Boardwalk Empire – Under God’s Power She Flourishes
Season Two: Episode Eleven
Directed by: Allen Coulter
Written by: Howard Korder
The Spin: Well, my friends, Angela (Aleksa Palladino) may have lived one episode longer through a flashback, but it was Gillian (Gretchen Mol) whose insidious ways haunted the hour. Here we learn the back story of how/why Jimmy (Michael Pitt) left Princeton and joined the Army. Korder and Coulter cinematically weaved the long flashback into the current proceedings where an air of melancholy hung over various characters in dire straits who made desperate plays to turn the tides. What’s that, Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks)? The Italians told you to go screw yourself? So why not try to screw them by brokering a deal with Van Alden (Michael Shannon)? Well, guess what, you moop, Van Alden is too busy getting ratted on concerning his 86-ing of his Number 2 — ahhh…remember that baptism by drowning last season? Esther Randolph (Julianne Nicholson) must’ve thought it was Christmas as just as she was tying the rope tighter around Nucky’s neck, in comes the surprise that Van Alden murdered a fella, too. But that screwy Van Alden pulls a fast (and dumb) one before he can be brought in by shooting Esther’s Number 2 in the foot…and here we had just gotten some juicy back story to his childhood, too, that explained an awful lot. And then there’s Margaret…coming to blows with Nucky after she receives a subpoena…but she stops short of telling him her most damning sin. Still it was refreshing to see Nucky in the classiest of ways threaten his paramour. “If you don’t know me by my Word, then you don’t know me at all,” he says to her. Sounds an awful lot like her God.
Which brings us to another shocking moment at the end of another shocking hour. **COUGH COUGH SPOILER** It seems Gillian is an old gal who is as familiar with Oedipus as she is Macbeth. But while the Oedipal flashback was predictable and twee…her Lady Macbeth act at the end was nothing short of thrilling. “Then finish it, god damn you!” she screeches at Jimmy while he wrestles with a surprisingly adept Commodore (Dabney Coleman). And finish it he does. If the Commodore’s fate is any indication…karma might not be instant…but Justice is a Bitch.
Things Learned This Evening: The ladies are patient. But when cunning, the greatest revenge can be theirs.
Wait Until Next Week: Hot holy hell…where is Manny? What the deuce is Van Alden going to do now that he is on the lam from the law? Which lady (Margaret, Gillian or Esther…or Lucy?) will have her way in the finale? All I know is…someone is going down.
Commentary by David H. Schleicher
To my readers and Boardwalk strollers: Thoughts, reactions, comments?