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“Too Hot to Watch” – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s “Hold Me in Paradise”

Poor Eli Thompson!  As if being the Daniel Baldwin of his family wasn’t bad enough.  This guy gets ONE opportunity to show his big brother he’s not a TOTAL LOSER.  And what happens?  He gets stood up, robbed, shot in the stomach, and his BURNING PORN nearly sets his brother’s house on fire!

There is a special place in Hell reserved for people who watch Black-and-White “Wind-up Porn”  starring “Naughty Nuns.”

And yet, the attack that Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Co. made on Nucky’s casino, and on Eli, in particular, launched a sequence of events that will undoubtedly shape this series, in the episodes to come . . .

Hard-up for Harding . . .

Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States.  And yet, he was only really known for two things: (1) dying while in office; and (2) being the President most often featured on various “Worst President in History” lists.  Harding was a blow-hard, slutty, corrupt, and associated with plenty of known criminals.  And, as far as this show would have you believe, Nucky Thompson, more or less, singlehandedly secured him the Presidency .  . . well . . . at least the Republican nomination.

You’re welcome.”

Ever since Jimmy Darmody was exhiled from Atlantic City to Chicago, a few episodes back, I’ve often wondered how the writers of this show would tie together what seemed to me like two completely separate storylines.  After all, the show is called Boardwalk Empire, not Chicago Empire.  (Not that I’m complaining, mind you.  I LOVE MY WEEKLY DOSE OF AL CAPONE!)

This week, when Nucky headed over to Chicago to attend the Republican National Convention, all those lingering questions were answered. 

At first everything seems to be business as usual for Nucky.  First, talks up that two-timing snake Senator Hedge, who (wrongly) believes himself to be a shoe-in for the Vice Presidential Nomination.

Never trust a man with a Count Dracula hairdo . . .

“We are going to take this thing, Nucky!  And, as soon as we do, the sky is the limit,” brags Hedge.

“The sky?  I’m only interested in the road,” Nucky fires back, not-so-subtly alluding to the roadway deal Senator Hedge made with the Mayor of Jersey City, behind his back.

As it turns out, Hedge has a favor to ask of Nucky.  He wants the A.C. King to attend a campaign event thrown by Harding’s campaign manager — a guy named Harry Doherty (based on Harding’s real campaign manager, of the same name) on his behalf. 

Now, even had I not been familiar with the historical background of Harry Doherty (OK . . . I wasn’t), I could have told you immediately that he would be BAD NEWS, just based on who was playing him.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is Harry Doherty . . .

I’m referring to the guy without the war paint . . . obviously.

Seriously, have you EVER seen this actor (his name is Christopher McDonald, by the way) play a character that wasn’t a total and complete douchebag?  Talk about being typecast!  In fact, if I ever see this guy cast as a do-gooder humanitarian in a film, I might just drop dead, in shock.

But I digress . . .

Upon meeting with Harry, Nucky is so impressed with his ability to be a bigger sleazebucket than he is “work a room,” as well as the obvious power he has over Harding, that the A.C. King decides to get in bed with him . . .

 

I meant that figuratively, of course . . .

So, Nucky and Harry strike up a deal.  Nucky will secure Harding enough delegates to get the Republican nomination, provided the chameleonic Hedge is NOT selected as Harding’s VP.  Furthermore, if Harding agrees to fund Nucky’s”Road Project,” Nucky will take Harding’s “mistress,” Nan Britton, and her son, Harding’s bastard child, off the politician’s hands, until Election Day.  (The mother and child will stay in Atlantic City, with Margaret, and the rest of the “concubines.”)

Before leaving Chicago, Nucky once again runs into Senator Hedge.  Now that he has the “Road” support he needed, and a future President in his back pocket, Nucky no longer needs to kiss this guy’s ass.  “The only chance you’ll have of entering the White House is on a guided tour,” challenges Nucky.

Fear not, Senator Hedge!  There are plenty of other ways to get into the White House, without being a Vice President or Cabinet Member.  For example . . .

How comfortable are you with wearing a bunny suit?

 But Senator Hedge wasn’t the only politician that came off looking lousy, in this episode.  El Presidente didn’t fare too well, either.  Warren Harding’s ramblings to Nucky when the pair first met were pretty bad.  But that LAME ASS poem he wrote to his mistress was FAR WORSE. 

“Hold Me in Paradise,” cooes Mistress Nan, on the train ride back to Atlantic City, as she reads from one of Harding’s infamous “love letters.”

“That imbecile is going to be the next President of the United States,” snarks Nucky, when Nan excuses herself to use the rest room.

Indeed . . .

