Boardwalk Empire: “You’d Be Surprised”
Boardwalk Empire implores that you come discuss your vagina with Margaret Thompson.
October 15, 2012 10:03 pmTerry Yates
This week the power and isolation elements of the show are dealt with separately, with a fair amount of the former being used to further the advancement of the latter. Insomuch that this third season of Boardwalk Empire is tent-poled by the Thompson’s and their partnership/marriage. Nucky may feel isolated, but he’s never truly alone to navigate most of the machinations of his doing. Margaret, however, is utterly isolated in her advancement of baby learning the dirty women of Atlantic City.
This episode, aside from being yet another episode with zero Richard Harrow, finally begins tying some of those loose threads together. Not that I really needed to have Gillian Darmody all up in this episode trying to prove just how extra crazy she is, but there she is all the same.
While I see nothing wrong with showing us just how fanciful Gillian colors her world to deal with the pain and disdain of it all, I do take truck with it muddying an episode that was actually trying to propel the season along with crazy cathouse shenanigans. It isn’t like we couldn’t have come to our own conclusion offscreen that Gillian would run the cathouse poorly, even if Luciano was a crappy partner. Her dream world’s façade begins to chip a little as she makes the ladies go outside and try to entice fellows in to the establishment, perhaps to be super bored by minstrels before they get their banging on. Oh yeah, she’s not technically the owner of the former Commodore’s house either, Jimmy is, but he’s…oh wait…crazy Gillian’s not down with that.
I guess when Rosetti discussed banging that redheaded waitress last episode, he actually meant he wanted someone to watch while he erotic asphyxiation-ed himself. Sure, it’s something that a villain of this season would do, it gives him character. While he does that, Rothstein sees Nucky about his shipment of booze that he never got, and lets him know that Nucky's inattention to this Tabor Heights situation and inability to deal with Rosetti is squarely his fault. Even going so far as to blame Billie for Nucky’s lapse in leadership, and that’s where Nucky takes issue with Rothstein, blaming him for bringing Rosetti and his loose cannon nature to the proceedings.
Nucky then takes it upon himself to lie to Margaret about having “business” in New York (well, technically he does have “business”), to which she is immediately worried that it’s time to go to the mattresses again or something. Nucky attempts to calm her, but Margaret buys none of it. What’s interesting to note is that Nucky buys two magazines for the children, so they won’t fight over them. It’s subtle, but still shows how Nucky shows affection by shoving money at it...or better yet solving supposed future problems.
Billie’s previewing a new show called “The Naughty Virgin”, the ham-handed symbolism aside, the play is going to be cancelled soon because the male lead isn’t good. Loving a woman in peril, Nucky makes moves to try and save the play, while at the same time, trying to keep another man from sliding in and stealing Billie away from him. It’s a lot of heavy lifting for a dame. It’s unclear whether Billie knows what she's doing by manipulating Nucky, or he’s allowing himself to be played at this point, so it could be interesting to see how this plays out and he tries to take control of this relationship.
We get to check in with Van Alden’s glorious existence as he’s called in to his boss' office. One of his co-workers joke that the feds are on to him. The camera work on this scene is brilliant as it pulls back and we glimpse the terror that emanates from Van Alden’s eyes. Turns out, the feds were on to him, just not the ones that Van Alden had envisioned. Having erred on his taxes, his boss tells him to take care of it, as it’s not the company’s problem to fix. Also, that prohibition agent from the speakeasy is looking for him. Uh-oh! As an aside I do so love how Michael Shannon plays Van Alden as this almost Frankenstein creature that lumbers about and emotes so little as he navigates this world. That he’s coupled with Sigrid, who’s grasp of English adds a touch of humor to this episode, has been some masterful casting. He also furthers his descent in to the dark side by helping kill the prohibition agent after Sigrid knocks him unconscious. Guess who he goes to? O'Banion!
Nucky’s plan to save Billie’s play involves Chalky and his associate Mr. Purnsley going over to Eddie Cantor’s pad to strong-arm him in to doing the show. I guess Eddie forgot you really can’t tell Nucky no, and that he doesn’t much mind that you have to break a contract to keep a paramour’s shitty show afloat. This scene also feels a lot like “Hey, what’s Chalky up to? Oh and could Mr. Purnsley go with him…cuz?” and I guess Richard Harrow is only used for purely lethal assassination situations or something?
There’s a scene with an assload of character actors that I suppose means that the corruption investigation in to the Harding administration in underway. Stephen Root shows up again to assuage the fears of an administration minion. While some threads do get dealt with in this episode, this current thread grows a bit and plays up a more formidable threat to Nucky’s operation, and gives a lot of character actors some work. Hooray for all!
Margaret’s pre-natal care class is poorly attended, probably due to the horrible signage that she has developed. In a well meaning reunion with Madame Jeunet, she happens to run in to Nucky buying clothes for Billie to cheer her up. He later apologizes for displaying poor form, which is pretty much the only thing he’s truly sorry for. Margaret is unwavering in her ability to forgive him, to which he reminds her of the advantageous nature of their arrangement.
Rothstein drops by Tabor Heights to meet with Rosetti. He winds up making a deal with him for the booze he hijacked from Nucky, and to further their partnership. During the meeting a paperboy drops by to be chided by Rosetti for delivering yesterday’s news; impressed with the young man’s ability to take a Rosetti “joke” he subscribes to the newspaper and lets the boy know where he’s staying. Rothstein then has Lanksy send Siegel in to town to try and kill Rosetti as he bangs the redheaded waitress and asphyxiates himself. Forgetting that Siegel is a horrible shot when it counts, Rosetti survives by using the waitress as a human shield, but he loses four men in the process. Bad news for Nucky and Rothstein.
It’s during the first run through of Billie’s show that Eddie asks her if she’s ever heard of a Lucy Danzinger, to which Billie doesn't, and then says that the next girl won’t know who she was either. It’s a painfully true observation of Nucky’s character all throughout this series. Not only is it apparent to his closest confidant, Margaret, but that even someone lowly as Eddie Cantor knows his true nature, can’t mean anything good for Nucky.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10