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For Death Has Made Me Wise and Bitter and Strong

By Aggie Maguire | TV Reviews | November 2, 2010 | Comments ()


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I'm not really sure about the timeline from last week to this week: it's certainly still winter because they're still wearing coats in Atlantic City (they're still wearing coats in Chicago also but that might mean it's early May); it seems it might be more than a week later because the snow is gone. Whatever amount of time has passed, Margaret appears to have adjusted surprisingly well to being a kept woman and now her biggest concern is making sure she can stay in the nice concubine apartment (I hear you Margaret: if I were offered a three-bed vintage apartment with a cantilevered staircase and a stunning fireplace with acanthus leaf and basket detail, I might just hop into bed with Steve Buscemi also....eyes closed all the time of course). She's not crazy about taking her neighbor's advice about dipping into Nucky's pockets to set up a nest egg, but something tells me Mrs. Schroeder will find a way to make herself valuable beyond the bedroom; she's remarkably adaptable, and her ability to lapse into the innocent widow act when it suits her could be useful.

Not so adaptable: Lucy, who seems to have been unceremoniously dumped and is on the way to a breakdown that I suspect will culminate in an act of violence against Margaret, Nucky or one of the kiddies. I wonder if there's another house for mistresses without children and has Lucy been evicted or is there a grace period? Is it a pensionable position? I still feel it goes against Margaret's personality to accept her new life without any guarantee of security for her children since there's no going back to ordinary life afterwards.

Nucky has daddy issues. Daddy prefers Eli (but Nucky should be smart enough to understand that the parent no matter how awful always tries to look after the less independent child) and beat Nucky with a poker, etc. I found this whole piece quite a stretch. His childhood may have been horrible but not half as brutal as the childhood he described to the Temperance League what with eating rats and all. The intense level of anger and bitterness toward his father had me suspecting a revelation about sexual abuse, not your run of the mill abusive drunken father (although it does put Karl Schroeder's murder in clearer perspective).

Chalky is back. And why are they not giving this character more screen time? He can convey more with a raised eyebrow than most of the rest of the cast can with everything they have. He was barely used this episode, just enough to show us that he's acutely aware of being the only Black man in the mix and he's not going to make the mistake of thinking that he is Nucky's friend, and also to throw in the obligatory Cotton Club-esque scene.

Your name brand gangster of the week is Meyer Lansky (Anatol Yusef) and now all we're missing are Bugsy Siegel and Uncle Junior in diapers. He and the guy who would become his lifelong partner in crime, Lucky Luciano, are joining up with the Popes to rob Nucky's casino. Luciano was sent to kill Jimmy. Why hasn't he hopped a train to Chicago by now?

And in Chicago: Jimmy doesn't know that Angela is getting it on with the photographer's wife (but didn't we all guess that weeks ago?). But once again a more interesting story here, one that for the only time on Sunday evening made me forget about the imminent premiere of The Walking Dead. Jimmy's quiet under-played painful conversation with fellow veteran Richard Harrow (Jack Huston, grandson of John) and the level of understanding they conveyed without words was just spectacular. For the first time in this show I was so emotionally invested I was begging the hooker not to recoil in horror when she saw his face. And then...they ruined it. It was bad enough to set Jimmy up with some dialogue to re-hash, badly, what we had just seen the two veterans sharing silently, but I'd like to spit on the person who decided it was a good idea to close the sniper shot with a Phantom of the Opera fugue. Stop shoving patronizing visuals down my throat each week, especially when my heart is breaking for the guy you just turned into a comic character. It demeans you "Boardwalk Empire."

Aggie Maguire lives in a fly-over state where she enjoys waving at the people flying over and wondering if anybody ever waves back. She is a member of the Jane Austen society and a life-long supporter of the Home for Abused Apostrophes.




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