Richard Harrow’s new mascot. 

One of the guys who found Richard might just be a little psychic, since he somehow seems to know instinctively that Richard came to the forest to kill himself.  He lectures the younger man, about how these woods are FOR LIVING .  . . Yeah, dude . . . tell that to the roasting naked squirrels . . .

Judging YOU . . . 

All sarcasm aside, I’m glad Richard decided not to blow his brains out, and that he has found a new purpose for his life . . . More on that, in a bit.

Meanwhile, back at Vegetable Commodore’s house . . .

Never Mess with Old People Carrying Canes

One of these two men will be minus one scalp by the end of the episode.  Bet you can’t guess which one! 

Jimmy and Eli are meeting with those Old Dudes, led by Uncle Junior from the Sopranos . . .

When did Uncle Junior turn into Santa Claus? 

 . .  who are none too pleased with them, about their 70,000 having recently been eaten up by that fire Owen Sleater set last week, at Mickey’s distillery.  Jimmy tries to reassure the men, that the money will be forthcoming.  But with the Commodore no where in sight, the men are becoming restless, and suspicious about the safety of their investments.  When one particularly ornery old man in a wheelchair publicly suggests that the Commodore is either dead or dying, Jimmy mouths off at him, causing the dude to whack him in the face, with his cane.

It was kind of funny.  I’m not going to lie.  Like most Old Dudes, this one thinks that Young People, like Jimmy, need to learn to respect their elders.  And he is going to beat that respect into every last youngster,  if it is the last thing he does.

Silently seething, Jimmy storms out (probably so his mother can kiss his winkie and make it better).  Eli follows after him, to yell at him for not keeping his cool, and to warn him that, without the Commodore, the two of them are pretty much screwed.  Jimmy doesn’t really think he needs advice from Boardwalk Empire’s version of Fredo, and tells Eli as much.

Later, while Jimmy’s Mommy is cleaning his wound,  she not-so-subtly tells Jimmy he shouldn’t take this being caned, lying down.  “We will not be respected . . . Do what needs to be done,” she scolds him.

Of course, as we learned from last week, when Gillian Darmody tells you to do something, you DO IT.  Because she has a really nasty right hook . . .

Just ask THIS GUY . . . 

Speaking of women (and men) not to be trifled with . . .

“Hey Bro, sorry about the whole Betrayal Thing . . . wanna wrestle?”

Nucky comes home from a strenuous morning of kissing some lawyers’ asses to find, much to his dismay, that Margaret has let his brother into the Garden Room.   Eli’s totally working this Fredo angle, hardcore.  He’s crying and blubbering, and begging Nucky for forgiveness.  His nose is so far up his brother’s butt, that it’s practically popping out of the older man’s mouth.

After making a few cracks about how the lord distributes his gifts unequally (Yes, Nucky, clearly, you got the looks in the family.) . . .

. . .  and hearing Eli admit, both that he knows the names of the men testifying against Nucky, and that the Commodore has had a stroke . . .

. . . it really does seem that Nucky is going to take pity on his brother, and let him back into his inner circle.  And  . . . then he doesn’t.  Nucky boldly asks his brother to get on his KNEES AND KISS HIS FEET.  Eli seems genuinely shocked.  I suspect he really thought this was going to work out.

“But . . . you have really smelly feet!” 

Next thing you know, the two middle-aged men are wrestling on the floor . . . and, suddenly, I’m having flashbacks to that episode of The Sopranos, where Tony and Bobby Baccala started beating the crap out of eachother at the Lake House.

Ahhh, brotherly love . . . 

It’s kind of awesome, and unintentionally hilarious at the same time.  But then the men start grabbing for concealed weapons, and I’m genuinely beginning to get worried about their safety.

But wait .  . . SOMEONE has just put a rifle to Eli’s head, and it’s not Nucky.  It’s . . . wait for it . . . MARGARET!

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My hero!  Holy crap!  This woman has done it again.  She leads a shocked Eli out the door, with a simple and calm expression of a single word.  “Enough.”  And I’m pretty sure Eli just crapped his pants.

