Boardwalk Empire: Nights in Ballygran

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireNights in Ballygran

Season One: Episode Five

Directed by:  Alan Taylor

Written by:  Lawrence Konner and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin:  Hell hath no fury like a woman…marginally annoyed by mixed messages?  Margaret (Kelly Macdonald), miffed by Nucky’s (Steve Buscemi) cruel indifference to her St. Patty’s Day soda-bread, reaches out to that creep Agent Van Alden (Michael Shannon) to show she’s not messing around.  It’s a special kind of lady who can pit two of the weirdest looking actors working today against each other in a play for her love disguised as a bootlegging smack down.  Meanwhile, Jimmy (Michael Pitt) gets all mopey and nostalgic caring for his amor in a Chicago cat house.  This Konner-penned, Alan Taylor-directed hour is the classic “a lot happened but it didn’t feel like a lot happened” episode.  The “Nights in Ballygran” montage at the close was a nice touch leading to a “finally!” moment that came much sooner than I had predicted.

My Favorite Parts:  The gathering of midgets, the 4th of July story Jimmy tells Pearl, the closing montage.

Favorite Lines:  “No more midget shit!”

Plotlines whacked:  Oh, dear opium-laden sweetheart Pearl (the lovely Emily Meade), we hardly got to know ye.  Hopefully that Conan-lookin’ fella will still get what’s comin’ to ’em.     

Commentary by David H. Schleicher 

To my readers and Boardwalk strollers:  Thoughts, reactions, comments?



  1. Wow! While I was expecting Nucky and Margaret to “get together” I was not anticipating it so quickly after her squealing to the constipated Federal Agent Van Alden. The loss of the lovely Pearl was also startling. A terrific episode.

    John, well, now that I think of it, I’m not that surprised. I can’t imagine they would’ve let it drag on as a “will they or won’t they” device to hook viewers. Still, it did seem a little early. I would’ve liked the air of menace around not knowing how Nucky was going to react to Margaret snitching…but apparently he likes a woman who tries to ruin his business and get him sent to jail. –DHS

  2. I thought this episode was a fascinating insight to the little known “midget uprising of 1920” that was squashed by Nucky Thompson and his quick thinking by math. Nucky knows midgets aren’t good with math, and made a deal the leader midget could not refuse. 12 is also the favorite number of all midgets. The director fully realized how important this moment in history was, for without Nucky Thompson, the world might belong to the little.

    Fascinating indeed, my equine friend! –DHS

Provide your own Spin and tell us what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s