Monday, October 1, 2012

Wordy Old Men on Boardwalk Empire: Season Three, Episode Three "Bone for Tuna"

In "Bone for Tuna," Nucky returns to Atlantic City to be confronted with his conscience and the responsibilities that come along with being king. He attempts to come to an agreement with Gyp Rosetti. Nelson Van Alden struggles to adapt to his life in Cicero and gets caught in a raid. Mickey Doyle spouts off and says he killed Manny Horvitz, which gets around to Harrow. Mickey somehow still lives at the end of the episode. Things are heating up in New York with Joe Massaria making a move on Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. Margaret gets her way at the hospital and a pre-natal unit will be put in. Gyp reneges on his agreement, hating being wished good luck.

Old Man Duggan: Two episodes in the can and we're finally getting down to the internal (and to a degree external) emotional strife Nucky is experiencing that comes with the territory of having ascended to the throne. Terence Winter and scribe Chris Haddock waste little time in getting down to brass tacks. Haunted in his dreams at having to kill the boy he raised like a son. Haunted in his homelife at the consequences of having taken a queen. Haunted in business by trying to keep his kingdom in order. Those actions he took were not without their consequences. Is it good to be king?

Wordy Ginters: Mel Brooks was wrong? This casts History of the World: Part I in an entirely different light. Nucky has one foot on a nervous breakdown, and the other foot on a roller skate. The gnawing realization that his empire building has brought him riches, but no one to share it with, may get to him more than his guilt for killing Jimmy.

OMD: How long before Nucky walks into the confessional? He has to unburden his soul. It's either that or keep running to the side-action in the city, an endeavor wrought with its own pitfalls and stressors.

WG: Given his fragile state and Margaret's impressive manipulation skills, there is no limit to the hilarious shenanigans he could be manuevered into. Fuck confession. Selling "smoothness" shoulder to shoulder with Agent Van Alden Mueller is a real possibility. Or perhaps piloting a diving pony off a 30-foot platform into a baby pool, for a nickel-a-head down by the shore. He's vulnerable.

OMD: As I was watching Mickey Doyle taking credit for the murder of Manny Horvitz I thought this has to come back and bite him in the ass, right? Within fifteen minutes of screen time and no more than a couple hours of Boardwalk time, Harrow finds out Mickey is taking credit for the murder. Please [insert higher power you might subscribe to here] let Harrow off that putz. Of course, it didn't happen in "Bone for Tuna." That fucking shitbird has nine lives. I bet that dipshit ends up dying crossing the fucking street. Maybe by a trolley in Brooklyn.

WG: At the time, I said aloud to no one in particular, "Who dies first? Mickey or some random bastard at the hands of Gyp Rosetti?" I still can't quite get my head around the fact that Mickey remains upright. If for no other reason than how ridiculous he looked with his two sizes too small bowler hat at such a disheveled angle when Harrow marched him into Nucky's office. He could get aced, a la Omar, by a little kid in a convenience store. Or else he'll be the only one standing at the end. Laughing that irritating little affected laugh as the credits roll.

OMD: How great was the scene in Nucky's office after Mickey has been dismissed? Harrow's Code is clearly delineated: you can only take out people if they're in the game; you don't take credit for other people's work; you don't joke about killing men you didn't kill. Nucky looks for solace and guidance from a soul so troubled that he had a gun in his mouth in the woods in the recent past.

WG: The failed suicide attempt you reference came from one of the stronger Boardwalk Empire episodes in Season Two. I think tonight's episode was a step back in that direction.

OMD: Sometimes I wonder if part of the purpose of having Nelson Van Alden around is to show what piety, fundamentalism, and temperance get you: misery. That and hot immigrant sex. If only Norwegians weren't so fucking fertile. You know that late night sex-making has to lead to yet another Van Alden yoot. Also, what do you think Van Alden thought of to make him happy as Sigrid was kneading his junk? As for the invitation to the Herkmeyer's, holy shit did it look like his head was going to explode. Is there a more expressive face out there than Michael Shannon's? And the misery seemed to permeate his entire being while he was there. It seems odd to me that he'd give any shits about being one of the boys at Faraday's. Crooked Treasury Department Agent. Shite working situation. Likely re-knocked up wife. He's working for Dean O'Banion by Episode Six, right?

WG: I love the extreme characters on this show. Van Alden. Gyp. Harrow. They all peg the needle on weirdness. I'm speculating that Van Alden's happy thought was "baptizing" Sebso, or perhaps a neatly stacked pile of papers, or the tassles on a lampshade hanging straight, neat, and clean. He's not much of a mixer, is he? And with Sigrid, he's upgraded significantly in the comely wife department. Can you recall the pernicious brow beater he was formerly saddled with? Picture Wilfred Brimley with enormous breasts and a smart purse. Wifey #1/She-Brimley didn't dabble in soft core role playing with an intoxicating Scandinavian accent. The no sale woes, and the corruption he experienced when he got popped in Herk's place will surely send him running for dirty money via O'Banion. He's a wild card though. Wouldn't surprise me if he flips and whacks one of the merry pranksters from Faraday's either. You don't fuck with another man's dress shirt. You most surely do not fuck with Van Alden Mueller.