Once he’s gone, Nucky has the NERVE to tell the woman who just SAVED his ass, that she should have LOADED the gun, before she shoved it in Eli’s face.  HELLO, by the time she LOADED the gun, you’d probably have brains seaping out of your ears, ASSHAT!  A simple “thank you,” would have sufficed.  Just sayin . . .

Those are some BUSY prostitutes .  . .

Later that day, the Attorney General, Nucky’s lawyer, and that Senator Guy we keep seeing, pop by to explain, once again, how those election fraud charges SHOULD eventually be dropped against Nucky, once the case is removed to federal court, on account of the federal prostitution charges that are ALSO cleverly being lodged against Nucky.  And yet,  we’ve spent so MUCH time on the rather technical legal nuances of this storyline, that I can’t help but wonder whether all of this is going to end up blowing up in Nucky’s face.

Nevertheless, the same whores who initially got him out of State court, are back to bone the Attorney General and his pals in Nucky’s by-now-surely-disease infested “study.”  Part of me thinks, the only reason they keep showing these ladies is so that Boardwalk Empire meets it’s weekly Boobie Quotient . . .

Speaking of Boobies . . .

Dangerous Maid Gets Dangerously Laid

O face . . . 

Margaret awakens in the middle of the night, to the sound of a scream.  She runs into Maid Katie in the hallway, who claims she hasn’t heard a thing.  Later, of course, we learn that the scream came from Katie, who has been boning Owen, down the hall .  . . Way to go, Katie!  Now, Margaret’s not the only lady with a little Irish in her, if you catch my drift . . .

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Meanwhile, at Fredo-Eli’s house . . .

By George, he’s got it!  (And by IT, I mean a wrench in the face)

“May I have this dance?” 

Eli is hanging out with one of his 85,000 kids, when Alderman George comes by, asking some surprisingly on-point questions about the Commodore’s health.  In fact, the Alderman wants to go down to the Commodore’s house, to make sure he’s not a vegetable, or something.  Eli assures George that the Commodore is fine.  But George isn’t buying it, and threatens to go back to Nucky, if Eli isn’t honest with him.

So, Eli freaks out, and crushes George’s windpipe with his monkey wrench.

Well, that’s not good!   Now, George is definitely going to go to Nucky . . . if he’s ever able to speak again.  Eli can’t have that, so he hits him with the monkey wrench in the face . . . again . . . and again . . . and again.

Batter up . . . 

Remember earlier, when I was talking about how I never wanted to see what someone’s head looks like, after it’s been blown off.  Well, now, I know what someone’s head looks like, when it’s been smashed to bits by a monkey wrench.  And, let me tell you, it’s not pretty.  For those of you who have never seen something like this, I’ll attempt to provide you with the necessary visual.  Imagine drop-kicking a watermelon . . .

I’m just glad, Eli sent his kid away, before he did this.  Talk about being traumatized for life.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong.  But wasn’t George supposed to be one of the alderman meant to testify against Nucky for Election Fraud.  Well, that should make things interesting  .  . .

Anywhoo, Eli gets his second in command, to help him carry George’s body to his car.  And then Eli buries the poor schlub on the beach.  Oh Fredo-Eli . . . you are SO getting whacked on a fishing boat, sometime soon . . .

Scalp and a Haircut . . .

Back at the Darmody house, Jimmy shares a sweet moment with his wife . . .

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JIMMY: “Just pretend you are making out with that woman you were cheating on me with, last season.”

ANGELA:  “Cool, and you can pretend you are making out with that woman you were cheating on ME with, last season.”

JIMMY: “Which one?  My mom?”

ANGELA: “THE OTHER ONE!”

 . . .  before having an even sweeter one, with Richard.   (As awful as Jimmy can be sometimes, you’ve got to admit, his bromance with Richard is just adorable.)  When Richard comes home late, Jimmy instinctively seems to know that something SERIOUS has gone down.  “I should have gone with you,” Jimmy tells Richard, when the latter claims to have “gone for a walk.”

Jimmy then asks Richard to go on job with him, because even Veterans, apparently, don’t get the full day off on Memorial Day.  “Would you fight for me?”  Richard asks, looking to his companion, much like a son seeking approval from his dad.

