Is that a knife in your table, or are you just happy to see me?
During the Prohibition Era, business, politics, and love, were all Blood Sports. Sometimes you were the Hunter, and sometimes you were hunted. Your survival depended entirely on how well you played the Game . . .
“Hey . . . nobody said anything about “hunting.” I thought the 1920’s were just about Booze and Sex . . .”
Let’s take a look back, shall we?
Nucky Gets Scratched and Screwed
When the episode opens, one of Nucky’s goons is collecting “taxes” from some local businesses on Nucky’s behalf. Then, the Big Doughy Dude gets his ass kicked, and his money stolen, by a little kid and a skinny guy, who were obviously working as a Tag Team. Now, if you ask me, this was Nucky’s first mistake. You don’t hire someone who looks like this . . .
. . . to collect your money for you. You hire someone who looks like this . . .
“You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
You know what Nucky’s second mistake was? Sleeping with her!
Now, I’m sure Paz de la Huerta (the actress who plays Mistress Lucy) is a lovely lady. But I want this character to “get whacked” so badly, that I actually make fake machine gun noises (complete with accompanying hand gestures) every time she appears on screen.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a good villain as much as the next girl. (My favorite characters on this show are Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, if that’s any indication.) But here’s the thing about good villains — they tend to be either fun, or fun-ny (being hot helps too) and Lucy is none of the above! In fact, she’s more like . . .boobs meat with eyes . . .
So, anyway, Nucky is lounging in bed with Annoying Ass Lucy. Noticing how clearly BORED he is with her (and, honestly, who wouldn’t be?), Lucy decides to engage in a little “role playing.” And that role playing involves pretending to be a “tiger” and scratching Nucky, until he bleeds.
Now, aside from the fact that unnecessary close-ups of Steve Buscemi’s abdominal muscles (or lack thereof) should be avoided at all costs, this had to be the LEAST sexy showing of rough foreplay I have EVER seen in my entire life! Come on, HBO! I know you can do better. In fact, I’ve SEEN you do better . . .
I rest my case . . .
After warning Lucy not to get carried away by his UNBELIEVABLE HOTNESS . . .
Ummmm . . . OK?
. . . Nucky escapes to the bathroom, and our eyes are finally given a rest.
Professor McGonagall Knows her Birth Control . . .
In the next scene, an embarrassed Margaret heads to the Temperance League to seek advice from her favorite mentor, Professor McGonagall.
It is common knowledge that those who can turn into cats, know a thing or two about pussy love.
Margaret tells Professor McGonagall, that she has received an offer from a Powerful Wizard, who is willing to care for her and her family, provided she cleans his wand every once in a while. Who is this Wizard you may ask? Well, Margaret Dare Not Speak his Name . . .
But I will! I’s . . . Nucky! (Why? Who did you think I was talking about?)
Anyway, McGonagall, who’s been around the block a few times (Dumbledore? Snape? She totally hit those!), admits that she does, in fact, think Margaret is a whore. And yet, she’s surprisingly cool about the whole thing! “You gotta do, who what you gotta do,” McGonagall tells Margaret, more or less.
However, before Margaret leaves, McGonagall gives her a book entitled “Family Limitations,” written by Margaret Sanger. Now, because I didn’t know anything about this book, or why McGonagall gave it to Margaret, or what the heck it had to do Lysol, I took the liberty of doing a little research. Apparently “Family Limitations” was a controversial pamphlet about birth control, which made it’s way around town during the 1920’s. As for what the reference to “Lysol” was doing in there?
Well, I think you can probably figure it out . . .
Speaking of Someone in Need of Lysol . . .
How’s this for an awkward moment. You are getting it on with your rival’s mother (by the way, I don’t believe for a second that Gretchen Mol, who is in her late 30’s, looks old enough to play Mommy to Michael Pitts, who’s in his late 20’s).
Then, your boss calls . . .
And he tells you that, not only does he KNOW that you have been getting it on with your rival’s mother, he also knows that the two of you are doing it RIGHT NOW!
All I have to say is, thank goodness they didn’t have web cams back then. Because, if they did, we all KNOW Rothstein would be checking that stuff out on YouTube . . .
Later, Nucky, who suspects Lucky of being behind the “tax” heist, calls him into his office. He then, basically, has little brother beat the crap out of the guy.
Interestingly enough, the beating had NOTHING to do with the “tax theft” and everything to do with Frank talking disrespectfully about Jimmy’s mother. (Wait . . . NUCKY knew those two were screwing too? Maybe they did have YouTube back then . . .)
