This episode, titled “Paris Green,” presents several of the regulars as potential escapists — will they be more graceful than the performer? The show’s second scene segues from Hardeen to Angela, who’s “off somewhere,” seeking sanctuary from Jimmy in her thoughts. She’s contemplating a literal getaway to France with Mary, the photographer’s wife. Mary seems all hot to go and looks guilty when her husband makes a remark about her “little games.”
But apparently, Mary was feeling preemptive guilt towards Angela, not her husband, since they skip town, leaving Angela holding a ghost-image photo of a married couple. Heartbroken, Angela returns like Mia Farrow in The Purple Rose of Cairo, or perhaps a Tennessee Williams heroine. Jimmy read her goodbye note and knows her intentions, but doesn’t explain his plans for her. He does tell their son (in her presence), “A few years, you and your old pop, we’ll be keeping all hours. It’ll just be us boys.”
Meanwhile, this week Jimmy secures his own father’s escape from the jaws of death. Not surprisingly, the episode finally reveals that the Commodore was Jimmy’s father, and that he and Gillian first hooked up in 1897, when he was 54 and she was 13. (Shudder.) At the time, Gillian played “one of King Neptune’s” consorts, until the Commodore, the city’s real King Neptune, laid eyes on her.
Jimmy shows the dying Commodore no more sympathy than he gives his father’s dead dog (laid out in an amusingly fancy coffin). Like the epitome of capitalism rotting from the inside, the Commodore wheezes, “I drained that swamp. I paved those streets. I put up those hotels. I made this fucking city.” “You and your giant blue ox,” Jimmy shrugs. Nevertheless, he helps the doctor snip a bit of hair from his frightened father’s head, making a tentative step towards reconciliation.
But that’s not all. The tests reveal that “There’s enough arsenic in his body to take down a hippo,” and Jimmy deduces that Gillian was responsible, and that her newfound friendship with old man has an ulterior motive. He gently confronts her and, off-camera, they decide to let the Commodore live. Dabney Coleman is reportedly signed to return for “Boardwalk Empire’s” second season, but whether Gillian and Jimmy forgive the Commodore or have more complicated designs on him remains to be seen.
Margaret’s concubine friend Annabelle and her sugar daddy, played by Michael Badalucco, find themselves trapped when he reveals that the get-rich-quick scheme from his friend, Charles Ponzi, was too good to be true. Annabelle had advised Margaret to pilfer Nucky’s money for a rainy day, but it turns out that her man found and robbed back her emergency funds. Annabelle bats eyes at Nucky, apparently an old boyfriend, who gives her some cash. And Margaret intrudes just when things seem to be heating up between them.
Nucky and Margaret’s long-building tensions finally snap when they’re preparing to attend a party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. Margaret stages her own mini-revolution, her concerns over Nucky’s fidelity causing her to question their entire relationship: “It made me sick to my stomach. This whole arrangement does.” Nucky values Margaret for her beauty, political skills and source of a potential heir, but tolerates no open discussion of his criminal enterprises, and Buscemi’s eyes fire laserbeams at her show of defiance. They bring up the death of her husband, she slaps him, he smashes the bottle of Lysol (last seen on the "Family Limitation" episode) she’s been using for birth control. Then, no more than two days later, she’s gone away clean.
Agent Sebsoe (actor/lyricist Erik Weiner, who recorded a viral video about his "Sopranos" appearance) makes plans to flee Atlantic City and Van Alden’s suspicious eyes, having put in a transfer to Detroit. “Only the best men,” Van Alden says of the Detroit recruitment drive. Sebsoe: “I don’t know about that.” “Mm," Van Alden replies in a seemingly non-committal yet hilariously judgmental way. I think "Mm" was my favorite moment this week for Shannon, who totally deserves an Emmy for his work on "Boardwalk Empire" this season — and, one assumes from this episode, will not be back next year. But he has a superb moment the first time he stands on the riverbank, watching a Baptism, a look in his eyes that suggests he's not just hungry but ravenous for salvation. After last week's dalliance with Lucy, he's probably especially concerned about the state of his soul. (We don't see Lucy this week - were they a one-night stand after all?) Incidentally, the riverside baptism evokes the “Down To the River to Pray” number from O Brother Where Art Thou, a film that featured Badalucco as Baby Face Nelson. But what's the deal with the swan in the background?
Sebsoe knows Van Alden's onto him for killing the witness, has constructed an escape scenario, yet cannot leave well enough alone, and asks Van Alden how he alleviate his suspicions. Having tortured a Yiddish-speaking gangster earlier this season, Van Alden attempts to baptize a confession out of the Jewish FBI agent this week. Sebsoe refuses to accept Jesus or confess his sins, and Van Alden drowns him. Was it an accident? Probably, but Van Alden accepts Sebsoe's death as his own redemption. Instead of laying down his sword and shield down by the riverside, he brandishes his firearm and detective shield to the congregants before leaving.
Nucky sees no reason to escape, even though he may be building a trap for himself. After fighting with Margaret he argues with his brother Eli, whom he compares, unfavorably, to Hardeen. Worried that the reform-minded Democrats will win the election, he replaces Eli as sheriff with the doltish deputy, thus ridding himself of his two best allies. In the last scene, Nucky goes to the fortune teller we saw on the pilot, and the last shot reveals a one-man band performing on the boardwalk. Nucky is rapidly becoming a one-man show himself.
Why is Margaret so resolved against having more children, with Nucky or otherwise?
Will Margaret and her kids move back in to the same row house next to that cranky neighbor?
Who in Chicago is willing to do Arnold Rothstein a favor? Would that be Al Capone, setting up a New York/Chicago axis against Atlantic City for season 2?
Speaking of Season 2, if the Commodore is going to live and believes “The wrong man is running this town,” does that mean he’ll try to turn Jimmy against Nucky? Does Jimmy’s remark “It’ll just be us boys” foreshadow this?
The big scene of next week’s finale is bound to be Van Alden going nuts on one of the regulars, probably either Nucky or Jimmy. So who will Van Alden attempt to smite, and who will come to the rescue?
Damn Imperial Storm Troopers can't hit anything (type of joke made by the type of…
A person has all the rights to do whatever they would want to in their…
Please let's stop calling the annoying panhandlers "homeless." There are about 20-30 panhandlers downtown. They…
Oy, the subordinate clause is what SCOTUS ignored in Heller (?), the right to have…
"Keeping these concepts in mind, the column's statement that "there are at least 50 types…
@ Mark from Atlanta "Ask your buddies Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity etc if union members are…