“Right down to the last bullet,” Jimmy assures his friend, rubbing his head, in a rather paternal way, much as we suspect Nucky used to do to HIM, back when he was a child.

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With a renewed sense of purpose, Richard rises, with a look of determination on his face.  “Then, let’s go to work.”

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“Scalp, Richard, scalp . . . GOOD BOY!”

Now, we’re at that Old Dude’s House . . . you know, the one who clocked Jimmy.  He’s looking at some Native American Breach Cloth, and making some not-very-PC comments about Native Americans to his butler, specifically, referring to their penchant for public nudity, and belief in magic.  Once Old Dude is alone, Jimmy and Harrow appear, in front of him.  Jimmy straps the soon-to-be-dead guy down to show him, that he is “not to be disrespected.”  “I’m going to teach you something, now” he says maniacally.

Then Harrow appears from behind.  “And who the hell are you?”  Old Dude asks.

“I’m a soldier just like that adorable dog that tried to eat my face,” says Harrow triumphantly, as he grotesquely scalps the Old Dude, and, in doing so, brings meaning back to his life.

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See, don’t you just love a happy ending?  :)

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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“I’ll have what he’s having!” – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s “A Dangerous Maid”

[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.]

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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 . . .

Who is 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.

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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.

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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!)

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(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.”

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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? 

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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?

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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“I’ve come to bury Nucky, not to praise him.” – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s “Ourselves Alone”

“All by my selllllllf.  Don’t wanna be, all by my selllllllf, anymorrrrre!” 

Poor Nucky!  I never thought I would ever begin a recap with those two words.   After all, wasn’t the entire theme of season one how blessed Nucky was in every way except in the looks department, of course, and how much power he wielded in his pants Atlantic City?

My, have the tables turned quickly . . . well, actually not so quickly, considering Season 1 aired a year ago!  Now, everyone’s out to screw Nucky over.  And District Attorney’s are touching his personal items in ways that Eddie finds personally offensive!

“I’m so upset over what is going on here that I am going to eat this phone.”

You know who else started out as a guy, who had it all, and ended up with crap?  THIS GUY . . .

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. . . well, him too.  But I was thinking more along the lines of THIS GUY . . .

The obvious comparisons between Nucky’s current situation and Julius Caesar’s are so striking, that I can’t imagine they weren’t intended by the writers of this show.  I mean, think about it, we’ve got the young up-and-comer, who used to be part of Nucky’s ranks, being groomed to usurp his throne.

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We’ve got the not-so-whispered words of mutiny amongst the senators alderman.  And, perhaps, most importantly, we have Nucky experiencing the ultimate betrayal at the hands of the person he trusted most . . . his own brother . . . his Brutus.

(Take that High School English Teacher that only gave me a B+ on my Julius Caesar paper!  You know who you are.)

And yet, while it would seem as though this episode revolved around the Downfall of Nucky Thompson, arguably, the real stars of “Ourselves Alone” were his supporting cast . . . the surprisingly sly, and cunning courage of Margaret Schroeder . . . the quiet, yet extremely dangerous, ferocity of Chalky White . . . the stone cold ambition of Jimmy Darmody . . . the bat-sh*t craziness of Nelson Van Alden . . .

Well, actually, he wasn’t in this episode.  But I think you catch my drift . . .

So, settle down with a good book, pop open a new can of shoe polish, or take a dip in the Temperance Fountain, because it’s time for another Boardwalk recap . . .

(By the way, special thanks to ladymanson.com, for the kickass screencaps you see here!)

“Nucky’s in the Slammer.  Who wants pancakes?”

“Do you think they are whispering about me, because I’m not wearing any underwear?”

The episode begins with Margaret tiptoeing down the mansion steps in her nightie, to the sight of her apprehensive all-female staff, regarding her, as one would regard a terminally ill cancer patient.

“I can’t believe NONE of us were cast in the movie The Help.  It’s NOT FAIR!” 

Too bad Margaret doesn’t live in Modern Times.  Otherwise @randomnewsreporter could have totally tweeted her the news that her not-so-hubby was very much arrested the night before.

Doh!

Instead, the new Woman of the Thompson Household is forced to learn of her lover’s arrest in the local paper.