“Everything you see here is mine . . . if you steal from my men, or boink the mother of my illegitimate child you steal from me,” warns Nucky.
“Thank you for showing me how it’s done here,” seethes Lucky, as he exits the office.
Oh, I have a feeling this is FAR FROM OVER . . .
“We’ll Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse”
Tensions began to boil beneath the surface for “new friends” Al Capone and Jimmy Darmody, when Al’s lack of knowledge about how to play “Five Finger Filet” (Come on, Al! I used to play ALL THE TIME in elementary school! Granted . . . I used a dull Number 2 pencil instead of a knife. But still!) leads Jimmy to publicly question Al about his “time as a soldier.”
“Hey! I was too in a war! Ever heard of a little thing called the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre? Oh . . . wait . . . that didn’t happen yet . . .”
Later, Johnny Torrio calls Jimmy and Al over to discuss a rival “Family’s” hostile takeover of Torrio’s territory in Greektown, as well as their hostile invasion of Torrio’s brothel (an event, which, as we know, ultimately brought about Jimmy’s girlfriend, Pearl’s suicide). When Capone tells Torrio to start a war with the rival Family, Torrio scoffs at the idea, and tells the young gangster to “go wash [his] Buick.”
“Are you smart?” Torrio inquires of Jimmy, as a cowed Capone exits the building.
Jimmy suggests that Torrio go to the rival Family and come to an understanding with them. He agrees with Torrio that out-and-out-war is the wrong way to go. “But retreating? How would that look?” Jimmy asks pointedly.
“What is your obsession with this Schroeder person?”
We’ve all known that Detective Van Alden has had a hard on for Margaret, ever since he started sniffing her stolen hair ribbon, a few weeks back. But we didn’t know just how far his obsession has gone, until this week. When Van Alden got a surprise visit from his boss, over at the FBI, he had pretty much nothing to show him that would result in any sort of criminal charges against Nucky Thompson. He did, however, have a whole lot of intel on Margaret Schroeder, including her personal file . . . a file that is about to be put to some pretty interesting use within the hour . . . (and by “pretty interesting,” I mean “really CREEPY”).
“And then, what am I?”
Back at the mansion, Nucky and Margaret are getting mighty close, when Margaret notices the Lucy-sized scratches on Nucky’s stomach. (AGAIN with the Buscemi abdominal shot? SERIOUSLY, HBO!) “What happened here?” Margaret asks suspiciously.
“Hunting accident,” Nucky replies.
“Be vewy, vewy quiet. I’m hunting Ho Bags!”
But Margaret’s no dummy. She knows Nucky can’t hunt. She watched The Sopranos. “Who’s hunting whom?” She asks smartly.
When Margaret announces she has to leave for work, Nucky, who’s idea of “working” involves screwing slutty girls, drinking, and threatening people, is understandably confused. “No you don’t,” he pouts, obviously alluding to the “proposition” he made to her, sometime between last episode and this one.
“And then, what am I?” She inquires skeptically.
(Well . . . that would make you a Ho Bag, Margaret . . . but a very nice and likeable one . . . kind of like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.)
“Maybe Your C**ny, Isn’t Quite the Draw You Think it Is.”
We are back at the dress shop where Margaret works, when who should stop in, but the Annoying Ass Lucy, who apparently is this shop’s ONLY CUSTOMER. Lucy is interested in trying on some underwear with a Big Fat Hole in Crotch. (That’s funny . . . because when my underwear gets a Big Fat Hole in the Crotch, you know what I do with it . . . I THROW IT AWAY!)
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Lucy wants MARGARET to try on the underwear FOR HER!
So, into the dressing room goes Margaret. And, before you know it, girlfriend is STARK NAKED.
OK . . . so let me get this straight. She’s trying on underwear. She’s wearing a dress, with nothing underneath. So, she takes off her top to put something on her bottom? Why? Apparently, HBO stands for “Have Boobs Often” . . .
Anyway, there’s Margaret in her birthday suit. And Annoying Ass Lucy starts making all these nasty comments are her body. I basically tuned the b*tch out, so I couldn’t tell you all of what she said. I do recall, however, that Margaret admitted that she doesn’t wear a bra.
Am I the only one who thought an uptight, shy girl like Margaret would, not only wear a bra, she would NEVER TAKE IT OFF (not even in the shower)?
