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"Boardwalk Empire" -- "Under God’s Power She Flourishes"

By Aggie Maguire | TV Reviews | December 6, 2011 | Comments ()


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Only once when I was in university did my mother ever attend an event (this was my choice not hers). She came to a cheese and wine thingy and, after scanning the room like a serial killer deciding upon his victims, and making a mental note of all the things she disliked about my friends that she would use against me at a later date, she proceeded to corner a tutor I really looked up to and tell him in a loud voice how summers in Ireland had always been hot and dry until the American moon landing after which weather patterns were changed forever. I was mortified and furious. Still, she didn't get drunk, go for a quickie with a professor, get me expelled and then rape me, so there's that to be thankful for. Until this week, I thought of Gillian as a person forced by circumstances to develop into a nasty and vengeful woman. Now I think she's a sociopath who has no ability to relate to other people's feelings: it's all about her own needs. Did she have sex with her own son because she was lonely and needed physical fulfillment? No, it was about control and power, from the faked sexual insult to the rape (and I'm not backing down from the term "rape"): it was all about reacting to the usurping presence of Angela in her son's life. Spare a thought for little Tommy, readers. He's going to be raised by this woman.

Jimmy's way of dealing with the news about Angela is to channel Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now and cozy up to his booze supply and that heroin sample for three days in Princeton and provide us with enough flash backs to see what drove him into the army. And oh look, they read "The White Devil" in his English lit class, a novel about betrayals and revenge and alliances that keep changing. How prescient. I wonder if the writers just picked it randomly or chose that one for a reason. So then Jimmy returns to Thebes and fulfills the second half of the prophecy by killing Laius and of course it had to happen but I couldn't believe that they literally staged it like a play. They really thought we wouldn't get it if it wasn't framed by curtains with Jimmy sitting on a throne-like chair at the end? Before we leave the classical drama portion of our evening, does anyone know what Harrow picked up out of Angela's blood on the floor? At first I thought a bullet casing, but then I wondered if it was a piece of bone or something that he's going to keep as a totem until he gets revenge?

Someone finally remembered that Agent Sebso has been missing for almost a year and Van Alden is now forced to go on the run. Too bad, just as he had come to closure with the wife and was starting to feel warm and fuzzy toward the nanny, truly an oblivious woman, but that is a recipe for a happy life with Van Alden, and I'm sure she would be grateful for all the helpful visual clues if she watched Boardwalk Empire each week. And Margaret is not only continuing her decline into irrationality, she's proposing to sacrifice Nucky in the process, displaying an incredible degree of ingratitude, even for her when he proposes making over all his assets to her. I ask again, why has Nucky's lawyer not told him to marry her? Clearly Nucky knows something went down with Sleator, and Margaret for all her new-found piety still can lie when it's in her interest to do so, but if he was still willing to give her his money, what's the objection to marriage?

Line of the week: Van Alden: [My parents] don't enjoy my company. Nanny: How could this be?

Anvil of the week: Jimmy stares out of his Window of Life-Altering Decisions to see carefree Princeton boys drive in one direction while military recruits march past in the other.



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