Margaret, who has obviously adapted rather quickly to the unspoken responsibilities of being an expensive sex toy the wife of a powerful public figure, is remarkably stoic, in the face of this obviously surprising and disturbing news.  Rather than bursting into hysterics, or rushing out the door to the nearest jail like a mad woman, as the old Margaret might have done, Nu-Margaret merely takes a deep breath, and returns to her regularly scheduled  tasks, i.e. bossing around of the staff.

It is not until a bit, later, when we see Margaret on the phone with Nucky’s driver, Eddie, that cracks in her marble facade begin to show.

“So, what exactly ARE conjugal visits?  I don’t think we had those back in Ireland.” 

“I’d be more than happy to SHOW you.”

Poor Margie can barely keep herself from crying, when Eddie tells her that he can’t pick her up and drive her to the jail.  (As it turns out, the District Attorney and his cronies have been inappropriately fondling the items in Nucky’s office.  And Eddie is afraid to leave them alone.)

When the house maid is found lurking near the doorway, Margaret asks her what kind of coat she owns?

Huh?

Well, THAT’S a strange thing to ask.  Is Margie hoping the maid will drive her to the jail to see Nucky?  Is she worried about her favorite housekeeper catching pneumonia during those cold A.C. winters?  Is she secretly writing an expose on the dressing habits of maids for the local paper?  Or is something more sinister afoot?  (Well, obviously, you already know the answer.  But let’s pretend everythings all scary and intriguing, for a little while longer, OK?)

Meanwhile, down at the Pokey . . .

“Gee, sorry I had you arrested, and am now sharing a jail cell with you . . . AWKWARD!”

“I never really believed all those silly rumors about ‘dropping the soap,’ did you?” 

How convenient odd is it that a large, purportedly crime-infested, place like Atlantic City, only seems to have two cells in its town jail?  Now, if that’s not a good reason NOT to screw over your friends, I don’t know what is.

Just last week, Nucky had his liquor and political compadre Chalky White arrested “for his own safety,” after a “nice, friendly” meeting with some SHEET HEADS KKK members went horribly awry.

SHEET!

Now, Nucky finds himself trapped ALONE in a jail cell with Nucky.

(Apparently, Chalky’s political clout has gained him enough social standing to earn a spot in the “more elite” jail cell, apart from the rest of the assorted riff-raff.  Umm . . . yay?)

Silly, Nucky!  He was apparently having sex sleeping during his Jail Cell Etiquette Class.  Rule #1 of Surviving Prison:  Don’t accuse your cell mate, who YOU are responsible of throwing in jail, of betraying YOU.  And yet, that’s exactly what Nucky does, by asking Chalky a few VERY pointed questions about whether his “people” had anything to do with the “anonymous witnesses” whose testimony got Nucky thrown in jail for election fraud.

“Vote on THIS, b*tch!” 

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.  Were it not for Chalky, there is a good chance that Nucky’s cronie, Anthony Bader, would have NEVER been elected Mayor.    Not to mention the fact that Nucky is DEFINITELY no longer in the position to be choosy about who he gets to call his “friend.”

Things get even MORE awkward between Nucky and Chalky (I’m sorry, but are those not the WEIRDEST NAMES EVER? My fingers get twisted on my keyboard everytime I have to type them both together), when Nucky’s lawyer comes to post his bail, while Chalky is made to rot in the slammer.  Oops!

“See ya, Sucka . . . er . . . I mean . . . sorry, Big Guy!” 

So, Nucky exits the jail a Free Man (for now), and successfully engages in a battle of wits with the local journalists, looking to prove he’s a criminal to the “Good People of AC.”

(He calls them all alcoholics.  BURN!  What a NOVEL insult about journalists!  You have to wake up pretty early in the morning or whatever time Jimmy, the Commodore, and Eli wake up to pull one over on Nucky Thompson.  What a FIRE CRACKER!)

Meanwhile, Chalky is forced to deal with insults of a much more personal nature . . .

David Copperfield (err  . . . I mean “Tom Sawyer”) must be a REALLY GOOD BOOK!

