Boardwalk Empire: “Spaghetti and Coffee”
Spaghetti and coffee: Just like mama used to make!
September 24, 2012 9:41 pmTerry Yates
We now begin in earnest this season’s Boardwalk Empire, and naturally it’s as slow as ever. Also worth noting, this episode emphasizes the opposite spectrum of characters on the show, lest we forget just how deep the talent pool of this series lies. Sure, it features a fair amount of Margaret running around dealing with her guilt personified as that woman from last episode who’s infected with E. coli and lost her baby…and a lot of blood. But this episode’s finer points deal with our good friends Chalky White and Eli Thompson.
Eli’s fresh out of prison at the start of this episode. It’s immediately made clear that the past two years for him haven’t been the best. Perhaps it’s also because he’s now got to face the hard truths: he betrayed Nucky, who in all his benevolence has made Eli a Mickey Doyle underling.
This is only the beginning of Eli’s troubles; he returns home to be greeted by his 47 children, the only abstaining child is his oldest boy Will, who in his father’s absence, had to become the breadwinner working at the lumberyard. This transition into manhood has flown by as the scene following finds Eli pulling a gift he bought for Will two years ago out of it’s hiding place: a model bi-plane that he busies himself building without his son.
The other character focused on this episode is Chalky White who’s dealing with the beau of his daughter Maybelle, Sammy. The young man, who’s studying to be a doctor and comes from well-to-do parents, desires Maybelle’s hand and goes to Chalky to tell him of his intent. He doesn’t seem to be super intimidated by Chalky, though he does greatly respect him. After diagnosing Chalky with having a mineral deficiency, he seems to earn Maybelle’s hand.
Trouble is Maybelle’s not really having it, much to the chagrin of Chalky. If only Maybelle understood the socio-economic ramifications of not marrying this young doctor. She’s not interested in that, as to be expected, and would prefer to meet some interesting, like her father. Aww. Unfortunately for her, Chalky doesn’t find what he does or has to do very interesting, but before her can give his daughter a piece of his mind, he’s interrupted by a call for dinner. Later on, as Sammy becomes aware that maybe Maybelle doesn’t want to marry he’s interrupted by a dancing fellow who bumps his table. Instead of apologizing he slashes Sammy’s face with a knife, and then is promptly beaten by Chalky’s minion Mr. Purnsley. Instead of walking away, Sammy tends to the beaten young man. Chalky then asks his daughter if he (being Chalky) is interesting now. We’ll see if that actually makes an impact on the young lady and her decision.
Meanwhile, Gyp Rossetti begins in earnest his poking the dual lions of Nucky and Rothstein. Having figured out that the Rothstein’s liquor delivery from Nucky travels through a town housing the last gas station before New Jersey, he pays off the local police and has the gas locked up. Literally out manning Mickey and his crew, (with Eli tagging along for an extra $50) they choose to back up the rigs and head back to Atlantic City. Rothstein won’t be getting his liquor today.
Perhaps the biggest focal point of this episode is Billie Kent, Nucky’s new paramour and their budding relationship. It’s odd that the women in Nucky’s life are possibly the only thing he has no control over, no matter how hard he tries. He knows how to tamp down rival interests of any level be they family members, mob bosses, crooked politicians, but with the ladies…sadly nothing works. Margaret has proven this to be true by her continued shenanigans and now Billie refuses to discuss who the other man in her life may be. Nucky promised never to ask and she vowed never to tell. It’s an odd arrangement that you’d think someone of Nucky’s power wouldn’t bother with, yet here we find him enamored of her and trying to find someone to lock her down for his own. And honestly, at this point any actress would be better than Paz de la Huerta as a Nucky plaything, but Meg Steedle actually gives Billie some depth and although it’s kind of unearned this early in the season, at least attempts to sell just what is so alluring about Billie to Nucky.
Stephen Root shows up in this episode as Gaston Means, a political operative who acts on the behalf of the bootleggers via the bribes they leave for him in a fish bowl. His attempts to remain anonymous when Nucky comes to visit fail to which Gaston is impressed. Most of the men, like George Remus, just drop their bribes and go, but Nucky, he’s actually curious to see just how far up the Harding administration this goes.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10