Boardwalk Leadin

Boardwalk Empire: 3.02 – “Spaghetti and Coffee”

This should be universally understood, but it needs to be said again: This is a review of this week’s (Season 3 Episode 2) 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.

To recap from last week: Nucky and Margaret are on the outs thanks to Margaret signing over the land deeds. Because Nucky can no longer just sit back and enjoy the riches he didn’t make off the highway project, he now has taken on the role of full-blown gangster. Richard Harrow killed Munya. We’ve got a new gangster in town, the Sicilian, Gyp Rosetti. Please don’t insult his intelligence, or lack thereof, because he will beat you. Chicago has troubles, we only see a snippet of them. Lady has a miscarriage in the lobby of the hospital that Margaret is now on the board of due to her generous donation that led to the building of a pediatric wing. Oh and Nucky is shacking up with the showgirl, Billie Kent.

Let’s move on!

I sometimes wonder what a psychiatrist would say if they were to analyze the fact that I can watch television people be shot all day long but sweet jesus don’t you dare let that goldfish die in the sink! That analysis will have to wait for another time because luckily, the goldfish was spared. It is yet to be seen if the same can be said for the rest of the Boardwalk Empire world.

Eli is out of jail! Yay! Mickey picks him up and then Eli asks the question that every single person that has ever watched the show has wondered – “How the hell are you still alive?” Mickey says something about bringing people together, I thinks it’s more that he is just a lucky bastard.  I sort of hate this episode because it made  me want to like Eli, or at the very least, feel sorry for him. He gets out of jail, obviously nothing has stayed the same, and he doesn’t know where he fits in anymore. He goes home to find that even his own son has taken his place as man of the house. I really don’t want to like Eli but damn, if that scene with him building the plane he bought for his son didn’t pull at the ol’ heartstrings.

The writers and Bobby Cannavale have done a wonderful job and creating tension every time Gyp Rosetti is on the screen. After his incredible overreaction to the 3-in-One guy, I fully expected him to beat the ever-loving crap out of the pump jockey. To the point that every time Gyp came on-screen, I was looking for a dead young man in a gas station uniform on the ground somewhere, all over a map scale. It appears as if in the span of one episode he seems to have grown up a bit. Instead of  hauling off and killing the kid, he instead buys the gas station. Oh and he pays off the cops. All so he can stick it to Nucky and Rothstein. Look out Nucky, the hot head is playing for keeps.

Owen is just a go-between for Margaret and Nucky now…Awkward. What I really want to see in a coming episode however, is someone haul off and just smack the shit out of Phillip. Dude has a smart mouth and I would have sworn that the “help” should be seen and not heard in this time period. STFU Phillip.

I loved the scene between Margaret and the lady who had the miscarriage there in the hospital lobby. You can just see that Margaret is trying to relate to this woman, they both have similar stories, but too much time and experiences have passed in Margaret’s life that the woman just isn’t buying it.

I’m continuing my love/hate relationship with Margaret though. I love when she gets all “who are you to talk to me like that?” but she doesn’t do it enough. She goes off on Dr. Mason but only after he provokes her. Had she gone in there, guns blazing, right off the bat, he’d never even had a chance to be an ass. Come on Margaret, sprout a set and don’t take no shit from nobody! I did have to laugh though when at the end of the episode after the maid tells her that Nucky won’t be coming home for some award thing with the diocese, she tells her to go ahead and get the suit ready anyway because “I’m afraid he’s mistaken.”  Granted we aren’t all married to gangsters, but that statement has been muttered by wives the world over since the beginning of time.

Nucky is up in New York, doing nothing but Billie Kent, who he thinks looks like the White Rock Girl. He does take a break from those activities to go and pay Daugherty. He arrives to find an empty room with just a bowl (the goldfish bowl from the first scene) and a note telling him to leave money. Of course he isn’t going to fall for this! So we get to meet none other than Gaston Bullock Means.

Mr. Means is played by the always enjoyable, Stephen Root and is another historical figure. Dude was quite the dirtbag, but he is so well spoken in the show and I’m always a fan of someone who superfluously uses adverbs. However, I am not a fan of people who talk about themselves in the third person so when Remus showed up, I was incredibly happy that he didn’t speak.

The scenes with Chalky and his family are always a hit. Well with me at least. This episode was no different. Maybelle’s beau (why did we stop using that word I wonder?) is back and asking Chalky for her hand in marriage. Problem is, Maybelle doesn’t think he is interesting enough to marry. Perhaps my favorite line of the entire episode is when Chalky asked her what she would do if she was married to a man like him, she says “I’ll write a poem about it.” Oh you foolish little girl.

I wonder what her poem would look like after this:

Apparently asking someone to stop running into your table is a knifeable offense. Of course the dude got that crap beat out of him and Chalky standing there asking if Maybelle was still interested was the highlight of the episode.

The greatest irony of the episode came towards the end when Nucky was baring his soul (well sort of) to Billie. He tells her that he wants nothing more than for “everything to run all by itself”. In reality, because he’s been lounging around getting jealous each time Billie’s phone rings, his people have been done over quite well by Gyp and the now wealthier Tabor Heights sheriff. So much so that they’ve tucked their tails between their legs and turned the convoy back around to Atlantic City.

All in all, this was a very laborious episode. I understand the need for building up storylines but man this was just full of it. I did like the Chalky storyline and the various historical nods, especially the one about Methodists in Tabor Heights. I’d imagine this had to do with Mount Tabor that was a Methodist camp there in New Jersey. Also lacking in this episode? Chicago! We did catch a glimpse of Rothstein as he and Nucky discussed who killed Munya but that was it.

So yea, it’s was a disappointing episode but hopefully the slowness of this will quickly build into some better episodes down the road. Not to do with just this episode, but if you have access to HBO GO and are an “extras” junkie like I am, I highly recommend watching the show on there. They’ve got a new “interactive features” that is quite informative and entertaining.

I have to give this episode, only a 3, because of the slowness.

I will leave you with this- in case you were wondering, meatballs are indeed, balls of meat.

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