Posted in Television

Boardwalk Empire: What a Ride

While catching my breath from tonight’s developments, I thought I’d just mull over a few highlights:

Can anyone really be surprised that Jimmy slept with his mother? This seems to have been her master plan all along, what with the liquor and the lateness of the hour, not to mention the way she grabbed him and held on for all she was worth. No wonder he enlisted in the Army the next day. The good news is that he’s on to her desire to get her hooks into Tommy, so maybe he’ll do something to prevent history from repeating itself.

Dear old Princeton. Michael Pitt and Aleksa Palladino were wonderfully awkward and charming as the younger versions of their characters. I wish we had gotten some icing on the cake with a cameo by an undergrad named Fitzgerald–F. Scott that is–who, given the time frame, would have been a pre-war classmate of Jimmy’s.

Poor Angela–always second best. At least we finally learned her maiden name. I wasn’t too pleased with the schmatte she wore to the party, but she was supporting herself by waitressing and this was probably the best she could afford. No matter what, she would have been outshone by Gillian, who knew exactly what she wanted out of Princeton and came prepared. It was sweet to see how consistent Angela was, her kindness to Jimmy’s nerdy roommate later mirrored by the compassion she showed Richard. And it was no surprise how much Gillian despised her and how she made damn sure the story got out about her affair with Louise. I’m curious, though, about her reference to Mary Dittrich’s being in Paris. How would she have known that Angela’s lover was there unless Jimmy told her?

I loved this episode’s bookended scenes–at the beginning, Angela’s breathy “Jimmy, I have to leave” and then at the end, her haunting repeat of the phrase as he awakens to an empty room devoid of any trace of the Commodore’s death. Michael Pitt was astonishing during this episode, particularly when Jimmy, his eyes welling, listened to his demon mother spin what they’d tell Tommy about Angela’s absence, ending with “In a month no one will remember her,” and then his explosive “I’LL remember” as he tried to strangle her. Too bad he was interrupted by the Commodore. I hate Gillian with the heat of one thousand suns, but if Gretchen Mol weren’t giving the performance she is, I wouldn’t be able to. While I’m glad the Commodore is dead, I hated Jimmy’s being the instrument of his mother’s revenge. God knows, he’s got enough problems.

And Richard. Watching the Tin Man cry as he knelt over the spot where Angela died was another heartbreak. Yet his loyalty to Jimmy remains unshaken–there he is, literally cleaning up Jimmy’s mess once again. His “It’s OK” nod to the wounded Jimmy before he curtained the view was like sealing a promise.

I was also delighted to see some intriguing Van Alden action. Mickey Doyle is a dead man. And finally, Agent Sebso’s revenge! Now the lawman is the wanted man.

It’s hard to believe next Sunday’s episode is the season finale. It’ll be interesting to see how many corpses pile up, not to mention whether Margaret testifies against Nucky, Jimmy avenges Angela’s murder, Eli keeps his trap shut, Van Alden gets captured and Gillian gets hers. One can only hope.

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