Monday, October 29, 2012

Wordy Old Men on Boardwalk Empire: Season Three, Episode Seven "Sunday Best"

It's Easter time. Nucky and Eli bury the hatchet. Harrow and Tommy head to the Sagorsky household for a boisterous affair. Gillian has Proxy Jimmy over for dinner and a murder. Gyp gets in hot water with Joe Masseria. 

Wordy Ginters: Easter Sunday 1923. Various versions of death and rebirth. Sweet and sour Jesus. The Thompson, Sagorsky, and Gyp holiday celebrations featured a banal angst that most rubes can identify with. Trying to remember all the names of extended family you rarely see. Overbearing relatives and poorly concealed hostilities. Talent shows. Can anyone get under your skin better than family? On the flip side, the contentment, comfort, and peace that comes from breaking bread, and maybe hoisting a glass or two with your kith and kin is often well worth the aggravation.

Old Man Duggan: You hit the nail on the head there. Spring has definitely been turned on full-blast. This episode kept almost everything at home and in the family, which made for some nice moments, but were it not for the last five or ten minutes, this would have been the second straight episode in which very little happened. At time, the pacing seems glacial. Thankfully, Nucky's juggling livened up an otherwise slow first two acts. Old Man Sagorsky was definitely supping with Sour Jesus. I will say Howard Korder and Allen Coulter struck a nice chord with the push in on Nucky as Margaret was singing. Gave him a chance to fall back in love with her, even if it is, as she says when Nucky proffers a juggling tutorial, too late.

WG: I was definitely late to the scene, but I did recognize that Gillian was going tweak the traditional Easter message of death and rebirth to rebirth and death well before she sank Proxy Jimmy in the tub. As we've alluded to many times, Boardwalk Empire is a twisted motherfucker. That Gillian screwed that guy before she killed him was a total frat move.

OMD: I definitely wasn't sure what her plan for Jimmy Part Deux was until he was in the tub. I'm really not sure what her motivation for killing him was, but I guess she had to kill Jimmy to kill Jimmy's memory. Why she had to do this is beyond me, but she's a tough and batshit crazy nut to crack.

That meatloaf is horseshit, ma.
WG: Seeing Gyp with his family answered a lot of questions. The overbearing Mother. Obsessive suit cleaning. Remorseless brow-beating. Intentionally or not, that scene was total Saturday Night Fever. Watch the hair. Was one of those crones around the table Gyp's wife?

OMD: It was equal parts Saturday Night Fever and The Fighter. I got the sense that they were all sisters. Growing up in that hen house likely turned Gyp into the erotic asphyxia indulging unhinged psychopath he is now.

WG: Speaking of movies, I don't want to sound like Jamie Lee Curtis from A Fish Called Wanda, and I had no idea what the hell he said, but Gyp's Italian prayer made me swoon. The Thompson's went traditional. Harrow's elegant prayer was stellar: "Keep us mindful of the needs of others." Gillian and Proxy Jimmy in the middle of the sick little ritual, "Father, Son, Holy Ghost, he who eats fastest eats the most." Speaks for itself.

OMD: That, ladies and gentlefellows, was Wordy on Prayer.

He's a Socialist, not a Bolshevik.
WG: Julia Sagorsky. Nice. Thoughtful. A private plate for Harrow. Being the flaming lefty that I am, I appreciated the Gene Debs name check. Easter dinner got a little tense, but Harrow handled Old Man Sagorsky adroitly. When in doubt, pull the "I will kill you" gambit. I knew Tommy was sunk when he spied the dead son's army figurines. Hell, I wanted to spend some time in that room, maybe set up a sweet ambush from underneath the bed, or some rear flanking action. You know damn well I'm wailing on that bugle inside of five minutes.

OMD: I like that Julia seems genuinely concerned for Harrow and his happiness. I suppose she sees a bit of her brother and ruined father in him. I loved when he told her that she was leaving the house, too. She tried to resist at first, clinging to the prison of her home and situation, but then let go of it. Perhaps they can find salvation in one another's arms.

WG: Rumor has it that you sing like some mythical Irish God of music? I'm assuming you rock the vocals for the Duggan family Easter family entertainment portion of the holiday? Maybe a little "Sailing" by Christopher Cross? "Pusherman" by Curtis Mayfield? Bill Callahan's "Baby's Breath?"  Would that our rapidly crumbling society still engage in such wholesome pursuits. Instead, we retreat to our phones, the bottle, and for many, I suspect, our Japanese pornography. My talent would probably be sneaking into the kitchen at 2 am for another helping of ham and coleslaw. Provided were talking Aunt Nance's coleslaw of course.

OMD: There was a time in which I was known to warble for the masses. Most of my training was for choir, so it was of a classical nature. Private voice lessons. Qualifying for state solo and ensemble. Not very applicable to any sort of singing I was interested in doing past high school, so that's where it ended. I could probably still spin a song of love in a foreign language if called to duty, but these cords haven't been stretched in ages.

