Unlikely Heroes – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s “Belle Femme”

Eddie Kessler.  Sure he may talk funny.  And he’s certainly not the most masculine guy on the block.  But if you need someone to take a bullet throw a defenseless lady in front of a bullet for you, he’s DEFINITELY your guy!

If there was one lesson to be learned from this week’s installment of Boardwalk Empire it was this:  Never discount ANYBODY!  From the small gangly pre-teen, to the sweet-tongued mistress, to the meek sycophantic “Yes” Man — anyone can save you’re ass, at a moment’s notice.  But those same folks can screw you over, just as easily . . .

So, without further adieu, let’s take a look back at the unlikely heroes and villains of “Belle Femme” . . .

Out with the old, in with the new . . .

 

“Hello, Nucky.  I don’t believe we’ve met.  My name is Opportunistic Prick . . .”

When the episode opens, we find Nucky, and his “loyal” underling Deputy Halloran, at Sheriff Eli’s bedside.  Eli is obviously still recovering from being shot in the spleen by Rothstein’s men, the previous week.  While Nucky’s little brother is mentally just as quick-witted, as he was before the accident (Actually, he’s still pretty dumb, but not any more so than usual.), physically, his prognosis is somewhat worse than expected.  As a result, he will be out of commission for another month.

“A month is a LONG time to be in bed with nothing to do!  Too bad I burned that Hot Nun Porn from last week . . .”

But extended bedrest isn’t the only problem Eli is facing.  He’s also receiving some bad press from the new Democratic Candidate for Mayor.  The Candidate in question not-so-subtly implies, in an interview with a local newspaper, that Eli’s mere presence at the illegal casino suggests misconduct, on his part.

Eli’s second-in-command, Deputy Douchebag Halloran, sees Eli’s misfortune as an excellent career opportunity.  At a “private meeting,” Halloran boldly assures Nucky that, if he were to offer him the job of Sheriff, Halloran would gladly take it.  Initially, Nucky thinks Halloran is kind of an a**hole.  (And we agree.)  I mean, the nerve of this guy to go behind his “friend’s” back and ask his friend’s brother for his friend’s job!

But then Nucky has a meeting with that Old Dude, Commodore.  We can tell immediately, based on the respect with which Nucky regards him (and how friggin huge his mansion is), that the Commodore is supposed to be a fairly “powerful and important”guy.  And yet, all we’ve ever seen him do on the show so far, is fight with his housekeeper, and puke nasty green stuff into a large bowl . . .

“Now, I know how that chick from The Exorcist felt . . .”

Commodore tells Nucky that, in the upcoming election, he should throw support at Republican candidates other than Sheriff Eli and the incumbent Mayor.  Commodore reasons that new candidates (like Deputy Douchebag Halloran, and that random construction tycoon, who Nucky met with later in the episode) will not be as tainted with “bad press” as the men they are replacing.  Nucky agrees immediately (quite possibly, because he has seen The Exorcist, and knows what happens to those who fail to heed the demands of people who puke nasty green stuff . . .)

“Hey!   I resemble that remark!”

Dress for Success . . .

 . . . but when you really want to get things done, UNDRESSED is BEST!

When we first see Margaret, she, and soon-to-be President Warren Harding’s mistress, Nan Britton, are wandering the Boardwalk, for a fun day of sun and shopping.  Unfortunately, for Margaret, Nan isn’t exactly the best conversationalist, as she only has interest in one topic.  “It was love at first sight,” coos Nan nauseatingly, regarding Mr. Harding.  “He was the handsomest man I have ever seen!”

Ummmmmm . . . . OK?

(Pssst . . . I think Nan Britton needs to get out more.)  The duo quickly head to Madame Jeunet’s dress shop, Belle Femme, which seems to be the ONLY place in Atlantic City where the concubines shop  . . . While Nan tries on dresses for Harding’s upcoming Inaugural Ball (Awwwww, that’s sweet!  She actually still thinks she’s going . . .), Madame Jeunet takes Margaret aside to discuss some “private” matters.

