"Boardwalk Empire" -- "A Dangerous Maid": Careful of the Late-Term Abortion Staircase
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise. " ... Lewis Carroll
And we open straight into Anvil of the Week in episode three with a large happy family being large and happy across the alley from Van Alden and Lucy's House of Relentless Misery. I get that he's paying her but what's to stop her from just walking out? The pregnancy is hardly a secret what with dinner invitations from neighbors, her naked prancing by the open windows and her proclivity to linger in broad daylight on the rickety late-term abortion steps. However, the look on Van Alden's face when he found out that he wasn't "fun" was almost worth the toil of sitting through multiple Lucy scenes this week.
We're finally moving, albeit at a glacial pace, toward some kind of explanation of Margaret's background. I haven't seen an envelope from The Pinkertons since back in the Deadwood days when said envelopes always spelled trouble for the recipient so I was hoping for something a little more dramatic than "my family is here in Brooklyn now." Whatever she fled from better be pretty horrific because if it's just the standard issue "poverty/starvation/married off to an old man story" at this point I am going to personally cover Terence Winter in corned beef and cabbage and let my dogs loose on him.
Nice scene with Jimmy, Capone and Darrow. It was also nice to see Angela smile for once. She appears to be completely relegated to barista-in residence in that house whether by choice or as a punishment it's not clear. I'm hoping Jimmy's nascent doubts about his new-found loyalties will bring him round to seeing the wedge his mother has driven in his marriage. It's clear that Gillian's interests are served by Jimmy's alliance with The Commodore but surely Jimmy is smart enough to see that he's being used?
Everyone was trying and failing to put on a face this week. Nucky tried to brave it out with The Commodore but lost his cool. Margaret regressed to the cozy world of the kitchen staff but then rebuilt her façade fairly quickly. Van Alden tried in his own unique way to be a decent human being. And of course Darrow, the one man who has to wear a face over his own, is again the most transparent of all.
All in all this episode was underwhelming for me, perhaps because the first two of the season were so strong. Or maybe because a show that can go as deep as this one sometimes can lose something when it follows too many story lines at the same time: five minutes with Rothstein's gang is not enough to pull me away from what's happening in Atlantic City. So far I like Scanlon. I think he's going to provide some brainy brawn to counter-balance Jimmy (but then anyone who head-butts a guy who uses "Paddy" as a term of insult would get my vote of approval). No Chalky this week but next week he's back and he's not in a conciliatory mood. That can only mean a good episode is heading our way.