Last week’s exemplary episode of Boardwalk Empire attached to the Thompson family good deal of elements that are revisited in the latest episode: Treasurer Andrew Mellon’s concordance with Nucky’s plan to take down George Remus; Margaret’s submission to her feelings for Owen; the trying qualm of whether or not to acquire a pony for Emily’s eighth birthday party. But there’s really only one major factor you’d have to keep in mind to follow the newest Boardwalk, “The Milkmaid’s Lot”: the explosion. And it seemed like they were just going to gloss over that, didn’t it?
We find Nucky keeping stead in his hotel suite with the family, suffering from incessant confusion, consistent spells of dizziness and tinnitus, and fleeting mental projections of Billie’s final smile to him before she was consumed by the blast. He’s not on top of his game — forgetting his whereabouts in the middle of conversations, not recognizing his own wife and brother, and calling back continuously to the issue of Emily’s absent pony (which was never apprehended, in light of the incident). Nucky’s losing it. But he vigorously stands by his call to arms against the explosion’s perpetrator, Gyp Rosetti, and his business associate Joe Masseria. Nucky wants them both dead, and he is rounding up the troops to see the act carried out.
Unfortunately, Nucky has fewer steadfast friends than he might have thought. The men who attend his meeting — Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Waxey Gordon, and a bunch of other criminal bigwigs we’ve either never or barely heard from before — reject Nucky’s request for alliance in his warfare against Rosetti and Masseria.
His losses don’t stop there: more aware that ever of the nature of his business (and about his extramarital attachments), and more vehement than ever about her feelings for Owen, Margaret anxiously wants out of this life, confirming to Owen that she will leave with him as soon as they are able — something with which Owen is also entirely on board (or so he says… it’s hard to read his unwaveringly straight-faced and even-keeled character). So to recap Nucky’s losses: Billie; his allies; his wife, right-hand man, and children (imminently); and, as he is so fervently worried, his life. But at least he finds that bird earring on his bathroom floor!
But while Nucky is likely fearful over his worthy foe, Gyp Rosetti seems to be losing his grip a little bit as well. Even after having taken complete control over Tabor Heights, New Jersey, Rosetti fails to impress his boss and this show’s entire Italian population’s father figure, Joe Masseria. Rosetti’s failure to successfully kill Nucky and Rothstein in the explosion, along with his general attitude and unpredictability, keeps Rosetti a far reach from Masseria’s respect. But these harsh words only charge Rosetti further — a war, as symbolized by his theft of and adornment with and Napoleon-esque hat he steals from Tabor Heights’ library, is definitely on its way.
A more personal story exists among the residents of Gillian’s brothel. When Richard takes off for the night to attend a legion meeting — that’s code for a party with his new girlfriend Julie — Tommy earns another dose of childhood trauma. Tommy walks in on one of the call girls (a kindhearted young lady with whom the boy seems particularly smitten) in the throes of her profession, which sends him running off hysterically, enraging Gillian… who is not particularly pleased that Tommy is beginning to show affection for someone other than her.
Before arriving home to the disaster, Richard’s night was actually going quite well. Though he begins the evening with Julie as anxiously and awkwardly as one might expect, Richard exhibits a flare on the dance floor that impresses his date as well as the slew of veteran spectators… and earns him a kiss, no less. Something the perpetually heartbroken, self-loathing soldier probably never thought he’d get again.
When Richard tends to a half-asleep Tommy after a stern talking to from Gillian, the young boy mutters that he wants to “go home,” prompting suggestion that maybe Margaret and Owen won’t be the only ones running off together. It seems that Richard’s new dream might be to start a new life with Julie and Tommy, although there are two very ferocious problems standing in the way of that: Julie’s alcoholic father and, even worse, Gillian.
The way things are setting up in this show, big changes are bound to take hold of both the Thompson household and the Darmody residence. But are we really likely to see Nucky gunned down by Gyp Rosetti? Will the treasurer be able to handle himself against the insane mobster? Or will his plan to take down Harry Daugherty (the first step of which is enacted this week, when George Remus is arrested and agrees to give up his associates Daugherty and Jess Smith) somehow come into play in Nucky’s survival?
[Photo Credit: HBO]