Boardwalk Empire 2.8 – Two Boats And A Lifeguard
James “Jimmy” Darmody is screaming into the phone at Al Capone inquiring about the failed murder attempt on Nucky Thompson when he turns around to see his beautiful wife Angela and their son staring at him from the doorway. I was confused at Jimmy’s anger at Al since it was quite clear that he didn’t wish Nucky dead but then it dawned on me that perhaps Darmody had made peace with the idea and was almost disappointed that it didn’t go through. What follows is a little one-on-one between Jimmy and Angela where he finally comes clean to her about his true work, his mother’s influence and the reality that he wasn’t in love with her.
Angela the bohemian beauty that she is does not take Jimmy’s admission as a wound but uses it to steel herself in her resolve that she may play the doting wife at home, but on her own time she was an artist and a bisexual woman that loved the lips of the fairer sex. We are given this reality when she meets a wild girl on the beach, pays for her ticket (she was in trouble with the police for wearing her skirt too low) and hooks up with her later on at a party for free-spirits. The roaring 20’s was well known for homosexual clubs and parties in Atlantic City, so this depiction was a good one and poor Angela was actually smiling this episode.
Nucky Thompson’s father has a fatal stroke – he had it trying to defend his baby boy Eli after a man comes into their home to serve him a subpoena. When the wake is on and Nucky hears the news he sneaks over to observe his father in the early morning. For some reason Eli arrives early too and the brothers are forced to acknowledge one another and talk, it is again Nucky beating down his little brother verbally before he can escape the room. The argument was on their father and whether or not he was a good man. Eli seemed to want to believe so but Enoch quickly reminds him otherwise. When Eli exits, Nucky goes over to the casket, sees his dad’s laces untied and busts out crying heavily when he goes to tie them. The scars seem to run deep for his father and I wonder if we are to get anymore background into their story.
Nelson Van Alden seems to be turning from the light with every episode and his young partner is beginning to see it. Hiring a young German woman to care for Abigail every day, he goes about his business in his standard, stiff fashion, and Nucky pays him as was agreed, enough for him to keep his daughter happy and hopefully his superiors out of his business.In the meantime Nucky, injured by the gunshot through his hand gets the intel from the very feds who wish to indict him that his shooter was an Italian under the employ of Al Capone. Seeing this as a possible issue with his business partner Mr. Johnny Torrio, Nucky arranges a meeting with Johnny and Albert Rothstein.
The men meet on the outskirts of the city in order to figure out what was being plotted behind their backs. This, after Charles Luciano and Meyer Lansky lied to Rothstein about the shooting and robbery of Waxey Gordon in Philadelphia a few episodes back. These older gangsters finally come to pace with the fact that their students were muscling in on their own operations and Nucky utters this awesome line:
“Gentlemen our pups have grown fangs”
Indeed they had and Nucky tries to figure out a suitable counterstrike when the brilliant and crafty Rothstein suggests that he simply does nothing. Comparing life to gambling he reminds Nucky that if you bet on something that wasn’t a sure thing you are bound to lose it all, so sometimes you have to simply wait for that sure thing. It was a poetic explanation and Nucky took it to heart. He decides instead of attacking, to step down from power, collect his resources and take a trip to Europe. Prior to leaving he visits the home of the Commodore and formally announces his retirement to which a stunned Jimmy surrenders a “good luck to you”. For this viewer it was a declaration of war but to Jimmy it seemed as if his “uncle” had just passed all of the chips to him.
While Nucky makes a smart move for once, Jimmy seemed to slip into a world of foolish decision. First he makes a victory speech to all of his peers, including the puppet that will replace Nucky as City Treasurer and then he throws our buddy Mickey Doyle from the upper balcony of Babbet’s to insult his friend, the Jewish boss Manny Horvitz. With Jimmy’s refusal to pay Manny the money he owes and blatantly disrespecting him, either he knows something that I don’t know or Darmody is getting a tad cocky.
Little does the young bull know however that prior to leaving, Nucky had met with Chalky White and gave him the green light to cause turmoil using the black sector of Atlantic City. What this probably means outside of black people not voting for the new guy is that we will probably see Mr. Chalky go crazy on the Klansmen that had brutalized his people for far too long.