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"Boardwalk Empire" — "What Does The Bee Do?": Margaret Schroeder Joins the One Percent

By Aggie Maguire | TV | October 18, 2011 |

By Aggie Maguire | TV | October 18, 2011 |

“And the doors swing back and forward from the past into the present.”

We had a really intense episode this week in an hour that homed in on the weaknesses and cracks under the surface of so many characters. Chalky White, who can spend hours in a jail cell without blinking while another man taunts him, is too insecure among his educated, sophisticated family that he can’t control his temper. In fairness, he’s also under pressure from his community and I might not be too placid at dinner if a white man had just told me to “be a good boy,” but it’s still a shock after seeing the Chalky who can so convincingly bottle his seething rage for business lose control in a domestic setting. Gillian finally let it all out too. Many people seem to dislike Gretchen Mol in this role, but she was superb in her final scene going from her careful façade of nursing to beating up an old man who just had a stroke, albeit a child rapist old man who just had a stroke. It’s to her credit and Dabney Coleman’s that I kept switching my sympathies back and forth between them. I just wish she’d pummeled him in the other room where all the beautiful animals he killed could see her taking him down as well. One has to wonder though if it was a good move in the long-term: patients have recovered from far more severe strokes and if he does she has no moves left.

And then there was Margaret Schroeder who has definitively made the decision to join the 1 percent and make as much money as she can at the expense of the working classes. If you were reading these reviews last season, you’ll know I’ve never been a big Margaret fan and I don’t care that she’s focused on future security, you don’t feather your nest at the expense of your servants, you greedy uppity witch. There’s an interesting dynamic between herself and Nucky these days. There appears to be a mutual agreement to ignore the obvious more than ever even when they’re directly discussing what’s going on. It’s interesting that their interactions almost always take place in the (stunningly beautiful) conservatory in the past few episodes; it’s as if their relationship is now confined to this elevated glass bubble quite separate from the outside world.

The Rothstein gang is hopefully going to get more traction next week as they start to work with Nucky again because the calm, menacing mentor to the hothead scene has been played to death in this show now. Let’s have some action. Harrow’s storyline continues to unfold beautifully (of course the mask had to come off because this show doesn’t do subtlety). Angela is a much better confidante for him than Margaret. They’re both very lonely and quite sensitive surrounded by coldness and insensitivity. I liked that their afternoon took place in another glass room that didn’t hide the bleakness outside but allowed a real connection to form inside.

Finally, a nod to the federal agents: I truly wish they hadn’t gone out to that warehouse/distillery. Agents Clarkson and Sawicki were fast becoming a great comedy two-some, and the fact that Clarkson was so horrifically injured instead of the odious Mickey Doyle (nee Cusick) is just not right.

Agent Clarkson (referring to VanAlden): Haven’t you noticed anything strange about him?

Agent Swaicki: Where should I start?

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.