Boardwalk Empire 209 – Battle of the Century

“Got caught in the wrong cookie jar.” (Nucky)

After having given it some thought, I’m absolutely stunned at the fact this episode was just as disjointed as I thought it was going to be. It’s obvious: in an episode with Nucky in Belfast and Margaret’s girl coming down with polio, worlds couldn’t be further apart. What did surprise me, however, was how they adequately used Margaret’s story to play this out as a familiar theme: that just when she needs Nucky the most, he’s nowhere to be found.

Polio. Jesus. What a horrible thing. I remember having a discussion with someone after the first episode. He was put off by Maraget’s daughter crying when Margaret and Hans got in the discussion about Nucky’s money. The girl was crying real tears, not make-believe tears. She wasn’t acting, he said, and decided this series was not one he would follow. I wonder what he would say about that heartwrenching scene where they did research on her. Those screams were painful to listen to.

And then there’s Nucky in Belfast. I’m not sure what his master plan is. He’s due in court soon, he announces his retirement to Jimmy and now he’s smuggling weapons to Belfast? What are going for, little man? I’m not saying I’m annoyed, I’m just confused. Nucky’s motivations have always been very clear – the show makes a point of dropping us in the head of a criminal mastermind, after all – but this time I’m not so sure. I guess the master plan will come to fruition in the finale, maybe?

In other news, Chalky’s setting the strike in motion. And he’s aided by an old friend. As always with this show, I have forgotten how exactly this should fit into Nucky’s master plan, but hey, I’m rolling with it. My fault for not watching the episodes twice, I guess.

Thoughts and things

  • A definite twenties-award of the week. Not polio, not the IRA, but the burning twenties-style doll. With the whole sick-little-girl thing going on, that was some nasty imagery.
  • I loved the interrogation scene between the deputy sherrif, whose name I still can’t remember, and the assistant attorney, who is named Esther. Just the fact that I can remember one name and not the other says enough of the power balance in that scene.

In all…

Somehow, though, between all this wonderful drama, I was left hanging. I think it’s the plotline revolving around Jimmy that felt disjointed in a bad way. On the one hand, there was the usually business of driving hatchets throught other people’s brains; on the other Richard is starting to act up. The final Jimmy scene – the actual Battle of the Century to which the title refers felt like it was cut short halfway.

I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it was just my expectations? Maybe I was expecting something to happen, aside from two floozies swooping down on him? I hope the next episode builds further on the hole I felt. Prove me wrong, Boardwalk Empire. Surprise me!