 Lucy Danziger Teaches Us How to Speak Irish . . .

Meanwhile, back in Atlantic City, Margaret is at the Ritz Carlton, basking in the joys of being a very well-paid prostitute.  Her tea companion is fellow concubine, Annabelle, or, as I like to call her, Miss Wigs-a-Lot.  (Seriously, this lady’s got more mismatched headpieces than Lady Gaga!)

“I’d smile, but my mouth is too sore from sucking . . . lemons.  Why, what did you think I was going to say?”

But Annabelle and Margarets royal snoozefest rollicking good time is interrupted by Margaret’s old boss from the dress shop, who is looking rather worse for wear. 

(Get it?  “Worse for Wear?”  Because she works at a dress shop?  No?  Well, you can’t blame a gal for trying . . .)

Interestingly enough according to IMDB, Margaret’s old boss is named Madame Jeunet.  However, the way Margaret pronounced her name, I thought for sure that she was referring to that girl from Forrest Gump . . .

Madame Jenny, I am not a smart man.  But I know what dumb annoying slut Lucy Danziger is.”

Anyway, Madame JEUNET is very upset, because Lucy Damnslut has barged into her “fine” dress shop demanding service.  Lucy does this, despite the fact that Nucky cut that Biatch’s unlimited credit line, the minute he found a suitable replacement sex toy . . .

Lucy, as per usual, is totally wasted, and flails about aimlessly, slurring incoherent insults at everybody within shooting range.  She calls Margaret Mrs. McDougal, and Margaret politely corrects her.  (Her last name is Schroeder, thank you very much!)

“Is that Irish for b*tch?”  Lucy inquires, showing off her impressive multilingual skills.  (Who said you couldn’t learn anything from HBO?)

Suddenly, Boardwalk Empire has skidded into Spanish Telenovela territory, with the two overly made-up women getting up in each other’s faces, and fighting over one Macho Stallion of a Man.

“You think he’s your friend.  You think you understand him,” challenges Lucy, throwing out the most coherent lines she’s had all episode.

“And what if I did?” Margaret seethes.

“Well than you’re the Dumbest Dora I have ever met,” fires back Lucy.

WELL!  Margaret may share her last name with a Tiny Pianist (and an Irish B*tch?), but she is NO DORA!  And so, like any good Telenovela heroine, Margaret slaps that evil wench Lucy right across the mouth, and stomps out of the Ritz Carlton, in triumph!

“Well thanks for dining and dashing, Dora B*tch!”

How to Scar Your Children for Life – by Angela Darmody

“Oh, don’t be such a prude!  I breast fed that boy, what harm could a few more boobies do?”

Back at the house formerly known as Jimmy Darmody’s, Jimmy’s Gay Wife Angela is busy painting the ugliest naked chick picture I have ever seen in my ENTIRE LIFE!  (The sex must be REALLY GOOD, for Angela’s lover to think she’s actually a good artist.  That’s all I’ve got to say . . .)  But the fact that Angela is painting an ugly ass naked chick picture is not NEARLY as disturbing, as the fact that she’s forcing her kid to watch!

“That’s pretty, Mommy,” says the dumbfounded four-year old boy, in a scene he will likely relive OVER and OVER AGAIN in therapy, for YEARS TO COME!

Jimmy’s mom enters the room, takes one look at that HIDEOUS picture, and immediately suggests Angela start thinking about a getting a job that actually gives her a shot at MAKING SOME MONEY.

“You know, we could put that picture outside.  I bet it would keep the raccoons from digging in our trash cans . . .”

But Mrs. Darmody doesn’t want to WORK!  And why should she?  When she has a Sexy Princeton Educated Hoodlum earning for her, over in Chicago!

Just another day at the office . . .

Except, that’s the problem.  Even though WE know that Jimmy has been sending cash to his wife, each week, like a Good Little Hubby, Angela hasn’t received ONE RED CENT!  And Girlfriend is going BROKE!  As it turns out, Jimmy’s “letters” have been regularly intercepted by THIS GUY . . .

Yes, Mr. Van Alden.  It is BAD to steal money from untalented young mothers, who have no alternate means of support.  You are a BAD BOY!  BAD BOY!

Some People Just Weren’t Meant to Procreate . . .

At first, it seemed as though Agent Van Alden was rifling through the Darmody’s mail for “surveillance purposes.”  After all, Darmody was a suspect in robbery / murder, and was, for all intents and purposes, still missing-at-large.  And yet, Van Alden could have easily gleaned the information he needed from the envelopes, resealed them, and simply returned them to Angela’s mailbox, once they had been investigated.  No one would be any the wiser.

