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Boardwalk Empire Review: After the Smoke is Clear

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As the dust from Rosetti's bomb settled and the clean up ensued on Boardwalk Empire this week, I could not help but think of all those people in present day Atlantic City and elsewhere who have been trying to put their lives back together as well.

Places like Babette's can be rebuilt, but the loss of a loved one can leave scars that no amount of time can heal. "The Milkmaid's Lot" featured a traumatized Nucky, who was affected both physically and mentally by the attempt on his life.

Slapping Gyp

It was hard to know if it was appropriate to laugh or not at some of Nucky's miscues that resulted from his loss of mental acuity. You must forgive me a cruel chuckle or two during the scenes where Nucky called Eli, Eddie or when he mistook Chalky for the shoeshine guy. Other scenes were more disturbing, however, like those where Nucky kept referring to Margaret like she was Billie or Mabel. 

While Nucky was not at his best, Margaret showed her strength as she told her man to pull himself together and deal with his business. Poor woman, it was hard enough dealing with Nucky and his ever-changing disposition, on top of having being cooped up in the hotel with Gyp Rosetti's dog and her two children... who have apparently grown quite accustomed to the charmed life.

Teddy's response to his mother when she told him to make his bed a second time was one of the funnier Boardwalk Empire quotes of the week. 

Last week Van Alden's wife talked him out of running away. This week it was Margaret who felt threatened, and Owen was offering to help pack her bags. The exchanges between these two secret lovers were some of their best moments to date. Owen touched on the idea that there is no half way when it comes to a life of crime, but despite being all in at the moment, he does have plans to walk away. His resolve seemed much stronger than Margaret's who looked like she was struggling with her decision to stay or go. 

One person who had his mind all made up to leave was young Tommy. Both pictures we saw him draw this week had modes of transportation on them. The first a train and the second one which he was carrying to Josephine when he walked in on her "working" featured a boat. He told Richard he wants to go home, which I took to mean anywhere that his crazy Mi Ma Gillian is not.

Did you notice how Richard was the only one who instantly knew the animal Tommy had drawn was a rhino waiting for the train? Richard's connection with his lost friend's son is much stronger than Gillian's. After seeing the way Richard and Julia got along, I am more resolute in my belief that Richard will get some justice for Tommy's fallen father and then will become the boy's full time guardian. 

Richard has so much to offer Tommy, including dance lessons. You just have to love how simple a soul Richard has while still being very funny and charming in his own right. He is a darker version of Forrest Gump in a way. Okay, maybe much darker. 

No soul on the show, though, is more devoid of light than that of Gyp Rosetti. The man actually had the gall to call Nucky and gloat over the death/murder of Billie Kent. His personality is like a slot machine. Once in awhile it comes up cherries, but on most pulls what you get is a mixed bag of psychosis. His town hall meeting was positively hilarious, however, highlighted by his comment about librarians and his subsequent cancelation of Bible Camp. His idea of being neighborly sure is out of whack.  

While Masseria tried to convey to him how long it takes to grow a business and make it in this life, all Gyp heard was his boss say he might make a good general someday. So what does the ever impulsive Rosetti do? He takes the hat off the statue of the Civil War Brigadier General and shows up looking like Napoleon in a three piece suit. His men aren't loyal they are scared. Gyp has made it clear what happens to those who cross him, but will they stand up with him when things get really heated?  

Masseria made it clear that Rosetti's problems are his own, so while Nucky was no doubt left wondering how he will ever muster enough muscle to beat the crazy Italian, the field of battle may be more level than he at first imagined. 

I wasn't surprised to see Rothstein walk away from Nucky and Atlantic City. After all, he makes his living in New York City, where things "actually matter." Hopefully this will open the door for the likes of Chalky White to comes back into the mix and help Nucky defend what he has built. We certainly have not seen the last of the Manhattan boys or the Chi-town twosome of Torrio and Capone. For now, though, it seems the stage is set for a one on one grudge match by the sea. 

What did you think? 

Review

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Gyp gets results out of fear, while Nucky tries with bargaining and open promises of a better tomorrow. It's old school vs. new school here. Gyp is all about the here and now, Nucky is all about what tomorrow may bring. Gillian blaming Richard for Tommy walking in on Josephine was so condescending. She's running a brothel and while attempting to erase Tommy's only memories of his parents, she's also keeping him captive in this dream world of hers. As for her giving him rum, we can tsk-tsk all we want at that, but it was pretty common, like rubbing alcohol on a teething baby's gums. Nucky's doctor suggested to him laudanum which is a liquid solution of opium. It's not right, but this was the 20's, a lot has changed since then.

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The aftermath clearly affected everyone but Nucky had it the worst. Confusion, fainting spells, anger mixed with guilt and grief - he went on a roller coaster ride of emotions. He may have taken out Jimmy but I hope he realizes now that Jimmy was the least of his worries. Everyone walking out on him seemed reminiscent of when he held a similar meeting and told those walking away he would not forget. With Mabel, Lucy and Billie gone, all Nucky has left is Margaret. If he finds out about her and Owen, my guess is he may use that info for leverage. The scenes with Richard were charming, but let's not forget he is a killer. Though Tommy would do better with Richard looking after him, Gillian most certainly won't give him up without a fight.

Terrie

I think when it comes down to it Margaret will not leave Nucky for fear of her life and the life of her children. I agree with you that Richard may end up with Tommy full time. Gillian could care less about that kid........giving him rum???? really?!?! Richard, IMO, is one of the most interesting characters on the show...... Interested in seeing what is next for Van Alden....... I still think Gyp ends up dead .........

Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Episode 9 Quotes

Owen: It's Mr. Rosetti as you probably guessed.
Margaret: What did Enoch do to him?
Owen: He said no when he wanted to hear yes.
Margaret: That's all?
Owen: Sometimes that's enough.

Margaret: I asked you to make your bed!
Teddy: The maid will do it.

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