The Tender Breasts of Ladies Were Not Formed for Political Convulsions
But apart from that blimp in the proceedings, we had a really great episode this week. Michael Shannon did a brilliant job of falling apart. His scene with Margaret was shot so well. First of all he's towering over her with fanatic zeal and she's looking even smaller than her diminutive self as he lectures her on her morality, and then when she stood up to him, the angle they used and his body language actually made him look as if he was shrinking before our eyes. My only issue with this scene was that I thought he was going to reveal that he had found out more about her background because I don't think I'm buying the parlor maid story anymore. I could accept that she learned some literature from reading in her employer's library, but now she's correcting Nucky on the history of US Presidents (and the citizenship exam didn't come in until 1926).
All my favorites were back this week. I love the juxtaposition between Rothstein's conflabs with his lackeys (he acts the mentor and reprimands them so calmly and they never fully sense the danger beneath the surface) and Nucky's meetings with his guys where he's much more authoritarian but never quite comes across as being in control in the same way as Rothstein. Another contrast I can't fail to notice every week is their sartorial taste. Rothstein is so perfectly turned out all the time and Nucky, who is supposed to be so attuned to the right way of doing things dresses a lot more like Professor Marvel than the Wizard of Oz. This week we had a red check suit with salmon-colored shirt, a brown and blue tie and spats on his feet, and a carnation?
Chalky once again delivered. The few seconds between him pausing at the door and then turning around with his guns seemed to last for ages. You could see the realization and the fury and the immense effort to control it all pass across his face. Bravo Michael Kenneth Williams!
Placing Harrow in Margaret's apartment is a welcome development in return for which I will forgive the annoying tin man contrivance. I sensed more than a spark between him and Margaret. I hope that was in the interests of long term relationship development and not just an expositional set-up for the ending shot of Margaret looking in the mirror at what she's become. Interesting that she sees enabling of political corruption as more of a compromise than her personal situation.
Other nice snippets: Nucky's pride watching Margaret address the League of Women's Voters (although I wondered if these women would take Nucky's mistress all that seriously); Sebso's official explanation for how the witness got killed which boiled down to a rather timely "I didn't want to touch his junk"; Capone's introduction to the Jewish mob was much more romantic than the way it really happened but for the interior shots of that beautiful temple it was worth it.
The story line that bothered me this week was Jimmy's. Beating up the photographer seemed wrong for where he and Angela are in their relationship at this point. He knew she'd had them over while he was gone. He had already suspected an affair so why react in such an incendiary way now?
Two episodes left and a lot of scores to settle, and it looks as if next week the Commodore betrays his protégé.
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.