Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wordy Old Men on Boardwalk Empire: Season Three, Episode Six "Ging Gang Goolie"

The greenhouse at the Thompson abode is set ablaze. Fucking vagrants ruin everything. Nucky get nicked for possession of a pint o' whiskey and thrown in the clink for more than a day, perpetuating the season that shall henceforth be known as The Waylaying of Nucky Thompson. Harrow may have found a new flame via a visit to the American Legion. Gillian scrounges up a Jimmy look-alike to schtupp. Margaret and Owen rekindle an exterminated flame.

Old Man Duggan: First things first: Fucking Mickey. That motherfucking cackling buffoon didn't get got after all. Sonuvabitch. I suppose it's all for the better, as that would have been an unfulfilling offing. My money's on Eli offing that fool.

Wordy Ginters: It makes sense in retrospect, his death would have merited some kind of commentary, or at least a good laugh, from the other characters. Glass half full: we'll get the pleasure of seeing him die again (right? Please tell me he'll die). Screw South Park, but maybe it could be a Kenny-like meme. Off him in every show.

OMD: As far as episodes this season are concerned, this one seemed to accomplish the least. Obviously, we got a pretty explosive midseason bit of catharsis last week, so a slower episode was all but a certainty, but aside from the Nucky/Daugherty conflict coming to a head and ultimately taking a step forward there wasn't much that happened here. Boardwalk is no Justified as far as pacing and action is concerned, but occasionally it does feel semi-glacial. It's an aesthetically pleasing glacier, but a glacier just the same.

WG: Other than the surrogate incest, I agree, a beautifully shot but bland chapter. Seems like I've heard grousing on those points regarding this show before?

OMD: So, Terence Winter's got to be a pyromaniac, right? Seriously. Gyp, Teddy, Nucky, smelly vagrants? All predisposed to tickling their fancies with flames. Flamers, if you will. He's surely big into cleaning by destroying.

Winter's muse
WG: Does Winter's toss and turn at night worried that he allows a full glance into his twisted inner soul? Pyromania. Incest. Erotic asphyxiation. And maybe most twisted of all, the debased mind capable of dreaming up Mickey? Winter must be getting triple-teamed by the muses of Henry Miller, William Burroughs, and Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca.

OMD: Jess Smith's breakdown in front of the Boy Scouts called forth memories of Jerry Sandusky. I think it was the sonic quality of his whimpering that screamed pederast to me. "How could we let it get this far?... We stole, Harry. We stole." Breaking down whilst looking out upon a sea of boys in uniform. Not feeling well because of bad sausage. The episode takes its name from the song the scouts sing, signifying an importance to the plot. Sure that importance is tangential, as it cements Means's decision to turn on Daugherty, Smith, and the rest of the crooked Harding administration. He dies shortly thereafter succumbing to a gunshot wound that is ruled a suicide but dubbed suspicious by Senator James Heflin from the Great State of Alabama. The subtext is there in the scene, even though I'm surely given a yard and taking a mile.

WG: Excellent insight on the impending Jess Smith demise. I also am particularly fond of throwing "Sandusky" and "bad sausage" into the fray with nary a smirk. And fuck the Boy Scouts. I'm currently reading the book that Boardwalk Empire was ostensibly built upon. Have you read it? What little research I have done on Means reveals him to be perhaps even more interesting than he is as portrayed by Stephen Root. To continue waxing historical, I did like the way Winter introduced the veterans at the Legion Club. The Veterans Administration scandal is one of the major black marks against Harding's administration. Forbes sold Government/Veterans Administration supplies to private contractors and received millions in kickbacks. Thank God nothing like that happens in today's world.

OMD: I've not read the book of the same name as the series. As for the Harding administration, there are so many major black marks that it would be easier to keep track of what they didn't do wrong.

