Boardwalk Empire 105 – Nights in Ballygran

“I’m through playing games, Margaret. I’ve no interest in them.” (Nucky)

What an episode. I had trouble finding a quote, but that’s not due to lack of things that happened. This episode marked a turning point for the first season – and it owes it all to its final minutes.

Van Alden finally got his first real victory! Closing that Saint Patrick’s day party seemed to fill him with such pious happiness. It was nice to see him and Nucky standing face to face again. That’s what I consider the odd thing about the series. It has a clearly defined protagonist and a clear antagonist – yet they never seem to actually influence each other. These rare moments when they do are breathtaking.

This episode also takes the cake for best power-play: Margaret’s temperance-driven crusade to close down that warehouse just to get Nucky’s attention was a stunt I would have only seen Nucky pull. Nucky and Margaret seem to be yin and yang: they’re obvious poles in terms of morality, but they’ve embraced parts of each other all the same. Nucky has a clearly defined good side (he’s no racist, for instance); Margaret can get quite nasty at times. I can’t wait for them to share more scenes.

Thoughts and things

  • Twenties-award of the week: the close-up on Pearl’s orange juice glass, next to that the Laudanum bottle reading “Laudanum (poison)”. Deadwood much? Runner-up: Midgets dressing up as leprechauns for ten dollars.
  • I don’t get the significance of Pearl’s story to Jimmy yet. All it did for me was show that Al’s a loose cannon with little to no introspection.¬† But Jimmy? You’ve got a wife, man, and even if you’re estranged from her, you still love her.
  • But hey, she’s banging the photographer.
  • Gillian looking in the mirror started off as such a clich√© shot, but when she checked her face for wrinkles it suddenly fell out of the Bergmann-thing and into something else. I love it when shots surprise me like that. She just wants to do her entire life differently, I guess.

In All

I loved this episode – if nothing else for the signifance towards future episodes. It’s the season mid-point: you knew Nucky and Margaret were going to become a thing; question was just when and how. And if you’re saying that’s predictable, let me tell you this much: you’re watching a semi-authentic history show. Most of these things are on wikipedia.