Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wordy Old Men on Boardwalk Empire: Season Three, Episode Ten "A Man, A Plan..."

In "A Man, A Plan..." Nucky sends Owen to try to off Joe Masseria. Margaret and Owen make plans to run off together. Harrow and Julia Sagorsky get cozier with one another. Nelson Van Alden gets caught selling Sigfrid's homemade aquavit in Capone's territory. Owen is shipped back to Atlantic City in a crate with his throat slit. Margaret is revealed to be with Owen's child. 

OMD: First off, I'll apologize for our absence last week. I was out of pocket, as was Wordy. I, for one, had no HBO until Wednesday night and was sure as shit not going to dump this on a weekend in which absolutely no one was on the interwebs.

So I guess I'll start with the obvious, my prediction that Owen was a dead man walking was proven to be on point. Owen was getting too cocksure. Margaret was getting happy and making plans for a future. Clearly all of this was going to get snatched away. These two can't have a happy ending; the only one that might be in the cards would be for Richard Harrow and Julia Sagorsky. Call me Karnak.

WG: Karnak, what's St. Louis like? Nice call. And like a cockroach twinkie, I could see Mickey Doyle surviving against all odds as well.

OMD: If there's one thing that has been established in our time on God's green Earth, it's that St. Louis is as close to Hell as we shall ever find.

The pregnancy angle was obvious. As soon as Margaret told Dr. French Stewart that it was all "nothing [she hadn't] been through before," the bastard son of Owen Slater being firmly set in her womb and his future of growing up without his father was set in stone. I thought for sure that Nucky was actually the one who served up Owen's head on a platter, but the look of surprise on his face when Margaret ran off crying makes me doubt my assumption. I have a feeling that without the audience being privy to any of this, Nucky has gone through Lansky and Luciano parlaying his control of the Old Overholt Distillery into a partnership that Joe Masseria doesn't know he's a part of yet. It is possible that I'm probably giving Nucky too much credit, though, and this presumption requires the belief that Lansky and Luciano are stepping out much further from under Rothstein's umbrella than they may be ready for. Still, Lansky and Luciano had to have known exactly where the attack was coming from and only Eli, Mickey, Nucky, Owen, and Agent Stan Sawicki could have known. Sure, it could have been Mickey, Sawicki, or maybe Eli, but the most calculated move would have been for Nucky himself to feed the information to Lansky and Luciano.

WG: Your fundamentals are solid. As you've deduced, the spanner in the works is Nucky's realization that Margaret was wounded much deeper than expected over the boxed corpse. You are tracking something though. The details of Owen's death were probably too open ended, which leaves the Lansky/Luciano plotting angle wide open. I don't think Sawicki was in the box, which may have something to do with shipping costs.

OMD: Back to the opening of the episode, the makeshift post-war nuclear unit of Harrow, Julia, and Tommy Darmody was quite the picture. Beach. Ice Cream. Neptune on stage before heading back into the sea. I really think Tommy's not long for the whore house, though it would be quite the bold move for Harrow to actually take Tommy without Gillian perishing in some extreme way. I hope Harrow surprises me and slinks off into the night with Tommy and Julia in tow. Perhaps to live amongst the Indians. At the very least, one hopes that Julia is done with her abusive father's bullshit. Walking out with Richard seemed to portend change in course.

WG: Is it just me, or does Julia look a lot like Gillian? Doppelganger a go-go. I'm wondering if Julia would be able to leave her father? He's an abusive half-mad shitheel, but he's got his reasons. Another plot thread that I'm looking forward to getting unspooled.

OMD: George Nelson Van Alden Mueller got too big for his britches and faced Capone in an interesting exchange. Getting too big for one's britches seemed to be a recurring motif in this episode. Really, this was the episode in which seemingly all of the chickens came home to roost--well, excepting Gyp and Nucky (at least not directly). Nelson, Owen, Margaret, the drunk Mr. Sagorsky, and to a lesser extent Nucky's operation, Gaston Bullock Means (though no one was there to see it), Women's Sexual Education: all got knocked down a peg or two.

WG: Great scene with Capone and Van Alden Mueller. That he fell back into his Calvinistic ways and starting reciting bible chapter and verse was a nice twist. It was odd to see him scared. He rarely shows emotion, other than anger, heartburn, or stunned acquiescence. Capone was fortunate that Sigfrid wasn't around. No one forks husband.

Emperor Palpa--er, David Glass
OMD: Stephen Root's performance was once again delicious. Holy shit, does he take the reins in every scene he's in. Means's machinations were a sight to behold, even if he was caught red-handed by Jess Smith. Of course, that was all immaterial because Jess was a basket-case. The best part of it all was Means got $80,000, half from each Nucky and Harry Daugherty to watch Smith pull the trigger himself.

WG: Means is fantastic. His eccentric flair reminds me a little bit of Langrishe from Deadwood. The look on his face when big faltering Jess took his own life was the definition of the cat that swallowed the canary. Shaking down both Nucky and Daugherty for $40K was smooth.  Reminds me of the larceny Royals owner David Glass pulls with MLB luxury tax proceeds and Jackson County taxpayers.

OMD: Chalky needs to be running a Cotton Club Atlantic City just to give him something to do. He has been so relegated to the background this season that it would only be recompense to the audience. Thompson will surely be turning to Chalky and his brethren for help to rise up against Gyp's men, but Chalky's central presence in just one episode and another three scenes thus far needs to be rectified.

Sidney Bechet
WG: Chalky should get the new Babette's gig just to showcase up and coming Jazz legends in Season Four. Duke Ellington. Louis Armstrong. Jelly Roll Morton. Kid Ory. Sidney Bechet. Fuck Ken Burns. I want to see Chalky lay it out.

OMD: In profile, young Sidney Bechet actually bears a striking resemblance to Erik LaRay Harvey, the actor who plays Dunn Purnsley. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to have them be kin for the sake of getting him to play there. It'll have to happen by September of 1925, though, as he heads to Europe with Josephine Baker & Co. in the Revue Nègre, and I think he stays abroad until 1929. I'm no jazz historian, though, so I could be mistaken. Regardless, I'm guessing Bechet brings the house down on many occasions.

So Gyp's bludgeoning of Franco with a shovel on the beach pretty much seals his fate, right? I'd be shocked if he didn't go down this season, and it would seem that he's likely to be given up by his right hand now, wouldn't it? Tonino has to see that it's only a matter of time before Gyp turns on him in a similar fashion, and he crushed the skull of his first cousin. Gyp's fate will be directly tied to that action.

WG: When he's on the screen, I get all tingly in my thighs, but Gyp is too crazy to be kept around. I'll call my shot and guess he gets got in the final episode.

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