Sunday, November 27, 2011
Boardwalk Empire No. 22: Georgia Peaches
By Edward Copeland
NOTE TO READERS: This Boardwalk Empire recap will be the final one I'll be able to post as the show finishes airing in the Eastern and Central time zones. Because of fears that spoilers will leak out, HBO isn't sending out advance screeners for the final two episodes of the second season airing Dec. 4 and 11. Because of my physical limitations and the extensive and detailed recaps I do, the recaps for those two episodes won't be completed until at least a day or two after those episodes premiere. Sorry for the inconvenience.
In a way, I'm surprised that they didn't hold back tonight's episode as well because it does have a shocker of an ending. I always put my spoiler warning up top, but I mean it this time. The only hint I'll give you in this introduction is that I've been surprised that we've gone through almost two seasons without a major character being killed (and by that, I mean someone listed in the opening credits). That changes tonight — and I certainly was surprised by who ends up wearing the toe tag, but it definitely promises some big changes for other characters and storylines in the future. Aside from that twist, tonight's episode, with a teleplay by Dave Flebotte, whose previous writing credits have been almost exclusively on comedic series such as Desperate Housewives, Will & Grace, 8 Simple Rules and Ellen as well as one of the weaker episodes of The Sopranos (season 4's "Calling All Cars"), does a great job on his first Boardwalk Empire script, building on the momentum that's been growing in the past two weeks. Though "Georgia Peaches" runs nearly 10 minutes longer than last week's installment, director Jeremy Podeswa moves it along at a pace that makes it seem that it ends even more quickly. Since Podeswa helmed this season's good "The Age of Reason" and last year's "Anastasia," which remains one of the best episodes in the series' history, he may be second only to Tim Van Patten in the show's regular stable of directors that you can depend on turning in a quality effort.
We ended last week's episode at an Irish port while a mournful tune in the style of traditional Irish music played. Tonight, we open at the Port of Hoboken and the song "Strut, Miss Lizzie" provides a much jauntier start to the mini-montage that opens the show. The song originally was recorded in 1920 by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, but the version on the show is a cover by David Johansen (and my link goes to a 1930 cover of the song). Netting sets many boxes of Feeney's Irish Oats from Belfast onto the docks. Sleater supervises the arrival and checks his watch. Trucks carry the boxes of oats elsewhere where a man in a tux greets their arrival. Workers haul the crates down basement steps and open them — not surprisingly to find bottles of Irish whiskey. Babette smokes on a cigarette and watches. We begin to hear a preacher quoting from the Bible as the song slips into the background and more boxes of "oats" are wheeled into a tavern. "From The Book of Deuteronomy 24:14, Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers — " The scene switches to the Boardwalk where the pastor's words can be heard more clearly, though we don't see him yet. A bored operator sits next to his empty rolling chair. "that are in thy land within thy gates," the preacher finishes the verse. We then see Owen carrying a box of those Irish oats. As he walks along, we see that the pastor (Helmar Augustus Cooper) preaches to the striking black workers on the Boardwalk, bearing picket signs that read "ON STRIKE," "UNFAIR" and "HONEST PAY FOR AN HONEST DAY." "Brothers, the Lord knew that fairness was not something to be tossed out by those in power like so many crusts of bread. The Lord knew that decency and fairness were a commitment, a promise to those who serve faithfully that they too will be served in turn. Amen. And the strong and the weak have no color, and they shall know the truth," the preacher continues. Leaning against a bench by the railing next to the beach is Deputy Raymond Halloran and another member of the Sheriff's Department. "The strong are not as mighty as they think and the weak have mercy," his sermon begins to be drowned out by the music and the crowd's chants. Sleater walks through the strikers toward the Ritz Carlton, but two men block his path. The men look to Dunn Purnsley who gives a nod and then they let Owen proceed.
Owen carries his box into the dark, empty kitchen of the Ritz where its manager sits by himself. "Are you the man to see?" he asks. "Unless there's someone else in here with his thumb in his ass?" the kitchen manager replies. Sleater tells the morose man that Nucky Thompson sent him. "Thought they hung him up," the manager says. Owen opens the box and shows the man what it really contains. "Is that real?" the manager asks. "Straight from the old girl's tit," Owen tells him. The manager quickly finishes what remains in his coffee cup and then holds it out for Owen to pour a sample of the whiskey into and starts to sip. "Thirty dollars a case — that's less than half the going rate," Owen tells him as he drinks. "Who's going to serve it?" the manager wonders out loud. "Someday this strike will end sir — and so will this deal on this fine — Irish — whiskey," Sleater tells him, stretching out the words. The manager nods in contemplation before agreeing to buy 400 cases.
Sigrid rocks and feeds Baby Abigail as Van Alden drinks his morning coffee. He compliments her for how natural she seems to be at her job and she tells him that she’s the oldest of seven children. She also shares the story that her mother told her about when Sigrid was 6-years-old and tried to feed her baby sister from her bosom. Nelson puts his cup in the sink and leaves some money for groceries when he spots a letter addressed to him from Rose. “When did this come? Why didn’t I get this?” he asks. “Yesterday. I leave it for you there,” Sigrid replies. Nelson’s aggravation bursts out. “I am to receive all correspondence from Mrs. Van Alden immediately,” he emphasizes as he rips open the envelope. “Ya. I thought you’d see it,” Sigrid says. The envelope contains a Petition for Divorce from the U.S. District Court of New York, Westchester County. Rose Van Alden vs. Nelson Van Alden. Rose also inserted a handwritten note that reads, "Nelson, Please attend to this as soon as your activities allow. Rose."
