Monday, November 7, 2011

Boardwalk Empire: Peg of Old

Just how twisted can the roots of a family tree get? From suggesting a brother be bumped off, to a mother abandoning her newborn, to siblings being unable to forgive past grievances, loyalty is not a virtue for this extended bootlegging family.

Jimmy is the only person struggling with where his heart lies. The thought of assassinating Nucky, who he considers a father, is eating him up. On top of this predicament, Jimmy’s relationship with his mother, Gillian, is probably the most unnerving relationship on the show. Every time Gillian gets close to Jimmy, I shudder. Of course, when a girl gives birth at 13, the mother/child relationship is bound to be slightly unconventional.

Speaking of giving birth, having a new baby doesn’t seem to catalyze the mothering gene in Lucy. She has no problem using her child as a bargaining chip to extort money from the men in her life. A little cash from Nucky, and Lucy abandons her child to pursue a chance in the limelight. Nelson, who began in the series as a slightly creepy character, surprisingly becomes the most family-oriented person in this episode, quickly adjusting to his role as a protective single father.

Resident single mother, Margaret, travels to New York to visit her Irish family this week. The stroll through 1920s Brooklyn takes me back as Margaret seeks out her working-class brother and sisters. The writers give a real sense of how hard immigrants had it starting out in America. Every person works in Margaret’s family. Despite their struggles, Margaret’s brother is too proud to accept monetary help from Margaret. He still cannot forgive Margaret for an unwed pregnancy, and he struggles with the fact that she is a kept woman.

Perhaps it is being faced with her painful past that drives Margaret into the arms of family bodyguard, Owen, or maybe she is more modern than anyone suspected. Margaret betrays Nucky as well as jeopardizes the family they’ve created. Distracting Owen means that Nucky is left unprotected at Babette’s supper club (another Babette’s dinner party. If it were mine you would have been there!) and an attempt is made on his life by Jimmy’s crew. Of course, federal agents thwart the set-up or the show would be over! As Jimmy quickly exits the club and realizes that Nucky was not killed, I can’t help but wonder if he has a look of disappointment or relief on his face.

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