Sunday, November 20, 2011
Boardwalk Empire No. 21: Battle of the Century
By Edward Copeland
Like Mark Twain, the rumors of Dunn Purnsley's death have been greatly exaggerated. In case you've forgotten who Dunn Purnsley is, when Boardwalk Empire viewers met him for the first time, he was incarcerated in the Atlantic City jail at the same time as Chalky White, talking endlessly and referring to himself in the third person as if he were George Remus. The visitor from Baltimore made the mistake of taunting Chalky, receiving a brutal beating from the other inmates loyal to Chalky and ending up as a bloody mess on the cell floor. However, he still lived. As for this episode itself, it builds quite nicely after last week's recovery from the season's bottom in "Peg of Old." My fears of a glut of new storylines seem to have been unnecessary as what's new blends in well.
Steve Kornacki wrote and Brad Anderson directed "Battle of the Century," which provides a good mix of emotional and visceral moments though, like last week, there seems to be quite a few instances of clichés in the dialogue. It also happens to be another example of an episode that runs slightly shorter than most, just as the excellent "Gimcrack & Bunkum" did. While "Battle of the Century" doesn't reach the heights of that episode, it certainly proves to be one of the year's better outings, building well toward the season's final three episodes. Director Anderson works in several nice touches, which shouldn't be unexpected given his résumé which includes last season's "Belle Femme," two solid episodes of Treme (season one's "Shallow Water, Oh Mama" and season two's great "Carnival Time") as well as "A New Day" from The Wire's fourth and finest season.
The episode begins as far from Atlantic City as it ever has as Nucky and Owen arrive in Belfast. The customs official (Spencer Aste) ask both for their passports. "It's good to be home, mate," Sleater tells the man as he tosses his on the counter. "Purpose of your visit, Mr. Thompson?" the official asks. "To bury my father in the land of his birth," Nucky answers, indicating the coffin he's brought with him. The official asks for the death certificate and documents related to Ethan Thompson and Nucky hands them over. "An accident, was it?" the official says. "Natural causes," Nucky replies. The custom official clarifies that he referred to the bandage that still covers Nucky's right hand. "Got caught in the wrong cookie jar," Nucky smiles. The custom official stoically hands papers back to Thompson. "They have cookie jars here, don't they?" Nucky turns to ask Owen. "Welcome to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland," the official says as he returns Owen's passport. Sleater tries not to cringe at the words. "God save his majesty George the Fifth," Owen replies in monotone.
A messenger (Tim Dolan) from Western Union thanks Margaret for his gratuity and leaves as she begins to read the telegram. Katy closes the front door and lurks behind her, waiting to hear the word. "Mr. Thompson arrived safely," Margaret reports. "That's miraculous…he was standing right here and six days later," Katy says amazed. "They're called steamships, Katy," Margaret tells her in the icy tone she continues to use with the maid as she walks away and toward the stairs where Lillian descends. "Beg your pardon, ma'am, but Emily refuses to get out of bed," Lillian tells her. Margaret suggests Lillian get Teddy started on his bath as she heads upstairs to check on Emily. "You can't be Sleeping Beauty with your eyes open," she tells her daughter as she enters her bedroom. "I can't move," Emily insists. "I'm afraid you must. All the fair princes are out of doors today,” Margaret says. She feels Emily's forehead and asks if she's still isn't feeling well. "I can't move my legs," the little girl replies. Margaret pulls the covers down and starts pressing on the child's legs. "Can you feel that?" she questions. "I don't know," Emily answers. Margaret's face melts into an expression of fear and concern. She asks Emily to wiggle her toes. They don't move. Panicked, Margaret repeats the request. "I am," Emily insists. Margaret shouts for Lillian and Katy. Katy arrives first and Margaret orders her to call Dr. Surran. "Have him come straight away," she tells the maid, who stands frozen. "What are you staring at? Go!" The frantic mother goes back to her daughter and holds her head to her chest. "It's nothing, Cushla. It's nothing now, nothing at all." Her voice rises on the "at all" in attempt to soothe the child. Once again, it's amazing to watch Kelly Macdonald. The number of times Margaret has to switch emotional states and tones in this sequence alone, all within the confines of her character, are quite remarkable. Bitchy, playful, worried — many times trying to conceal Margaret's true feelings and states for either the sake of her child or to hide sexual jealousy from an employee.