WG: What did you make of Nucky bringing Eli back into the fold? He's going to co-chair the warehouse with Mickey. Eli kills him next week, right?

OMD: I'm beginning to believe that Mickey is immortal. Kurgan couldn't even take him down. Nucky clearly got nostalgic for being part of a family. Promoting Eli to a position he's at least mentally capable of doing fed that urge, an urge that is a long way from being fed by the marriage he has ignored for almost two years.

WG: "Confession is for the people in steerage". Nice.

OMD: I liked the line about losing a fortune being the requirement to become a Knight of Columbus, too.

WG: Gyp in church = Keitel in Bad Lieutenant. Many of the characters in Boardwalk Empire are played with such restrained coolness and detachment, I appreciate a dude like Gyp who has some fucking fire. Sure, it's over the top CGI fire, but it speaks to me. I like to watch him rage. He may have bit off more than he can chew to keep himself alive, but I'm glad he's around for a future episode.

OMD: Letting Gyp be his general can't have been the smartest move for old Joe Masseria. I can't imagine this is going to bode well for his criminal enterprise. Masseria obviously stays above the fray for now, but unleashing a lunatic who he readily admits cannot be controlled is not the soundest of decisions. I will make for some explosive action, something that had to happen after two shows of resetting the chess board and the primary agent of carnage laying low whilst licking his wounds.


Shelby said...

Gillian is going to be a serial killer.

At least that's what the scene seemed to imply on its surface. It was stylish and spooky, but they could've tried to film the scene without her coming across as a sociopath.

Unless she IS going to be a serial killer and then the scene will have made total sense.

Shelby said...

- Gyp and sis fighting over the goat eyeball was sweet.

- The first scene where Eli is hiding things and looking up-to-no-good was a pretty brilliant opening scene, I thought. I'm starting to really appreciate the (music) composer's touch on this show.

- Micky is a pretty colorful part of the show. I'd say he's annoying but that would be disingenuous--he's an entertaining character. The guy who plays him does a fantastic job.

- I kind of zoned out when Gyp and the italian mob guy were talking...can you guys sum-up? It's clear that Gyp wants to kill Nucky and Rothstein et al, but why was the italian mob guy pissed? Because he failed to get nucky? I'm woefully ignorant on this Gyp narrative.

WordyG said...

Gyp works for Masseria, the boss of a rival family to the crew Nucky is in cahoots with (Rothstein, et al). Don't mean to be a pedantic asshole, but if you haven't seen each episode, further subplot betwixt the Nucky/Rothstein axis and Gyp/Masseria is that some of the Rothstein crew(Luciano,Lansky) are selling heroin in Masseria's territory in NYC. They had the balls to do it without asking, and ultimately got sideways with Masseria regarding how much of the smack profits they have to kick up to Masseria. Lastly, Gyp/Masseria are old school types, not trusting those with less than 100% Italian blood, and certainly not Jews like Rothstein and Lansky. Masseria pissed for these reasons, AND because Gyp's buggering of Tabor Heights has resulted in less "earnings" for the Masseria family, via their loss of connection to Nucky's whiskey supply. The "organic" to the scene music is fantastic.

WordyG said...

Gillian killed Proxy Jimmy because she needs a body to get an official death certificate, which she needs to cash in financially. Easter is definitely off-season for whorehouses.

Shelby said...

re: Masseria -- Ohhhhhh. Okay, I get it.

re: death cert -- Ohhhhhh. I didn't know she was due insurance money.

Josh Duggan said...

I believe it's just that the estate and all of the money is tied up in Jimmy's name. Not insurance, so much as inheritance as Tommy's guardian.

WordyG said...

I thought Jillian would lay a match to the house and bring it down via flame. Charring the body. Harrow, with his sharpshooter eye, will recognize the body as a fake. As would others I assume? I don't believe CSI styled technologies were available back in the 20's, but dude was more Jimmy doppleganger in spirit than in looks. Will Harrow turn on Jillian? Creepy that it was hard to discern whether or not Jillian's weeping at the end of the episode was ginned up drama to nurse along the ruse, remorse at killing a sizzling hot & innocent piece of prime beef, or that the act finally allowed her to grieve Jimmy's actual death?

Shelby said...

Sigh....that's what I meant. Not sure why I was thinking "insurance" rather than "inheritance," but it might have something to do with watching Dateline murder mysteries lately.

Shelby said...

Also, this is essential CC viewing:

WordyG said...


Josh Duggan said...

That Cross made me hard.

Josh Duggan said...

Oh, and according to Sepinwall (who got this directly from Winter), it was Gyp's wife, his mother-in-law, and his daughters.

Shelby said...

That scene with Gyp and his family ladies TOTALLY reminded me of Spike of Bensonhurst.

And if you haven't seen that, remedy this.

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