Boardwalk Empire – What Jesus Said
Season Five: Episode Three
Directed by: Ed Bianchi
Written by: Christine Chambers and Howard Korder
The Spin: Plots thickened and women showed their cunning nature during crisis situations in this Chambers and Korder penned hour. Early in the episode, Nucky and Sally (Patricia Arquette) share over the phone “Happy Days are Here Again” playing on the radio after he tells her about the presumed Kennedy deal, but are they counting chickens before they hatch? On the run, our old friend Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) and his volatile chain gang compatriot pull off a sloppy home invasion of a mother and her teenage daughter. Chalky shows his true colors as he’s still clearly ravaged by the brutal death of his own teenage daughter, Maybelle, years ago, but these ladies prove to be more resilient than either foolish man could know. Out in Harlem, Luciano and Siegel begin to systematically threaten Narcisse’s operations in no uncertain terms. Meanwhile, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) is forced to pay a visit to the Rothstein widow (Shae D’lyn in a pitch perfect cameo) who has her own plot to hatch that involves the blackmail of…you guessed it…the Nuckster.
Flashbacks to “The Education of Nucky Thompson” continue as young Nuck (Nolan Lyons) witnesses alleged love turn into brutality amongst guests of the hotel while eyeing a feisty young lass who is revealed to be his childhood love and first wife, the dearly departed Mabel. The girl dares him to kiss a horse, which he does, showing early on Nucky’s vulnerability to the cruel games of the gals he falls for.
It all culminates with 1931 Nucky passed-out on the couch of his office above the burlesque bar after finally being able to take a drink after a long courting of a tea-totaling but adulterous Kennedy, waking up thinking he’s seeing a vision of his long ago passed love only to discover it’s Margaret sitting there with a Cheshire grin that’s about to bring Nucky’s long ago ingrained weakness back to the forefront at what will probably the worst possible time.
Interesting Thread of the Week: Both the captive women of the home invasion and young Mabel quote the Bible to try and connect with the men/boy, but its made clear the fine line between programmed innocence and pragmatic action when the heat gets hot or a female wants to bend someone to her will. And there’s an equally fine line between appealing to a man/boy’s humanity and humiliating him. In a world where women are subjugated and constantly threatened with sexual misdeeds and violence, those who adapt such cunning dichotomies will perhaps keep their dignities and good names intact.
Commentary by David H. Schleicher
To my readers and Boardwalk strollers: Thoughts, reactions, comments?