Lucky, Jimmy and Meyer sit at a table at Jimmy's beachhouse with their backs to a great view of the sand and the ocean. To the left, another man stands with his back to the camera, bowler atop his head. "Jimmy Darmody," we hear Capone's voice say before we actually see him, "this is George Remus," Al says as he and Remus enter the room. Introductions and handshaking ensue then Remus asks Jimmy, "You always meet out of your home?" Jimmy tells him that he's looking for an office. "Remus enjoys a trip to the shore," Remus proclaims. No one shared with Jimmy that third-person speaking habit of Remus, so he gives Capone an odd glance. "I understand you have government-bonded whiskey to sell," Jimmy says. Remus inquires as to whether Jimmy speaks for the group. Luciano explains that he does in matters concerning Atlantic City. "Yes, strictly for medicinal purposes," Remus replies. "Turns out we got a lot of sick people in this town," Jimmy tells him. The man in the bowler has turned around and it is Mickey, last seen flying over the balcony at Babette's and crashing through a table before hitting the dance floor. He's wearing a neck brace and an extremely bruised face. "Practically an epidemic," Mickey adds. "Remus has permits that allow him to sell this alcohol to legitimate drug companies only. However, once the alcohol is sold to a sanctioned buyer, what happens to it while it's on a truck is not Remus' responsibility." "So how might we learn where to find Remus' trucks?" Jimmy asks. Remus says that will cost him. "The five of us
The camera slowly moves around a finely varnished coffin until we see various equipment presumably used in the embalming process, a bearded man near the entrance to the chamber and, finally, Nucky. "You're an American," the Irish man (Christopher McCann) observes. Nucky confirms his origin and the man seeks permission to ask Nucky a question. Since Nucky stands before a coffin in a funeral parlor that required him traveling a great distance, the man must think it might be an improper time and place for such an inquiry, but Thompson lets him proceed. "Where do you put Carpentier's prospects?" he asks Nucky. "Dempsey's got 13 pounds on him," Nucky replies. "But the Frenchman — he's a puncher. Knocked out Britain's best in 75 seconds," the man counters. "Beckett? He's a bum," Nucky comments. "There's no call now to be casting aspersions," the man chides Nucky. Owen and John McGarrigle descend the stairs that lead into the chamber and McGarrigle crosses to Thompson. "I understand misfortune has caught up with you," McGarrigle says after the two exchange the usual pleasantries. "Doesn't it with everyone?" Nucky replies. "A long way to come to bury the dead," McGarrigle observes. Nucky signals to Sleater with his eyes and he opens the coffin revealing not the body of his father but rows of Thompson submachine guns. Gee — didn't see that coming from the moment the Guardsmen mentioned their extra weaponry at the Armory in last week's episode, did we? "Praise Jesus," McGarrigle gasps upon sight of the weapons. "Thompson submachine guns," Nucky informs him. "One of these can finish off a platoon in the time it takes to fry an egg," Sleater smiles while holding one of the guns. "My donation to the rebellion," Nucky says. McGarrigle asks how many guns are in the coffin. "A dozen — plus a drum magazine for each. Don't say you don't need them," Nucky declares. "A hundred might make a difference," McGarrigle responds. Thompson then lets him know about the remainder of the 3,000 sitting in the cellar of the Armory in Atlantic City. "And what do you want for them, Mr. Thompson?" the stiff Irishman inquires. "Irish whiskey — all I can get," Nucky replies. McGarrigle turns and faces Owen, not looking particularly pleased. "And that's the kind of man you bring me?" McGarrigle asks of Sleater. "I was good enough for you in Atlantic City," Nucky speaks up. "I'll present it to the leadership," McGarrigle replies. "I thought you wanted weapons," a confused and angry-sounding Nucky responds. McGarrigle stands by the need for discussion so Nucky demands that he take him to the man in charge. "We'll attend to our affairs in our own way, if it's all the same to you," McGarrigle tells him before exiting. "What the fuck was that about?" Nucky asks Owen. "He’s a flinty old geezer, make no mistake," Sleater replies. Nucky tells Owen to close up the coffin.
Back in Atlantic City, Chief Investigator Lathrop watches through binoculars as Eli and his family bury Ethan Thompson for real. We learn from the tombstones that Ethan was born in 1839 — I wonder if he fought in the Civil War — making him 81. Another fact we gain about the Thompson family: mother's name appears to have been Elenore and she was born in 1848 and died in 1903 when she was only 55. Among the attendees at the graveside service is Deputy Halloran, which seems of interest to Lathrop.
With his hand, Dr. Surran moves Emily's foot. Then he asks the girl to try to do it herself. When she tries, it doesn't budge. "Very good," Surran tells her anyway as Margaret and her brother watch. He approaches Margaret. "Is there anyone else who sleeps in this room?" the doctor asks quietly. Margaret indicates that Teddy does. "Take him out — quickly. I'll need to examine him too," Surran informs her. "What's the diagnosis?" Margaret wants to know. "Do as I say," the doctor orders, sticking to the quiet tone. Margaret tells Lillian to take Teddy downstairs, but then changes her mind and makes the destination anywhere outside the house. "Go — now!" Margaret says, trying unsuccessfully to ape Surran's tone. "It's polio, isn't it?" she states to Surran, who tells her that there isn't any point in speculating. "Is that meant to soothe me?" Margaret asks him harshly. "She has all the symptoms. We'll need to quarantine her at the children's hospital immediately," Surran informs her. Margaret's instinct pushes her toward her daughter's side, but the doctor stops her. "I can't drive. You'll have to take us, please," Margaret admits.
