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I'm Drunk and I'm Seldom Sober

By Aggie Maguire | TV | October 19, 2010 |

By Aggie Maguire | TV | October 19, 2010 |

Sunday’s “Boardwalk Empire” found us on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day and everyone is anticipating the holiday. Margaret’s baking soda bread for Nucky; Eli is getting ready to wow Atlantic City with his rhetorical brilliance; Nucky is bemoaning the pall cast on the day by public displays of drunkenness and the dwarves who box at the gym and moonlight as leprechauns lead us all in a collective appeal to the TLC channel when they insist on “No More Midget Shit” (I assume the graphic designers among you are already working on the t-shirt).

Saint Margaret’s halo slips a little further this week when we find out she not only has an ego that doesn’t like to be snubbed, but she’s willing to be very manipulative to show Nucky how much she understands his game and can play on his level. It’s been a bit of an inorganic transition from timid housewife to wily strategist over the past few episodes, but overall this version of Margaret makes for a much more interesting character, and it would appear that Nucky agrees.

We didn’t see enough of many characters this episode: Chalky was notably absent. Rothstein was back for a brief but beautiful and informative scene about his role in the Black Sox scandal; and Gillian got a few minutes to bond with her daughter-in-law and her grandson (if only I’d known the magic that whiskey and milk could work on a three-year-old in my babysitting days). I haven’t figured out yet if she wants Angela gone just because she doesn’t like her or so that she can assume the role of the kid’s mother and avoid any possibility of being seen as a grandmother.

In Chicago, Jimmy continues to be a nice guy; Al Capone continues to be far too dumb to ever have risen to a leadership role in the Chicago mob; and Pearl turns out to be a very realistic young girl who can clearly see her future options despite the opium fog.

The Ancient Order of Celts: between the kilts, the table center-pieces and the constant complaints from the dwarves about manhandling, one would think it was a Pride Week party and not the annual gathering of a group that would become famous for banning gays from their parade. Nonetheless, one has to feel for them having their party ruined first, by Eli’s botched understanding of Irish current events (it’s 1920 and the War of Independence is in full swing but he’s stuck back in 1916), and then by the lunatic Van Alden who performs a valuable public service in every scene by convincing me of the need for psych tests for all law enforcement positions.

And we get to close the episode without a glaring metaphor this week: instead Carrickfergus, the story of a dream never to be fulfilled, plays over a montage of the different characters’ yearnings for peace of mind, youth, recognition, and love before the spell is broken by torrid sex in Margaret’s hallway. The Atlantic City-based scenes were excellent this week: very nice character development all round. I just wish there were a real justification for the Chicago angle: is it just to give Jimmy something to do or is there a bigger connection developing?

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.

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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