Monday, November 21, 2011

Boardwalk Empire - Battle of the Century

This week’s episode was full of rebellion. Some I was glad to see, some I would have rather not seen. Set against the background of the Dempsey-Carpentier boxing match of 1921, in this episode, we saw the main characters take on fights of their own.

Margaret’s strength is certainly tested when she finds out that her daughter has contracted polio. Every week, I find myself marveling at this character. She is probably one of the strongest females portrayed on television right now. She’s brilliant at using her reputation as a widow, a mother, and even as a kept woman to her advantage. The other characters always underestimate her, and it is quite thrilling to see her show what she is really made of. This week was no exception, as she is forcibly kept from her daughter who is considered highly contagious. The scene where Emily receives a spinal tap was pretty heart-wrenching. However, Margaret really shows her fortitude and spirit when she rebels against the doctors’ orders to sneak into the restricted ward to comfort Emily.

Nucky is unaware of the troubles at home as he has traveled to Ireland under the guise of burying his dead father. What we soon see, is that he intends on supplying guns to Irish rebels in exchange for whiskey. The Irish obviously prefer continuing to fight rather than negotiate peace with the British government. It was a little off-putting to see how much they really wanted those guns. They had no problem ridding their group of any naysayers to Nucky’s offer.

Though Nucky is not in Atlantic City, his influence is still working for him. Chalky White, working on Nucky’s suggestion, encourages a group of African-American workers to stage a walk-out. Demanding better wages and better treatment, an entire restaurant kitchen staff leaves in the middle of their shift. From the looks of the previews for next week, this will become a larger demonstration. It’s great to see this portrayal of early civil rights in action, but as we all know, everything that happens on this show serves a dual purpose. The reason Nucky encouraged Chalky to have the workers rebel in the first place, is to make Atlantic City contentious and a difficult place to manage for Jimmy.

In his second week as “king” of Atlantic City, Jimmy is not doing as well as he thinks he is. Sure, he’s living the life of a fat cat, ordering around his underlings, partying, and womanizing as much as possible, but he does not realize that everything is unraveling around him. Jimmy orders another assassination, this time on Horovitz the Yiddish butcher, and unbeknownst to him it goes awry. That was a scene I could have done without, no one should use kitchen tools that way! At this point, it remains to be seen whether Jimmy is strong enough to win control of the city.

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