“I have flipped through a 100 pages of this book, and I haven’t seen a single BOOB.  And they call this a classic!” 

It starts off innocent, enough. Chalky’s wife has come to visit him in jail.  They have a fairly banal conversation, during which Chalky’s wife tells Chalky that his son wanted to come visit him, but she thought it would be best if he stayed home.  Remember Chalky’s son?  The adorable prepster piano player from last week?  Yeah, not exactly someone you picture in a jail cell.

“I may look sweet and innocent, but  .  . . yeah, I’m sweet and innocent.” 

Mini-Chalky sent a gift to his dad, in his absence, however.  It’s a book, David Copperfield, to be exact.  (Was I the only one hoping there would be some sort of file, key, or weapon hidden in that book, that would help Chalky to plan his escape?  Well, there wasn’t . . . It was just a book.  Crime Boss’ son FAIL!)

Hidden mechanism for escape or not, Chalky seems touched by his son’s gift.  “That’s a good one,” he says, with a proud smile, as he takes the book from his wife’s hands.  As Mrs. Chalky leaves one of the Chalky’s “cell-mates” from across the way makes some comments that a man should NEVER make about another man’s wife.

“What’s that you say?  That I’m going to be dead in five minutes?  You’re LYIN’!” 

Chalky accepts the passive aggressive taunting of his cell mate, which is thinly disguised as good natured banter, with a surprising amount of dignity and grace, though its obvious he REALLY wants to put a cap in this guy’s ass.  The guy’s name is Dunn Purnsley, which is a really stupid name, if you ask me.    (No offense to all you Dunn Purnsley’s out there.)  And the fact that Chalky currently has a “fancy” cell to himself REALLY seems to dust Dunn’s doileys, as does the fact that Chalky dresses expensively, and has an attractive, comparatively light-skinned, wife.

You’ve got to admit, they do make a cute couple.

When another white prisoner is brought into the jail, Chalky is switched into the cell with Dunn, and the rest of the prisoners (all African American).  According to the guard, this is to prevent the mixing of races, which is strange considering that Nucky and Chalky shared a cell just hours earlier.  Weird .  . .

You would think that Chalky’s relocation into Dunn’s cell would placate the latter’s ire.  Unfortunately, it only seems to rile him up more.  Now Dunn is making increasingly inciteful and offensive comments about the color of Chalky’s skin, and referring to him in derrogatory terms, that, I suspect were generally reserved for the pre-Civil War era.

(OK, now I’m REALLY hoping Chalky kicks this Dunn guy’s butt!  He’s TOTALLY asking for it now.  If he doesn’t do it.  I may just jump into the television screen and do it for him.)

What follows are what are, in my opinion two of the most intriguing scenes in the entire episode.  The first arises when Dunn asks Chalky – who has been silently “reading” David Copperfield this whole time, what he is reading.  When Chalky first announced the book as Tom Sawyer, I thought he might just be messing with the guy.  After all, Mark Twain was an author who was pretty well known for having some fairly strong opinions about race relations, as evidenced in his follow-up book to Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn.

“Once upon a time, there was a man named Dunn, who’s life was almost finished.  Get it . . . done . . . finished?  Oh well, I guess you had to be there.” 

But then, when Dunn asks Chalky to describe what he is reading, he does so by making up a story about a picture that happens to appear in the center of the David Copperfield book.  Fans will undoubtedly recall that this is the method most of us used as children to PRETEND we knew how to read, before we had learned to do so.  The fact that Chalky probably does not know how to read, and has obviously hidden this fact from his wife, and Harvard-bound son, is both shocking and a little bit sad.

But now is not the time for sad stories.   Now is the time for ASS KICKING!  That’s right, boys and girls, Dunn is stupid enough to put up his fists and threaten Chalky.  He even has the audacity to RIP David Copperfield out of his hand, tearing out the picture Chalky used to describe what was happening in the book.

SERIOUSLY!  THE NERVE OF THIS GUY!

This next part is pretty cool.  Chalky doesn’t lift a FINGER!  Instead, he quietly addresses each of the men with whom he is sharing a cell.   He knows them all by name, and ALL of them, owe him SOME sort of debt.  It becomes apparent in this scene, that Chalky is the Nucky of the African American community in Atlantic City.  The only difference is that, unlike his political counterpart, Chalky’s power is still in full force.

