Boardwalk Empire Review: "Home"
Jimmy’s parting words to Liam this week expressed that some people, maybe Jimmy himself, feel that being alive is much worse than dying.
The episode "Home" explored the this existential crisis of life in a fairly engaging way. Like with many installment, the pacing was slow, but the increased attention on Nucky’s inner turmoil was refreshing after having spent so much time with supporting characters.
St. Patrick’s Day indicated that there were some deep-seated issues between Nucky and his father. Watching his dad shamble around the filthy home where both Nucky and Eli grew up displayed how truly distant the elder brother is from his family home.
While overseeing the remodeling of the house, Nucky is bombarded with painful memories of the abuse he suffered at his father’s hands and made aware of the continued lack of support and love from his only parent. Pictures of Eli remain like a shrine at his father’s home, but Nucky’s old knot-tying award is burned as garbage.
Despite giving the home away to new father Damien Fleming, Nucky’s final confrontation with his father convinces him that his childhood home needs to be demolished. He torches the place and stands out front to watch it burn, perhaps purging his family demons.
Nucky tries to find some support for his family problems with Margaret, but she is having some difficulty navigating through their complicated relationship. She’s his girlfriend, but knows she will never be more than that. And Margaret is only accustomed to being a supportive woman as a wife and a mother. She takes some advice from a well-meaning Annabel and won’t let Nucky confide in her in hopes that he won’t associate her with his own weaknesses.
This is obviously a bad idea as it seems that what Nucky likes the most about her is how she acts like a mirror for him, showing him his strengths and his faults. She apologizes for acting selfishly and they return to their previous intimacy. It’s still unclear how this relationship will progress, but as Annabel told Margaret: sometimes the only certainty a woman like Margaret can get comes in the form of money.
In Chicago, Jimmy found out where Liam was taking his meals, but is detoured from his revenge by a consistent dull ache in his leg. While getting his leg examined, it’s suggested that he see a Dr. Woodworth for a “personal inventory.” As he waits to take a psychological test, he ends up befriending a fellow veteran named Richard Harrow. Richard lost half his face in the war, but shares some stories about his excellent marksmanship as a sharpshooter.
Although clearly empathizing with Richard, Jimmy has a clear plan to use his new friend. In the past few episodes, Jimmy’s become quite the disturbing mastermind. His quiet intellect hides the deeply tormented mind of an individual who can actually be quite menacing. His wartime stories show how numb he is to the suffering of others, except for the people he cares about like Pearl. Allowing Liam to feel relief at being spared makes his unexpected death (from Richard’s sharpshooter prowess) seem all the more terrifying. But I’m sure no one really expected Jimmy to let Liam live for very much longer.
In other news, Luciano’s partnership with the Philadelphia Italian brothers will definitely cause problems for Nucky’s business and put Rothstein a little closer to home.
And, surprise, surprise, Angie is a lesbian. All this time she was having affair, but with the photographer’s wife, Mary. In this scene, she reveals that oddly enough she hasn’t been receiving money from Jimmy, but is taking support from Mary’s husband. A gratuitous lesbian sex scene ensued, which mostly just made my eyes roll. Not quite as shocking as producers probably wanted it to be.
What did everything else think?