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"Boardwalk Empire" -- "Two Boats and a Lifeguard"

By Aggie Maguire | TV | November 15, 2011 |

By Aggie Maguire | TV | November 15, 2011 |

So we open into a dream of Nucky’s that’s taken straight from psychology 101, with injured animals and a younger Nucky and a roomful of people who could be mourners or whatever. And then we switch to Eli’s House of a Thousand Children. I think he’s supposed to have seven children but this house looks like the orphanage scene from Annie: there are children streaming up and down the stairs and in and out of rooms and I think it’s meant to convey how happy and convivial his home life is but it looks chaotic and of course when the Feds burst in, Eli deals with them in his typical subtle and tactful manner.

Angie finds out more about the dark side of Jimmy’s business dealings and this prompts her to rediscover her inner lesbian which very conveniently finds a receptive audience in a sassy girl from San Francisco sitting next to her on the beach in short shorts. It doesn’t seem to shake Angela out of her annoying passivity but it does at least finally prompt a conversation that I have wanted to happen all season: why the hell did these two ever marry. It’s a scene of cold honesty and resignation, with the open admission of Gillian as the real poison between them, and could have been excellent if it weren’t for the fact that Michael Pitt has apparently decided to act every scene with a frozen pout on his face and this one was no different. For a guy I used to credit with having some range, he’s become very one-note lately.

Van Alden is still corrupt, and has hired a Swedish nanny and is following the Wal-Mart guide to employee benefits to the book. The woman is either desperate or incredibly stupid not to flee when she got one look at that situation, but I predict an affair down the line since that’s what one does with ones Swedish au-pairs. It worked for Elin and Tiger, right?
Finally, there’s some movement on the politicking front. Rothstein, ever the voice of reason, points Nucky to see a strategic path forward, something he fully grasps while playing a game of Emigration Monopoly with Margaret and the kids. Maybe it’s because I’m a big “Sons of Anarchy” fan but as soon as those surplus machine guns were mentioned I knew we were in for a very special “Trip to Belfast” episode. I hope this time it’s done with fewer show-killing impossible plot twists. Nucky and Owen’s little tete a tete was hilarious. Owen’s wave of relief when he realized Nucky was referring to his garroting a man rather than screwing with his girlfriend was perfectly executed.

Incredibly in this episode, Eli proved to be the one who can actually see that Nucky is working an angle, and even more incredibly, Mickey Doyle nee Cusick turns out to be the one who finds anti-Semitic remarks offensive. Yes. That Mickey Doyle. If this keeps up, Chalky will be joining the Klan.

Line of the week: Eli: “They’re all together now”. Nucky: “Heaven?????”

Anvil of the week: The reprise of the dream scene at the end with the sick child reveal.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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