Dr. Holt exits Emily's room as Margaret. Nucky and Teddy arrive. Margaret asks Holt how Emily is doing. "She's sleeping — a bit of a rough patch, nausea and such," he tells her. "Why did no one ring me? I would've stayed the night," Margaret says. "I know how hard this is for you, but she's in good hands here. She'll need your love and patience later on," Holt assures Margaret. "Later when?" she inquires. The doctor gives a half-hearted smile and let's Nucky and Teddy know that they can go in and see Emily if they like. FYI: I couldn't find a direct link to this information, so I typed it. Patients infected with the poliovirus can pass the virus on seven to 10 days before the onset of disease. In addition, they can continue to shed the virus in their stool for three to six weeks. "Come on son — be very quiet. Like cat feet," Nucky instructs Teddy as the two enter Emily's room and leave Margaret to talk to Dr. Holt. "Her lungs are sound, nerves to the heart and upper limbs seem unaffected, but the damage to her legs could be extensive," Holt informs Margaret. "Will she be crippled?" Margaret asks. "At this stage, it's impossible to say. I've seen children worse than her make a complete recovery," Holt answers. "Mr. Thompson is a man of means. If there's anything to be done — " Holt cuts Margaret off so she doesn't think that money will solve the problem. "I wish it were simple as money. There are things that are out of our control, much as I want to tell you otherwise," the doctor says. Margaret looks in Emily's room and watches Nucky speak to her and tenderly pat the girl on the head while Teddy sits in a chair fiddling with his cap in his hands. "I have a little girl — she's 9. She says a prayer for these kids every night. She doesn't know them. I never taught her to do it," Holt shares with Margaret. “You’re meant to ask God to intercede for others," Margaret says quietly. "We'll get the results from the latest tests by Friday. We'll have an answer then. Go in and see your daughter," he adds. "Good morning, my darling. How are you feelin'?" she asks Emily. "Alright," Emily responds weakly. "We've missed you so much," Nucky tells the girl. "And look what I brought," Margaret announces, holding up a doll. "What happened to Miss Wheatley?" Emily wants to know. Margaret chooses not to tell Emily that Miss Wheatley went up in flames in a pile of her things they burned in the yard. "This is Miss Wheatley's sister. She's here to visit and she insisted on seeing you," she tells Emily. The girl takes the doll and holds her while her mom comments that the doll's hair resembles Emily's and Nucky makes a point of saying Emily's hair is prettier. As the adults tend to Emily, the camera pulls away to look at a sad-looking Teddy, though you can tell he isn't sad about Emily. His expression betrays a combination of boredom and jealousy at the attention Emily is getting. The subtle camera move is very good and since Teddy is played by twins Declan and Rory McTigue, I'm not sure who gets the credit for saying so much without saying a word or whether whichever McTigue brother is in that shot received really good direction to achieve that moment.
The size of the warehouse in which Mickey Doyle mixes and bottles his brew has grown since Jimmy became upwardly mobile in Atlantic City, but even with more breathing room the stacks of crates nearly reach the ceiling. Jimmy marches onto the scene with Capone, Lansky and Luciano. "Hi ya, boys. Checkin' up on your investment?" Mickey greets the quartet. "Yeah — try not to lose this batch," Jimmy tells him. Capone places his arm on one of the crates that reads:
PROPERTY OF THE
"Property of the U.S. government," Capone cackles. "Not anymore, it ain't," Luciano declares. Lansky dips a ladle into the vat and spoons up some of the brew. "To George Remus," Meyer says before sipping the sample. Jimmy quizzes Mickey for an estimate on when the product will be ready to ship. "We're half-way done. A week round-the-clock'll take care of the rest," Doyle answers. "That's too long," Jimmy tells him. Mickey points out that he only has 10 guys working for him. "Hire fifty," Jimmy orders. Capone mentions his need to unload his portion and get back to Chicago. "Fuckin' Torrio's on my ass," Al complains. "Rothstein's been sniffin' around too. He knows something's up," Luciano adds. "There's Manny Horvitz too," Mickey tosses into the conversation. "What about him?" Jimmy asks, clearly not caring. "He's running a special on lips and assholes this week — what do you think?" Mickey states. "Fuckin' pay him already," Jimmy orders. "Cash?" Mickey asks, extending his hand for the green. "Booze, whatever. He's Waxey Gordon's problem now, not mine," Jimmy proclaims as he begins to walk off with Al. Lucky calls out to Jimmy to hold up. When he catches up, he removes from his jacket a small envelope containing some white powder. "You can sniff it, smoke it or inject it," Luciano sells with a smile. "Nice Sal, you movin' Chink drugs now?" Capone comments. "It's not hop — it's heroin — and I wouldn't expect a whoremeister to pass judgment," Luciano explains. "Heroin delivers a higher dose of opium to the brain than opium does which makes for a happier customer," Lansky elaborates. "No bottles, no barrels — two million bucks in a suitcase," Lucky plugs the drug. "What's the bank? Who's going to buy it?" Jimmy asks. "You've got your artist types, people uptown," Lucky answers. Jimmy wants numbers. "Their numbers may be very small right now but they're very enthusiastic," Meyer insists. Luciano sticks some envelopes into Jimmy's suit and urges him to get some samples out to the locals. "Great, but before you start squawkin' again, how about gettin' this out to the locals," Jimmy suggests, patting the crates.
