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"Boardwalk Empire" -- "Battle of the Century"

By Aggie Maguire | TV Reviews | November 22, 2011 | Comments ()


BOARDWALK-EMPIRE-Battle.jpg

Welcome my six loyal readers to this week's discussion of The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight. If you ever suspect someone wants you dead, try to steer them toward the people Jimmy Darmody uses; because every hit he orders results in a minor flesh wound at best. The plan, apparently, was to induce Horvitz to open the door and then run at him shooting aimlessly? How incompetent are these guys? And while we're on the subject of doing ones job incompetently, Special Prosecutor Esther gave Nucky permission to leave the country while he's under Federal indictment? Without even checking the papers to see if the funeral plans were for real. Oh, and she's also sleeping with her subordinate. Way to strike a blow for women in the work place, Esther!

So Nucky did the SAMCRO patented gun run to Ireland where he inexplicably introduces the Old IRA to Tommy guns? I assure you, the Irish were well aware of the Tommy gun prior to 1921. It was interesting to see Nucky like a fish out of water, as heralded by his garish purple striped suit (have we ever discussed his sartorial sins in detail?) among the muted clothing of the lads. He appears to have no comprehension of the concept that people might organize covertly for something other than money, or that loyalties can run deeper than to the person who's paying you. Lucky for Nucky, the Irish are about to embark on a brutal civil war, so he gets his whiskey. Even more interesting was to see Slater playing his game of happy-go-lucky pawn. There's a lot of potential to mine with that character if they don't kill him off too soon (note to BE writers: have Jimmy organize it).

As we suspected last week, Emily has polio and Margaret seems to think she caused it by something she did; whether that's her romp with Slater, her history of theft, or her relationship with Nucky, who knows. We'll find out next week, but I'm finding it hard to care. Kelly McDonald is a good actor, and she started off with a good role last season, but I feel that this season they have reduced Margaret to two notes: shrewd manipulator or pathetic mess. What happened to the woman who used to spend happy time with her children or who wowed Nucky by exchanging clever banter with the guys? I think with the exception of the hospital scene, and her one foray to Nucky's Ritz office to get the ledger, and the trip to Brooklyn (none of which was for pleasure) we have only ever seen her in her house this season. I get it, show: she's trapped in a gilded cage, but that's not the character you created in Season one.

Chalky and Purnsley are now working together, with the latter acting as the agent provocateur among the service industry workers in Atlantic City. To date I have loved every scene between these two. They speak almost in a kind of code that has an underlying current of menace. It's by far the best writing in the show, dialogue-wise, and I wish the writers/director would rely more on good dialogue and less on the visual imagery, which was so heavy last night, I wondered if they're working on a "bonus per visual clanger" incentive scheme. A "Fresh Killed Meat" sign behind Horvitz's head when he kills Waxie Gordon's guy. A painting of the beach showing two women close together behind Jimmy's head in his house. Beautiful plates of food on the counter while the Black workers eat their mash. And don't get me started on the doll.

Line of the week: "A lady lawyer, that's a heck of a thing". What's next, horses and carriages?"

Anvil of the week: The doll burning on the pyre: I almost threw my shoe at the TV.



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