Tag: Gretchen Mol (Page 2 of 3)

Boardwalk Empire 1.7 – Daddy Issues

I feel like I have to start off this week’s write-up by noting that, as a result of having been watching the show via advance screeners that I received way back in August, this week is the first time that I’ve ever actually seen the opening credits of “Boardwalk Empire…and, hey, they’re pretty awesome! I particularly dug the shot of the ocean filled with bobbing bottles. And as far as the theme song goes, I was briefly convinced that I was hearing an instrumental portion from Donovan’s “Season of the Witch,” but, no, it’s The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “Straight Up and Down.” Fair enough.

Things start out in Chicago, with a cop keeping close tabs on a gentleman indulging in a bit of corned beef hash and eggs. Bad news for him: turns out the cop is one of Capone’s informants. Worse news: I didn’t recognize him at first, but he’s the son of a bitch who slashed Pearl. How nice of Al to help Jimmy extract his revenge. I had no idea he was so sentimental. Now that they know where they can find the bastard, Jimmy heads over to the doctor to get his leg checked out (it’s the one that was wounded during WWI), since it’s been giving him trouble, describing the pain as “a dull ache inside.” A la the medical history lesson we got from Margaret’s pamphlet last week, this time we find out about Dr. Robert S. Woodworth and his so-called “Personal Inventory Test.” Jimmy agrees to take the test, though he’s clearly skeptical of its worth, but then he sees a guy who’s lost an eye and is wearing a colostomy bag. Surely he thinks the same thing we do: it could’ve been a hell of a lot better off.

Who’s the eccentric old codger in the bathrobe, wielding a fireplace poker? Shit, is that Nucky and Eli’s dad? Sure is. All the money Nucky’s got up his sleeve, and this is how his father lives…? Looks like the old man has a reason for preferring Eli…and not just because he was the first son to arrive on the scene after his accident. After Eli makes sure that his pops is in safe hands, he sets onto Nucky for seeing Margaret, reminding him between the lines that he was directly responsible for putting Margaret on the market by making her a widow. Nucky assures him it’s not an issue (though you know it will be one of these days), then shifts the subject back to their father, suggesting they put him in a home. Eli nixes the idea and, after Nucky dismisses any possibility of paying for a live-in nurse, suggests that he and his family can take him in, thereby underlining further why he’s Daddy’s favorite, but it’s the moment where an annoyed Nucky muses on how much the toaster cost ($9) and how it was never used that’s the more telling: Nucky wants to show off his wealth on his own terms, and he’s pissed when his gestures aren’t appreciated.

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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.

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Boardwalk Empire 1.5 – Irish Blood, Jersey Heart

I’m not sure if this week’s episode was the best installment of “Boardwalk Empire” to date, but at the very least, it was the first episode where those of us who’ve been watching since the beginning of the series felt like we were finally getting some payoff to the storylines we’d been diligently following for the past month.

Margaret is awakened by a bustling at the garage across street, and given that it’s a garage, you could almost believe that it’s barrels of oil being rolled in…right up until the point when the gentleman takes a sip of the product. It seems at first that Margaret isn’t terribly bothered by the sight, nor even by being awoken so early, since she heads straight to the kitchen to whip up a batch of soda bread. As it turns out, however, she’s baking up a plan of action. Cut to Nucky and Eli, neither of whom are in the best of moods: Nucky isn’t exactly ecstatic about St. Patrick’s Day, and Eli quickly matches him with his annoyance over being slighted at breakfast. It’s not really about the breakfast, though. It’s about being considered of lesser importance by everyone all the way down to the waiter. Looks like the Celtic dinner is going to be interesting, what with Eli’s speech and the brothers’ dad being in attendance. It isn’t long before Margaret turns up to deliver the soda bread to Nucky…but what’s this? After several episodes of the show underlining Nucky’s interest in Margaret, suddenly he’s blowing her off? Interesting. He says, “My life’s complicated enough,” but something’s got to be up…and, clearly, Margaret’s pissed off by the reception, given that she promptly throws the soda bread into the wastebasket.