“Listen, do you know any politicians in need of a mistress?  Dress shop ownership doesn’t pay what it used to.  Did I mention, I’m a beast in the sack?”

After spending a few minutes shamelessly kissing her former employee’s ass, Madame Jeunet gets down to business.  Nucky’s “tax” collections have become too expensive for the dress shop owner.  If the Madame keeps having to pay these “taxes,” she will go out of business.  So, Madame not-so-subtly suggests that Margaret appeal to Nucky, on her behalf.

At first, Margaret tries the intellectual approach.  She explains to Nucky the financial problems Madame Jeunet is experiencing, and appeals to his sense of fair play.  After all, Madame Jeunet did give Margaret a job, when Nucky asked her to do so.  Nucky, who is not at all used to being told what to do by a woman except during sex —  Nucky always struck me as a “bottom” kind of guy, if you catch my drift, is furious with Margaret for having the gall to try to tell him how to do his job. 

“This is not a suitable topic for conversation,” lectures Nucky.  “You are GROUNDED!  Now, go to your room, and give me a BJ!”

But Margaret is not the kind of gal to give up without a fight . . .

Later that evening, Nucky and Margaret are cuddling in bed, engaging in Nucky’s favorite post-coital topic of conversation: politics.  Nucky is obviously concerned about the upcoming elections.  “What can I do to help?”  Margaret inquires coyly.

Nucky, who correctly believes that women are about to get the right to vote, asks Margaret to campaign on his behalf.  He was impressed by her ability to “wipe the floor” with Senator Hedge at his birthday party, and believes her to be a real political asset to his campaign.  Margaret sees an opening, and jumps on it.  “I suppose [I can do it].  But do you not want me to look pretty?  Do you not wish me to dress well?”  Margaret asks innocently.

“Uh Oh!  I walked right into that one . . .”

Of course, I do.  You look beautiful . . .  in  . . . um . . . whatever you .  . . um . . . wear . . . um . . . yeah,” Nucky babbles, stumbling over his words.

Margaret smirks, knowing she’s already won.  “Madame Jeunet knows what suits me.  She knows how to make me look my best,” she coos seductively, massaging Nucky’s arms as she speaks.

Apparently, butting into Nucky’s business affairs is a no-no, but wanting to look “pretty,” now, that’s a female desire that Nucky fully supports!  “Is that why you didn’t want Madame Jeunet to lose her business.  Why didn’t you just say so?”  Nucky asks.  “Selfishness is an impulse I fully condone.”

Awwww yeah!  YOU GO, MARGARET!

Current score:  Margaret – 1; Nucky – 0

Back at Belle Femme, Madame Jeunet is thrilled with the financial break she received, thanks to Margaret.  And she tells her as much.  To show her appreciation, the Madame starts kissing Margaret’s ass even harder than before, telling Nucky’s mistress how dignified and classy she has always been. 

But Margaret is not so easily won over.  She is quick to remind Madame Jeunet about how dirty and disgusting she once thought Margaret was, and how often she let her know it.

But Margaret’s real power play comes when Madame Jeunet tries to give Margaret a dress and comb for her daughter, to show appreciation for what Margaret did on her behalf.  “But Madame Jeunet, my daughter did not save your business, I did.”

Current score:  Margaret – 1, Madame Jeunet – 0

The next scene shows Margaret accompanying Nucky to a fancy party, clad in a brand new FREE dress  . . .

Classy, right?  It’s kind of too bad that all that blood from the Dead Lady, who unwittingly took a bullet for Nucky, at the end of the episode, had to ruin it . . .

 I’m betting that baby dress and hairbrush are looking MIGHTY appealing, right now, aren’t they, Margaret?  Don’t let Gordon Gekko’s word’s fool you, GREED IS BAD . . . VERY BAD!