"Ging Gang Goolie" was written by Robert Baden-Powell in 1920. It's gibberish but is thought to have been inspired by African languages Baden-Powell heard during his time in His Majesty's service in the Second Boer War. I'm sure he served right alongside Bates and Lord Grantham (we really will start getting caught up on those pieces soon, folks). Oh, another Downton tie-in: Esther Randolph opining, "Where are the snows of yesteryear?" whilst supping with Nucky. She surely hangs out with the Dowager Countess when abroad, right?

Clearly a Survivor
WG: Wouldn't it be cool to see some offshoot production where characters from different series mix with each other? Esther might be too radical for the Dowager, although it would be fun to see them rattle sabers. I'm guessing Esther is hanging with Sybil. Other pairings I'd like to see: Columbo and Fonzie open a Fro-Yo joint in Los Angeles, preparing delicious healthy treats by day, and solving mysteries and repairing jukeboxes by night. The three original Charlie's Angels and Schneider from One Day at a Time in Survivor: Grand Island, Nebraska. Louis C.K. moves in the with guys on The Big Bang Theory, and completely destroys them comedically, mentally, and spiritually.

OMD: I'd give anything to have that last one happen.

You'd let Kelly MacDonald spank you, right? If I were that kid actor that plays Teddy, I'd be ruined for the rest of my days.

WG: Kelly MacDonald would likely make want to be naughty on purpose. We very likely saw the birth of a debilitating life-long fetish for Teddy.

OMD: Looks like after being adrift in the wake of Jimmy's death, Harrow has something to live for again. Julia Sagorsky.

WG: Great scene when Harrow was tending to the bruised and bloodied old man Sagorsky. He's a tender assassin. I think it’s the vibe Rowdy Herrington was going for with Swayze in Road House. No nonsense tough guy on the outside. The tender heart of a warrior poet on the inside. Speaking of which, this is the best thing I've read on the internets in quite some time:

OMD: Gillian is one fucked up broad. Fucking the ghost of her son. I don't know whether or not that is more or less depraved than actually She surely has designs on grooming good ol' Rog to act as Jimmy's doppelganger where people will only know of him by name, right? I mean she's still putting on airs as though he were alive. She can't just be seeking out his doppelganger in the hopes of bagging a ghost, can she? And Roger humps like a hump, eh? And thanks, Ed Bianchi, for treating me to a backlit shot of Roger McAllister's hairy taint. That's an image I can't unsear from my brain.

WG: A fools game to suss out what might be going on inside Gillian's brain. Dollar signs and fucking family members tumbling over and over on a hamster wheel. I thought for a moment in the last episode, when she sat down to write a letter to Jimmy, it might be a suicide note. Obviously she's looking for a Jimmy Two. Roger (J2) seems like a dope she'll be able to manipulate, much like Jimmy ultimately was. Have these clowns been watching too much True Blood? I'll get my porn off the internet for free like everybody else. I can scarcely believe I'm saying this out loud, but a little less fetish, and a little less taint, would be a good thing.

OMD: It'll be interesting to see how Nucky's end of things shakes out on the D.O.J. front, as Gaston Bullock Means eventually gets ousted by Daugherty, who remains in office until 1924, when Silent Cal orders him to resign. The Ohio Gang is still about a year from getting tossed out of D.C. on their ears, Jess Smith excepted. At the very least, it is refreshing to see Nucky back to pulling the strings on the political marionette. Nucky the Manipulator is much more interesting than Nucky the Sex-Crazed.

WG: Agreed. I kind of enjoy seeing Nucky lost at sea in love with a barely caring Billie. There have been enough hints and foreshadowing that she'll be toast soon. I'd rather see Nucky mixing it up with Rothstein and Gyp, than running around with Eddie Cantor and making moon eyes at Billie. Billie though, damn. An attractive woman in an unconventional way. Props to casting for coming up with an actress who meets my completely ignorant stereotype of what a 20's showgirl would look like. She's got a bit of depth to her as well, which is a nice change of pace compared to the typical stunning cardboard mistress archetype.

