So where were we? Oh, right: the blood-covered guy in the woods.
The lone gunshot victim is being hustled into the emergency room, having somehow managed to survive for several days in the woods. How he managed to do this, however, remains a mystery…or, at least, it does to Eli, anyway. “He’s fat?” suggests Eli. “He’s insulated? I don’t know. How should I know? I’m not a doctor.” Nucky’s pissed off about the whole situation, but he’s particularly angry at Jimmy…and, really, can you blame him? Nucky tells Eli to take care of the situation, and he certainly gives it his best shot, but attempts to smother the poor bastard with a pillow fail, though it’s not clear whether it’s because Eli’s a bad smotherer or if the guy just has really good lungs. Either way, it’s a minor miracle that Eli manages to quickly set aside the pillow just before Van Alden and his boys swing in to the question the fellow.
Catching the tail end of Nucky’s charitable phone call served as yet another piece of evidence that he’s had his own issues with a child at some point in his past. As ever, it was nice to see as much of Lucy’s body as possible – little did we know how much more we’d be getting later – but when she started talking about the possibility of having a baby, I thought the way she said “mommy” was highly disconcerting. I know some guys get off on baby talk, but hearing her talk that way while half naked and seconds away from giving a blow job, all I could say was, “Ew.”
Wow, I knew Nucky was a big shot, but when you’re big enough to get Eddie Cantor to play your private party, you’re really something. Eli pops ’round to tell Nucky about the situation at the hospital, but when Nucky tries to give him shit for not having stayed at the hospital to protect their patient, Eli – otherwise distracted by Cantor’s goo-goo-googly eyes, basically says, “This ain’t my problem, go be pissed at Jimmy,” and to echo my statement from a few paragraphs back, can you really blame him?
Speaking of Jimmy, when they put the focus on his fascination with how his wife could keep their son still long enough to take his picture, followed by him flipping through the photo album, I thought it was simply to offer a sense of how depressed he was with the lost time between him and his family and how different he and his wife have become. I didn’t anticipate that it would lead to that scene with Jimmy and Tommy ending up at the photographer’s studio. I can see why he would’ve been suspicious of the photographer at first, based on the scandalous shot of his wife baring her shoulder, but once Jimmy had met the man and his wife and seen how comfortable Tommy was around both of them…I dunno, I guess I just thought it would dissipate somewhat. Instead, he seemed to get even more jealous, though part of that could simply be because he’s dealing with so many emotions that he just doesn’t know what to feel.
Getting back to Van Alden, the whole sequence with him and the gunshot victim was pretty fantastic, from the way they haphazardly moved him out of the hospital to the awkward transport in the backseat to the trip to the dentist’s office. Yeah, I reckon a couple of shots of cocaine to the gums would wake anybody up. I laughed pretty damned hard at the clarification of what he said in his “Gutter German,” but it suddenly got a hell of a lot less funny as Van Alden tortured him in order to get him to give up a name…Jimmy’s name. Van Alden wants to arrest Jimmy outright, but his boss tells him to hang tight, but to see that he’d rather sit in Atlantic City and wait to receive the go-ahead than go home and visit his wife…? Maybe I was wrong about him last week, because my sympathy for him is waning dramatically after this episode.
Finally, Chalky White gets some screen time, and his complete ignorance of Nucky’s reference to Simon LeGree confirms suspicions that Chalky isn’t nearly as educated as Nucky, but I can’t imagine anyone betting against Chalky in a fight between the two of them. Besides, Chalky’s clearly got the hot tip when it comes to what street slang is going to popular in the near future. (Is it possible that “motherfucker” was used so infrequently in the 1920s that Nucky would never have heard the word before?) Later, one of Chalky’s men has been hung, but in a politically-savvy (if otherwise insensitive) move, Nucky decides to shoot the corpse and say that he was shot for cheating with another man’s wife, thereby avoiding a possible race war should word of the hanging get out. In turn, Chalky uses the moment to up her percentage, confirming that he’s a pretty savvy motherfucker his damned self.
We didn’t establish much about Margaret’s neighbor beyond the fact that she’s seemingly sympathetic to Margaret’s plight, but that scene did offer the heartbreaking moment with Margaret’s daughter asking her when the baby was coming. It also introduced the information that Nucky has found a job for Margaret, though it’s hard to imagine that it’ll last very long: she’s totally out of her element (although she sure did look nice in that dress), her boss is a complete bitch, and thanks to Nucky having apparently shoved out the previous salesgirl in order to create an open position for Margaret, it seems likely that she’ll remain a bitch for the long haul. It’s notable, however, that Lucy made a point of coming to check out Margaret and learn more about her…and, even better, that Lucy showed more of herself during the learning process. (Man oh man oh man…) I thought for a moment that they might actually bond, but after Lucy’s snarky comment about how Nucky has “a soft touch for the charity cases,” it’s clear that they won’t be bestest gal pals anytime soon.
Jesus wept! Lucky Luciano’s agony during his treatment for gonorrhea ought to inspire everyone to put a helmet on their soldier. (I don’t even want to know what the doc was doing with those instruments.) Obviously, we’re to take from his anger at the doctor’s attempts to write a full medical report on the situation that Lucky’s a man’s man who isn’t willing to admit to any shortcomings below the belt. Later, Lucky serves as Rothstein’s “consultant” during a poker game, at which point we learn conclusively that the late, great gunshot victim was the nephew of Rothstein’s sister-in-law, so, y’know, obviously they were very close. Okay, so I’m being a little sarcastic. The end result is still that Lucky gets the assignment to take down Jimmy.
Is Jimmy really going to be taken out so soon into the series? I guess we’ll find out. At the very least, his mother’s worried about him: Gillian, after having her fortune told, tells Nucky that she wants him to tighten up and get Jimmy back on the straight and narrow. “I’m not God,” replies Nucky, but after finding out that Jimmy’s been fingered, he does have the heart to order him out of town rather than see him be killed for his actions, showing his sentimental side by reminiscing about how Jimmy was as a young lad. I felt like the moment between Jimmy and Eli at the end of the scene was a telling one, showing Eli as a guy who’s only comfortable talking shit when he’s got his hand on his sidearm. On the whole, I’m expecting to see Eli taken down long before Jimmy bites the dust.
Oh, I just realized I didn’t mention the scene which revealed that Micky Doyle has been bailed out by Leo D’Alessio and his boys. I’ll tell you, what stood out most for me about that scene was Max Casella. I guess his stint on “The Sopranos” must’ve stuck in Terence Winter’s mind. And to think I thought he’d be forever remember as Vinnie on “Doogie Howser, MD.” Good for you, Max.
Things wrap up with Jimmy on the train, reading “Free Air” and thinking of his son as he heads to Chicago. I think we can presume that his first stop will be to see Al Capone, no? (It’s notable that his wife is finally willing to use the vacuum sweeper now that he’s gone.) I didn’t know what I was supposed to make of the shot of Margaret sleeping with her children, except that maybe she’s thinking about Lucy’s “charity case” comment and worrying that she might be right. And Nucky’s got mud on his shoes…or does he have feet of clay? Hmmm…
I just wanted to wrap up with the real Eddie Cantor singing the number that his “Boardwalk Empire” counterpart offers up during tonight’s episode: “The Dumber they Are, The Better I Like ‘Em.” I regret to inform you, however, that the song isn’t currently available on iTunes. Interestingly, though, I did find a song called “The Older They Get, The Younger They Want Them,” which is the exact same song with different lyrics. I guess it’s possible the