Current score:  Margaret – 0, Dead Lady’s Blood – 150

Jimmy to Nucky: “I’m BAAAAAAACK!”

Who were you expecting?  The Tooth Fairy?”

Jimmy shows up at Nucky’s office unexpectedly, though he claims NOT to have arrived unannounced.  “I sent you a telegram,” Jimmy says matter-of-factly.

  (I’ll admit, I absolutely thought Jimmy was full of sh*t, when he said this.  But it turns out that he DID actually send a telegram to Nucky.  Just like he DID pay Angela, during all those weeks he was in Chicago.  Shows how much I know . . .)

As it turns out, Jimmy has decided to take Nucky up on his offer to come back and work for him.  However, there are a couple of conditions to his return.  First, Richard Harrow must be allowed to join Jimmy’s Jersey Team . . .

I LOVE THAT GUY!  Now, if only we can get Capone to come too . . .

The second condition is that all discussions that occur between Jimmy and Nucky are to be kept completely private.   “Fair enough,” replies The Boss Man.

Nucky then hands Jimmy over pictures of the entire Philly crew, which is mostly comprised of D’Alessio brothers, and Vinnie Delpino from Doogie Howser, M.D.

In case you were curious, Vinnie is the guy in this picture that ISN’T Neil Patrick Harris.

Now, do you see the resemblance?

These were the guys who shot Eli.  So, Nucky would like them “found.”  “When I find them, what do you want me to do with them?”  Jimmy asks slyly.

“Well, I was kind of hoping you’d get them to join my Crooks League Baseball Team.  Clearly, these are guys who know how to swing a bat.”  “Do I have to spell it out for you?”  Nucky growls.

But Jimmy, like Margaret, is no dummy.  He knows he’s got the upper hand on Nucky, and he’s going to milk it for all it’s worth.  “I want you to know that you are a murderer.  Because that’s what you want me to do, right?  You want me to kill them?”

“Yes,” Nucky concedes grudgingly.

“Even the kid?”  Jimmy asks, plopping this cute little picture on the desk before Nucky.

“I think I babysat for that guy, once . . .”

Nucky says nothing to confirm or deny Jimmy’s latest inquiry . . .

Nice knowing ya, “Pius.”

“I’m going to go eat my steak,” says Jimmy casually, as if he didn’t just agree to murder some little kid, Vinny Delpino, and the entire Philadelphia Crime Family.

Be afraid, Steak.  Be VERY AFRAID!

Lets Make a Deal.

Speaking of the A’lessio family, they are about to make a deal with Arnold Rothstein, which might cost them their lives.  (I mean that literally.  Rothstein took out life insurance policies on ALL OF THEM.)  As it turns out, Nucky isn’t the only Kingpin with designs on the liquor business. But while Nucky sells locally-distilled, low-quality booze at mid-range prices, Rothstein plans to sell top quality scotch, imported from England.  And the D’Alessio’s are going to help him do it . . . unless, of course, they get whacked first.

Jimmy to Angela:  “I’m BAAAAAAACK!”

When we first see Angela this week, she is having a fine old time with that dweeby photographer, and her lover, his hot-to-trot wife.

The group is about to get involved in a little threesome action, when Jimmy has to show up, and RUIN everything!

(I never thought I’d say this about the arrival of the adorable Jimmy on my screen, but . . .)

Like Nucky, Angela also never got Jimmy’s “telegram.” 

Note to Jimmy:  Next time you need a message delivered, send an owl . . .

It always worked for Harry Potter!

After the photographer and his wife leave, Jimmy and Angela have a conversation that goes a little something like this . . .

Angela:  “I’m not really too happy to see you.   I was going to have a threesome, and you ruined it, Bastard.”

Jimmy:  “Let’s screw on the kitchen table.”

Angela:  “No, that’s gross.  We eat there.”

Jimmy:  “So what?  I’m going to screw you on the kitchen table, right now.”

Angela: “No!”