Except . . . it seemed that Van Alden had more selfish plans for the bundles of cash he had lying in his desk drawer.  In, yet another AWKWARD husband-wife scene that we have come to accept from this creepy character, Mrs. Van Alden starts bawling at the dinner table, because she has her period.  (It’s OK, Mrs. Van A!  My period makes ME CRY TOO!)

As it turns out Mrs. Van Alden is crazy enough to want to make a Baby Nelson. But she can’t have one, because she has a HOSTILE UTERUS!

But . . . there is HOPE!  For the mere price of $270, Mrs. Van A can MAKE PEACE WITH HER UTERUS, and make babies with her Psychotic Self-Flagellating Husband!  (Umm . . . yay?)

The only problem is that Mr. Van A spends his ENTIRE salary on leather belts and whips.  Therefore, he has no cash to pay for his wife’s  Uterus Rehab.

Later in the episode, we see Van Alden fingering Jimmy’s cash, and slipping it all into an envelope.  We ASSUME the envelope is headed to his Hostile Uterus-having wife, but it is NOT!

Instead, Nelson sent the money back to ANGELA (who, really should have had it in the first place . . .).  Oh, but, don’t worry!  He sent a letter to his wife too!  And it said all sorts of nice stuff in it, like “Maybe the Lord wants you to be barren.  Ever think of that?” and, “Trust in the Lord,” and “Too bad, so sad on you, you Childless Wench!  I literally whack off to a picture of Miss Schroeder on a daily basis.”

That Van Alden’s a real romantic, isn’t he?

In Other News . . .

Arnold Rothstein made a lawyer joke . . .

“I prefer to make my living honestly,” said Mr. Rothstein, when his lawyer suggested he go to law school, based on his award-winning testimony regarding the “Black Sox Scandal,” which Rothstein purportedly orchestrated himself.

Right, Arnie!  Like we’ve never heard THAT one before  . . .

Well, THAT was awkward . . .

Back in Chicago, discomfort abounds, when Nucky is at The Brothel, chatting up Johnny Torrio for scoop on the political situation in Ohio.  It is there that he runs into Jimmy . . .

Nucky doesn’t look the least bit happy to see his “protege.”  Instead, Nucky insults Jimmy, calling him out on being a Deadbeat Dad, for not sending more money to Angela, even though Jimmy can clearly afford to buy himself Snazzy $70 suits, like the one he’s wearing.  Little does Nucky know that Jimmy owns precisely ONE SUIT.   In fact, he hasn’t taken it off once, since he purchased it around episode 4.  (I bet it smells like a dream . . .)

However, Nucky’s tune quickly changes, when he gets a call from A.C., informing him that his casino was robbed, and his brother, Eli was shot and wounded.

Now, suddenly, Nucky is forced to kiss Jimmy’s ass.  He offers Jimmy a sweet percentage of all his bootleg profits, if the Little Guy agrees to come back to A.C., and work for him again.  “I’m doing really well here,” pouts Jimmy, clearly angling for a little fatherly affection, from the guy who was once his surrogate and possibly biological dad.

But Nucky isn’t really one for fatherly affection.  Instead, the A.C. King tells Jimmy that he will always be an outsider in the Chicago Gang, because they are all Italian, and he’s Irish.  But Jimmy plays it cool, telling Nucky, “I’ll think about it.”

However, later that night, we see Jimmy staring forlornly at Al Capone and his buddies, as they play cards, and make “Yo Mama” jokes to one another, in, you guessed it, Italian.

“Hmph!  You guys all think you are SO COOL!  But I bet you didn’t know that Schroeder is Irish for B*tch!  Yo Mama is a TOTAL Schroeder, Capone!”

Knowing full well that the shooting of Eli marks the start to a full-on Gang War on his home turf, a frantic Nucky phones Margaret, in the middle of the night. 

“Isn’t it a little late for phone sex?”

Nucky quickly fills Margaret in on what happened to Eli.  He then instructs her to go to his suite at the Ritz, hide his ledger book, and wait there with her children, until he arrives home.  “You’re the only one I can trust,” says Nucky the Moron.

So, of course, Margaret heads off to La Casa de Nucky.  Once there, she gets a phone call from a “Breather,” and stupidly tells him, “This is Margaret Schroeder.” (That’s Irish for B*tch!)

Seriously?  I thought Margaret was supposed to be SMART?  Who, in their right mind, tells a “Breather” who’s probably out to murder your lover, and ransack the suite where you and your kids are staying, their FULL NAME?  She might as well have given out her Social Security Number, the names and ages of her children, and where in the suite they’d all be, by the time he arrived . . .

