A supporting player and occasional lead of TV and film, Lisa Harrow is far more established as a stage actress in Britain, where she has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) since 1969. A...
In the aftermath of Owen Slater’s death, one would think the prime focus for Boardwalk Empire might be the emotional reaction of one Margaret Thompson (née Schroeder (née-er Rohan)), Owen’s enamored mistress and the mother of his unborn child. But Margaret is nowhere to be seen in this episode — she has been rustled off to safety, along with her children, while Nucky holes up in his office with a troupe of armed bodyguards and, as always, Eddie Kessler, who earns his dramatic keep in this week’s episodes after two and a half seasons as babbling whipping boy. Eddie vows to Nucky that he will not leave his side, assuring his boss that the team of men assigned with their protection are nothing but hired goons. Eddie believes that he is the only man whom Nucky can really trust, and asserts his unwavering position beside him — a noble loyalty reserved for very few figures in the Boardwalk universe. Knowing full well what his employer does for a living, how he conducts business, the corners he cuts and the victims he has tolled (not to mention how badly he himself is treated by the man), Eddie somehow grants Nucky a love and worship you won’t find elsewhere on the Atlantic City boardwalk. As Eddie affirms at the beginning of the episode, Nucky is his life. And his adherence to this life in particular might be what costs him any at all: while standing tall in the defense of his boss, Eddie is shot in the side and begins losing blood rather quickly.
Of course, Nucky doesn’t discover the wound until the two of them have managed their escape of Nucky’s office — overrun with Gyp Rosetti’s men who have taken out all of Nucky’s — and nabbed a nearby car from a terrified passerby. The opening sequence, which follows Nucky and Eddie as they hide out in the former’s suite, dodging bullets and doling out a few of their own, sneaking out through a desolate alleyway and talking a townsperson into lending them his vehicle, is uniquely exciting for Boardwalk of late. And this isn’t because people’s lives are rarely in danger on this show, but because of how intimate this scene in particular feels. The pairing of Nucky with his long-suffering secretary Eddie as the two hapless heroes hit the road for safety has a fun, sort of darkly comic feel — reminiscent in a way of Bobe Hope and Bing Crosby’s Road to movies of the 1940s and ‘50s, mixed with the morbid taste of a first-person shooter like Medal of Honor or Halo or SOCOM or whatever it was that my college housemates were always playing when I wanted to use the TV for Mario RPG.
Quickly, Nucky learns of Eddie’s affliction… the first symptom being the latter falling nearly unconscious while steering the getaway car off the road. Nucky apprehends driving duties and opts to take Eddie to the hospital, but is beaten to the punch when a slew of Rosetti’s men swarm out of the bulrushes as he arrives at the medical building, forcing Nucky to hightail it “across the fence” to Chalky White’s side of town.
Chalky and his army allow hospice for Nucky and a suffering Eddie, even coughing up Chalky’s aspiring son-in-law/med student to tend to Mr. Kessler’s needs as best he can. One of the most heartbreaking moments during the touch-and-go-for-a-while procedure is when Chalky asks Nucky to identify any family that Eddie has, and Nucky sheepishly admits to having no knowledge on the subject. Here Nucky has a man who was willing to die for him and he can’t even identify a single family member of his.
Not only in Eddie but in Chalky does Nucky discover an insuperable loyalty. Chalky and his men turn away Gyp Rosetti’s substantial reward offering for the disclosure of Nucky, instead keeping the former treasurer safe in transporting him out of town… that is, before Nucky has a third-act change of heart, opting instead to stay in Atlantic City and take what’s his. Following a somber conversation with a rambling Eddie, half in English and half in German and all in the thickest sheath of sorrow — Eddie admits to having, or fabricates entirely, a wife and two sons (news to Nucky) while trying to recollect the words to an old rhyme about keeping your spirits high… a perfect testament to this perpetually upbeat victim of circumstance.
Nucky meets up with his brother Eli via the help of Nucky’s nephew/Eli’s son Willy, who arranges a safe house in his place of employ (closed for business for the day). Eli delivers Chicago’s finest to Nucky, who (taking a lesson from the true friends he discovers on this fateful day), rushes to the aid of his innocent nephew when unfamiliar men approach. Al Capone closes out the episode by promising Nucky his allegiance, in the most snarky and snide way conceivable, foreshadowing a good deal of action to follow. Nucky has earned the partnership of Torrio’s team, meaning that Joe Masseri and Gyp Rosetti have their work cut out for them in the remainder of the season.
While Nucky, Eddie, and Chalky are out on their wild adventure through the coast of Jersey, Richard Harrow sets up his own ominous conclusion. After Rosetti’s men take control of Gillian’s brothel (leaving her in a position of esteem), she has two of her new thugs escort Richard off the premises for good — she’ll have no more of his interference with her systematic brainwashing of young Tommy… but Richard will not go quietly into this night. He’s got a whole lot of guns ready to use next week…And finally, Lucky Luciano is arrested when he tries to sell heroin to an undercover cop. Meyer tells him not to. That’s about the size of it for those schmucks.
Next week, the finale: Chicago Vs. the New Yorkers. Richard Vs. Gillian. Lucky Vs. the Judicial System. What fates will befall which characters?
