Boardwalk Empire 1.6 – “I think you’d agree that Greektown belongs to us now.”

If I was supposed to recognize the gentleman who was strolling the boardwalk at the beginning of the episode, picking up “donations” from the various business owners, I must admit that I didn’t. (Did I mention how glad I am that this is my first Sunday night in many months where I haven’t had to blog two shows? My retention of faces just isn’t what it used to be.) It didn’t really matter, though: by virtue of his actions, it was evident that he was part of someone’s operation. That punk kid had a set of brass balls on him, spitting in the face of a big bastard like that one. Let’s hope the payday was worth it…especially since, as we soon found out, the big bastard in question turned out to be one of Nucky’s boys. As far as who the kid belongs to, that’s a mystery, but it’s one that Nucky wants solved sooner than later. All things being equal, though, it might’ve been better to put someone other than Eli on the case, given that he comes across as more ignorant and belligerent than usual this episode. Is Lucky really responsible?

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not disconcerted by Lucy’s insistence on calling Nucky “Daddy” – as the daughter of a 5-year-old, it really creeps me out – but I’d be lying if I said that I don’t enjoy any opportunity to see Paz de la Huerta’s naked body. Seriously, the woman is a full-fledged sex bomb. If Lucy isn’t aware that Nucky and Margaret have officially made the move from idle flirtation to full-fledged ugly bumping, she’s at least conscious that she’s got to work to hold Nucky’s interest, but while drawing blood definitely works as an attention-getter, Lucy’s on the wrong HBO series if she thinks she’s dating someone who gets off on bloodletting.

Margaret goes to visit Mrs. McGarry of the Women’s Temperance League, providing a very carefully phrased statement which indicates that Nucky has offered to take care of her and her children. In return, she gets a frown from Mrs. McGarry, along with a copy of Margaret Sanger’s now-famous “Family Limitation” pamphlet.

It’s a miracle! Charles Luciano is once again capable of getting lucky! And to think: all it took was to hop into the sack with Jimmy Darmody’s mom. Rothstein might’ve been pissed off for still not having a proper update on Jimmy’s whereabouts, but don’t tell me he didn’t chuckle to himself immediately after getting off the phone. The look on Lucky’s face was priceless.

Jimmy’s playing a round of Five Finger Filet, a probable sign that he’s still really depressed about Pearl’s suicide, when Al comes up and tells him that Johnny Torrio is in the house. As soon as Johnny sits down, though, it’s evident that he has little time for Al, dismissing him within moments as a poor businessman. Jimmy might have been pressing his lucky by calling Torrio by his first name, but he’s got a sensible delivery that lends him a great deal of credibility.

Agent Van Alden gets a surprise inspection from his boss, but despite all of the information that he’s accumulated, including details about Nucky’s connection to the Hans Schroder case, it’s all for naught. He claims he’s thorough, but he’s quickly reminded, “You’re a prohibition agent, not Bulldog Drummond.” Yeah, but he might be the Marquis de Sade, given all the whipping that goes on his place at night.

Margaret couldn’t possibly have looked more lovely than she did lying in Nucky’s arms, though just having her hair down for a change would be enough to make her look lovelier than usual. I hope I wasn’t the only one who cringed at the thought of where that Lysol was about to go.

Jimmy goes for dinner at Al’s place, where we find that Al’s changed the story of Pearl’s demise from suicide to having been hit by a streetcar. That’s arguably a nice thing to have done, but we’re quickly reminded that Al’s not consistently a nice guy when he kicks the kid to get his attention. Nice, Al. Real nice. I didn’t even have to Google “Al Capone’s son” to figure out that the kid was deaf, and Jimmy obviously figured it out pretty quickly, too, but the look on Al’s face revealed that he wasn’t exactly thrilled with Jimmy knowing.

Ah, that Lucy: she’s a real class act. First she looks for crotchless panties, then she asks Margaret to model them, and then she offers the 1920’s equivalent of Sharon Stone’s famous “Basic Instinct” shot and tells Margaret that she can’t compete. In turn, Margaret gets slightly more intellectual with her initial retort, then closes with that great line about Lucy’s “cunnie” and tells her awful, awful boss that she quits. Awesome. Looks who’s got the brass balls now! And, yet, she’s clearly scared to death as well, uncertain about what she’s gotten herself into with this new situation.

Nucky, meet Lucky. Lucky, meet Nucky. (It’s “Uma, Oprah” all over again!) The conversation between the two of them starts off tensely and only grows worse when Lucky makes the mistake of admitting that he’s been sleeping with Jimmy’s mother, not realizing the personal connection that Nucky and Gillian have. It, uh, doesn’t go well.

Jimmy clearly still feels responsible for his family, sending home cash for Angela to use as she sees fit, and I was wondering if he might not be on the verge of returning home, now that the only thing he has to keep him warm in Chicago is a copy of Sinclair Lewis’s “Fresh Air.” Obviously, I was wrong.

Margaret clearly hasn’t made any friends in her old neighborhood, with Edith proving all too ready to bitch and moan to Van Alden about what a harlot she’s being…and with her husband only just having died, too! Personally, I can’t say as I blame her a bit for falling into bed with Nucky. She had a shit life with a rat bastard of a husband, and now she’s with a man who, while perhaps not the most scrupulous government official, still seems to actually care for her. A whore? Hardly.

The meeting with Charlie Sheridan is a decidedly tense one, with Jimmy almost getting his ass handed to him for slipping a knife into the proceedings, but, once again, he manages to impress, keeping his cool and surviving the moment, thereby giving him the opportunity to take Sheridan down afterward. I think you can see why I chose this week’s subject line. Pearl’s death has turned Jimmy into a cold bastard, but what remains to be seen is if it’s a temporary situation. Now that he’s gotten his revenge, will we continue to see this side of him? At the very least, it looks like we’re going to be seeing the Jimmy / Al rivalry intensify, based on the way things go down between them at the party. (Funny, I had no idea that “buddy” and “accomplice” were synonyms…)

Once again, another sweet scene with Nucky and Margaret. She’s just so darned cute! And, hey, Chris Mulkey’s back! Nucky and Frank Hague enjoy a business dinner. At first, it appears that all of them…Nucky, Frank, and Margaret…are heading off to see a magical performance by Theodore Hardeen, whose official slogan was apparently, “He’s Houdini’s brother…but he’s just as good!” Instead, however, Nucky and Frank end up enjoying a little ukulele serenade (it always sounds better when the player is naked, you know), and poor Margaret is left with a babysitter but no plans. This leaves her with plenty of time to absorb the revelation that she’s considered to be just another one of the “concubines.” At the very least, Nucky is saying, “I try to be good,” but…well, I think Def Leppard said it best:

  

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