Jimmy:  “Yes, yes, yes, OOOOOH YES!”

Angela:  *sighs*  Fine.  But I am totally picturing the Photographer’s Wife, while you do me.”

And . . . I bet you will never guess what happens next . . .

Do you think they at least washed the table, first?

Apparently, Jimmy had so much fun screwing his Lesbian Wife, and then eating eggs off the same surface where he did it, that he has now decided he wants to have more kids with her.  Now, if that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is .  . .

But this Happy Family Moment is interrupted, when Jimmy gets a Secret Phone Call .  . .

Lucky Luciano Gets Screwed (Twice)

“I’m so winning the Mother of the Year Award.”

Those of you out there who were MAD at Jimmy’s mom, for repeatedly boinking his enemy, probably forgave her a bit this week.  After all, as soon as Jimmy came back to town, she called him to let him know that Lucky was “indisposed.”  

Once Jimmy arrives, Gillian holds a gun to her former lover’s head, while Jimmy pours coffee on Lucky’s face and naked chest.  “[Al Capone] says I should blow your f*cking brains out,” threatens Jimmy.

“Yeah, that definitely sounds like something I would say.”

I’d appreciate it, if you didn’t,” Lucky says politely (Rothstein has taught him well . . .)

“You’re coming with me,” Jimmy demands, doing his best Bad Ass Gangster impersonation.

Little does Jimmy know that Lucky, is about to get . . . well . .  . lucky . . .

OMG!  It’s Creepy Van Alden!  How did he know Jimmy was back in town?  You guessed it . . . Western Union!  (See, Jimmy?  Owls!  Stick with the Owls!)  So, Van Alden arrests Jimmy, and brings him to the station, while Lucky laughs his ass off.

“Best . . . Morning . . . EVER . . . Well, aside from the whole ‘being held at gunpoint’ and ‘getting coffee in my crotch’ thing.”

Jimmy’s Going DOWN . . . Or is he?

Over in Crazy Town, Van Alden is supposed to be interrogating Jimmy about the heist, during which he and Al Capone supposedly killed four people.  And yet, the Wackadoo Agent, just can’t seem to stop inquiring about Margaret Schroeder, and her “relationship” with Nucky.  “Listen, if you want to know who Mr. Thompson is f*cking, why don’t you ask him?”  Jimmy asks, quite rationally.

As far as the heist, Jimmy claims he has an alibi.  He was “seeing a movie” at the time.  Unfortunately for Jimmy, there’s an eyewitness placing him at the scene of the crime.  And it looks like Jimmy’s pretty screwed.  The ever-supportive Nucky tells him as much, when he comes to visit his protege in jail. 

“You’re pretty much screwed, Jimmy.”

But fear not, Jimmy Fans!  An unexpected ally is about to come to Jimmy’s rescue.  Agent Sedso, Creepy Van Alden’s second in command (he of the hidden Western Union packages) suggests to Van Alden that Jimmy’s snitch be brought to a safe place, so he can’t be whacked by Nucky’s men.  In fact, Sedso will take him there himself.  (What a NICE GUY!)

So, off the pair head to an undisclosed location.  And, you know what happens next?

Oh yes, boys and girls, that Snitch is GONE!  Apparently, Sedso has been on Nucky’s payroll all along — sabotaging Van Alden’s investigation, and hiding important pieces of evidence, like the Western Union telegrams stating that Jimmy was in town.  And now, all he’s got to do is make the killing look like self defense, by hitting himself on the head with a few rocks.  No biggie!

“There’s nothing wrong with having a few bruises on your face.  It adds CHARACTER!”

So, for those of you out there who were keeping score, by the end of the episode: (1) Eddie saved Nucky’s life (but not that poor woman’s); (2) Agent Sedso saved Jimmy’s life; (3) Van Alden saved Lucky’s life; and (4) Margaret saved Madame Jeunet’s business. 

That’s a lot of “saving” for a single hour!  Who knows where this show will take us next?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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