Dunn rises to throw the first punch.  BAD MOVE!  Now, all of Chalky’s cell mates have been given their unspoken instructions.  They BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF HIM . . . LITERALLY, as in . . . HE DIES!  Then, one of them casually gives Chalky back his book.

“And they all lived happily ever after . . . well . . . almost everyone.” 

So, Chalky decides its a great time for a bedtime story.   (Why not?)  He asks the group, which of them know their letters, reaffirming the fact that he, himself, cannot read.  One of the cell mates obliges, and begins to read the remaining living cell mates David Copperfield proper, as the victorious, but not, necessarily triumphant Chalky, stares blankly at the torn out page of the book.  The fact that its incredibly depressing words are meaningless to him do not mean that they don’t hold meaning for him .  . .

When Season 2 Margaret Meets Season 1 Margaret . . . (How META!)

“So that’s me from the future .  . . I was kind of hoping my boobs would get bigger.”

So, earlier in this recap, I teased at Margaret’s inquiry to her maid about what kind of coat she wore.  In this scene, we get to see what exactly she did with that lovely coat.  In a scene that ironically mimics that of the poor, beaten, and pregnant, Margaret Schroeder’s first fateful visit to Nucky Thompson, Margaret arrives at Nucky’s office to see it being swarmed by lawyers and investigators.

Having had a lot of experience playing this particular part, Margaret is flawless (if a bit exaggerated)  in the role of her old pre-f*&king Nucky self.  She feigns ignorance to Nucky’s arrest, claims to have wanted to see him in order to get some cash, and asks to be shown to the nearest rest room.  Feeling pity on this helpless biddy, the District Attorney personally directs her to the toilet, and then, most likely forgets her existence.  This, of course, gives her free reign around the rest of Nucky’s office.

We’ll find out what she does with that “free reign” at the end of the episode . . .

Elsewhere, specifically,  at La Casa de Commodore . . .

The Oldest Man Ever to Suffer from a Mid-life Crisis . . .

“This is my very subtle way of telling you I have a large weiner.” 

For the Triumverate of Evil — Commodore, Eli, and Jimmy’s winky (Don’t worry, Jimmy, I still love you, even though you’ve turned to the dark side.  You are just too hot to hate.), getting all of Nucky’s cronies, specifically, the aldermans of each of the five wards over which Nucky is city treasurer, was surprisingly easy.  All they had to do, was convince these greedy poopyheads that Nucky’s ship had sailed.  And if they wanted to continue fattening their pockets, and living in the manner to which they had grown accustomed, they had to support the “New Guard.”

Having already got these doofuses under their thumb, except one (more on him later), Commodore invites them all to his Dead Animal Zoo study to talk “business.”  Concerned that the aldermans will discount him due to his age, Commodore decides to dress up as a fat Charlie Chaplin, and amaze them with his remarkable ability to lift elephant tusks in the air.  (Because you KNOW that’s going to come in handy on the road to World Domination!)

“When you come face-to-face with destiny, do you want to be the bear, or do you want to be the one holding the shotgun?”  Commodore asks his ambivalent admiring associates.

Actually, I’d prefer to be Dick Cheney.  But that’s neither here nor there, is it?

Meanwhile, Nucky is also trying to rally the troops for his cause . . .

When the guy who’s house you burned down is your only ally, you know you have problems . . .

Exhiled from his swanky Ritz Carlton office, Nucky is forced to (gasp) actually work in the dingy work space provided for him by the government.  It comes complete with a secretary, who has probably spent the past, lord knows how many years, sitting on her fanny from 9 to 5, reading magazines and painting her nails.  (Now THAT’s a living.)

“You REALLY want me to work today?  But my radio soap opera is on in five minutes?”

Nucky has his not-so-new assistant call all of the aldermans, the mayor, and his brother for an impromptu meeting.

Only two of them actually show, both RIDICULOUSLY LATE.  The first is the Mayor, because . . . well, duh . . . Nucky’s election fraud GOT him his job.  And if Nucky goes down, so does HE.