If you recall when Chalky White held his first community meeting upon his release from jail in "What Does the Bee Do?", one of the questions came from a Travis Elkins, who described the abysmal working conditions for the black kitchen workers at the Ritz Carlton. That's where we find ourselves now and Elkins is there along with many other co-workers, including a recent hire who still bears the scars of a brutal beating, one Dunn Purnsley, who makes his living washing dishes. "Easy with those plates," the kitchen's white manager (Peter Bradbury) barks. "Boy, I'm talkin' to you," he directs at Purnsley. "I have a name," Purnsley replies. "I don't have to remember it. Just do what you're told," the manager responds. "Lunch!" Otis, the cook, (Lee Summers) shouts to the staff before putting the so-called meal on each worker's plate. "I ever bite you, friend?" Dunn asks Otis, who misses Purnsley's point. "Then why you feedin' me dog food?" Purnsley clarifies. "I serve what they tell me to serve," Otis replies. "I seen room service leftovers come back all day — chicken, mashed potatoes, chocolate puddin' — why don't you serve that?" Purnsley inquires. "Now you've been here a week Purnsley, you know the rules," Louis (Isaiah Stokes), who scales fish, says. "I do. Rules say we ain't good enough to eat what some cracker throw in the trash. Look at ya Uncle Toms — gobble up this slop and say, 'Thank you, sir for the privilege,'" Purnsley proclaims as he tosses his plate of food aside. "Be thankful you got a job, friend," another worker, who wears a mustache and seems to be the senior kitchen worker (Richardson Desil), tells him. "Twelve hours a day, six days a week — I've been in jails that don't work you this hard," Dunn declares. "I bet he's right about that," Travis backs him up. "And they feed you better, too," Dunn adds. "I bet he's right about that, too," Travis concurs. "You boys have a problem?" the manager asks. The mustached worker immediately tells their white boss, "No." "Just discussin' what passes for food around here," Purnsley informs the manager. "Your name is Purnsley," the manager says. "That's right, chief," Dunn smiles. "Mr. Purnsley — Lord Purnsley — your great celestial majesty — one more word out of you and you're fired. Eat your lunch — or don't — and get back to work. All of you," the manager warns. After he leaves, Purnsley tells his co-workers, "You heard the man — eat it up." After his beating in the jail cell, I thought it looked as if Purnsley might still be breathing, so I never said one way or another if he was killed. It would have been dumb to kill an inmate — even a black one — (though Chalky didn't touch him) since Chalky was jailed on a murder charge. I have to admit I'm glad he wasn't a one-time appearance because I really enjoy Erik LaRay Harvey's performance.
Surran and Margaret watch from outside as a well-protected team of a doctor and nurses work on Emily at the Children's Seashore House. The doctor readies a large needle, which upsets Margaret. "Is he going to give her an injection? She can't stand needles," Margaret says in a panic. "It's called a spinal tap. The syringe will collect cerebrospinal fluid which will allow us to confirm the disease. She's in good hands. Doctor Holt is an authority on infantile paralysis," Surran explains. As Dr. Edward Holt (Joel Hatch) inserts the needle for the lumbar puncture, Emily shouts out, "Mom!" Holt was the chief physician and medical director for the landmark Children's Seashore House from 1919-1949, but, no matter how I tried to search on the Internet, while I could often find his name I couldn't find a full biography of the man anywhere. Margaret turns to Surran, about ready to break. "I'll go in and hold her," she says. "That's out of the question. Polio is highly contagious," Surran tells her as the child's shrieks still can be heard. "I don't care what happens to me," Margaret declares. "Care about the people you come in contact with," Surran replies, trying to reason with the worried mother. "Mommy!" Emily continues to yell. "It's better if you don't look," Surran suggests. Emily's shrieks seem to get worse and with each it appears as if Margaret's face literally will crack into a million shards. This episode differs from most episodes of Boardwalk Empire in that many of its scenes tend to be short ones, something I usually don't like except they handle it well here because they may be brief, but they're substantive.
We learn of another clandestine couple as Esther Randolph lights up a smoke after a round in the sack with her chief investigator, Clifford Lathrop. "Your toenails are like talons," the prosecutor observes. "So you're saying I'm like an eagle," Lathrop replies. "A rather unpleasant bird if you know anything about their habits," Randolph says as she flips on the bedside lamp and brings out a file. "Cozy? You, me and Nelson Van Alden," Lathrop comments, looking at what she's reading. "Does Enoch Thompson strike you as a murderer?" Esther asks Lathrop. "You may as well be reading the latest Black Mask," Clifford tells her. "Someone sends a gunman from Chicago to kill him — he sits in his office and crack jokes," Esther notes about the subject of her investigation. "He's dirty up to his elbows — we already know that. This stuff Van Alden's got in there — these prohis aren't real lawmen — they're Katzenjammer cops," Lathrop insists. "You just made that up, didn't you?" Randolph smiles. "He's got Thompson ordering 12 homicides with no proof," Lathrop adds. "Including his mistress's husband," Esther points out. "Schroeder? He was a bootlegger," Lathrop says. "According to Nucky Thompson," she replies, showing Lathrop the newspaper clipping. Lathrop argues that the case they have against Nucky stands strong as it is and they have no reason to put Nelson on the stand. Esther believes Van Alden would be useful for the Volstead violations and he can be rehearsed to testify on those. "And keep him away from small children and nursing mothers," Esther adds. "Good girl," Clifford says, swiping her cigarette. "I'm your boss, Clifford," she reminds him as she climbs nude out of the bed and walks to the bathroom. "I went to a funeral today — Nucky Thompson's father," Lathrop tells her. "His father is being buried in Belfast," Esther says from the bathroom. "That's right. You gave him permission to travel, but his brother, the sheriff, put someone in the ground here this morning," Lathrop informs her with a cocky grin. "Why didn't you mention this earlier?" she asks, no longer in a happy mood. Lathrop exhales some smoke. "You wanted to sleep with me first," Esther says quietly. "Hell's bells, Esther — it's hard enough to get your attention on a good day," Lathrop responds. "Bring the sheriff in for questioning," she orders. "We tried that, remember. He ignored us," Lathrop reminds her. "His deputy then. I want some answers," Randolph demands. "Belfast — God only knows what he's doing over there," she says more or less to herself.