Oh, and then Margaret starts sifting through Nucky’s ledger, and acts ALL SHOCKED, when she finds payments made for booze delivery, in there. 

“My goodness!  This is terrible.  My whole life is a LIE!  I could use a stiff drink.  I wonder if Nucky has any whiskey in his office . . .”

As if Margaret HONESTLY had NO CLUE the Nucky was involved in illegal bootlegging, despite already knowing, full well, that ALL the men working for him were. 

You know, I never thought I’d say this, but Lucy Danziger might be the Smart Chick in Nucky’s life after all . . .

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Raiders of the Lost (Inner) Child – A Recap of Lost’s “Lighthouse”

“You may be the ‘Chosen Candidate’ Jack Shepard, but do YOU have a cool hat and whip?  I think not . . .”

Tonight’s installment of Lost was all about the kiddies!

More specifically, this episode dealt with finding and, coming to terms with, youth, both in the literal and metaphorical sense.  Tonight, Jack literally located and then reconciled with the son that none of us knew he had.  In doing so, he confronted his own daddy abandonment issues, and came one step closer to accepting his destiny as  . . .

The WINNING CANDIDATE for . . .

 In bat shit crazier news, Claire made a baby doll out of a dead animal carcass, fatally axed a guy, and majorly creeped out Poor Jin, all for the love of a boy named Aaron.

Oh and did I mention . . . the DONKEY WHEEL is back?

Let’s get down to business, shall we?

Dude, Where’s My Appendix?

When we last left Doctor Jack in Flash-Sideways World, he was at the airport, passing his business card off to a wheelchair-bound (but living) Locke, while filing a “lost luggage” claim for his dead dad’s coffin.  Now, back home in his apartment, Jack is on the phone with his mother, filling her in on all of the gory details of his trip, when he notices a scar on his stomach.  “When did I have my appendix out?’  Jack inquires.

Sidenote:  If you recall, in the original Lost timeline, Juliet diagnosed Jack with appendicitis and removed his appendix on the island in Season 4, Episode 10 “Something Nice Back Home.”

Jack’s mother explains that Jack had his appendectomy when he was about eight-years old.  I find it a bit strange that Alt World Jack wouldn’t remember having this particular surgery.  Sure, eight is a young age, but not so young that you wouldn’t remember something as traumatic as undergoing major surgery. 

Unlike the past flash-sideways we have seen, in which the Losties may exhibit brief flashes of “déjà vu” for their “original timeline” lives, but seem more or less at home in their new (?) skins, Jack seems completely (forgive the pun) “Lost” in Flash-Sideways world.  It is almost as though Island Jack has been plucked from the original timeline and placed in this new one, without being given any explanation as to how things are different here. 

 

or Jack Shephard?

Noting the time, Jack quickly gets off the phone with his Mommy and rushes to a nearby private school to pick up . . . HIS TEENAGE SON?  David Shepard?

“My brain hurts!”

Upon hearing the pair converse, it becomes immediately obvious that Jack’s and David’s relationship is strained.  In fact, Jack barely seems to know his son at all.  (Doesn’t remember his appendectomy, doesn’t know his son — is this merely a case of VERY early onset dementia or something odder?)

Back at the apartment, Jack notices that David is reading an annotated copy of Alice in Wonderland, the same story that Jack read to baby Aaron in “Something Nice Back Home.”

Curiouser and Curiouser . . .”

Jack leaves his son in the apartment and heads to his mother’s house, to help her find Jack’s father’s missing will.  When his mother finds it, she asks Jack if he knows “Claire Littleton.”  To which Jack replies . . .

“Hell yeah I do!   That bitch turned effing nuts!”

Actually, we don’t get to hear how Jack replies at all, because the producers cut away from the scene, before he can offer his response . . .  Does Alt World Jack know his half-sister Claire?  Only time will tell . . . hopefully.

When Jack returns to his apartment, his son is MIA.  Jack heads to his ex-wife’s (?) house, extracting its key from under a White Rabbit statute (yet another Alice in Wonderland reference).  Upon listening to his son’s answering machine, Jack learns that David has snuck off to a conservatory for an admissions audition.

Jack rushes to the conservatory, arriving just in time to hear his son play piano.  He beams with pride at his son’s clearly gifted musical talent.  As Jack watches from the wings, another father compliments David’s talents, and, noting the boy’s youth, asks how long he has been playing.  Wait a minute . . . we know that dad!  It’s . . .

POISON PILL GIVER, DOGEN!

Jack honestly admits that he doesn’t know how long his son has been playing. 

Something is definitely fishy here . . . 