An exasperated Ginsburg shakes his head. "I don't know what to tell you, Nucky. I'm extremely disappointed," the lawyer admits. "OK, try that again — only this time leave out the part where you sound like my mother," Nucky growls. "Esther Randolph — she's relentless. The trial will be in Camden. I've made calls," Ginsburg says. "You've made calls. Worth every penny. Daugherty?" an increasingly flustered Thompson asks in reference to the President Harding's attorney general, who selected Randolph as the replacement prosecutor when Nucky's old enemy Sen. Walter Edge blackmailed him into picking someone who would try to nail Nucky's balls to the wall. "He says he did what he could and you two were square," Ginsburg relays Daugherty's words. Eddie enters and informs Nucky that his desk is ready for use. During this meeting, Eddie has been supervising the setup of a makeshift office for Nucky at his Margate estate. "My desk — which used to be in my suite when I ran the fuckin' city — is ready for use," Nucky shouts at Ginsburg. "Will there be anything else?" Eddie asks. "No!" Nucky responds, doing his best not to sound pissed off at Kessler. Ginsburg stands up once Nucky takes his place behind the relocated desk. "So why don't you tell me what you have in mind to keep this trial in Atlantic County where I can work the judge and jury?" Nucky inquires. Ginsburg floats the idea of medical hardship. "You mean this?" Nucky asks, holding up his wounded right hand in an even tone. "This wouldn't even stop me from jacking off!" he yells. "You'll get five years — you'll be out in two," Ginsburg says, for the first time talking as if prison were a certainty. "Eddie, call those two guinea anarchists from Massachusetts — tell them to relax — I've found them a new lawyer," Nucky bellows into another part of the house. "The difference being — with Sacco and Vanzetti, innocence is still a possibility," Ginsburg tells Nucky, with a tone that implies he's had enough of his shit. "Did you want something?" Eddie inquires, rushing into the room because he heard Nucky's joking call. "Get the fuck out," Nucky says, but his voice isn't raised anymore. Eddie makes a hasty retreat. "I was talking to you," Nucky tells Ginsburg. "I realize that," he responds. "Good. You should also realize you're fired," Nucky stands as he proclaims it. Ginsburg just sighs, picks up his briefcase and leaves. Nucky reaches for his cigarette case when the headline on the sports section of the newspaper catches his eye: BLACK SOX TRIAL BEGINS We've dated the series again. The Black Sox trial began on July 18, 1921. Since we're presumably still early in the day and that's not an afternoon newspaper, I'm betting that makes it July 19, 1921. On another note, though I'm surprised he hadn't fired Ginsburg earlier, I'll miss the scenes between Steve Buscemi and Peter Van Wagner. The two actors developed a nice rapport.
"Three hundred empty rooms, five hundred peaches darker than the help and a tourist season that's slipping through my fingers — and why? Because no one here can get the colored situation under control," an Atlantic City businessman (Scott Robertson) complains at a crowded meeting at the Commodore's about the strike. Attending are three local businessmen, Jimmy, Eli, interim County Treasurer Neary, Leander, Mayor Bader and the Commodore himself. Probably the most uncomfortable man present is Langston, the Commodore's black butler, who must stand and listen to these assholes badmouth his race in case any of them needs something. Noticeably absent, since the gathering isn't in the grand living room, is the Commodore's still unnamed stuffed bear. This scene probably feels longer than it really is, but no matter how many times I revised it, the whole section ate up a tremendous amount of space. So, for this scene, I'm hitting the highlights on tossing out the rest, which means eliminating a lot of the dialogue I'd usually include. Here are the main points: 1. The three businessmen we've never met before (the other seated one who Bader actually calls Dan at one point is played by Craig Bockhorn; the one who stands is played by Jimmy Palumbo) all want the strike settled and suggest using the Klan again. 2. Eli opposes this idea and Jimmy reminds them that got them into this mess and suggests settling, saying a small raise would be cheaper. 3. The Commodore starts thumping on the floor with his cane and making noises, so they send the businessmen home. 4. Eli suggests 50 men with billy clubs and Neary reminisces about a 1909 incident where they threw black protesters off a pier, but Jimmy fears riots. 5. Neary tells Eli that Deputy Halloran was talking to Esther Randolph and Eli doesn't like it. While overall this is a very good episode, I'm beginning to wonder if there's a curse on long scenes with multiple characters at the Commodore's mansion. They used to be quite good but lately, they just drag on and on. Why didn't they have a character we know such as Leander summarize the business community's thoughts and get to the debate over what to do? They would get to the Halloran plot point and the scene's climax (still to come) a lot faster, which I will play out now. Trying to steer things back to the subject at hand, Leander asks Jimmy if he intends to follow this strategy. "Which one? The billy clubs or throwing them off the pier? I can't choose," Jimmy replies sarcastically. "Your predecessor knew how to keep the coloreds happy," Whitlock reminds him. Jimmy stands up. "Alright, I'm not Nucky, OK. Now that we've got that part out of the way, let's figure out how to end this peacefully — " The Commodore interrupts again. "Why don't you just show them your cunt?" he manages to say fairly coherently. The room seems mostly shocked by his words except for Jimmy, who looks hurt. The room really gets bowled over when the Commodore, using his thought-to-be paralyzed right side, manages to lift himself to a standing position and take a couple of steps. "You heard me. Why don't you lift up your dress and let yourself get fucked?" the old man asks his son. Leander Whitlock has a hard time suppressing a smile at the sight of his old friend's signs of recovery. Needless to say, Jimmy doesn't take the abuse well, drooping his head and staying silent. The Commodore turns to Neary. “You. Get me a fuckin' drink,” he orders. "Yes sir, Commodore," Neary complies. Eli looks deep in thought.
Teddy's bedtime recital of the prayer "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" begins while we still watch Eli contemplating his many problems at the Commodore's. When Teddy reaches the line "If I should die before I wake," we see him in his bed with Margaret at his side as he says the prayer. "You should say a special prayer for Emily," his mother tells him. Teddy looks less than enthused, but closes his eyes, puts his hands together and says, "Will you please make my sister Emily get better?" anyway. Margaret smiles and kisses Teddy on the forehead. "Good night, sweet prince," she tells him. As Margaret walks toward the door, Teddy calls, "Mama." She turns back around. "Yes dear, what is it?" she asks. "I can't move my legs," Teddy declares without an ounce of panic. Margaret, however, does, rushing back and pulling back his covers. She presses on his legs. "Can you feel that?" she asks. "No, he replies. Margaret again starts testing his feet and apparently hits a ticklish spot, making her devilish little son laugh. When she takes her hands away, Teddy continues laughing. Margaret slaps the little brat hard across the face and Teddy stops laughing and begins crying, A puzzled Nucky wanders in to see what's going on. "You were just praying?" he says. Margaret dashes past Nucky and into her bedroom. "God help me, but he's got his father's cruelty," she tells Nucky when he goes to her. "He just wants attention," Nucky explains. "His sister is lying crippled in a hospital. He knows that," Margaret says. "Not the same as understanding," Nucky tells her. "What am I to do — abandon my sick baby girl to attend to my healthy son?" Margaret asks. "Before anything else, you're to stop running yourself ragged," Nucky declares. Nucky informs her that he has to be in New York the next day just for the day and suggests that he take Teddy with him to let Margaret rest. She asks him why he's going and he tells her he's hiring a new lawyer. "You can't leave him alone," Margaret warns. "I won't," Nucky promises. "Make sure to keep his fingers from his nose — it's a revolting habit," Margaret says.