OMD: She-Brimley. Nice. Van Alden's first wife was about as fetching as Mary Todd Lincoln or Carrie Nation. Stern. If that stain doesn't come out, I'm sure there's a verse in Leviticus that calls for a stoning in a public square.

Poetry readings at the Artemis Club. It was the last two verses of co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Dante Gabriel Rossetti's "Dream-Love" for those keeping track at home. I'm assuming when the men are away, it's fucking slam city up in there. I bet Saul Williams's grandfather went there when the crackers are away. Also, what's going to happen when Lucky Luciano figures out Gillian is lying about Jimmy still being alive?

WG: Awesome catch on the poem. List. Of. Demands. It's a classy joint. Art first, sweet release later. I'm eager to see Gillian's schemes take shape. She's almost as good at moving around the chess board as Margaret. Boardwalk Empire is about Prohibition Era gangsters on the surface, but peel back the label and it's about women who run game. Feminists Empire. A whole mess of plot arcs have been set in motion. Since Winter prides himself on being surprising, who knows how it will play out. Viewers will be frustrated. Which is fine, as long as Mickey ends up pushing up daisies.

OMD: How about the big fuck you to the hospital administrator? Way to go, Margaret. Dr. Landau was a sexist dick who clearly didn't know how effectively the former Mrs. Schroeder works back channels and manipulates people to do her bidding. Hell, she pissed away Nucky's fortune by way of highway money on a church donation.

WG: Particularly satisfying to see Margaret jam it all the way up there and twist it off inside that smug fuck. And with such a quaint little smile. I knew he was destined for a fragging when he patronized her about the hydrangea flower selection for the landscaping.

OMD: "Obviously I offended you in some way, but since you're a man who could find an insult in a bouquet of roses, I'm not sure quite how." What a line. Gyp Rosetti, the psychotic semi-literate with a chip on his shoulder the size of Denali, just will not view any act as anything other than a slight. Sure, the sheriff was a dick, but three episodes in and this maniac has taken a tire-iron to an innocent passerby's head and set a lawman ablaze in the middle of Tabor Heights. He may be subtarded and Cannavale's accent work might be inconsistent, but he makes things interesting.

WG: At this point in our relationship, I love Gyp unequivocally. He literally lights up the screen. He's got a bit of that Jim Thompson The Killer Inside Me vibe going on. Not as dumb as he purposefully appears. The scene where he worked himself into a lather over Nucky's "Bone For Tuna" send-off was fantastic. Nucky has climbed the heights by being smarter than everyone else and being pragmatic. That isn't always going to work with the animals he has nipping at his heels. They may be just as smart, in a way, and a lot less predictable and pragmatic. It's like playing poker with guys who don't play very often. They'll do crazy shit just because. The general unspoken rules of poker probabilities and decorum go straight out the window, with the tourists chasing every card on the flop, hoping to pair up that seven of clubs. It leads to chaos.

OMD: Tourists ruin everything. Or a lot of things. Or something. Gyp makes things far more interesting, that's for damn sure.

WG: Did you catch Gyp's driver talking about Nosferatu as they left with the last load of Nucky's sweet, sweet, whiskey? I'm telling you, Gyp's coat was influenced by Count Orlock's. The buttons. The length. The menace. The dread. Dread threads. Sometimes I see one scene of a movie and It allow me to peer straight into the soul of the costume wrangler.

OMD: Gyp's also growing his fingernails out to be just like Max Schreck's. We used to joke about an old friend of mine's newborn looking like Nosferatu. I don't think he took too kindly to that.

WG: My next hypothesis has to do with the rotund Police Chief in Tabor Heights being Emil Jannings, circa The Last Laugh.

OMD: I just looked over his filmography and shamefully have not seen any of his work. I have no idea how I've made it this far in life without having seen Blue Angel or Murnau's The Last Laugh. I also had no idea that F.W. Murnau died so young. He was only 41. I guess that answers the nagging question I'd always had about why his career never really transitioned to talkies, especially since his German Expressionist contemporaries made hay in Hollywood. Holy shit. Apparently Murnau was 6'9".

WG: There was also a nice bit of set work in an early scene back at the diner in Tabor Heights. Gyp and Nucky were breaking bread (I'm thinking about the pot roast) and hashing out the issues, and a moment of tension arose where you didn't know which way Gyp was going to roll (like pretty much all of his moments), the sign on the wall framed in tight right beside his head said "Red Hot Frankfurter." Nice.

OMD: Nice touch indeed. Angry. Dick.

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