Al Capone's Bar Mitzvah, Van Alden's descent and Darmody's wrath on Boardwalk Empire
By April MacIntyre Nov 22, 2010, 4:27 GMT
Jimmy\'s a tightly wound War Torn veteran with mother issues, who is married to bisexual Angela (of which he is unaware), and his world is controlled by Thompson now.
This episode was an enlightening for two characters, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) and Al Capone (Stephen Graham), whereas Margaret was somewhat understanding of her situation, but now fully realizes how Nucky (Steve Buscemi) positions people, herself included, as pawns in his political game.
She now harbors no romantic notions that her circumstance is the construct of true love.
Margaret is a chess player herself, and has her children's future to worry about in a world where women's standard of living, regardless of the new right to vote, are very much at the whim of their husband or father's wealth.
A bizarre detour of the besotted Agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), paying Margaret an unexpected visit, telling her that she is consorting with a murderer, one that killed the father of her two children unsettles her. "He's a panderer and a criminal" says Van Alden, and in his emotionally charged indignation, he tips his hand on his fervent desire for her, which cements a shocked Margaret's resolve to stick with the evil she understands, for the moment.
The tittering self-hating "Pollock" as Nucky calls him, Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) is playing both sides against the middle and he will surely be collateral damage in a near future episode. Darmody (Michael Pitt) hates him too much for him to live. Which makes us look long and hard at Jimmy, filled with so much anger that he nearly kills the photographer in public he thinks has had his way with Angela (Aleksa Palladino). Jimmy's a tightly wound wire - war torn - with mother issues, who is married to bisexual Angela (of which he is unaware), and his world is controlled by Thompson now.
His pal Al back in Chicago has different perception problems, no one takes him seriously thanks to his juvenile antics that finally blow up in his face with Johnny Torrio (Greg Antonacci), who accompanies him to an associate's son's Bar Mitzvah, and a wise older Jewish man enlightens Capone with some astute observations of how he appears to the world. Great scene.
Rebuked at work for bungling the Thompson case, Van Alden is unraveling fast, and when this temperate Puritan goes off the wagon, he goes whole hog. Enter the slapper flapper Lucy Danzinger (Paz de la Huerta). Two drinks and she's anybody's, literally.
Actress Paz de la Huerta may end the raging war on pubic hair, as her visible squirrel during the act of coitus with Van Alden will perk up a generation who will be intrigued by the sight of a grown woman looking like one. Van Alden will have some major self flagellation to attend to once he sobers up.
Nucky finagles Margaret to deliver a rousing speech endorsing his man, Edward Bader, as the next mayor of Atlantic City. He enlists a dubious Margaret to sell the pitch to her ladies of Women’s Temperance League at a luncheon, after he gives her the GOP "we're on the right side of all social issues" speech to her wily Irish side eye glances. Nucky knows she's a hard sell; it's catnip to him.
The enigmatic character of Richard Harrow (a superb Jack Huston) at first dispatched to guard Margaret and the children, is not entirely welcome until Margaret catches him listening to her reading the Wizard of Oz to her children. She has a moment of soulful clarity, feeling for his plight. His disfigurement aside, he disarms her and the children with Tin Man humor, and they bond in silence over the literature. Another great scene in an excellent episode.
A loathsome character, Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) plays the stereotypical know-it-all Jew Boss to the hilt, yet hires the stupidest Goyische gangsters around that compromise him. Anyone who continually tells you how clever and smart they are is heading straight for a big fall. Meyer Lansky (Anatol Yusef) lived till he was 80 in real life for a reason, where Rothstein died at 45. One could say the real Yiddishe Kop gangster in the Jewish Mafia was always Lansky.
Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) trusts and likes no one in this AC drama, but is smart enough to know picking Nucky to side with is in his best interest overall. He has a chance to get some revenge with one of the "Pope" D'Alessio brothers over the lynching.
The season has flown by, with only two episodes left, and it looks to be a real cliffhanger that we are being set up for.