The striking workers sing "There Is a Balm in Gilead" as picketing continues on the Boardwalk. We join the protesters in the middle of the spiritual. "But then the Holy Spirit/Revives my soul again," they sing. While the chorus raises their voice in song, another group — pissed-off looking white guys — round the corner raising something else — namely bats and pieces of wood. "There is a balm in Gilead/To make the wounded whole/There is a balm in Gilead/To heal the sin-sick soul — " The hymn gets interrupted when Purnsley, spotting the intruders, shouts, "Hold the line!" A melee ensues as the whites beat and punch the strikers, though the strikers get some blows in. The two members of the Sheriff's Department watching the violence with Deputy Halloran quietly slip away, leaving Halloran by himself. Two of the white men strike the deputy from behind and proceed to pummel him without mercy. It almost looks as if Halloran receives a more severe beating than any of the strikers do.
In New York, Nucky (with Teddy tagging along and Arnold Rothstein following behind) enters the office of infamous criminal defense attorney Bill Fallon (David Aaron Baker), the man who helped Rothstein escape charges in the Black Sox scandal. "Mr. Thompson, I've heard only good things," Fallon says as he greets Nucky and shakes his hand. "Not from me, of course," Rothstein jokes. "That certainly narrows down the list of suspects," Nucky replies. Teddy wanders to the corner of Fallon's desk where a baseball sits in prominent display. "You like baseball?" Fallon asks the boy, noticing his interest. "Yes," Teddy answers. "Ty Cobb signed this — now it's yours," Fallon tells Teddy as he gives the ball to him. "What do you say, Teddy?" Nucky inquires, trying to coax gratitude from the boy. "Ty Cobb was a bad man," Hans Schroeder's son answers. "He doesn't like to be crossed, that's for sure, but if your team's down, he's the one you want at bat," Nucky tells him before sending him out of the office with Fallon's secretary. Fallon opens a desk drawer where three baseballs rest and places one of them in the spot where the Ty Cobb-signed-ball used to rest. "So your case. Arnold tells me you'd like to go in a new direction," Fallon addresses Nucky. "Preferably away from jail," Nucky replies. "This Ginsburg you had defending you — Is law his main focus or just something he does when he’s not shoeing horses?" Fallon asks sarcastically. "I hope the meter's not running. I'd hate to think I'm paying you to hear what a fool I am," Nucky says. "That part's on the house," Fallon offers. "Once you get past Mr. Fallon's charm, I think you'll find him quite effective," Rothstein counsels Nucky. "Can you get the venue changed back to Atlantic City?" Nucky inquires as he takes a seat with his drink. "Probably not," Fallon admits, "but if there's a seed of doubt to be sown on your behalf, I am quite effective with juries." "And all this farming will set me back what?" Thompson seeks the dollar amount. "Eighty dollars per hour, which also buys my uncanny ability to make friends with judges," Fallon adds it up for Nucky. Nucky doesn't look happy and you can tell he's running the figures in his head. "And if I told you I had no money for bribes," Nucky posits. "Then you'd be relying solely on my legal acumen," Fallon says. "What would you do, Arnold?" Nucky asks Rothstein, who has been staring out the window, sipping his milk. "No one likes a long shot more than a gambler," Rothstein smiles.
We're in a room we've not been in before and there's a knock at the door. A muffled voice says, "Come in." Eli opens the door and we see lying in bed, looking like hell, Deputy Halloran. Bandages wrap his head from the top of his skull to the bottom of his chin. His right arm dangles in a sling and his jaw appears to be wired. "Fresh peas — from June's garden," Eli tells him as he holds up a paper bag. "What do I do with 'em?" Halloran asks, given that he can barely open his mouth to speak. Eli suggests he have his landlady boil the peas for him. Then the sheriff gets around to asking his deputy how he's feeling, as if the sight of him didn't already answer that question. "How do ya zink?" Halloran says. "What happened out there?" Eli inquires as if he didn't already know the answer. "Two of 'em came up behind me," Halloran replies. "Sons-a-bitches," Eli curses. "I was standin' off by the railings," Halloran tells his boss. "You know what we're gonna do — when you're back on your feet? We drive around the Northside — you point out these black bastards," Eli pledges. Halloran informs Eli that the black protesters weren't responsible. "They were the breakers. Normal white men," Eli's deputy scowls. "Really?" Eli says, not even pretending to act surprised. "I couldn't believe it," Halloran declares. "They think you were someone else?" Eli suggests. "Who else would I be — I'm wearing the brown," Halloran responds. "Well there's a puzzlement," Eli replies without an ounce of emotion. "Look at me — I can hardly fucking talk," Halloran moans. "Well, it isn't like there's anything else you want to say, is there?" Eli makes it painfully clear even to a dimwit like Halloran what he's talking about now and why he's in the physical state he's in. "I think Ray, when things go wrong, 'What did I do? Why do I deserve this?'" Eli tells him. "I don't deserve it," Halloran insists. "My philosophy — it goes in here," Eli points to his gut, "it comes out somewhere else. God, fate — I don't know what you call it — 'What did I do? What should I make sure I never, ever do again'" Eli has crossed the room to Halloran's bedside to make his not-so-veiled threat. Halloran stares at him, vacantly and frightened at the same time. "Good time to reflect about it," Eli proposes as he hands him the bag of peas. "Butter, salt — delicious." Deputy Raymond Halloran doesn't need much time to reflect because as soon as Eli has left, he fights his pain to get to the phone on his bedside table. "Give me the Post Office over on Illinois," he speaks into the mouthpiece.