At the moment Esther Randolph tries to imagine what Nucky Thompson could possibly be doing in Belfast, he's demonstrating the firepower of the Thompson submachine gun for some men on the lawn of an estate by blasting apart a grandfather clock. Most look astounded at how fleetingly the weapon warps the time-keeping case and riddles it with holes. "Fifty rounds per magazine, 45 caliber," Nucky informs them as Owen takes the gun and hands it to one of the men, Bill Neilan (Michael Halsey), who wears a sharper suit than the other onlookers, who include, standing beside Neilan, the man (Daniel O'Shea) who owns the estate where the demonstration is taking place and is where Nucky is staying during his trip. "They call it a trench broom. You can see why," Nucky adds. Neilan passes the gun to another man. "Two thousand of these and we'd blaze a path to Buckingham Palace," a man named Patrick (Justin Swain) says. An older man, Daniel Fitzgerald (Angus Hepburn), stands next to Patrick and assumes Nucky invented the weapon, confusing Nucky for a moment. "The Thompson gun," Fitzgerald explains. "No — just a happy coincidence," Nucky replies. "How you come to have so many of them?" Neilan asks. "They're American-made and I'm an American," Nucky tells him. A car drives up and McGarrigle joins the others. "You missed the fireworks," Patrick says. "Gave the clock a proper thrashing," Fitzgerald informs him. "Nothin' stops you makin' merry, huh Daniel," the perpetually sour McGarrigle says. "No John — we'll all be dead long enough," Fitzgerald responds. "You've news — let's hear it," an impatient Neilan demands. "The English have offered a truce. De Valera’s traveling to London to negotiate," McGarrigle informs them. "For what?" Nucky asks. "They're offering a free state," McGarrigle says. "That's not independence," Patrick argues. "You've not even heard their proposal," Nucky's host interjects. "It'll still be a bloody dominion," Patrick insists. "It's enough for de Valera to sit down," Fitzgerald declares. "To the bitter end — wasn't that the oath?" Patrick asks angrily. "Who's to say we haven't reached it?" counters McGarrigle. "Is that what you think?" Patrick inquires of him. "I think there's blood on the ground sufficient for your lifetime and mine, Patrick. I'll keep fightin' if I must and make peace if it's wise," McGarrigle states calmly. Neilan and Owen exchange glances as McGarrigle speaks. After McGarrigle leaves again, Fitzgerald informs Nucky that McGarrigle's youngest son was killed in fighting in June. "Shot square between the eyes," Fitzgerald says. The Irishman then invites Nucky for a drink at a "quiet little place."
Dusk has descended on the first day of July. At his beachhouse, Jimmy lights a cigarette with his back to Richard, but he can still sense that something weighs on Harrow's mind, so he asks him to come out with it. "What happened at Babette's last week," Richard says. "With Doyle? It was just a gag. Besides, it will keep him in line," Jimmy replies. "That's not what I meant. You said a nice girl and I would settle down," Richard clarifies. "You will. You'll see," Jimmy pledges. The honk of a car sounds from outside and Jimmy looks out the window and sees his expected visitors have arrived. "It's them," Jimmy says. "You're my friend?" Richard asks Jimmy as he puts on his jacket. "You know I am," Jimmy declares. "Then why did you make fun of me?" an obviously hurt Harrow wants to know. "Richard, I wasn't," Jimmy assures him. "Is Darmody here?" a voice yells from outside. "Yeah," Jimmy yells back then lets Waxey Gordon and his associate Alfred Goredetsky (Scott Burik) into the house. "Can I call you Waxey?" Jimmy inquires. "Most people do," Gordon responds. "Is that short for somethin' or is it just a nickname?" Jimmy wonders aloud. Alfred's energetic picking of his teeth distracts Waxey from giving an answer. "You mining for coal in there?" he asks Alfred. "A piece of meat's stuck," Alfred replies. "You're in company now," Waxey tells him and Alfred stops. "So — I understand we have someone in common," Waxey addresses to Jimmy. "Manny Horvitz," Jimmy blurts as if he can hardly wait to say the name. "Munya — the man works with animals. Fits right in," Gordon comments. "Great minds think alike," Jimmy concurs. "What else can you offer — besides flattery?" the Philadelphia gangster inquires. "I was thinkin' information. You lost two men last month. Herman Kaufman disappeared during a hijacking outside Philly," Jimmy shares. "Nathan Klein," Gordon says. "A raccoon chewed off his face before they found him," Alfred tells Jimmy, earning a glance of disapproval from Waxey. "I'm only saying," Alfred adds. "Manny did the shooting," Jimmy tells them. "You know this how?" Waxey asks. "I was standing next to him," Jimmy admits. "And there was nothin' you could do," Waxey questions. "He didn't ask for permission," Richard speaks up. "And Herman? What became of him?" Waxey wants to know. "I'd be careful where I order my cutlets," Jimmy suggests. What happens if Gordon figures out that Jimmy was the one who actually slit Kaufman's throat? Waxey leans in. "You goin' to offer me a drink?" Gordon asks. "Of course," Jimmy replies. "Last time I come here I deal with Nucky Thompson," Waxey says. "From this point on, you deal with me. I'll treat you right, A.C., Philadelphia — we can do big things together, Waxey" Jimmy proclaims. "First, Alfred's going to take care of some business for me back home," Waxey tells him. "An unpaid bill at the butcher's," Alfred says as he resumes his teethpicking. "Manny Horvitz — he's a dead man. So, before we go any further, you got to tell me if that's a problem," Gordon inquires. "Maybe — but it's not mine," Jimmy replies. Waxey and Jimmy raise their glasses to each other and Jimmy repeats his favorite toast. "To the lost."
Margaret, with the help of Katy and Lillian whose faces are covered, gather everything they know or think Emily has had contact with — toys, dolls, pillows, sheets, clothing — and turned them into a large bonfire in the backyard of Nucky's Margate estate. As the items burn, Margaret and Teddy watch the flames through the window. Of course, the budding pyromaniac will want to watch this. "Is Emily gonna die like Daddy?" Teddy asks his mom. "What? No! You musn't say that again!" Margaret tells the boy, grabbing him. "I'm sorry," he says. Margaret hears a noise and sees Pauline heading for the front door with her suitcase packed. "Pauline, where are you going?" Margaret asks. "I'm sorry, ma'am," Pauline apologizes. "We're taking every precaution," Margaret tries to assure her. "I have my own children to worry about," she tells her. Teddy looks back out the window where the flames surround Emily's doll.
