Okay, I’m not going to beat a dead horse for long, other reviewers have done this already. But please do allow me this short rant: Boardwalk Empire has never been more blatantly Oedipal than this. In one episode, Jimmy Darmody went from shellshocked criminal to tragic victim of his surroundings. And to think it was as easy as letting his sleep with his mother and kill his father.
Ever since the series started, I’d been hoping to see some flashback episodes. Not just for Jimmy, but for Nucky and Mabel, too. Some characters just need to open up their pasts to be fully understood. This episode served this purpose on Jimmy’s behalf. We finally knew why a naive, talkative princeton kid would sign up to go to war. Hint: it’s not to stick one up the Kaiser’s behind.
Like any good show, the answer to this question leads to another question: how can we still understand Gillian? Why is she so taken to Jimmy? Is it truly because she has no one else? Or does she have no one else because of her love for Jimmy? I’m not sure a flashback episode is the answer here – Gillian’s motivation seems to lie in the present more than the past.
What still completely baffles me is the way this episode was constructed. We switched between past and present without a care in the world, without a small sound cue, or visual filter of any kind. It’s like the show just said “Fuck it, they’ll get it” and went on with its day. It works perfectly, precisely because this seems to be the answer to every question we throw at it.
Thoughts and things
- It’s getting harder and harder to find something that screams “twenties award of the week”. I think this is a good thing.
- I had not forgotten about Van Alden killing his former agent. I had not expected, however, for them to bring it back up. Kudos for that, and kudos for making Van Alden run like a dog.
- I’m kind of annoyed with Margaret’s attitude. Sure, she’s shaken over her kid, but she will still only divulge the information that will benefit her the most. I’m not crying about divine retribution, but I do think she needs to dig deeper into her soul if she wants to be devoted.
- It’s creepy to see Jimmy smile.
- Mickey Doyle and Van Alden should share more scenes.
A very un-Boardwalkian episode. It was refreshing; it felt like a pause from the actual series, even though a lot of things happened. I’m still in doubt as to how Angela’s death will affect Jimmy, but I’ll gladly wait another week to find out. I’d like to think Boardwalk knocked this one out of the ball park.