Boardwalk Empire: “Blue Bell Boy”
Boardwalk Emprie introduces a new character: Mr. Poofles!
October 9, 2012 9:05 pmTerry Yates
Power and isolation seem to be a major theme this season. True, it was also part of the past two seasons of Boardwalk Empire, and any other show about organized crime if we’re being honest. The great thing about Boardwalk Empire so far this season is playing the utter isolation that Nucky Thompson feels as he attempts to corral all the loose elements of his “empire” and not be undermined by his minions out in the open. Which seems to be the particular problem of this episode.
When Nucky gives an order to use the back roads to deliver Rothstein’s booze, his minions, lead by Mickey Doyle, don’t particularly cotton to this idea, especially with the back roads being impassable this time of year. To which he asks Owen, right in front of Nucky, if this is a good idea. Nucky is incensed by the mere notion that not only is he being doubted, he’s being undermined right in front of his face. It’s in his isolation and trying to remain low key that Nucky has fostered this sort of environment, and shouldn’t be really surprised that his subordinates are really running the show ‘round here.
That damnable Tabor Heights is still giving Nucky fits. The police are now fully in the pocket of Gyp Rosetti and cover up the death of the beloved sheriff as a suicide. Rosetti isn’t given much to do this episode outside of choosing a red headed waitress to bang, but he doesn’t really need to do much than that at this point, the thorn has been firmly planted in Nucky’s side.
Rothstein shows up for a scene in this episode wondering aloud to a sniggering Mickey Doyle why he’s having a conversation with him to begin with. This isn’t how Nucky explained how the business was going to run. Where’s his booze he paid for? This perhaps because Nucky’s busy hanging out in a dank cellar as the prohibition officers confiscate a sizable stash of booze that one Rowland Smith had jacked from him.
Count me a tad disappointed that this vaunted Rowland Smith turned out to be snot-nosed, wise cracking kid with a huge set of balls. But I also imagined a sort of Jimmy Darmody replacement, one that could be doted on and mentored by Nucky going forward. I have to hand it to Steve Buscemi and the writers for a hell of a poker face in the fate of young lad. It looked as though Nucky was impressed with Smith’s bravado, but then as the episode wore on, and he winds up putting a bullet in the young man’s head more as a message to Owen to respect his authority, you realize that Nucky is a completely different person now. Any single slight can grow into the monstrous coup that plagued him last season, and he’s willing to bet that any single one of his problems has the potential to do that, so he’s dealing with them all as ruthlessly as possible.
Juxtaposed in this episode is Al Capone and his dealings with bullies. His young son is being bullied, and Capone’s collector is bullied by one of O’Banion’s men. His frustration over his son not being able to defend himself, bleeds over to his collection man not defending himself from a beating himself. In a touching scene Capone attempts to teach his young son how to punch, instead of trying to defend himself the boy begins to cry. It’s interesting to see the young boys in the episode being paralleled with the grown broken men that foster them. That Capone’s son has zero capacity for violence, wherein his farther embodies this violence for a living and uses it to beat O’Banion's man to death with his bare hands is some fine narrative work.
Margaret’s quest to get the pre-natal care thing going continues unabated and is as boring as ever. Although the writers do use this arc as a means to show how old-timey it was back in the olden days with a nun taking issue with the use of the word vagina, or menstruation in the teaching of hygiene to pregnant ladies. So yes, we’ve come a long way ladies, and sanitary napkins are your friend!
Also a bit of sad news for Margaret as her symbolic power animal, Carrie Duncan, crashed her plane. The symbolism is a bit too on the nose and unnecessary. Does this mean that Margaret’s journey to educate the ignorant, unhygienic, expecting mothers of Atlantic City is doomed?
Lucky Luciano has a great scene wherein he’s dressed down by Joe Masseria for doing his business with Jews instead of his own people. He’d also like a generous cut of the heroin business he and Lansky are running. The tension is thick and delicious throughout this scene as Luciano takes a seat next to the window, a classic mistake for anyone in the organized crime biz. He makes it out the meeting alive, but Masseria tells him that his compatriots will stab him in the back one day, and when Luciano comes running to him for help, he’s going to find what Masseria was asking was cheap. I would be more interested in all this New York business if I felt it was going somewhere. I’m assuming since Luciano’s heroin hootenanny has taken up to recent episodes it should be important and worth noting, but I’m finding it a waste of time. I want more Richard Harrow, dammit!
Mickey Doyle, great mind that he is, decides to forgo the back roads plan and send the booze convoy through Tabor Heights. Now, I know this is a drama program, but it occurred to me…why not fill up gas cans and refuel outside of Tabor Heights? Gas cans were around in the 1920’s right? It seems needless to keep throwing minions in to the Gyp Rosetti/Tabor Heights meat grinder! Eli attempts to go ahead of the convoy and see if the Tabor Heights police department would actually play ball. As it turns out, nope, they are Rosetti’s men through and through. Eli then tries to stop the convoy…by standing in the middle of the road. Again, why not pull your car in to the middle of the road, making a road block. Instead, the convoy whizzes by him in to the waiting ambush where they are massacred and Rothstein’s’ booze is taken.
As the episode closes, Capone wakes up his sleeping boy so he can sing “My Buddy” to him. During the song a scene of Eli telling Nucky about the ambush takes place. It seems as though Nucky does need a buddy right now, and someone to listen to. Aww!
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10