“Blue Bell Boy” starts off to a pretty comedic start as Owen gets a call from Nucky while he and Kate–who’s been missing in action lately–are getting pretty intimate in her bedroom. Nucky tells Owen they have some business to attend to and to wrap it up. Kate delivers probably one of the best lines ever when she calls Owen’s magic stick “Mr. Poofles”. Ah, Kate. We haven’t see you, but when we do, you come in with that. However, if we thought we were going to get a lighthearted episode, we did not.
“Blue Bell Boy” shows Margaret working on building a women’s clinic and advocating for women’s health. The producers are clearly trying to touch more on women’s issues and rights of the 20s. One nun didn’t even want to say menstruation because it was inappropriate. But then again, everything seemed inappropriate to that foul woman. Margaret’s sense of duty and greater good have largely kept her too busy to worry about Nucky. I don’t even think she cares. I think she’s sticking around to make a difference in her own way. Interestingly enough–and I think this is a bit of a hint from the producers and writers–the plane piloted by the female aviator Carrie Duncan that inspired Margaret to step out, crashed into the side of a mountain. I almost feel like viewers are getting subtle warning that Margaret will crash and burn too.
Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano decide to have Lucky meet with another Italian crime boss whose territory they operate on, and Lucky is admonished for working with Jews. He also gets a warning that he shouldn’t trust Rothstein and Lansky, as they’ll eventually betray him and work with each other exclusively, shutting Lucky out. And if that happens, he wants to have his people (Italians) behind him so pay the 30% everywhere and stop whining.
Eli continues to be a humbled, broken man toiling away under Mickey Doyle, which I know is torturous to him. I am not sure that Eli will ever get back to the “glory” he once experienced when things were good with Nucky, but at this point, it seems like he’s the only one who knows how to hold Nucky down. Mickey is too busy on a power trip to realize that he’s headed for disaster, as seen with his final decision to go against Nucky and have the liquor delivered to Rothstein through Rosetti territory, Tabor Heights, as opposed to back roads as Nucky ordered before disappearing in a basement.
Nucky and Owen catch up to a teen thug, Roland Smith, who’s stolen a substantial amount of their hooch with a friend. While they attempt to shake him down, several cars filled with crooked agents and cops show up, killing several of the guys standing guard in cold blood. Nucky, Owen, and Roland run downstairs to the basement and end up waiting it out for 24 hours while the feds dismantle the place. It looks like Roland starts to grow on Nucky and Owen, making me wonder if this could be the introduction of Jimmy Darmody 2.0. Unfortunately, Nucky is not in a forgiving mood (although Owen seems to now like the kid as well), and in one of the most screwed up scenes in ‘Boardwalk Empire’ history, he shoots Roland dead in his head when he and Owen arent looking. Even Owen is surprised, and I think for the first time, we see Owen realize that either he will have to kill Nucky, end up being killed by Nucky, or toe the line fearfully and precariously. Something good and decent–the last remnant anyway–died when Nucky shot Jimmy Darmody in the face last season. It is gone for good.
Gyp Rosetti continues his iron fist grip on Tabor Heights, basically making it his forward operating base. After burning the sheriff last episode, you would think that his fellow cops would get vengeance on Gyp. Not so. In fact, they join forces with him to take down Nucky’s operation in an ambush that lead to the massacre of all of Nucky’s warehouse workers. Eli tried to warn them, even risking his life by going to Tabor Heights to do recon ahead of the convoy. But Mickey told them not to stop, not even for the law, and seeing as how Eli is below whale crap at the bottom of the ocean, they certainly don’t stop for him when he tries to flag them down at the side of the road. As Eli sits helplessly in his stalled car (of course it stalls out), he hears gunshots rain down on his fellow workers. Like Kevin Hart said, “You gon’ learn today!”
Al Capone gets his shine this season, and I think this episode really let Capone as a character (and Stephen Graham as an actor) really connect with the audience. Al’s dealing with a ton of inner turmoil because his deaf son’s being picked on by a bully. Al tries to toughen up his son–he has good intentions–but his son is not a fighter. And in the first tear-jerking moment in the episode, we see him force his son to hit him, only to have it fail as his son just cannot bring himself to hit Al as hard as he wants. And I started crying. When Al’s friend Jake gets beat up for smelling bad while running an errand by one of Dean O’Banion’s men, Al returns to find the guy and beats him to a bloody pulp. I think we realize that the guy picked the wrong week to pick on Al’s friend. Al cannot beat up the kid who hurt his son, but he can beat the living daylights out of his O’Banion’s man and he does.
The episode ends with Al going back home and waking his son up to sing to him. Al pulls out a lute and sings “My Buddy” while his son wraps his arms around his neck, and lays his head on his shoulders to feel the vibration and hear his dad sing. And once again, I cried like a baby. Simultaneously, Nucky sees Eli in the corner and after being convinced to hear Eli out, he finds out the bad news (that we can assume) about what’s happened. I think this will be Eli’s power play, and Mickey Doyle’s death warrant. Mickey blatantly cost Nucky men, booze, and now Rothstein–who’s already livid his liquor isn’t there yet–is pretty much falling into Gyp’s hands.
Next episode is setting up to be explosive… Did you watch ‘Boardwalk Empire’ last night? What did you think?