Daniel Fitzgerald takes Nucky and Owen to his family's distillery and pours each some of its best Irish malt whiskey. After sampling the liquor, Nucky declares it alone was worth the trip. "Time was we were distilling two million gallons a year," Fitzgerald tells them. "Lord knows I drank my share," Sleater says. "Rebellion put a stop to exporting to England?" Nucky asks. "That was the first blow, then the local economy but the final nail was your Prohibition. America was more than eighty percent of my foreign sales. Fitzgeralds have run this distillery for ninety years," Daniel laments. "I'm sorry for your trouble," Nucky commiserates. "It's only money, I suppose. I have my health and I have my family," Fitzgerald says. Nucky surveys the crates stacked around them. "All these cases are filled with whiskey?" he asks. "Every one," Daniel confirms. "Would you consider giving me ten thousand cases on consignment?" Nucky proposes. "If there's peace, I'd be back in business and we can speak again about makin' a deal," Fitzgerald replies. "When would that be?" Nucky asks Owen. "They say December at the earliest," he replies. Helluva month to guess since the truce that will start in a little more than a week and will last until December when Ireland divides into two: the free state of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which remains under British rule and rebellion will continue long after these men all are dead. "Unfortunately, that timeframe doesn't help me," Nucky admits. "My regrets, but as it stands now — " Nucky doesn't let Fitzgerald finish. "You've no use for machine guns," Nucky says with great disappointment. "I'll not go against John. He's brought us this far and paid for it with his own blood along the way," Fitzgerald proclaims.
"And be here promptly the next time you're called," Esther tells interim County Treasurer Jim Neary as he gets up from her desk at the Post Office. Randolph notices Neary whispering in Deputy Halloran's ear in the hallway before he enters. Randolph shakes his hand. "Deputy Halloran, Esther Randolph. Thank you very much for coming in," she greets him. "A lady lawyer — that's a heck of a thing," the dopey deputy comments with a nervous laugh. "What's next — horseless carriages?" Esther responds sarcastically. Halloran, always up-to-date on the latest technology, informs the prosecutor, "They already got those." She asks him to take a seat and he obliges. I hope he doesn't spill the beans about Eli killing Mary Pickford. Lathrop enters from the other part of the room, taking a place behind Halloran and you can tell it makes the deputy feel uneasy. "We've asked the sheriff to speak with us as well, Lathrop tells him. "He seems awfully busy," Randolph comments. "Eli? His father just died," Halloran says in his boss's defense. "And you were at the funeral," Randolph points out. "Sure — Eli's my friend," Halloran admits. "He's also your boss," Esther reminds him. "Must make things complicated," Lathrop adds. With the two of them placed on opposite sides of Halloran, the deputy looks as if he might be the plastic ball in the middle of a table tennis match. "How do you mean?" Hallloran asks. "If someone's a friend, you can tell them anything — even your deepest secrets," Randolph suggests. "But when someone's your boss…" Lathrop begins. "There's all sorts of subjects you need to keep away from," Randolph finishes. I wonder how that applies to assistant U.S. attorneys having sexual flings with their chief investigators? "Are you two married or something?" Halloran asks with a grin in an unusually perceptive moment for the dimwitted deputy. "So why did your boss — " Lathrop inserts "friend" in the middle of Esther's question — "have you ousted as sheriff after last year's election?" she inquires. "Eli had nothin' to do with that," Halloran insists. "Because his brother makes all the decisions, correct?" Esther asks. "Well, Nucky's the boss," Halloran admits. "The boss of Eli," Lathrop says. "The boss of you," Randolph adds. "It seems that some people here are getting fed up with being bossed around," Lathrop comments. "I stay out of all that. I patrol the Boardwalk, keep the peace," Halloran says. "Were you keeping the peace on January 19th, 1920?" Randolph inquires. "If I was workin', then yeah," he replies. Randolph reads from a file she's opened on her desk. "You were working. You and your friend Eli responded to a domestic disturbancce regarding a Hans Schroeder," she refreshes Halloran's memory. "Who?" the deputy asks. "Hans Peter Schroeder," Lathrop says. "I thought this was about election rigging," a suddenly suspicious Halloran comments. "Did I say it wasn't?" Randolph replies. "Well that fella had nothin' to do with that," Halloran declares. "So you do know who he is," Randolph reels in her fish. "I have to check the files," Halloran says. "Oh — you have files," Randolph remarks with interest. "It's a tourist town. People come and go," he tries out as an excuse. "But this particular person, he just went," Lathrop says. "Remember now, Deputy?" Randolph asks. "We're not after you. We're after the men who boss you around," Lathrop tries to assure Halloran. "And we're prepared to do a lot for our friends," Randolph adds. "I dom't know what you're talkin' about. but I know the law and I don't have to go on sittin' here if I don't want to — do I?" Halloran's voice has filled with anger now, except for his meek query at the end. "Thanks for giving us your time. We'll be sure to let Sheriff Thimpson know you stood up for him," Randolph says as she smiles and returns to papers on her desk. Halloran doesn't get the signal, so she has to smile again before he leaves.