Her next move: to attend a meeting of the Women’s Temperance League…her first in quite some time, based on the reaction she receives when she strolls in…but when the topic turns to what can be done to prop up Prohibition, Margaret chimes in about what she witnessed earlier that morning. As I watched, I couldn’t help but suspect that neither Thompson brother would be quite as much of a friend after St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone. Little did I know that one would be decidedly more than a friend by the end of the episode.

Can’t say as I expected that Nucky’s offhanded “I’m a little short” joke would ultimately result in a storyline devoted to the vertically-challenged – who knew there was such a substantial population of midgets in Atlantic City? – but they’re apparently none too thrilled about the way they’re being treated with this whole Celtic parade. Carl Healy comes to visit Nucky, who’s not in the mood to put up with small talk…no pun intended. Carl asks for a raise from $5 to $10, but Nucky’s not having it. He is, however, willing to cut a deal where the guys get a slight raise and Carl gets an extra cut. Not a bad deal, but somehow I envision it going wrong. When Margaret comes in, she’s clearly a woman on a mission herself, only taking time to confirm her suspicions that Nucky’s just another sheister politician (yeah, that soda bread sure wasn’t tasty, wasn’t it, Nuck?) before getting down to business. Clearly, no matter what these two may have thought of each other in the past, there’s nothing but annoyance between them now, thanks to this latest development. “This isn’t a personal favor, Mrs. Schroeder.” Yeah, no shit, Nucky.

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Boardwalk Empire 1.4 – “Well, I ain’t buildin’ no bookcase…”

Welcome back to Chicago! Yep, looks like my suspicion at the end of last episode was on the money: Jimmy’s first stop in Chi-Town was to get back into Al Capone’s good graces, although it’s pretty evident from Al’s idea of a prank that he’s more than a little bit of a loose cannon. Firing a gun off at that range is likely to cause permanent hearing loss, wouldn’t you think? Still, it’s true: opium is good for what ails you. Not that Jimmy’s interested in pursuing that particular line of medication. His focus is more on his new female companion and nursemaid, Pearl, and after seeing how violently Al deals with his “clients,” it was all too easy to imagine Jimmy following Pearl to California. Al reminds him that he’s got some pretty big coattails that he’s welcome to ride on, but Jimmy shrugs, tells him he’s only passing through, and then offers the kind of advice which reveals that he could have his own criminal empire if he’d just put his mind to it. The difference between their styles of business only becomes more evident during their meeting with Charlie Sheridan (not to mention when they’re getting fitted for new suits), but I can’t blame Jimmy for wanting to let Al be hoisted with his own petard: the dude asked for it with his boorish manner. I mean, I know how history ultimately turns out, but surely Al needs to learn when to be a thug and when to be a businessman. On a related note, though, as soon as Sheridan’s boy came back into the whorehouse, I knew Pearl was in trouble, but I didn’t know exactly what was going to go down. Rough stuff, that. Come to think of it, it probably couldn’t hurt Jimmy to know when to be a businessman and when to be a thug.

Nucky’s practicing to look surprised for an upcoming birthday party when the ever-gorgeous Lucy pops by to inform him that she’s going shopping…which, of course, means that she needs money. After she departs, he chats further with Eddie about the guest list for the party, talking about how he’s anticipating to pull in some funds from an upcoming road appropriations bill. The fact that he’s pointedly underlined this fact leads me to believe that things aren’t going to go quite how he’s hoping they will. Nucky seems to be the only one in his camp who cares about finding out who Chalky’s man last week, but as he loudly reminds them, “Chalky cares, so that means I cares, and you can bet your ass, come Election Day, you’re gonna care, too.” It looks like Nucky’s chances at reelection are directly tied to whether or not he pulls in the African-American vote, but you’ll notice that Nucky has no ego about his situation and makes the very important distinction that it’s not that the populace in that community are doing what he tells them, it’s that he tells Chalky, and they do what Chalky tells them. Eli’s got a good point – Chalky’s not going to want to give up what he’s got – but better safe than sorry. Nucky’s getting positively anal about making sure everything’s right for the party and is stressed out to the Nth degree, leaving Eddie trying to maintain his good-cop persona and save face, but even he seems a little nervous about how crazy Nucky’s getting. It’s clear that he won’t be calming down until things have been smoothed over in Chalky’s community.

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Boardwalk Empire 1.3 – Feet of Clay

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.

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