Monday, November 14, 2011

Boardwalk Empire – Two Boats and a Lifeguard

This week struck a chord in me for a few reasons.

First, there is Nucky coming to terms with the death of his father. He spends most of the episode badmouthing and cursing his father, even at the funeral home. Nucky doesn’t grieve for his father until he is left alone with the casket. Maybe Nucky respected his father at least a little considering he stands over his body weeping. It is his own father’s death that causes Nucky to want to be more of a father to Margaret’s children, and he asks them to start calling him “dad”. It may also be in part the reason Nucky decides to step down as Treasurer of Atlantic City, and hands the reigns over to his “son”, Jimmy. I think he’s really just trying to teach Jimmy a lesson. Nucky always has a plan.

With all the new responsibilities, Jimmy is starting to ignore his own home life, but his wife has found a diversion. She befriends a newcomer to the series, Louise. Louise is, of all things, a free-spirited novelist. Now, we’re talking! This new relationship is sure to spark things up in Atlantic City. Louise is already breaking the modesty laws (that bathing suit was considered racy!), and appears to also be a lesbian, or at the very least VERY open-minded. This is already stirring a response from Angela, who was until now suppressing her homosexuality by marrying Jimmy.

This episode also gives us the return of Jewish gangster, Arnold Rothstein and Yiddish butcher Horovitz. Why do these two characters always seem to appear in the same episodes? I feel it’s only a matter of time before they meet, but right now they are still in opposite camps. It is Rothstein who encourages Nucky to hold back and be patient, even in the face of an assassination attempt. Rothstein is incredibly impressive in his restraint and calculative demeanor, but what is going on under the surface? In actuality, Rothstein was an incredibly successful gambler for many years, so the character on this series seems to match the legend. Equally mysterious in his motives is Horovitz, who approaches Jimmy for his liquor which still is yet to be delivered. Jimmy, drunk on power and bootlegged whiskey is pretty insulting to Horovitz. Mickey Doyle tries to warn Jimmy to be accommodating and less anti-Semitic to Horovitz, but that gets him thrown over a balcony. I don’t think Jimmy will be as successful as Nucky was at running Atlantic City. He’s much too hot-headed and violent. Not looking forward to an increase in violence on this show, but I am interested to see how Atlantic City fares with Jimmy at the helm.

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