Chalky White carves wood in his shop when Dunn Purnsley, out of his kitchen uniform and in a suit, enters respectfully. "You strolled back here on your own," Chalky observes without actually looking directly at Purnsley. "You said any time I need to talk," Purnsley replies. Chalky does lift his gaze and Dunn removes his hat and adds, "Mr. White." Chalky returns to his carving. "You and me had a little fracas," Chalky recalls. "Got off on the wobbly foot is all," Purnsley says. "We copacetic now," Chalky pronounces their relationship. "Sweet as Cracker Jack," Purnsley agrees. "Here in my town, job in a fine hotel. At the end of summer, you go back to Baltimore with a plug of green in your pocket and a little gold in your mouth," Chalky foretells. "All turn out for the best," Purnsley smiles. "You got some news for me?" Chalky asks. "I'm pushin' my luck accordin' to the boss man. Open my flytrap one more time, he fire me just like that," Purnsley snaps his fingers. Chalky holds his knife to the light and examines it. "Did he now? How the other boys feel about it?" Chalky inquires. "They be simmerin', Mr. White. Just waitin' on me to give 'em the word," Purnsley whispers. "So go and give it to them," Chalky tells him.
"Arms for whiskey," McGarrigle says to Nucky disapprovingly over dinner at his Belfast home. "I'd buy the liquor if I could, but I don't have the cash," Nucky tells him. "You even have the weapons?" McGarrigle probes. "Why would you think I didn't?" Nucky replies. "I saw a dozen guns in a coffin and a stunt in a field," McGarrigle responds. "Can you really afford to send me back empty handed?" Nucky asks him. "It’s my lot to live with if I do," the uptight Irishman answers. "Has Britain released any of your imprisoned men? Stopped seizing your guns and ammunition? Did they not just land another 15,000 troops on your soil and threaten martial law, McGarrigle? What have the British offered you in the form of good faith?" Nucky points out to the stiff rebel leader as he imbibes his wine more heartily than usual. "This is the pinch of the game. If the fighting's to stop, one must take the lead," McGarrigle declares. "That strategy might put your people at risk," Nucky says. "A risk I'm willing to take," McGarrigle insists. "You came to me in your time of need. I helped you without hesitation. I'm asking you to do the same," Nucky lays it out. "And what's our cause to you, sir? Will you think of the thousands who will die because of the Thompson guns you put in our hands? Or will you laze about your cabin, as you sail back across the sea, climb into your berth, and count yourself to sleep?" McGarrigle pointedly inquires. "Let's not lie to each other, Mr. McGarrigle. Whenever men like you need to win, you'll turn to men like me," Nucky tells him as he rises from the dinner table. He thanks McGarrigle for dinner and tells Owen to take him back to the farm. "A word with you?" McGarrigle requests of Sleater. Owen's head droops as if this isn't a conversation he welcomes, but he shuts the door and walks back to McGarrigle. "What's been your business with him?" McGarrigle asks. "I’ve done as ordered and gone about my work," he replies. "He’s after nothing but himself," McGarrigle says of Nucky. "Fair to say he’s in his own war," Sleater defends Nucky. "For what?" McGarrigle asks Owen. "A great pile of dosh," Owen tells him. "Is that all they fight for?" McGarrigle asks in a whisper. "Seems to keep 'em busy," Owen reports. "You’ve changed," he accuses Owen, who laughs. "I’ve not," Sleater insists with a smile. "You'll stay then," McGarrigle says, raising his voice. "John, I'm no peacemaker, sir," Owen declares. "You've got a head on your shoulders. I've known it since the first day you come to me. I want you close," McGarrigle demands. Owen's head droops again and McGarrigle comes closer, but takes his tone down a few notches. "Everybody battle ends, boy. You have to understand that. Will you help me?" McGarrigle asks. "I'll serve as needed," Owen replies.
At his Philadelphia butcher shop, Manny has closed so he can count money — and he has a healthy stack of currency to calculate. A man speaking Yiddish (Ivan Sandomine) knocks feverishly on the shop's door and ignores Manny's shouts that the business is closed, insisting that he has an emergency. Their entire conversation is in Yiddish, but subtitled in English. The man tells Horvitz his kitchen pipes burst and he needs two chickens for his dinner. Manny wants to blow him off, suggesting in English that he "Go to the Pollock — he's open." Horvitz even turns his back and starts to return to what he was doing. The man persists, begging for help. "Alright already — the one day I get to myself," Manny mutters to himself before going to unlock the shop's door. As soon as he does, the man flees and Alfred appears firing a shotgun, hitting Horvitz in the left shoulder. Manny slams the door shut on Alfred's arm as he attempts to get inside. The shotgun's other round goes off harmlessly and Horvitz pulls Alfred through the glass window of the door and shoves him against a table in the shop where they struggle. Alfred tries to wrestle with Manny but Horvitz gets to a meat cleaver first and turns the noun form of the butcher's tool into a verb as he embeds the piece of cutlery in the middle of Alfred's forehead. Horvitz searches Alfred's pockets for identification, to see who just tried to kill him. He finds a box of toothpicks from Heilig's Chop House. When he looks at the box's side, it identifies the restaurant's locale as Atlantic City. A pissed-off Manny tosses the box of toothpicks at Alfred's corpse where it bounces off the cleaver.