“I find them uncomfortable,” replies Margaret.
(Ummmm . . . really? Because you know what I find “uncomfortable”? NOT WEARING A BRA . . . particularly when doing things like . . . you know . . . walking.)
When Margaret notes that Nucky has no complaints about her body (or lack of a bra), Lucy chooses that moment to go all Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. Suddenly, her legs are wide open, and, just like every box of cheap kid’s cereal, there is a prize inside . . .
Except, it didn’t look nearly that cute . . .
Margaret lapses into a story about a singing rooster that once fascinated people, but eventually bored them, because it only knew how to do ONE THING.
Lucy, being a total MORON, doesn’t get it . . .
“Maybe your c&*ny isn’t quite the draw you think it is,” explains Margaret.
With that, Girlfriend quits her job at the dress shop, and calls Nucky to accept her new position as Ho Bag – a job that comes with a brand new Barbie Dream House, complete with a built in babysitter, for nights out on the town.
Ho Bag . . . that’s more or less how Margaret’s former neighbor described Margaret, when Van Alden came to her old home looking for her.
“Interesting . . . so that’s why her ribbons smelled like that! Oh well, nothing a little Lysol can’t cure . . .”
Friends versus Accomplices
While having dinner at Al Capone’s house, Jimmy learns that Al’s son, Sonny, is deaf (a fact that is more or less historically accurate – The real Sonny Capone lost partial hearing as a result of an illness he contracted at age 7.). Later, Jimmy finds an old love note from the “dearly departed Pearl,” which inspires him to take Torrio’s Greektown negotiation in a different direction . . .
The initial negotiations go quite well, actually. Sure, there was a little snafu, when Jimmy’s favorite Five Finger Filet Knife and the “skull crusher” attached to it ended up in Jimmy’s throat. But, other than that, it was fairly uneventful. At least . . . until Jimmy, Al and Johnny shot the stuffing out of the rival gang, leaving them all dead with a capital D . . .
Oops . . . that might set back “negotiations” a little bit . . .
Later, Torrio holds a celebration at the brothel, in honor of his re-acquisition of Greektown. At the celebration, he praises Jimmy for his smarts, business acumen, and his amazing ability to look insanely hot while murdering people. Feeling a bit left out, a jealous Al starts making some not-so-funny jokes to the crowd, about Jimmy cleaning toilets and pooping in his pants.
So, Jimmy retaliates, by making some not-so-funny jokes about Al not really ever being in the army. AWKWARD!
That night, Al comes to Jimmy’s room with a weapon in his pocket . . .
Oh, don’t worry! It’s just a STEAK!
Al wants to play nice, and make amends. He’s really sorry for getting drunk and telling tales about Jimmy’s poopy pants. But all that “fake soldier” stuff, Jimmy said about him? That was just “not cool.” “It makes me look bad,” explains Captain Obvious. “That’s not how you treat a buddy.”
“Is that what we are?” Jimmy asks skeptically.
“Yeah, what did you think?” Al asks.
“Accomplices,” Jimmy replies.
“Same thing,” Al asserts.
With accomplices like these, who needs enemies . . .
Ironic implications aside, the little powwow between Baby Al and Baby Jimmy ends on a relatively high note, with a tearful Al admitting to his son’s deafness, and how guilty it makes him feel. “I hate to think he’s being punished for the things I’ve done, or the things I’m about to do.”
Well, what do you know? There is a heart in there! Not that we’re surprised. After all, Capone always had a thing for Valentine’s Day . . .
Love Hurts . . . and SCARS.
Alls well that didn’t end so hot for Poor Margaret, who was supposed to go out on a date with Nucky to see Houdini’s Brother perform, but got stood up at the last minute. So, while Nucky got a little Weiner Appreciation from some naked floozy with a mandolin . . .
. . . Margaret stayed home with the babysitter and some of the other “Concubine’s Children.”
Meanwhile, Super Creep Van Alden ogled an underage picture of Margaret from her file. Then, after learning about her earlier miscarriage, Super Creep got so turned on, that he put her kiddie picture on his night stand, and proceeded to SLAP HIMSELF IN THE BACK WITH A BELT, FOR THREE WHOLE MINUTES, while we all were forced to watch in horror.
You gotta love a little self-flagellation with your Sunday night television! Honestly, I don’t know who was hurt more by watching this scene, Van Alden or US! Mike Shannon (who plays Van Alden) does have a pretty sexy back though . . . So, at least there was that . . .