HBO’s Boardwalk Empire gave us all another beautiful gift by opening this week’s episode with character Owen Slater banging his favorite maid Trudy. A shot of Charlie Cox‘ ass can’t be a bad start to a show that usually gives us more fighting than loving. Elsewhere, Margaret Shroader is getting her kicks in other ways and we are only biding our time until the two meet again in the sack.
Margaret (Kelly MacDonald) is attempting to implement a women’s prenatal education initiative at the hospital and when words like ‘vagina’ and ‘menstruation’ are bothering people, she has quite an uphill battle to fight. Luckily, Dr. Mason is there to cure what ails her for now. I sense some study time for the two of them in the near future.
Meanwhile, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) is still being a major tool bag. Ever since he realized that everyone he trusted nearly killed him and plotted against him, he won’t even give his brother Eli a chance. Now that Tabor Heights has been taken over by Rosetti and Waxy Gordon’s paid-off federal agents, Nucky tells the boys to drive through the backroads in terrible conditions to get Rothstein his delivery in NYC.
Instead of trusting Eli (Shae Whigham) to do the job, he leaves that hilarious moron Micky Doyle to it and takes hottie Owen Slater to find the other booze thief. We’ve already wondered why Nucky would take the time to find 15-year-old Rolland Smith when it’s clearly below his pay grade. But after spending the night hiding in Rolland’s basement as the feds ripped off all the booze and reminiscing with Owen about loyalty, we realized that this wasn’t about the teenage thief (who actually turned out to be 19). It was about showing Owen that Nucky is still in charge and that it doesn’t matter how much he likes someone, he will kill them just like he did with Jimmy. Nucky offers Rolland a fancy cigarette like a gentleman and then puts a bullet in the back of his skull like scoundrel.
Nearly every episode when Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) is featured includes witty and brilliant dialogue that seems like Shakespeare when compared to the Kardashians. Rothstein is insulted that he has to personally call Micky Doyle to ask where his shipment is and why Nucky hasn’t answered his calls. Micky decides he’d better get this shit-show on the road to Tabor Heights and make sure both Nucky and Rothstein stay happy.
Eli decides to sneak ahead and see if Tabor Heights is worth driving through. The feds and Rosetti’s gang are swarming the place. Eli tries to warn the boys making Nucky’s delivery, but they drive past him and are blown to smithereens.
Then of course there was Stephen Graham’s performance as Alphonse Capone. It’s brilliant as they come in this show. After getting guff from Dean O’ Banion about his sons deafness, he is especially sensitive when the boy comes home with bruises from schoolyard bullies. Capone attempts to teach the kid how to box and defend himself, but he cannot understand due to his handicap. The little tyke begins to cry and Capone comforts him like a good father.
When Capone’s man Guzzik is beaten up by one of O’ Banion’s men who mocks him for his weight and his body odor, Capone goes apeshit on the guy. He beats him to a bloody pulp and offs him with a barstool before throwing a wad of cash on the bar for the dude’s funeral costs. Later on, he wakes his son to sing to him and play music, allowing the boy to ‘hear’ by having him place his little hands on his father’s voice box and feel the vibrato.
These types of dualities are not only brilliant to watch unfold, but essential for this whole story arch to continue to ring true with viewers. And thank God complicated characters like Capone or Jimmy (R.I.P.) or Eli really have our heart by the balls. Otherwise, we’d be watching the Kardashians.