The kitchen staff of The Ritz Carlton take their lunch break the next day, eating the same crap that they usually get served. "Friend, tell me you're happy puttin' that jackshit in your mouth," Purnsley says to the make-no-waves worker with the mustache. That man's attitude hasn't changed any. "Happy to get paid every week, know that," he replies. "Fifteen dollars a week?" Purnsley says. "The man upstairs bring home ten time that much," Travis Elkins chimes in. "And for doin' what? He certainly ain't washin' no dishes," Dunn comments. "Ain't got his head over a stove all day," Otis the cook adds. "Or guttin’ fish til his hand bleed," Louis says. "Don't kowtow to 'Come here, boy,' 'Fetch me some water, boy,' 'Send this steak back, boy,'" Purnsley goes on. Unlike the day before, most of the workers seem entertained and in agreement. Then the buzzer indicating the end of their lunch break goes off. "Back to work fellas. Manager be along any minute now," "make-no-waves" man announces to his fellow workers. "The manager — you all been swallowing shit one way or another for how long now?" Dunn asks. "Been workin' here goin' on four years," Louis replies. "Five for me, man," Franklin, another dishwasher (Samuel Ray Gates) answers. "Y'all ever get a raise?" Purnsley inquires. "Not a one," Otis responds. "Seems like this place be takin' us all for granted," Dunn suggests. "They do," Travis agrees, a sentiment echoed by other workers. "Nothin' can be done about it. Cry and complain. All they gonna do is bring in another pair of hands," mustache man insists. "What if we all cry and complain? They gonna replace us all?" Purnsley asks him. "Make-no-waves" says they might. "Really, now? Every workin' negro from the Northside? What if we all say, 'We ain't gonna eat this slop, ain't gonna work for this wage.' What they gonna do then?" Purnsley proposes. The manager enters, snapping his fingers and telling everyone to get back to work. Purnsley tells him he hasn't had lunch yet. "What's that in your lap?" the manager says, pointing to Purnsley's plate. "Looks to me like it came out the wrong end of a mule," Purnsley replies. "Still griping about the free food, Mr. Purnsley? Tell you what — you can gripe all you want on your own time. You're fired," the manager informs him. "You hear me? You're through — now get out!" the manager shouts. Purnsley sits right where he is, looking at the other workers, but otherwise not budging. "What? You got wax in those ears? I said you're fired, boy," the manager repeats. The mere sight of Purnsley standing up sends a shiver through the manager who threatens to call the police. "We want a raise. Every single last one of us, " Purnsley demands. Travis rises and takes his place by Dunn's side. "And a lunch you eat yourself," Purnsley adds. "Get to work, Otis," the manager tells the cook, who ignores him and walks to Purnsley's other side. "Louis, there's a dozen crates of fish that need to be scaled," the manager tells him. Louis just stands with his arms crossed. The manager tries to get Franklin to return to his dishwashing station and he starts to, but Purnsley puts his hand on Franklin's shoulder and he stays seated. Pretty soon, the manager finds himself surrounded by the entire kitchen staff. "Alright now, don't be stupid, gentlemen. You all have exactly five seconds — " the manager's impotent threats get interrupted when, of all people, "Make-no-waves" smashes his plate to the ground. Soon, all the workers toss plates and throw food at the scared shitless manager.
Nucky thanks his host for his hospitality (though I don't understand why they couldn't go the trouble of giving his character a name). His host tells Nucky his door is always open. This short sequence has one of the best visual setups in the series' history. I don't know if all the credit goes to director Brad Anderson or not, but it is a great one. "So it's back to America," McGarrigle comments. "Empty handed," Nucky replies. "You'll land on your feet, I've no doubt," McGarrigle predicts. "I'm not so sure," Nucky says. "I'm told you're all optimists over there," McGarrigle relays. "Not the Irish ones," Nucky corrects him, getting a rare chuckle from the man. Owen stands by the car with the door open, waiting for Nucky to get in. Also present for his departure is Patrick, the man at the Thompson gun demonstration who decried the truce talks so vehemently. Nucky's surprised to find that Bill Neilan sits waiting in his car. When he gives him a quizzical look, Neilan says, "Please." Nucky climbs in next to him. "Bill, see Mr. Thompson gets safely to the port," McGarrigle leans in and requests. "I will John," Neilan replies. Then comes that camera setup. We watch as Neilan and Nucky sit in silence as the car drives down the road away from the estate. Through the car's back opening, we can see (and then hear) Patrick shoot McGarrigle, who falls dead. A second shot goes off, presumably taking out McGarrigle's driver since it appears — though we're getting farther away — that Patrick still stands. It looks like an old-fashioned rear projection shot much like Martin Scorsese used in Shutter Island and it proves quite effective, The shot gets Nucky's attention and he turns to try to see, though Neilan keeps looking straight ahead. "You'll deal with me now. The thousand machine guns, the ten thousand cases of whiskey" Neilan tells Nucky. Thompson doesn't say a word, just nods.
We start hearing the broadcast of the long-awaited Dempsey-Carpentier fight held in that special venue Frank Hague built in Jersey City. The reality isn't as elaborate as Hague described at Bader's birthday party. In Atlantic City, Jimmy and Richard thrill along with the throngs to the RCA wireless broadcast of the event. The voice providing the color commentary of the bout is not the real recording — that was lost eons ago — but is credited to one Terence Patrick Winter, which is a vocal cameo by the creator of Boardwalk Empire, Terence Winter himself (and stay through the credits if you don't already know or haven't read the links thoroughly enough to know who won the fight). The crowd gets on their feet for the broadcast at some points, stay seated for others. Jimmy notices that he's drawing stares from some in the crowd. A man walks up the aisle and hands Darmody a note written in cursive which reads, "watching you closely." He hands it to Richard as the bell sounds and a uniformed woman marches across the stage between cutouts of Dempsey and Carpentier holding a large number 3 to indicate what round is about to begin. The note turns out to have come from two women eyeing Jimmy — a redhead (Brittney Lee Hamilton) and a brunette (Laine Rettmer) — who evict the man sitting next to Jimmy so they can get close to Darmody and start flirting and pawing him.