“Honestly, I was just looking for a little more screen time . . .” 

The second “loyalist” is alderman Damian Fleming.

Remember him?  Nucky offered him his father’s home.  And then he BURNED IT DOWN!

This takes the term “working fireplace” to a whole new level .  . . 

But he gave him another one.  So . . . let bygones be bygones.  I guess . . .  Except, Damian isn’t really coming to Nucky to tell him he’s on his side.  He’s coming to tell him that he’s SORRY that he can’t be, and to warn him that everyone is against him now . . . everyone, including . . . nu-Fredo his brother . . .

It’s pretty darn heartbreaking to see Nucky, with tears in his eyes, alone in a rundown office, taking a call from his brother, who, at this point, he KNOWS has betrayed him.  And yet Nucky is STILL offering him a chance to return to the fold.  It’s all very “Et tu Brute?”

“That’s really too bad, Eli.  Because I was planning to celebrate your coming back to my team, by getting you a hooker?”

“If you want to get out of this, I can help you?”  Nucky offers.  “I’m prepared to hear your side.   Because in a minute it’s going to be too late.”

But Eli isn’t interested in second chances.  He’s interested in Power . . . and wearing Big Boy Pants . . . and sitting at the grown-ups table.  And so he gives Nucky a speech that I’m sure he practiced in front of his mirror for three hours, even though he always knew he was going to deliver it over the phone.  “How does it feel .  . . sitting by yourself?”  He asks cruelly, before continuing his Pee on Nucky Parade.  “Nobody takes power. Someone has to give it to them . . . What have YOU got?”

“What a poopy head!” 

Then he hangs up on Nucky, and I find myself in the rare situation of wanting to reach through the television screen and give Steve Buscemi a hug.  What are you DOING to me, Boardwalk Empire?

While Nucky is busy learning the One truly IS the Loneliest Number, Jimmy is across town, trying to get SOMEONE to give HIM some power . . .

Oh, Arnie, how we missed you! (And your milk!)

“Milk . . . it does a gangster GOOD!” 

Jimmy pays a visit to Arnold Rothstein (and his “pet” Lucky ;)).  He wishes to present him with a proposition . . . one that involves screwing over Nucky (SURPRISE!), and entering into the liquor business together.  Arnold seems a mixture of amused, impressed, and curious.  Arnold is no dummy.  He knows Jimmy used to be Nucky’s fair-haired boy.  He also knows that Nucky was recently arrested.

As he listens to the young up-and-comer kiss his butt and beg for his business, you can see he wheels turning in his head, regarding the possibilities this might present, and the inevitable risks.  Is this kid for real?  Arnold isn’t quite sure.  And so he politely bids Jimmy adieu, without offering an answer one way or the other.

“Well, if you are not going to go into business with me, could you at least take a drink.  I’ve always wanted to see the biggest crime boss on the East Coast with a Milk Mustache . . .” .

So, remember when Lucky f*&ked Jimmy’s winky kissing mom?

Source

Well, bygones, because now he wants to do business with him.  “You know that thing you asked for?  I would have said yes to that,” Lucky offers cheerily.

“Yes, but I asked Arnold.  Not the guy who carries his water.”  (Ummm . . . it was MILK, Jimmy!  MILK!  Get it right!)

Ohhh, yeah and . . .

Apparently, Arnold’s other pet, Meyer, he of the baby face and Cheshire Cat smile, instructed Lucky to invite Jimmy to their weekly poker night so the three could “talk.”

Oooh, I smell a Next Generation Rebellion!  Yay Twenty-somethings!

Meyer Lansky says, “Say YES to heroin.  (And NO to Temperance Fountain.)”

“So, before I got this part, I was cast in my college production of Batman . . .  I was the Joker.  I hope that explains the smile.” 

At their meeting Meyer tells Jimmy he has BIG PLANS for the two of them and Lucky.  “We’ve learned a great deal [from Nucky and Arnold],” he begins.  “But no one wants to be in school forever.”

Except all these people . . . 

Then, Lucky and Jimmy start exchanging Yo Mama jokes (well, actually, it’s just Jimmy’s mama), and beating the crap out of eachother.  So, Meyer has to stop them, so that he can tell them his BIG PLAN.

