Boardwalk Empire 205 – Gimcrack and Bunkum

“Would you fight for me?” (Richard)

I think it was when Jimmy got hit in the face with a cane I sensed this would not be a regular episode. And true enough: what started as a sneaky suspicion slowly grew into full-grown shock as the episode went on. Suddenly, we were treated with slap in the face after slap in the face. I think there’s no better time than now to utter the legendary term shock and awe.

Let’s start with Eli, who finally got another moment in the spotlight. He begged Nucky for forgiveness but didn’t get what he bargained for. The fight with his brother – which looked like grown-ups fighting like kids at first, but then quickly progressed into choking and gun-pulling and whathaveyou – sent Eli into a downwards spiral leading to him killing George. By accident? Not entirely. Like Nucky, Eli has a frustrated side, and let’s just keep it at the fact that both brothers have every reason to be frustrated at the moment. Still, though, killing George was so shocking just because we had known George for ages. Guy never did any harm.

Now the guy who hit Jimmy in the face is a whole different matter. I don’t think he’s ever had any lines or a close-up before this episode. His sudden appearance struck me as odd and it quickly became apparent why. But that doesn’t change the fact that Jimmy and Richard made me avert my eyes from the television screen. I know I’m kind of squeamish, but seriously – a scalping? That’s just gross.

And let’s not forget another shock: Richard Harrow with a shotgun in his mouth. While the whole talk with the two guys living in the woods was forced (Richard is that battered old dog, we get it), Richard alone in the woods was breathtaking. It found its climax in his question to Jimmy: Would you fight for me? And Jimmy, who doesn’t have any friends but Richard, obviously says the right thing, giving Richard a reason to live to see another day.

Thoughts and things

  • Twenties-award of the week is obviously the war memorial. When I grew up, we had a handful of WW1 veterans in our town. Jimmy is one of those guys – but even back when he was young, veterans were usually old, disgusting guys. Some things never change.
  • I want to spend some more time with Margaret. I’m finding it ever harder to understand her motivations. Her standing there with the shotgun – a shot I loved in the season 2 trailer – felt strangely out of place. I guess that’s because I’m having trouble grasping her character.
  • No Mickey Doyle! What?!

In all…

Hands down the best episode of the season so far. It was shocking, tense and brought some characters to a whole new level. So far, most episodes have topped their predecessors. Will they be able to keep this up? And does that mean that my head will explode at the finale?