Father Brennan comes upon Margaret in kneeling in prayer in one of the pews of his otherwise empty church. "Is something wrong?" he asks. "My youngest, Emily, she has polio," she informs the priest. "I'm sorry," Brennan says. "She's frightened, Father. It's killin' me," Margaret admits. Brennan sits in the pew in front of Margaret and leans on its back. "God is with her, my child," he insists. Podewsa films that line of Brennan's in a far shot from the back of the sanctuary, essentially turning Margaret and the priest into specks. He moves back around to the front of two so we can see Margaret, "As he was when he let it happen," Margaret replies with a tone of bitterness toward her deity. Podewsa moves the camera slightly again so we see Michael Cumpsty's face straight on while Kelly MacDonald is in profile. "There are things I tell children, Mrs. Schroeder, because that's all they can grasp. You're an adult and you came here in your need," Brennan tells her. "I've nowhere else to turn," Margaret says, looking straight ahead as if she's in a state of shock or has just gone numb. "You confessed something to me not long ago — about temptation. Is that still a burden?" Brennan inquires. "I'd rather not discuss that," she replies. "Don't you see the problem? You ask of God, but what do you offer in return?" the priest asks. "My devotion," Margaret answers. Father Brennan explains to her that devotion is an act, something you demonstrate. Margaret doesn't understand how she can display that devotion. "That's for you to decide," Father Brennan tells her.
The next scene begins with a man's hand lifting his suit jacket to give him quicker access to the gun sticking out of his pants. The camera goes wide and we realize that the gun belongs to Jimmy who is meeting with Chalky inside the same church where Chalky held his community meeting following his release from jail. Jimmy has brought Richard along with him, Chalky's backup is Dunn Purnsley. Two other black men stand quietly in separate corners. "Mr. White," Jimmy greets Chalky, "Young James," Chalky replies as the two shake hands. "How's that new set of shoes be fittin' these days?" Chalky asks Jimmy. "A little tighter than I expected," Jimmy admits. "Needs some breakin' in, that all," Chalky tells him. "So what can I do for y'all?" Chalky asks as he and Jimmy sit. "The strike — it needs to end. I came here to work somethin' out," Jimmy says. "Oh — now y'all come. What ya think about that, Mr. Purnsley?" Chalky asks Dunn who stands behind him. "I think that ball team he sent around swingin' those bats struck out," Purnsley declares. "That wasn't my idea, Chalky," Jimmy tells him. "Klan boys shootin' up my warehouse," Chalky reminds him. "Wasn't my idea either," Jimmy adds. "Jesus boy — ain't you got any notion at all?" Chalky quizzes Jimmy. "Yeah," Jimmy says, leaning forward on his chair. "I plan to make your murder charge go away," Chalky lets out a little cough and looks to the side. "How you gonna do that?" Chalky wants to know. Jimmy announces his plan to talk with Gov. Edwards. Chalky spins in his chair to look at Purnsley, then turns back to Jimmy. "What else you got?" he asks. "What else you want?" Jimmy inquires. "Justice," Chalky replies, which when he elaborates breaks down to $3,000 to each of the families of the men killed in the Klan raid. "OK," Jimmy agrees. "And those three hooded crackers who did the shootin' — I want them delivered to me personally," Chalky demands, Jimmy shakes his head and looks at Richard. "It's not gonna happen, Chalky," Darmody tells him. Chalky smirks, then stands. "Well buck, that's the deal. There'll always be next tourist season," Chalky says with a wink as he and Purnsley leave.
In the Manhattan hotel room with Nucky, Teddy talks to his mom on the phone. We only hear his side of the conversation which consists of many promises to do things and the news about the signed baseball, though Margaret has no idea who Ty Cobb is. "OK champ, time to say goodnight," Nucky tells him. Teddy does what he's told and hands the phone off to Nucky who says they'll see her tomorrow and explains that Cobb is "a very famous ball player." "Your mom sounded in good spirits, eh," Nucky declares, but Teddy just shrugs. Nucky sits down on his bed with a drink. "You know, I had a kid sister. Her name was Susan. She was sick too — consumption — and my mother, just like your mother with Emily, spent every waking moment taking care of her. My brother and I, we'd get pretty jealous," Nucky admits to Teddy. "You did?" Teddy acts surprised, as if his reaction is unusual. "Sure — who wouldn't want all that attention? Still, we knew our mother loved us just the same," Nucky illustrates for the kid. Buscemi always excels in these scenes illuminating Nucky's past, even when played at different tones and for different purposes. Once again, I must give kudos to whichever McTigue kid plays Teddy here or if it were particularly fine direction that got this performance out of him in this episode. It also illustrates how good Nucky must have been with Jimmy when he was a kid and how he really misses the chance he didn't have with his own child who died so young. "How about your dad?" Teddy asks, nearly causing Thompson to do a spit take with his drink, "Sure, of course, he loved us too," he lies to the boy. Doing that took enough out of Nucky to cause him to fix himself another drink. As he prepares it, Teddy asks him if he's in trouble. "No. Well, a little. Some people say I did something wrong, but it's not true," Nucky speaks more or less truthfully to Teddy. "That you burned your dad's house down," Teddy says. Now it's out — the source of Teddy's fascination with fire finally becomes clear to Nucky. "What? No. What makes you thinks that?" Nucky wants to know. "I saw you," Teddy tells him. "No Teddy. What you saw — that was an accident," Nucky insists. "Don't worry, Dad — I won't tell," Teddy promises.
