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]

7 Comments

Filed under Boardwalk Empire

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

  1. linda

    Thanks for another great recap. Can’t wait until the finale this sunday. Wish more people would watch this show, they dont know what they are missing!!!!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Linda. 🙂 I’m excited for the finale too. Though this has been somewhat of a “slow burn” of a season, plotlines on Boardwalk Empire have definitely risen to a boil, during the last few epsiodes. And, I suspect the finale will capitalize on this positive trend, by delivering major payoffs on all of the intriguing storylines we’ve been following this season.

      As for the ratings, I read that Boardwalk had a season high last Sunday, coming close to three million views. Not too bad for a cable show, right? 😉

  2. MarBar

    Hi! Me again! Just noticed this recap. Had to read it even though the finale has come, gone, and been commented on. Amazing recap, as always.

    • Thanks, MarBar! You know what’s funny? Since I hadn’t recapped Boardwalk Empire in quite some time, I was originally planning to just recap the finale episode. But when that cringe-worthy, eye-popping, mother/son flashback took place in “Under God’s Power She Flourishes” my snarky side just couldn’t resist having its say. 😉 And that was how “Bad Mommy” came to be . . . 🙂

  3. heidihuxley

    This is fantastic u are a very entertaining & funny writer! I’m finally getting round to watching it all and came across your blog & loved reading this! So funny! Thank you 🙂

  4. Rose

    Gillian Darmody sexually abused and RAPED her own son. For heaven’s sake. Call it what it is. I’d say it’s the worst betrayal on the entire show. And that’s saying something.
    Imagine the years of ‘special baths’ leading up to that night. She was probably inappropriately close to him for years.

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