Boardwalk Empire: 3.01 – “Raise the Toddy”

This should be universally understood, but it needs to be said again: #1- This is a review of this week’s (Season 3 Episode 1) episode of Boardwalk Empire. If you have not seen this episode and wish to not learn of what happens in this episode, do not read this.

Should be universally understood, but needs to be said again #2- RICHARD HARROW, LET ME LOVE YOU!!!!! Whew, it feels good to let that out.

Where did we leave off? Well screw the whole “who shot JR” catchphrase because holy shit we know who shot Jimmy Darmody and now we get to see the aftermath. Not only that but we had a “pen is mightier than the sword” moment as we watched Margaret sign over the Land Deed to that annoying priest’s church.

We pick up at the end of 1922 – all our gangster friends are preparing to ring in 1923 in style. Oh and we’ve got a new gangster friend – Gyp Rosetti. He’s a little bit of a hot head and whatever you do, do not step on his toes. Especially if they are covered in 3-in-One.

One of my favorite things about this show is how they work in references to real people and events of the time. Right off the bat, as Gyp’s guys are working on a flat tire he mentions Walt Wallet of Gasoline Alley.

Enough of Gyp, what about Nucky?. How has he dealt with killing Jimmy? Is he as broken up about it as Jimmy said he would be? Did he blow a gasket about the Land Deed? Did he have Margaret offed for it? Where are the kids? I have so many questions!

As he is talking to someone, he seems in pretty good spirits. Eating breakfast, enjoying coffee, mentioning his children (so perhaps things are still good in the Thompson household), and then ordering Munya to shoot a thief in the head after toying with his emotions for a while. Oh Nucky, you seemed to have stepped in the “full gangster” shoes quite well.

As for Margaret, she’s busy putting the final touches on a New Year’s Eve party and telling lippy chauvinist servants named Phillip to shove it. Oh but wait – we find out where the land money went to! The “Enoch and Margaret Thompson Annex”, a pediatric wing to the hospital. Not only that, but she is also on the board of directors. A young doctor points that out when telling her that the woman Margaret witnessed actively miscarry her child in the hospital lobby could have been spared had their been proper prenatal care and education. I think we all know where this is going – welcome to a storyline for Mrs. Thompson.

Speaking of women having sex and getting pregnant (this wins for the award for worst segue ever), Gillian seems to have decided that she’s going to run a brothel.  Not only that, but she’s hired Richard Harrow (who, just as a reminder, I love) as Tommy’s caretaker. Seriously, if there continue to be scenes built around Richard and Gillian, my husband is going to be convinced that I’m bipolar as I was screaming at the TV last night alternating between “I hate you Gillian! I love you Richard! How dare you call yourself his mother Gillian! Richard I just want to hug you!” Just look at this picture and tell me it doesn’t make you want to punch that incestual creep of a woman in the face. And then take moonlit walks on the beach with that fabulous man.

The Van Alden’s have moved to Illinois and Agent Van Alden is now a door to door salesman. Oh wait – we also got caught up on what Johnny Torrio and Al Capone are doing nowadays. I’ll admit that the Chicago storyline has never done much to keep my attention, probably because like in this episode, it always seems like a “Oh yea we’ve got these characters over in Chicago and everyone knows Al Capone so we should probably throw them in this episode as well” kind of situation. Stephen Graham does such an incredible job as Al Capone that I feel badly about not really caring about them. Perhaps this is the season that Chicago will get the airtime it deserves.

That being said, Chicago can be summed up in these few words: turf war, deaf kid, Capone is pissed, Van Alden saves the Irish guy’s bacon and has a new baby with the nanny turned wife.

It’s party time! The Thompson’s have all their friends over for an Egyptian themed NYE bash and outside of Gyp Rosetti, everyone is having a great time. He wants rum and what the hell? Nucky has decided to sell only to Rothstein. Gyp is going to be a great character to watch if for no other reason than he has the best insults. He called Nucky a “breadstick with a bowtie”. I mean come on, that’s poetry right there.

It seems as if everything is right as rain with Nucky and Margaret, even when Margaret inadvertently insults the doctor. Of course he thinks she is barking up the wrong tree about the prenatal care and how dare she even suggest that it was the hospital’s fault and yea, this is her new hill to die on it appears. When the last guest leaves and the door closes, I fully expected a little rebuke perhaps, but a hug and kiss and let’s go to bed dear. Why did I expect this? Because I bought the setup hook, line, and sinker. I was drawn in to this “everything is okay between Nucky and Margaret, look they are having a party and everyone is laughing and singing and Nucky is dancing and Margaret is smiling” facade without even questioning it. That door closed and Nucky’s transformation took my breath away. We learned that things are not okay in the Thompson house. Things are far from okay. Nucky isn’t even living there! He’s back at his suite and surprise, surprise he’s shacking up with another brunette showgirl. Because that worked out so well for him last time.

My disappointment over the Nucky/Margaret situation (in my mind they walk off into the sunset hand in hand and live happily ever after), was quickly lifted as we saw Richard again. Well first we saw Manny and his wife having a nice moment, she bought him a new hat, how sweet. Then the door opens, there’s Richard. BOOM- Head Shot!

Richard FINALLY! takes revenge for Angela’s murder. Watching his face as he told Tommy of his mother (his real mother not that hobag that is trying to convince the poor boy otherwise) was just heartbreaking.

The episode closes out with the obvious “Margaret wants freedom” scene. She decides to go out and see the female pilot, Carrie Duncan pass by and her face is filled with that “I wish I could just fly away by myself” look.

Outside of that storyline, I thought the episode was fabulous. Especially the introduction of Gyp and how well they fooled the audience (me at least) on the whole Nucky and Margaret thing. It did present more questions though- will Van Alden join the dark side so he can buy his nanny/wife a house? Is Richard going to hook back up with a crew or just meander aimlessly taking care of Tommy and resisting the urge to smack Gillian on a regular basis? How is this whole “Nucky only sells to Rothstein” thing going to work out? What new insults is Gyp coming to come up with? How much are Teddy and Emily going to love their new dog? So much to look forward to!

4/5 Bears for this one.

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