[Photo Credit: HBO]
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Based on the popular children’s book by Jeanne DuPrau City of Ember is really a cautionary tale: Don’t build an underground city as a refuge for humanity against the threat of a world gone mad and forget to tell its denizens that their city will fall apart after 200 years. To be fair the original “Builders” of Ember tried to set up an exit strategy but didn’t account for the possibility of human error. Thus when the deadline comes the current Ember-ites have no idea why their giant generator powering the whole city is failing. Although he is supposed to know The Mayor (Bill Murray) has no clue--and frankly doesn’t care that much since he has his own exit strategy. The only ones extremely concerned are teens Doon (Harry Treadaway) and Lina (Saoirse Ronan) who discover an ancient document and end up racing against the clock following the clues they hope will lead them--and the rest of the people of Ember--to safety beyond their doomed city. Irish actress Saoirse Ronan best known for her amazingly sophisticated Oscar-nominated performance in Atonement has a face the camera loves. With wide expressive eyes and deep concentration she makes City of Ember that much more compelling simply by the way her face registers a moment. You can tell what she’s thinking without her ever saying a word. She’s quite something. Treadaway (Control) isn’t nearly as effective but he fits the action-hero shoes well. Murray seems to be up to his I-hate-kids tricks (shades of W.C. Fields) but has fun with his vain Mayor. But most of the other adults are somewhat wasted including Toby Jones as the Mayor’s henchman; Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Lina’s ally; Martin Landau as an old laborer who works in the city’s pipes; and finally Tim Robbins as Doon’s inventor dad. They all have the makings to be interesting characters but there’s just not enough about them on screen. I suppose reading the book would help. Director Gil Kenan is a still a kid at heart it’s easy to see. Having made his directorial debut with the visually stunning Monster House he moves into familiar territory with City of Ember tackling the live-action milieu this time around. The city itself is fantastic to look at from the millions of overhead street lights illuminating Ember to Lina’s yarn-filled apartment where she lives to even the smallest details such as a door knob. Kenan takes you down deep into this underground mecca to the point you almost feel claustrophobic. City of Ember certainly isn’t a flick for the younger audiences either with dark scary things lurking in the Pipeworks of the city. Kenan however isn’t quite savvy enough yet to elicit good performances from his actors which is where City of Ember falters a bit--save for Ronan; Kenan just lucked out with her. No matter this adaptation is about the visuals and the thrill of escaping from City of Ember and it delivers the goods on all accounts.
Appeared in the British TV-movie "Act of Betrayal" (ITV)
Had featured role in the Australian miniseries "Under Capricorn"
Starred in Gillian Armstrong's "The Last Days of Chez Nous"
Was regular on syndicated sci-fi TV series "Star Maidens" (made in Europe)
Co-starred with David Suchet in Jonathan Nossiter's award-winning independent film "Sunday"
US TV debut, "All Creatures Great and Small" (aired on NBC as part of the "Hallmark Hall of Fame"; released theatrically in Europe and in the USA after its initial airing)
Acted in "The Late Middle Classes" at the Williamstown Theatre Festival
Co-starred in the British drama "Kavanaugh, QC" (Central Independent Television)
Began stage work with the Royal Shakespeare Company as Olivia in "Twelfth Night"
Played title role in the miniseries "Nancy Astor" (aired first on the BBC and in 1984 in the USA on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre")
Co-starred in "From a Far Country: Pope John Paul II" (NBC)
Assumed role of the cancer-stricken college professor Vivian Baring in the Off-Broadway play "Wit"
Feature acting debut, "Il Sorriso del Grande Tetnatore/The Devil Is a Woman/The Tempter"
A supporting player and occasional lead of TV and film, Lisa Harrow is far more established as a stage actress in Britain, where she has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) since 1969. A native of New Zealand, Harrow had many of her better chances in films once she reached middle-age, notably her award-winning turn as a writer whose world is shaken by the arrival of her sister in Gillian Armstrong's "The Last Days of Chez Nous" and as a troubled woman who mistakes a homeless man for a great film director in Jonathan Nossiter's "Sunday" (1997).
Harrow attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before joining the RSC where she honed her craft in such roles as Olivia in "Twelfth Night" and Desdemona in "Othello". She entered films in 1974 in the Italian-made "Il Sorriso del Grande Tentatore/The Devil Is a Woman/The Tempter", a forgotten rip-off of 1972's "The Exorcist". She lent support to the kindly veterinarian of "All Things Bright and Beautiful" (1974; aired in the USA on NBC in 1975), but her subsequent film appearances have been sporadic. Harrow acted opposite then-husband Sam Neill in "The Final Conflict" (1981), the third part in "The Omen" trilogy, and co-starred as the matriarch of a troubled family who finds solace with Peter Coyote's stranger in "That Eye, The Sky" (1994).
The small screen has provided the actress with numerous opportunities. Harrow was one of the stars of the syndicated sci-fi series "Star Maidens" (1977) and had one of her best role in the title role of "Nancy Astor", the American-born woman who became a member of Parliament (BBC, 1982; PBS, 1984). She was Wanda, the girl left behind by the future pontiff (Sam Neill) in the 1981 NBC biopic "From a Far Country: Pope John Paul II". More recently, Harrow co-starred as the unfaithful wife of a barrister in the British drama "Kavanagh QC" (Central Independent Television, 1995-98).