Meeting up with David outside the Conservatory, Jack asks his son why the latter never told him about the audition.  David explains that, when he was younger, Jack was very intense about David’s piano lessons.  David feared Jack would see him as a failure if he didn’t perform perfectly at the audition.

Heartened by this confession, Jack tells David how Jack’s own father once told him that he “didn’t have what it takes” to succeed in medicine.  Jack explains to David that he loves him and could never ever consider him a failure.  Father and son both get a bit teary eyed, and it really feels as though Jack has righted his own father’s wrongs through this exchange.  Perhaps that was the whole point  . . .

 . . . and then comes the carcass in the baby carriage!

“HELLLLLP MEEEEE!”

Back on Lost island, Claire frees a very freaked out Jin from the bear trap in which he was caught last week.  She then expertly stitches up his wounded legs and takes him to her makeshift campsite, where she has presumably been living for about three years.  Jin does a bit of snooping here, and finds this really creepy baby basinet with a stuffed animal carcass inside.  I sure hope that’s machine washable . . .

Claire then drags Justin, the remaining living Other who accosted Jin last week, into her camp and ties him up.  With a freshly sharpened ax, Jungle Lady threatens to chop up Justin if he doesn’t tell her where her baby Aaron is.  Justin has no clue, and tells Claire as much.  Unfortunately for Justin, Claire doesn’t believe him.  After all, her father and “her friend” told her that the Others were hiding Aaron inside the temple.  When Claire walks away, Justin pleads with Jin to untie him.  He explains that if they don’t get away, Claire will kill them BOTH. 

Jin initially seems unconvinced.  After all, Claire may have bad hair right now, and poor taste in childrens’ toys, but Jin can’t truly see her harming HIM, a fellow Lostie!  Claire then shows Justin and Jin the scars she has sustained from when the Others tortured and branded her at the temple, presumably using the same technique on HER that Dogen used on Sayid the Maybe Zombie.

Jin comes clean to Claire, explaining that Kate had taken Aaron off the island and had raised him for three years.  Claire thanks Jin.  She then kills Justin, anyway.

“Not very nice, Claire Bear!”

Realizing that Claire is truly off her rocker, and beginning to fear for his friend Kate’s life, Jin takes back his words, explaning that he lied about Kate in an effort to save Justin’s life.  Jin then claims to know where Aaron is hidden, and offers to take Claire there.

Claire tells Jin that if Kate had taken Aaron, she would have killed her.  And just when it seems like things can’t get any weirder or scarier for Jin, “Locke” shows up . . . except he’s not Locke . . . of course.  He’s the Lockness Smokey Monster, a.k.a Claire’s  “friend” who told her that the Others had Aaron.

All Around the Donkey Wheel . . .

While in search of food, Hurley “I Talk to Dead People” Reyes encounters our dearly departed friend Jacob, who is in desperate need of Hurley’s help.  Jacob gives our “unlucky” friend a series of instructions, which the latter dutifully inscribes on his arm.  According to Jacob, Hurley needs to commandeer Jack in a special mission.   To get Jack on board, Hurley must tell Jack that “he has what it takes.”

The two trek off into the sunset, where they eventually come across this . . .

“How come we’ve never seen this before?” Hurley inquires.  (How indeed . . .)

Jack and Hurley trek to the top of the lighthouse and find what appears to be a replica of the infamous donkey wheel from last season, accented by a few mirrors, or “looking glasses,” if you prefer.  Printed around the wheel are a series of names and number similar to the ones Nu-Locke showed Sawyer in the cave during last week’s episode, with some notable differences.  For one thing . . .

Kate’s on the wheel!  She’s number 51!

Hurley instructs Jack to turn the wheel to number 108 (which has next to it the name “Wallace” – Who the heck is Wallace?), and then look in the mirror.  Annoyed that Jacob has refused to speak to Jack in person, Jack turns the wheel instead to his own name and the corresponding number 23.  He then looks in the mirror and is horrified to find his childhood home looking back at him.  In a huff, Jack breaks the mirror and storms out of the lighthouse.

Later, Jacob reappears to a disappointed Hurley who feels as though he failed in his task.  Jacob explains that things are going exactly as planned.  As the coach of Team Jacob, Ghost Man apparently knows exactly what it takes to bend people to his will.  For some, like Hurley, merely asking for a favor is all it takes.  But more stubborn folks like Jack, however, need to come to certain conclusions on their own, which is exactly what Jack appears to be doing at the end of this unbelievably complex episode.

So, what did you think of The Lighthouse?  Have you joined Team Jacob yet?  Were you relieved to find Kate’s name on the wheel?  Do you know where I can get a cool hairdo like Claire’s?

 

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