This week’s Boardwalk Empire is brought to you by the dramatic doubling of identities, and by the letter ‘buh’? There was a heck of a lot of bartering and selling and manoeuvring with characters who have not played a central role until now and may not again in the future. Or mayn’t they?! Spoilers ahead, forever.
It all starts with Lucy Danziger making her triumphant return as a regular character by wearing a lace shift/nothing in this episode, making it ever more likely there was a clause in her contract obliging her to drop trou every week. In keeping with the uncertain chronology of the show she looks ready to have the van Aldenbaby any minute now.
Later, after having a booze and cigs lunch with her old friend from the Vaudeville show, she gets hold of a script which has an entire passage that she delivers to camera/into a mirror that neatly dissects her entire character/persona in one deft motion. Well played, Boardwalk Empire! You made me care about a character I once considered irredeemable. After typing that the odds just shortened on a tragic Danzigdeath next week. Stay tuned!
At the latest meeting of The Commodore and Friends, they show once more that they don’t entirely know what they’re doing by chasing off a potential business partner (named McCoy) by being totally charmless. Back at Jimmy’s house Al Capone further undermines his confidence in daddy dearest by repeatedly demanding that they have Nucky assassinated and essentially that political coups are for sissies. Jimmy does not have much fun in this episode, but it means he gets to do his haunted, haven’t-slept-since-last-episode look, so wins all round.
Meanwhile, Margaret has employed the Pinkerton detective agency to track down her family, who are now living in New York. She has Katy the Maid ring them up and ask for Peggy Rohan, but Peggy has been dead for twelve years. Oh no! Then Detective Katy O’CantLeaveWellEnoughAlone solves the case that Margaret… is Peggy! Because that is the same name. Anyway, Peggaret gives her the stinkiest of eyes and re-establishes herself as the Queen of This Show.
In Owen Sleater news, this week Owen Sleater tells Nucky that he can be used as muscle, which I was not entirely convinced about! And then there’s a scene where he does the BEST HEADBUTT and singlehandedly stops an alcohol deal from happening. Which I am also unconvinced about! Perhaps Harrow and his men were too busy weeping in awe of the magnificent Ulster Kiss that just happened to go about their criminality. In any case, Nucky – 1, Commodore – headbutt.
The apex of this episode is in the middle of the restaurant/playhouse where everyone seems to hang out like it’s the 20s flapper version of Cheers. The Commodore and Jimmy are meeting the governor of New Jersey, discussing how to beat Nucky and eating a gigantic lobster. Then Nucky and pals show up to the only restaurant in town! Awkward! Then Margaret orders lobster and oh man they just sold the last lobster to that weird old dude who likes to lift things. This is too much. Nucky marches right over there and throws the lobster away and is all like I EAT YOUR LOBSTER. Then he tells Jimmy some pretty horrible things about his mother and the Commodore what with him being a massive freak and all and maybe Nucky is his dad?? Oh jeez. Badass Nucky is back and he is pissed.
So this was a pretty fantastic episode, and the whole Soap Opera Engine that powers this thing is going like the clappers, and Kelly Macdonald continues to be the absolute best. And best of all, it seems there’s about a dozen plotlines reaching boiling point and this is episode three. Hell yes.
What will happen next on the Boardwalk? Give us your two cents in the comments!