Boardwalk Empire: 3.04 – “Blue Bell Boy”

Let’s get up to speed- last week we found Nucky alone a lot, frying bacon and dreaming of cherubic young men shot in the face. VanAlden is still a crappy salesman who gets picked on by his coworkers and then finds himself in the middle of a bar during a raid. Gillian Darmody still annoys me. Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano sent Benny Seigel out on his first drug run, which doesn’t end all that well with Masseria’s men. Somehow Mickey is still alive and Margaret brought down the war hammer on the annoying chauvinistic doctor by cornering him into opening a women’s clinic.

Now on to “Blue Bell Boy”.

I’m going to express my excitement now but save the rest for later… CHICAGO!!!! Whew, had to get that out- so exciting.

For now, let’s discuss Nucky’s warehouse. Somehow Mickey is still alive and Eli is moping around like a dog waiting for someone to pet him. Nucky comes in all bad ass trying to be the boss, even though he’s been hanging around Billie Kent’s apartment for lord only knows how long, and unsurprisingly, it doesn’t go well. Mickey turns to Owen for direction and I’m going to call it now- Owen is going to die.

Oh Owen, such a pretty face. I’m going to miss you when you are gone.

We all know that Nucky doesn’t take too kindly to not being treated like the top dog and if Mickey keeps going to Owen then I fear they are both on their way out. I take that back, Mickey will somehow find a way to stay alive. I don’t know how, but he will.

As if we needed more evidence of Nucky’s new found “don’t f–k with me or I will shoot you in the head” chutzpah, we are presented with Roland Smith, played by Nick Robinson of Melissa and Joey, a sitcom on ABC Family.

Roland is kid with a bright felonious future. He’s quick witted and when asked his name he rattled off:
Lon Cheney, the “Man of a Thousand Faces” who dominated the horror genre in the silent film era. I don’t know if it was intentional but I found it interesting they chose to mention Lon Cheney, the child of two deaf and mute parents, in the same episode where Al Capone has a lot of storyline pertaining to his own deaf child.
Norma Talmadge another star of silent films
Baby Peggy, one of the original “child stars” who lives hit the crapper once the fame and glory go away. Or in Baby Peggy’s case, when your parents spend all the money you earned as a toddler and you then spend the rest of your life in poverty bouncing from one breakdown to another.

Nucky, Owen, and Roland spend a beautiful night together hiding out in a cellar as Roland’s house was seized by feds sent by none other than Waxey Gordon. I did have to wonder how many times in this episode Owen was going to mention something about keeping Nucky’s hands clean. Owen, have you been watching the show lately? Surely you had to see this coming. I mean come on, the kid lied about how old he was and about smoking and is a cheeky lad that might remind a certain someone about a certain someone else and hello…

Kid is dead. It’s a shame though, I sort of liked Roland. I loved the exchange between Owen and Nucky over Roland’s bleeding body. Nucky told him in not so many words, that he needed to watch his back.

Little word definition moment: When Nucky tells Owen to tell him something with out the “soft soap” he wasn’t referring to the hand soap. Actually the phrase “soft soap” can refer to saying something with flattery. The more you know… rainbow.

After last week’s masterful moves, Margaret had a boring but meaningful episode. She and the good doctor are working on their “Your Body and You” women’s health class and ran into a bit of trouble with a nun.

This nun had some issues with Margaret and the Doctor’s (I really need to go look up his name) neologism. Because we all know that words like menstruation, pregnant, and vagina are just made up and frivolous. I mean come on, gravid is a much more appropriate way to describe such a delicate situation. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t you dare display Kotex on the store shelves. Oh the depravity!

Even though I really did not like the whole aviatrix part of the storyline back in the season premiere, I did appreciate how they tied it back in with this episode. Margaret has these great plans for her Women’s Clinic and is out there on the boardwalk trying her damnedest and is just getting shut down wherever she turns. Then we find out towards the end of the episode that Carrie Duncan, the aviatrix Margaret looked to as a symbol of freedom, has indeed crashed her plane and died. I thought it was extremely well done, story telling wise.

In one of the “extras” on HBO Go during this episode, Vincent Piazza likened the relationship between Lansky, Luciano, and Seigel as exasperated parents and their troublesome child. I could not agree with him more. I can not express how much I loved the scene between the three of them. You can just see how badly Lucky wants to be done with Benny, but of course Meyer is going to stick up for him. Perhaps Lucky should have partaken in some of that Sal Hapatica that Meyer had Benny mixing up for Masseria’s men.

Even though Gyp wasn’t seen that much during this episode, I think his actions bring to a head the major conflict of the storyline this season. His ambush of Nucky’s trucks is going to really put the pressure on Mickey (seriously, HOW has he survived this long?) for his awful decision making as well as maybe bringing Eli and Nucky together again. Not to mention, Rothstein. He’s a ticking time bomb up there in New York. It’s only a matter of time before there’s a hair out of place on his head. His cool as a cucumber, smiling while threatening demeanor makes me nervous.

Chicago provided the most gut wrenching emotion of the episode, and perhaps even the season so far. Capone’s son has been bullied at school so he decides that he is going to teach him to fight. Of course the kid can’t understand this (seriously Capone, learn some sign language) and he just ends up crying. Al Capone can’t go around beating up small children for hitting his son, but you better believe that someone then makes fun of and beats up Guzik. It was sort of an anti-bullying PSA there for a minute when Gucik was standing there beaten to a pulp and what really bothered him was they made fun of the way he smelled.

But don’t worry, Capone takes care of it, in his own way of course.

Apparently the writers wanted everyone with a semblance of a heart to tear up and then hug a puppy, because they sent Capone home after he beat a man to death. Sent him home with a mandolin to sing a song to his son he earlier made cry. His son that can only tell he’s singing by putting his hand on his father’s throat.

That right there was a three kleenex moment.

Overall, fantastic episode. I don’t know that it ranks higher than last week’s because as great as the Chicago and New York story lines are, they are getting to the point they seem extraneous. I’m guessing that Rothstein is going to play more into the main storyline now that his liquor is gone but they really need to start making Capone and Lucky/Meyer blend in a bit more. Or just cut bait and give them each their own show. I’d watch it. All day long.

This week- four out of five. We have Mr. Capone to thank for that.

Next week’s promos included Chalky White and I can not wait!

To tide us over to the next episode… Birdwalk Empire

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