At the Children's Seaside House, the entire staff of orderlies, nurses and nuns also seem transfixed by the fight, so Margaret sits alone in the hallway. Realizing no one is around, she ignores the sign on the door that reads:
HOSPITAL STAFF ONLY
and enters anyway. Other children lie in beds as well as Emily. Margaret sits on Emily's bed, stroking her daughter's hair. "Cushla, forgive me for what I thought about you," she cries before giving Emily a kiss on the cheek and then lying beside her on the tiny bed.
Back at the wireless room, Jimmy makes small talk with the ladies. "You all interested in the fight?" he asks. "We're more interested in the crowd," the brunette answers. "Come alone?" he wonders. "We got dressed all by ourselves too," the brunette responds. "You shouldn't be passin' notes out to strangers," Jimmy tells them. The redhead giggles. "You're not a stranger," she says. "I'm sorry — have we met?" Jimmy inquires. "Not exactly, but everyone knows who the new king is," the redhead replies. "We saw you at Babette's," the brunette adds as the redhead makes a diving motion with her hands and laughs. The brunette whispers to her friend that she wants Jimmy first. The brunette tugs on Jimmy's tie and pulls him into a kiss. Maybe his mostly faithful nature will be a thing of the past. Infidelity must be part of the job description as town boss. Richard looks as if he's smiling or embarrassed or both. Jimmy tells the girls that they're both drunk and they agree. The redhead climbs on Jimmy's lap for a kiss — until she catches sight of Richard and stops. "What's the matter?" Jimmy asks. When he realizes what's wrong, Jimmy puts his arm around Harrow and pulls him close. "Hey — he's with me," Jimmy declares. "What the hell? Give us somethin' to talk about when we're old," the redhead proclaims as she takes a drink from a flask and proceeds to climb on Richard's lap and kiss him while Jimmy gets more familiar with the brunette.
Nucky stands at the port waiting to board the ship for home, looking deep in thought. Owen arrives with a bag and tells him two telegrams arrived for him. "How long did you know McGarrigle?" Nucky asks. "I was 17 with an itch to fight. I tried to volunteer and he turned me down — twice," Owen informs him. "Did they tell you? Nucky inquires. "About the truce?" Owen replies. "About what was going to happen," Nucky clarifies. "Nothin' I could say would stop it. You made your deal — that's what we came for. Besides, I don't live here anymore," Sleater tells him. "Owen — I don't like secrets," Nucky emphasizes. Owen opens the telegrams and begins to read them to Nucky. "From your lawyer. 'Forget Dempsey. Judge set trial date. August 23rd. Let the real battle begin.'" Nucky asks who sent the other telegram. "Mrs. Schroeder. Come home," Owen stops. Nucky turns, realizing it must contain bad news. "Emily has polio," Sleater informs him. The episode ends with a nice crane shot rising over the port while simultaneously we hear the end of broadcast coverage of the Dempsey-Carpentier fight and the Irish pipe compositions "Cis Liathain"/"Is Maith Le Nora" written and performed by Tomás Ó Canainn and his traditional Irish music group Na Fili from their 1972 album Three.
With regard to your wondering about a sixth, silent partner in the deal with Remus I think you either misheard Capone's line or it was different in the version you watched to the one that went out on Sunday; I heard "The five of us are willing to kick in sixty grand, a piece". If I'm wrong and there is a sixth man then I suppose it would be Leander Cephas Whitlock representing the elderly backer's who still need to be compensated for the money they lost in the warehouse bombing.
Thank you for your excellent recaps. I read every week and as well as enjoying your criticism and insight I use your knowledge of the cast to help pair actor to characters when writing for the wikia site for the show:
Do you get a cast breakdown from HBO?
Thank you for your excellent recaps. I read every week and as well as enjoying your criticism and insight I use your knowledge of the cast to help pair actor to characters when writing for the wikia site for the show:
Do you get a cast breakdown from HBO?
Thanks for the kind words. I put so much work into these that it's always good to know people are reading them. I get the cast lists for each episode. I suppose they could have meant the Commodore's old cronies who still needed to be compensated, but it just doesn't feel right with the idea of all the young pups trying to break out on their own. Jimmy and Eli knows that they need to be paid, but Capone, Luciano and Lansky had no part of that side, In the scene itself, Capone says to Remus 50,000 from each of us and another who isn't here right now and Remus calculates that he's getting $300,000. The money from the old cronies is gone and I doubt they would be willing to fork over another $50,000. What's gonna suck is after this Sunday's episode, HBO isn't sending screeners for the final two episodes to avoid spoilers so my recaps on those will be a couple of days after they air instead of the same night since I won't be able to do them in advance.
In the version I have of the episode I hear Capone saying "the five of us are willing to kick in 60 grand" - so the 300,000 response be Remus adds up.
Since it's my first comment here, I'd also like to thank you for your recaps. I'm translating the show into Hebrew and I'm not a native English speaker, so your recaps often clarify stuff for me. Keep up the good work :)
Since it's my first comment here, I'd also like to thank you for your recaps. I'm translating the show into Hebrew and I'm not a native English speaker, so your recaps often clarify stuff for me. Keep up the good work :)
Both of you were correct. I watched the scene on HBO GO and that is what Capone said. I then watched it again on the screener to see if it changed between screener and air, but it was the same there as well. I just misheard him. I fixed it in the main text. Thanks for catching it -- and for reading.Post a Comment