Boardwalk Empire: 3.07 – “Sunday Best”

Remember how much I disliked last week’s episode? How only the presence of Richard Harrow saved it from ranking as my least favorite episode of the season? That there was way too much bat shit crazy Gillian and how much I hate her?

I take it all back. Even though last week was as interesting as a watching grass grow, it led into this week’s episode that was absolutely amazing. Even if nothing of note had happened, the set up of the episode with everyone and their respective Easter dinners was fabulously done.

First off, I’d like to formally apologize to Gillian. Please do not misread this- I still think you are crazy as a shithouse rat, but I’ll concede that apparently you had a plan when you went out and found the Jimmy look-alike. Was it a plan I would have come up with? Of course not, because I am a normal and sane human being, but hey I guess you got to work with what you’ve got. So now you’ve got a body to pass off as Jimmy’s and you can go ahead and claim all his/the Commodore’s money and be on your merry way. I can only hope that you won’t take Tommy down with you but as the saying goes, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

Apparently when one brother tries to kill the other and then that brother sends the first brother to jail for a year and a half, things like family holiday dinners don’t happen. Color me shocked. So that’s how we end up with Eli’s family meeting Margaret and her children for the first time. Nothing says awkward like espousing the virtues of spring and new life and new beginnings and later learning that your brother in law’s marriage is in the shitter. I literally laughed out loud when after Margaret pours her heart out to June,[pullquote_right]”I feel like the life is being pressed out of me.” -Margaret Thompson[/pullquote_right] the response was “oh you brought a pineapple upside down.” I mean seriously, what do you say to a woman you’ve never met before when she goes on to tell you how awful her marriage is to the brother of your husband who controls for all intents and purposes, your livelihood?

The writers are back on the “make people care about Eli” train because sweet lord how adorable was he this entire episode? A little whiny when he was talking to Nucky about his job but when he was hiding the eggs and then the scenes with his wife? Incredibly sweet. Makes me want to like him. Again. Damn them. Not to mention all those kids! It was a banner day for sweetness from all the Thompson children. Except Teddy- he’s still a creep who thinks girls can’t be politicians. Yea well neither can pyromaniac sociopaths, so there! I did like how they kept going back to “Brian… Patrick”, one can only imagine with nine nieces and nephews they can start to all run together.

Seriously though? Why can’t Nucky and Margaret get their shit together? Don’t they realize that they still love each other? I mean hello- look at Nucky’s face. That is a man who still loves his wife. Sadly it seems as if that ship has finally sailed. If your wife doesn’t want to learn how to juggle from you, then might as well contact the lawyers.

Even though we’ve seen Gyp Rosetti a lot this season (and I do mean a lot) we hadn’t really learned a lot beyond he has a short temper and is a freak in the bedroom. Oh and he doesn’t think the phrase “it isn’t personal” should be used. This week we got a bit more of an idea of what his life is like. I don’t know where he got his driver/bodyguard/lackey, but he needs to keep him around because it seems like he is the only person that is able to say anything to him without causing Mt. Rosetti to erupt. Either that or Gyp doesn’t actually listen to a word he says as he meticulously de-lints his suit. I love love love his family. What’s not to love? Loud, boisterous, and opinionated women around a table? It’s like holiday dinners at my parent’s house (there are three sisters and one brother- and we are all very loud people).

As fun as the dinner scene was, the church scene was amazing. Only Gyp Rosetti would get in a fight in an empty church with a painting of Jesus. Seriously. And over what? Because he feels like he’s been slighted in life? Dude, you are a gangster who likes setting people on fire, or beating them to death for innocuous comments. It’s not like you are some upstanding citizen who tends to the poor and feeds the hungry out of his own kitchen during his off time from working with blind orphans. I mean come on. And then you beat down a priest and stole the collection money. Perhaps taking a step back and looking at yourself before your next throw down with the big guy upstairs, huh?

That scene did totally remind me of this one though, one of the best shows ever.

At least President Bartlett was angry over something happening to someone he loves, not necessarily only himself. Gyp might want to take a page from that book.

The scene with Masseria was perhaps the most telling though. Given Gyp’s larger than life persona, you’d think he was this big mover and shaker in the bootlegging business. Apparently not. It seems that he matters so little that Masseria is ready to just cut him loose (I think we all know what that means) instead of putting up with his shit anymore. It wasn’t until Gyp started railing against Nucky and Rothstein and pretty much everyone else on the eastern seaboard that Masseria begins to consider him useful again. Is this finally putting more structure behind what will surely be the big face off between Gyp and Nucky sometime later in the season? I think so.

It probably comes as no surprise that my favorite parts of the episode were those involving Richard Harrow. I can’t remember the last time I wanted a character to find happiness more than I do him. He’s just such a tragic person that you can’t help but hope for the best for him. I damn near shrieked in delight when he showed up at Julia’s house for Easter dinner. Holiday dinner with the family? That’s a big deal right? So what if the neighbors were invited as well, Julia wasn’t setting a plate in private for them. On one hand it makes me sad that she did that but if that’s what Richard prefers, I guess it’s more sweet than sad. She recognizes that he is uncomfortable and instead of forcing it (like Angela sort of did when she told him that he shouldn’t be ashamed to eat in front of them) she just makes sure he has a plate.

My heart was in my throat when Tommy opened that door to Julia’s brother’s room. I could just picture her dad going apeshit, and lo and behold… he did. Granted, Tommy should not have been in the room in the first place, but who yells like that at a little kid? Man knows how to clear a house, that’s for sure.

It’s been hours since I watched the show and I still can’t get over how adorable Julia and Richard’s first “date” was. Equally as awkward but come on, they are so cute together! Once they got past the whole “don’t threaten to kill my father again” part, things seemed to go a bit more smoothly. Then of course, they got roped in by one of those obnoxious “let me take your picture and then sell it to you for an obscene amount of money” booths. It is so nice to see those haven’t changed much since the 1920’s. With so many American innovations gone by the wayside, it’s comforting to know that some things still remain the same.

In any case, Richard has another happy family picture to add to his book. Every time that damn book makes an appearance I want to cry. Now that he’s put that picture in there, I’m certain they are going to kill off either Richard or Julia. It just isn’t Boardwalk Empire if the viewers hearts aren’t being ripped out and stomped on in a regular fashion.

As much as I loved every part of Richard Harrow’s storyline this week, it was the final scene between (shocker!!!!) Gillian and Richard that was the best in my opinion. Gillian finally admits that Jimmy is dead and when she was crying she seemed almost human. It was heartbreaking. Of course she doesn’t give Richard a heads up about the dead body in the bathtub but hey, this is Gillian we are talking about. That last shot of her sitting by herself just looking defeated was gut wrenching though.

This episode, for me, was damn near perfection. Even though it had almost none of the side stories (we did see Masseria but that was in direct correlation to Nucky) and I usually enjoy those, this was the type of episode I wish they’d make more often. In my dream world, the New York and Chicago groups would have their own show that would occasionally meld into Boardwalk Empire when the need arose, and vice versa. Then there could be these episodes that focused on these main characters more often instead of a snippet here and there that feels distracting from the main story. Case in point- does anyone remember what Chalky White is doing now? Hell does anyone remember what Chalky White even looks like? It seems like it’s been forever since we saw him for more than 30 seconds here and there. He’s like an SNL cast member who is in every sketch one week and then you don’t see them again except in the credits and goodbyes for over a month. I think it’s time Chalky got his own show. Starting a petition to HBO now…

In the meantime, I’m going to have to go big or go home and give this episode a 4.5 bears. It was as close to perfection as I’ve seen in a while.

Until next time!


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