The young would-be bootleggers have gathered together at the warehouse again — and the trio of out-of state partner aren't happy with what they're finding. "How'd you do?" Lucky asks Al when he comes in. "I couldn't sell a drop. The whole city's fucking drenched," Capone reports. "Irish whiskey," Luciano says. "But they're cheaper than what we're selling," Mickey adds. "Way cheaper," Lucky complains. "Who's behind it then? Al wants to know. "Nucky," Jimmy declares. "You know that?" Meyer asks. "In my bones," Jimmy replies. "So much for steppin' down," Mickey comments. "There's a reason you cut a snake's head clean off," Capone asserts. "Well, whose fault is that, Al?" Jimmy asks. "This whiskey — where's it from? You said you had the Coast Guard in your pocket," Lansky inquires. "Nucky's man — he's from Ireland. They import it," Richard speaks up. Capone gets in Harrow's face. "So let's pop the fuckin' mick," Capone yells. "Yeah, that's great for tomorrow. What do we do for today?" Jimmy seeks suggestions from his partners. "I thought you were runnin' this town," Luciano yells at Darmody as he approaches him. "Yeah, that's right," Jimmy confirms. "I thought you were supposed to be givin' us the answers," Lucky replies. Capone complains that first came the black workers' strike, now this. Mickey tells everyone there are more strikers out there now than before. "So this stuff could be sittin' here for months," Capone speculates. "I said I would take care of it, goddammit!" Jimmy shouts in Al's face. "You should put that to fuckin' music," Luciano suggests. "Fuck you Sal or Charlie whatever the fuck your name is," Jimmy yells. "It's Charlie," Luciano answers quietly. "Is that the issue? There's a fortune at stake, gentlemen, This alcohol needs to be sold," Lansky interjects, attempting to be the voice of reason as always. "Thanks, genius. Where?" Al asks. Meyer proposes splitting up and selling it in their respective towns. "This is my town," Jimmy sighs. Luciano suggest that Jimmy go to Philadelphia, but Mickey warns him to stay away from there because of Manny. "Alright, you take Philly," Jimmy tells Mickey, "I'll head north." Then he kicks over a crate in frustration. "Look — let's just sell this shit," Jimmy says.
The camera begins the next scene tight on the face of Nelson Van Alden in the middle of a sentence. "…at which point Enoch Thompson left the premises with Mr. White," Van Alden says. "Albert White, known as Chalky," we hear Esther Randolph's voice clarify off screen. "That's correct," Nelson confirms. "Please tell the jury what happened next," Randolph's voice instructs. "Presumably, they completed the deal for the alcohol — " "Objection," this time it's Lathrop's voice we hear doing the interrupting and the shot widens so we see that they're rehearsing Van Alden's future trial testimony in their office. "Your presumptions, scintillating though they be, do not help us. You're testifying as to direct knowledge of Thompson's bootlegging," Esther tells him. Nelson apologizes and Lathrop advises him to stick to what he knows. "Agent Van Alden, what can you tell us about a Hans Schroeder?" Randolph asks. "I beg your pardon," Nelson replies. "Hans Schroeder — his name is mentioned in your file quite extensively as is his widow's," Randolph repeats. From the look on Van Alden's face, you might forget that he's testifying for the prosecution. "Are you baiting me, Miss Randolph?" Van Alden accuses. "I'm sure I don't know what you mean. In your file, it says that Nucky Thompson ordered Schroeder murdered," she responds as he crosses in front of him. "I have no direct proof of that," Van Alden admits. "Well you certainly spent enough time on it," Esther comments. "It was a theory. I was told by my supervisor to focus on alcohol as you've directed yourself in regard to my testimony," he tells her. Randolph sidles up to Nelson. "Off the record? Do you think he did it? Thompson — order Schroeder's murder," she queries. "I have no doubt whatsoever," Van Alden declares. Randolph suggest that they break for lunch and Nelson walks briskly out of the office. "What do you think? Have we got enough?" Lathrop asks Randolph. "Let's bring him in," she says. Lathrop and Halsey grab their hats and head off.
Someone knocks on the door to Manny Horvitz's home. Manny must be playing it safe after the attempt on his life because he treads carefully inside, dressed in only a T-shirt and suspenders, using a handgun to part the curtains to look outside. He sees that it's Mickey Doyle on his doorstep, so Horvitz feels secure enough to let him inside (but not enough to do so without giving Mickey a patdown for weapons). "Better safe than sorry," Manny tells him. Mickey starts to sit a particular chair, but Horvitz stops him. "Not there — my wife'll kill ya," he says. Whether that's true or not, Mickey takes a seat across from Manny. "So — the two of us — the walking wounded, courtesy of Mr. Darmody," Manny comments, referencing his shoulder and Mickey's neck. "I don't follow," Mickey, unable to turn his head, says. "My shoulder, your neck," Horvitz spells it out for him. "Jimmy ain't have nothin' to do with that," Mickey claims. Granted, you can't believe a word that comes out of Mickey's mouth, but I wonder if he was aware that Jimmy did set that botched hit up through his talk with Waxey. He heard his comment earlier in this episode about Manny being Waxey's problem now and warned Jimmy not to go to Philadelphia, so he probably suspects, but given that rat's survival instincts, he probably figures that what he doesn't know can't hurt him. "You landed at my feet," Manny reminds him. "Your shoulder I mean. That was Waxey all the way," Doyle insists. Horvitz removes the bandage from his shoulder and reveals the ugly, bloody wound. "What have you brought me?" he asks. Mickey makes a pleasant humming sound and removes a bottle from a paper bag and hands it Manny. "I give you five grand worth to settle Jimmy's debt," Mickey says. Manny questions whether it's from Jimmy and Mickey confirms it again. Manny stares at the bottle. "Yet he doesn't bring it himself," Horvitz notes as he opens it. "He's busy, Munya," Mickey tells him. "Yes. He’s a macher now who sends you to do his bidding," Manny says as he takes a drink. Horvitz puts the bottle down on the table beside him and picks something small up. He removes a toothpick from it (and then viewers know what it is) and tosses the box to Mickey. "Somethin' in my teeth?" Doyle asks. "I took it from the man who tried to kill me. Heilig's Chop House," Manny informs Mickey as he takes a toothpick and starts scraping at his shoulder wound. "So?" Mickey says. Whatever Horvitz was trying to clean out of his wound, he transferred into a bowl and looks as if it brought him some kind of relief. "Atlantic City — Mr. Darmody's town. He tries to kill me and fails. Now he sends five thousand dollars worth of piss for a ticket out of it," Manny sneers. "He's payin' his debt is all," Mickey insists. "He who dies pays all his debts," Manny proclaims. "The Bible, right? Lot of wisdom there. Look — you're still in business, ain't ya? And you don't have to deal with him — ever. Just me," Mickey responds, trying to cool Horvitz down. I wonder if it was luck of the draw or planning that assigned Jeremy Podewsa to direct the two episodes this season (this and "The Age of Reason") loaded with the most religious and biblical references, except in this case Mickey is an idiot and confuses The Bible and Shakespeare. Manny stands, looking like the gregarious butcher we first met, almost as if he's about to hug Mickey. "Ah, I take the payback," Manny proclaims. "My old pal, Munya," Mickey smiles and starts to get up, but Horvitz pushes him back down and places his hand under Mickey's chin. "Then you tell me where I find Mr. Darmody — for a quiet chat," Manny demands in a whisper. "We're partners, me and him. I've got an investment to protect," Mickey replies nervously. Horvitz shoves Mickey against further into his chair, both of his hands gripping Doyle's neck brace and slamming the back of his head into the windowsill. "What the hell are you doing?" Mickey pleads. "Changing your mind," Manny growls.