OMD: Margaret and Owen back at it. Let's hope she's not overwrought with Catholic guilt like she was last time, which has derailed her arc for a strong seven or eight episodes. Granted, it was her actions--both with Owen and the ensuing tithing of the highway money--that drove Nucky to the bed of a mist--nay, actress, but I don't know if I can stomach another half-season-plus relapse into guilt-ridden compensation. Oh, and nice touch with "When You and I Were Young, Maggie" to close out the Irish greenhouse tryst. The song was originally penned by a Canadian school teacher George Washington Johnson, who wrote the poem in 1864 for a student of his that he fell for, married, and then watched her die as she'd fallen ill. At least all of this is the case if we're to believe YouTube user ILoveJenni47. It seems like a long ways to go to formulate that entirely.

WG: I'm guessing Margaret will be just fine. Partly slacking the reins on her naughty inner desires, and partly revenge for Nucky's disrespectfully public cadding about. Owen is the one who might end up in a pinch.

Ever see This Boy's Life with a young DiCaprio and Bobby DeNiro? "When You and I Were Young Maggie" is the song Leo is singing with his stereotypically gay buddy at the piano when they awkwardly share a kiss. That song serves as a backdrop for the only man-on-man kiss DiCaprio has blazed on the silver screen. I'm not nearly the authority that ILoveJenni47 is, obviously, but I’m putting it out there.

OMD: I've not seen it. Not really sure why. I will note that one of my friends was with another male friend of his and they were stopped by the border patrol while returning from a 20 minute trip of regret and disappointment into the Nuevo Laredo. Though he had no illegal goods in the car, he did have--and I'm pretty sure I'm remembering the story correctly--Leonardo DiCaprio book that was almost entirely pictures and geared to the tweener girl demographic. This was a gag gift he'd gotten for somebody, but if you asked those Border Patrollers, they'd say he blazed a man-on-man kiss that's been seared into their brains.

And you thought I was going to go with this, didn't you?


Shelby said...

I thought this episode was pretty damn dull. Loved the courtroom scene with Nucky and Esther Randolph, and am glad she's back in the story. Didn't quite get Nucky's proposed conspiracy but I'm sure I'll figure it out during the next episode or two.

I also didn't understand the reason the dude was sobbing at the boy scout thing.

Oh, and you guys need to quit spoiling with your HISTORICAL FACTUALIZING. If I wanted to know what happens in future episodes I'd hop in my time machine and go to the next several Sundays. If I could I'd go back in time to when this shit actually happened but my time machine only goes to The Future. (My time machine involves sleeping pills and an array of alarm clocks)

Josh Duggan said...

It seemed like Nucky was telling Esther that he can serve her up Daugherty and Company on a silver platter to give her back her career because they're going to try to use him as a sacrificial lamb (Remus is too powerful) to sate the gods in the hopes of staying their own executions. He knows she's voracious when in the pursuit of justice. Why not sic her on the guys who would otherwise take him down?

Jess Smith (the sobbing gent) was Daugherty's right hand in the D.O.J. and was selling bonded liquor to bootleggers. With Teapot Dome reaching a boil and everyone gunning for The Ohio Gang (Harding's corrupt cabinet comprised of cronies from his home state), Jess is cracking and knows way too much that could ruin their whole racket.

All that historical stuff is on the periphery and won't actually affect Nucky's storyline in too many ways. It really serves to ground the story in that time and place. If you listed the most important characters in the show, about 75% of them would be fictional. The characters with arcs (Nucky, Harrow, Margaret, Owen, Nelson, Gillian, etc.) are not going to be affected by these historical events. There are also a couple of ways that the Jess Smith story can play itself out, so that's not quite spoiled. As for the other historical figures, we all know what happens with Capone, Luciano, Rothstein, Lansky, Bugsy, et al. Most of them make it out of the scope of this storyline.

Shelby said...

Well, on Nucky's proposal: I guess I did really know what he meant. I just have low self-esteem when it comes to following all of the details on these types of shows so part of me just assumes that it's more complex than it actually is. But you did a nice job of telling me that it's not that complex without being an inconsiderate dick-hole.

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