“Calm down.  You’re both pretty.” 

It involves Meyer and Lucky buying liquor from Jimmy, if Jimmy and HIS people buy HEROIN from them.

Ummm . . . HOORAY for HEROIN . . . I guess .  . .

(Something tells me school teachers Arnie and Nucky would most certainly NOT approve.)

At the poker game, Jimmy wipes the floor with some of Meyer’s friends, while Meyer has an uncomfortable meeting with two goons who apparently represent the “Lower East Side.”  Later that night, Jimmy is walking home from the poker game, when those same two goons try to steal his lunch money poker winnings.

“I know you really want to ask me out on a date, but this is a bit too agressive, don’t you think?  There is something to be said for playing a little hard to get.” 

So, Jimmy . . .. ummm KILLS THEM, and leaves them lying in the ironically named Temperance Fountain with their mouths gaping grotesquely, and their necks spurting out blood.

I’m not going to lie.  It’s kind of awesome.

Speaking of awesome  . . .

Hi, New Cute Irish Guy!  (Yeah, that’s basically all I got from this plotline.)

“SOMEONE has to make sure Steve Buscemi doesn’t get all the chicks.” 

While Margaret waits for Nucky to come home, she’s got her OWN problems to cope with.  Nucky is apparently having a very stuffy Irish gentleman to visit.  He wants guns . . . or something.  He also doesn’t eat anything that walks on clove or hoof, and HATES AMERICANS.  Sounds like a real Life of the Party Type, right?

PARTY ANIMAL! 

He does have one thing going for him though, his help is HOT.  His name is Owen Sleater.  He has a cute Irish accent, can helps straighten rugs, and puts his foot in his mouth, like it’s his JOB.  He arrives to try and get into Margie’s pantsmake sure the Thompson house is SAFE for his boss.  Within minutes, he proceeds to mistake Margaret for he MAID, and the MAID for Margaret’s DAUGHTER, despite the fact that the two look to be only about five years apart at most.

“I’m deeply offended, and furious with you.  Yet, I have this strange urge to bone you, right here on this floor.”

Yet, there’s something charming about him.   He has a bit of sexual chemistry going on with Margaret (and the maid).   And, most importantly, he’s STICKING AROUND!

Woohoo!  Look out Jimmy Darmody and Al Capone.  It seems you have some competition for my heart  . . .

Speaking of hearts . . .

Margaret Schroeder = A Modern Day (Likeable) Lady Macbeth (Who knew?)

“Just don’t start talking about ‘damn spots,’ or I am SOOOO out of here.” 

We’ve been waiting for it all week, and it finally happens at the end of the episode.  Margaret confronts Nucky about his arrest, and everything that has been going on with him, these past two episodes.  Calmly and firmly, she gets her lover to admit everything to her, including, most painfully, his brother’s betrayal.  “I keep people satisfied.  It’s what I do,” says Nucky dejectedly, unable to comprehend how far he has fallen.

“They will never satisfied.  You know that already,” she replies, not entirely unkindly.  (Now, we know who the REAL brains of this operation is!)

Then Nucky tells Margaret, what he has TRULY been avoiding telling her all along.  The District Attorney has evidence against him, hard evidence.  It appears the officers searching his office have taken his ridiculously crime ridden business ledger, as well as $20,000 in cash.  Or HAVE they?

Like a BOSS, Margaret, skips to the other side of the room, and pulls BOTH incriminating items out of a nearby drawer.  Ahhhh!  So, that’s what she was doing at the Ritz in the Poor Girl Costume!  It all makes sense now!

Margaret decisively tosses the ledger in the fire, making Nucky promise to commit his shady dealings to memory from NOW ON!  You tell  him sister!

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been as impressed with a female television character as I am with Margaret Schroeder right now.  Margaret, I take back every mean and snarky thing I ever said about you in season 1 and at the beginning of this rccap.

In the final moments of the episode, Margaret kisses and emotionally and physically exhausted Nucky on the forehead, and tells him to come to bed, where there will certainly be some EPIC lovemaking . . . I’d prefer not to picture it, though . . .

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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