The camera pans slowly from the hall of jail cells to look through the bars of a particular cell where we see Eli sitting on the lower bunk smoking a cigarette. Esther Randolph comes walking by and stops to say, "Sheriff Thompson, good morning." Eli's gaze could burn holes through Randolph. "I asked for a lawyer," he tells her. "I am a lawyer — just not yours," she replies. Randolph introduces and identifies herself to Eli. "At my house, you come arrest me," Eli growls in disbelief. "Sorry Sheriff but my professional courtesy does not extend to murder suspects," Randolph explains with a "that's-the-breaks" nod of her head. Again, this show makes me conflicted over the vast expansion of its cast this season. It ends up slighting some of its regulars and some additions prove needless, but then you get someone such as Julianne Nicholson playing Esther Randolph and you're grateful almost every time you get to see her at work. "You're graspin' at straws, lady," Eli declares. "Actually, I think I've got one. Your deputy — Raymond Halloran. He's got a lot to say about you and a man named Hans Schroeder. If you have anything to say — about your brother, for instance — please have your lawyer get in touch. I'm sure he'll be along any minute," Randolph smiles, nods and walks away. What I love about this show — which I've mentioned many times — its long-term memory. When this season started, we knew that a coup was planned and in the first episode, it seemed to revolve around Nucky's election chicanery. Who could have predicted then that the tangled legal mess eventually would ensnare some of the coup plotters themselves and lead back to the murder of Margaret's husband in the very first episode of the series?
As Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" plays on the soundtrack, Margaret removes all the contents of her jewelry box — the jewels as well as the envelope of cash hidden in the secret compartment. She places all of it in her handbag and leaves. At Father Brennan's residence, the priest relaxes, listening to that same piece of music on his phonograph player. His housekeeper (Connie Watkins) knocks and enters. "Sorry to bother you, Father. A Mrs. Schroeder is here to see you," she tells him. "What does she want?" Brennan asks. "She didn't say. Should I let her in?" the housekeeper inquires. Brennan hides his glass of wine, adjusts his collar and says to show her in. He turns off the record as Margaret comes in. "I'm disturbing you," Margaret says as she sees Brennan place the record back on the shelf. "Not at all. They can very easily get out of order and there's no finding them," Brennan explains. "How is your little one?" he asks. "The doctor's reluctant to make any prediction," Margaret replies. "He doesn't wish to give you false hope," the priest says. "Would that be so bad? It would at least be something for now," Margaret admits. "Wouldn't you rather believe in something real?" Brennan challenges her. Believe in something real — what kind of talk is that coming from a priest? "I want to believe she'll recover," Margaret declares. "Are you looking for a miracle?" he inquires. "Yes, I am. I want my daughter to be made whole. I want her to live and grow. I want her to run in the grass and swim in the sea and not suffer for this — for no reason," Margaret comes close to blaming her indiscretion with Owen as the reason for Emily's polio, but she stops herself. "Do you recall what we discussed earlier?" Brennan asks. "An act of devotion," Margaret answers as she reaches into her purse and places the money and jewelry upon the table. "What is this?" he questions. "For the church — a donation," she replies. "I'm not usually handed cash directly, let alone jewels," Father Brennan admits. "Then tell me the proper method," Margaret requests. "Why are you doing this, Mrs. Schroeder?" he asks. "There's a weight on me, Father, on my soul. I want to be free of it and show that I'm willing." Father Brennan picks up the envelopes and looks at the pile of bills. "Shall we pray?"
