‘Boardwalk Empire’ Recap: ‘What Does The Bee Do?’

In the latest installment of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ the lovely Gretchon Mol opened the episode by dancing to Vivaldi while showing off her most precious jewels. By episode’s end she was a drunken hot mess, pushed beyond the limit and giving a powerful old bureaucrat the ass beating of a lifetime.

“It’s not about money Nucky, it’s about revenge,” said Chalky White, played by Michael Kenneth Williams.

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Jimmy (Michael Pitt) is working for his money. He visits Micky Doyle, the goofy giggly man who Jimmy says would be dangerous if he had a brain. Then Darmody heads down to Philadelphia to make a deal with the man who runs the speakeasies in the Jewish part of the city. Liver has never looked more disgusting. Being as young as he is, Darmody is doing very well at this point and it could be because he is more apt to kill anyone to stands in his way than say Nucky (Steve Buscemi), who deals with his problems in cold hard cash.

Nucky is getting cocky again now that he is out of immediate hot water. He hands Margaret (Kelly MacDonald) a wad of money in their garden room and tells her to give the help a raise. The crude Mrs. Shroader has recently saved him from having a mental breakdown and she isn’t as excited about spending. She realizes her capital is collapsing, that Nucky is more of a risk than ever and she isn’t about to give up her children’s future. Her daughter recites a classic children’s poem entitled ‘What Does The Bee Do?’ from the late 1800’s by Christina Rossetti that sets the tone for the episode.

The man is meant to bring home the money. The woman handles the household and the money. The children get the rewards of the parent’s hard work or in this case, the honey. Nobody is dealing more difficultly than Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams), who is uneducated and has worked his entire life to provide for his family. His son Lester is classically trained in piano and his daughter is dating a future doctor. While the whole town is blaming Chalky for the KKK shootings he is not receiving any help from Nucky or much gratitude at home for his efforts. He finally snaps at his daughter’s prospective suitor and goes out back to whittle a piece of wood. Everyone is going to rue the day they messed with Mr. White.

It seems that every character’s world is beginning to become more than they can handle. Even the straight laced Van Alden (Michael Shannon) is getting careless. His wife notices his inconsistency and his colleagues have caught onto something shady in the works. Agent Clarkson is new and doesn’t realize what a threat his boss ‘Van Asshole’ can really be. Unfortunately he becomes the victim of an Irish bombing from Micky Doyle’s warehouse. At least it’s better than the baptism of death which his predecessor fell victim to.

Gillian (Gretchon Mol) is so incredibly hot that she gives the Commodore a stroke with her smokin’ strip tease. She then makes sure to swoop in and take care of the old bastard while Eli, man of little faith, questions their future success. Eli acts like the old man keeling over at any given moment was never a real possibility. This seems to show his lack of patience and clarity, unlike his brother Nucky who has no problem keeping his cool in hot situations. Eli panics at the first sign of trouble.

Nucky makes a deal with Arnold Rothstein to give the New York man his cut along with Lucky Luciano, in order to gain access to the Philadelphia port. Nucky’s lawyer then advises him to tip off the cops on his importing of nasty hookers across state lines. This will make his case a federal issue which means his friends in the white house will most likely bail him out of the mess. Mrs. Shroader isn’t so sure and she keeps a hidden stash in case that cute little Irish patty cake Owen Slater (Charlie Cox) wants to runaway with her. I can’t be the only audience member hoping for that hot hookup.

If there ever was a loyal right hand man it’s the half faced sniper Richard Harrow (Jack Huston). Jimmy’s wife asks him to sit for her so she can draw something of interest. He voluntarily takes off his mask to show her his scars and tell her of the ruined relationship with his twin sister. Harrow wants so badly what Jimmy and Angela Darmody share, true love and a family. The previews for the upcoming episodes show just how desperate he is to prove his love to any worthy candidate, including Jimmy.

The episode ends with Gillian reminding the feeble Commodore of the details of their first encounter when she was 14-years-old, the night that he raped her. Watching her struggle to tell of her horrible experience, which not only shaped her into the adult that she is now, but destroyed her emotionally was extremely telling. Gillian has been waiting years to take her revenge on the Commodore and now he is just vulnerable enough to have the shit slapped out of him. She expects Jimmy to take his place, something she may have been planning since the day he was born.

In this case every child is benefiting from his parent’s sacrifice and Gillian expects her son to return the favor in kind. Only time will tell if it all pays off.