Sunday, November 13, 2011


Two Boats and a Lifeguard:  Oh Captain, My Captain

Last week’s episode finally brought some much needed forward momentum to the story. This week’s kept us moving along quite well.  (7 episodes to come up with a plan? I don’t think you know how to play this game, Jimmy, but we’ll see . . .) Every once in a while, this show parallels The Sopranos a bit too much. The foreign bodyguard who has a complicated relationship with the boss’ wife.  Junior. (Playing his own ancestor?) And, now, the weird dream/hallucination sequence and the boss and the foreign bodyguard going abroad.  

We start at Eli’s house on a nice morning.  What I assume to be a U.S. Marshall arrives at the house to serve Eli with a subpoena.  Eli does what a protected, spoiled brat not used to being living within the bounds of the law would do. Shoves the Marshall out of his house. I think after killing the mayor, you might want to rein it in a bit. If Eli were smarter, he’d welcome testifying against his brother and figure out a way to do it without incriminating himself too much.  I don’t think Nucky would have much leverage as anything he said would seriously incriminate himself. However, Eli is too shortsighted and, given what else happens in the episode, not that bright.  And then Eli’s and Nucky’s dad dies at the breakfast table. The father-son issues in this series makes me wonder about the writers’ childhoods.

Jimmy’s been trying to get Al on the phone since the botched assassination attempt. When you’re business partners aren’t calling you back right away about an emergency, that’s a red flag, although fraternizing after such an event might look bad since one side is trying to hide the dealings from their boss. 

Jimmy complains about the hit man Al sent and Al advises Jimmy it’s something JIMMY should’ve taken care of a while back. Al’s right on about that, but Jimmy hasn’t been too adept at making plans or decisions. Talk about a tragic, indecisive Hamlet figure. And Jimmy has two fathers. No wonder the poor bastard was paralyzed and couldn’t get it together. That assassination attempt was definitely amateur hour, though, and definitely shows the conspirators might be lacking a bit in experience.

The new ADA is in Nucky’s office wanting to have an informal discussion. Informal discussion? Um, Nucky’s lawyer needs to sack up and remember some of the things he learned in law school. This is not a woman that has informal discussions. Nucky’s back on the ball, though. Maybe getting shot reminded him of what he does for a living and what it requires: a little more aggression and a little less accommodation.

I swear, if the new ADA ends up in bed with someone on the wrong side, I’m going to be pissed. The women in this show are portrayed nasty enough as it is, even for a period piece taking place during a time when women were legally second class citizens.

Speaking of women, Angela meets a lovely, rebellious woman from San Francisco. A woman from San Francisco, you say? Didn’t Jimmy’s wife learn from her last artsy, Sapphic adventure and haven’t we exhausted this storyline? Please give her something new to do. Maybe fight with Jimmy some more to make a place for herself.  And did anyone else catch the “dear”? Oh, hehhhhhhhlllll to the no. Though Angela could use some toughening up, she might pick a better role model than Jimmy’s sociopathic mother.

After a few episodes of them not really connecting, Nucky and Margaret sit and have a conversation about what’s been going on. I really like Nucky’s and Margaret’s relationship when she’s not being passive-aggressive and scheming, at least just for herself. It’s rare to see a marriage/relationship between two equals on television.  They’re a less honest version of Tami and Eric from “Friday Night Lights.”

Then comes Jimmy and Angela having their first real conversation. Jimmy could have such a beter relationship with Angela if he would let her into his life more and acknowledge the fact that she’s her own person and it would be to his benefit.  It might seem like I’m injecting a ridiculous, modern, feminist perspective here, but, “In the American colonies, wealthy merchants entrusted business matters to their landlocked wives while off at sea, just as sailors, vulnerable to the unpredictability of seasonal employment, relied on their wives’ steady income as domestics in elite households.”  Jimmy could strengthen his position in his crime organization if he trusted Angela more and went to her for advice every once in a while. She can’t be any worse than his mother. Once he makes it, Angela can be relegated to being a lady of the house. (Seriously, though, what did she think he was doing? Butchering hogs at a midnight slaughterhouse?)

Rothstein, Luciano and the boys are having a little meeting.  An informal discussion, if you will. Where Luciano, whose brains have apparently been consumed by his multiple bouts with VD, shows his hand. Rothstein is the smartest character and he doesn’t miss a thing.  Rothstein advises Nucky of what’s going on and tells him that since he can’t do anything, then he shouldn’t do anything. It seems like bad advice for their occupation and advice that Rothstein wouldn’t take himself. Thankfully, Nucky didn’t take it, either.

Nucky shows up early at his dad’s wake, hoping to avoid Eli, but Eli’s there, too. That scene at the funeral home was brilliant. I’m not a good enough writer to be able to describe it with any justice. I can write that I feel so bad for Eli. “I turned out all right and didn’t you?” Oh, Eli. If it weren’t for him warning Jimmy at the end, I would’ve thought he had mashed potato for brains and that Nucky had actually been covering up his mental disabilities.

So, Nucky shows up at the Commodore’s house while the Commodore, Gillian, and Junior receive him quite well. Nucky then declares the Commodore can have Atlantic City back and that he would retire. If the commodore and Jimmy can’t feel the smoke being blown up their asses, they’re dumber than Eli. The Commodore schooled Nucky and Nucky schooled Jimmy. They know more about each other than they do about themselves, but Jimmy just accepts like it’s Christmas gift. I’m sure in his mind he thought, “Awww, thanks, dad!”  

Jimmy then tells his camp that “[t]alk is cheap” and it’s all going to be action from here out. Talk is all he’s done this whole season, regarding taking over the Atlantic City bootlegging business. If Nucky hadn’t fake abdicated, he’d still just be talking. Or the butcher would’ve been using his head as a puppet in his shop.  That loss of control at the end . . . Jimmy’s more Santino than he is Michael, which definitely makes Eli Fredo. However, Eli came through and warned Jimmy that Nucky’s up to something. Probably because Eli killed Mayor Bader and Nucky said he’d just advised Bader of the changing of the guard. Still, I’m surprised Eli caught that much considering his display of dumbassery in this episode. I think Nucky’s going to show us how it came to be that some skinny guy who looks like a young Mr. Furley came to rule Atlantic City. I’m so excited!

It was great to see a softer side of Van Alden. He started out so black and white and he’s softened enough to take a free meal at a food stand in front of one of his deputies. He even espouses that there are different types of morality. Maybe murdering a Jew in the first season for not accepting Christ, committing adultery, and having a child out of wedlock made him realize that even the most righteous people are fallible, just a bit, and should be given some slack.  

Now, if they kill off Emily, that’ll be some old-school, puritanical, Hayes code tripe.  Children bear the sins of their father, not their mother.


On a side note: I want that red bathing suit.

I’m very much looking forward to the trip to Ireland.

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