Jimmy drinks a cup of coffee and looks at his home's magnificent view, noting one particular sunbather, an overweight man of indeterminate age with his back to the ocean. "What's so fascinating?" Angela asks as she comes in and sees her husband gazing. "That fella," Jimmy replies and his wife joins him at the window. "Not a care in the world," he says. "Certainly doesn't care what he looks like," Angela comments. In a way, Jimmy is dressed here like Manny was earlier — wearing a T-shirt with suspenders over them holding up his pants. In the background, you can hear playing "The Whippoorwill Dance," a ragtime composition by Joe Jordan, performed here by pianist Rick Benjamin and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra on their salute to Jordan called From Barrelhouse to Broadway: The Musical Odyssey of Joe Jordan. Tellingly, the same version of this music was used in the season one episode "Family Limitation" as Jimmy sat alone mourning Pearl's suicide. Angela returns to what she was doing and places some flowers in a vase when Jimmy asks about Tommy's whereabouts. She tells him that he's with Gillian. "I have to leave town for a few days," Jimmy informs her, then asks why she doesn't ask him why. "If you want me to know, you'll tell me. I trust you," Angela replies. "You don't mean that," Jimmy says. "That's not fair," Angela responds, barely completing the word fair. "Well, then try to," Jimmy requests. He puts down his coffee cup and walks closer to her. "I know you're not happy, Angela. I know there are things you think about me that you're afraid to say. I'm gonna make it up to you, get everything settled, once and for all. You'll see, I can be the person you want me to be," Jimmy pledges. Angela smiles. "I heard a joke today. A man goes into a hotel and he says, 'I'd like a room with a bath.' The clerk says, 'I can give you a room but you'll have to take the bath yourself,'" she laughs. "Did I tell it wrong?" she asks since Jimmy didn't laugh. "No, it's funny," he assures her, then repeats the punchline and laughs. Angela wraps her arms around his neck and they kiss. "You sure you have to leave right away?" she asks. "I'm not sure of anything." They kiss again and she leads him away, presumably to their bedroom.
When Nucky and Margaret meet with Dr. Holt to hear the latest test results, the report isn't promising. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the results we'd hoped for. It's spinal polio. The virus invades nerve cells causing damage to the muscles and the limbs. The cells are completely destroyed and, as in Emily's case, the paralysis will most likely be permanent. You understand what I'm saying?" Holt asks Margaret who just stares into space. Nucky takes her hand and calls her name. "Did your daughter pray?" Margaret inquires of Holt. "I'm sorry," he replies. "Last night, you said she prays for all the rest of us," Margaret says. "I'm sure she did," Holt tells her. "Then bless her soul," Margaret declares. "What do we know?" Nucky asks. "Measure Emily for braces. You'll take her home. When she's ready, we'll try therapy and hope for the best," Holt explains. "I'd say that's good advice," Nucky concurs. Margaret turns to Nucky and looks helpless. Kelly Macdonald, as always, is great, but I wonder if Margaret is sliding off the rails into cuckoo land. Will this be particularly bad timing should Esther Randolph bring anyone, let alone Nucky, up on murder charges in Hans' death?
Back at the Margate Estate that the Schroeders share with Nucky, Teddy sits on the floor by the foot of his bed going through a box. In it, he finds an old photo of Hans and Margaret when he was younger and Emily was a baby. He looks closely at his dead father's face for a moment before putting the photo back in the box and adding the Ty Cobb-autographed baseball to its contents.
You can hear the waves at the Darmody beachhouse as Angela sleeps. A shadow wearing a hat passes by the curtains of her bedroom. Manny Horvitz opens the front door, his gun already drawn, dressed in suit and tie. Honestly, if you're sneaking into someone's house at night to kill them, why on earth would you get dressed up for the occasion? Was there a dress code for murder in the 1920s?
As Manny stalks around the house, he finally finds the bedroom where Angela sleeps and hears the shower running in the adjacent bathroom. Horvitz goes to the bed and places his hand over Angela's mouth. She wakes up and tries to scream, but can't. Manny drags her to her feet, holding her up with one hand still over her mouth and the other still holding the gun waiting for the shower to end.
The knob squeaks as the water stops inside the bathroom. Angela keeps trying to make a noise loud enough to serve as a warning. Manny sees a person's shape in the distorted glass on the bathroom door, aims and fires as soon as it opens. Both Louise and the towel covering her nakedness fall to the floor. "What the fuck?" Manny says as a naked woman's body falls dead to the floor instead of that of his anticipated victim, James Darmody.
The surprise shocks Horvitz enough that Angela escapes his grasp and runs to Louise, who already is dead. Angela cries over her body as Manny approaches, gun still drawn. "Where's Darmody?" he asks. "He isn't here," Angela sobs. "You're his wife?" Manny seeks confirmation.
"Please. I have a child. Please. Do you want money? He can get it. Lots of it. I can make him," Angela pleads through her tears. "The most important thing in life, darling — your health. Your husband did this to you," Manny tells Angela before shooting her in the head.
Horvitz puts an extra bullet in each of the women, just for good measure, then leaves the scene, actually looking sad. In fact, in an odd way, his facial expression reminds me of the clown Emmett Kelly. Meanwhile, unaware that he has just become a widower, Jimmy drives a load of booze on a back road and is about to enter Princeton, home of the college Nucky got him into but that he opted not to attend, choosing the war instead. REMINDER: I won't see the final two episodes of the season early, so my recaps won't come any earlier than the Tuesday after the episode airs. This is an interesting twist though, isn't it? We now have two single fathers on the show in Jimmy and Van Alden. It also sets up, depending how long Jimmy hangs on to power, which path he takes as the town's boss. Will he follow that of the Commodore, who said he was too busy running the city to raise his own child? Or will he learn from Nucky, who took Jimmy on as a surrogate son and then ran the town as well? By the way, in case readers aren't familiar with the famous clown Emmett Kelly, I though I'd put up a painting of his face and a closeup of Manny's expression in that last scene so you could compare. I don't think it was intentional, but interesting nonetheless. Killing Angela was planned well to surprise the audience by setting up the new girlfriend storyline as a red herring at the same time they put in subtle clues in her scenes with Jimmy that doom was near. The sad part was that those final scenes with Jimmy finally gave Aleksa Palladino some good scenes to play and now she won't get any more. I wonder how long Jimmy will play the field of if by season three, he already will have a new serious partner. Playing the same music that followed Pearl's death in Chicago in Jimmy and Angela's final scene together was very clever. I only caught that by accident when doublechecking that the musical piece was the one it was supposed to be and a Google search led to the HBO site listing it as being played in that particular first season episode. I played it on HBO GO and compared them and, sure enough, it was the same piece. Sneaky.
Thanks. The next two weeks will bug me since I can't do the work in advance and there's no way I can do what I do after it airs, so the recaps won't be up until the Tuesday afterward at least.Post a Comment