Boardwalk Empire Review: Battle On!

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The "Fight of the Century" between Dempsey and Carpentier served as a nice back drop to this week's Boardwalk Empire episode "Battle of the Century."

Granted, there wasn't a lot of violence (minus the icky meat cleaver scene), but there were plenty of underhanded dealings and vicious moves. This was a great followup to Nucky's departure from his Atlantic City office last week, giving us every reason to be excited for the final episodes of the season.

The ending of last week's installment not only indicated that Nucky was definitely still "in business" but also hinted at some serious health problems for Margaret's daughter, Emily. This week, the poor girl woke up unable to move her legs and the doctor confirmed Margaret's worst fear: Polio. The entire health crisis was difficult to watch, especially when Margaret struggled with the necessary quarantine.

A Messy Margaret

The whole situation was made even more harrowing by Nucky's absence. For the first time in a long time, Margaret was completely alone. One of her maids even quit for fear of contaminating her own children. By the end, Margaret felt just as isolated and beaten down as her daughter. However irresponsible it may seem to the doctors, Margaret needed to comfort and be comforted by her child, so she crawled into Emily's sick bed.

While Margaret's safe happy world collapsed, Nucky's attempts to find alternative sources of alcohol seemed to failing. The pious Mr. McGarrigle was not pleased with his offer and the horrors of the rebellion had convinced him to consider peace with the English. BUT his fellow rebels did not agree and now Nucky has a new means of getting Irish whiskey. Plus, he learned that maybe trusting Owen isn't such a good idea. Owen's a bit of a mystery, but it's easy to see that he's mostly concerned with his own interests.

The scenes in Ireland showed us how determined Nucky is to keep fighting. He lied to the Assistant Attorney General, Esther, to get over to Ireland and now he's making his crimes international. Nucky's keen business sense doesn't usually lead him astray, but I wonder if it's smart to compound his legal woes. He hasn't realized yet that Esther is a very smart woman and she has Van Alden's files to keep her interest squarely on Nucky. Margaret was right to caution Nucky about his greed. It's going to cost him his freedom, possibly his life, and maybe even his newfound family.

However, Nucky wasn't the only one making unwise decisions this week. Jimmy, just pay Horvitz his money already! I really don't understand why Jimmy is acting so foolishly about the situation with Horvitz. He took the man's money and never delivered the booze. Now, he's cutting him out of the business and sending Waxey Gordon after him. Why??

Jimmy has always had a problem with being treated like a child and Horvitz's habit of calling him "boychick" may be part of the reason. He doesn't like being reminded of his obligations or his questionable leadership abilities and he definitely hates authority figures telling him what to do.

However, in this situation, Jimmy is making a terrible decision. Lansky and the others can see it, but not Jimmy. It won't be long before Horvitz takes another trip to Atlantic City to pay Jimmy back for his betrayal.

Also entertaining this week was the return of Dunn Purnsely (remember him from "A Dangerous Maid"). He gets the worker's strike rolling, with Chalky's permission, when he decides he's tired of eating "dog food" for his 10-minute lunch break. The kitchen scene gave us a disturbing look at life for young black men in the "Roaring Twenties."

The battle is surely on between Nucky and Jimmy, as well as between the impoverished black people of Atlantic City and their white employers. Who do you think will win?

Battle of the Century Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (26 Votes)
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Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Episode 9 Quotes

Got caught in the wrong cookie jar.

Nucky (on his hand injury)

Waxey Gordon (on killing Horvitz): Before we go any further, you need to tell me if that's a problem.
Jimmy: Maybe, but it's not mine.