Boardwalk Empire
21

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Joe R: B+ | Grade It Now!
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You Can't Miss the Bear

Eli leaves and passes Gillian, keeping watch as always. That lady is establishing her CREEP bona fides this season. Inside the room, Commodore scoffs about giving a small man like Eli a meager bit of power and watching it go to his head. He means to give Jimmy real power, wants him to start laying groundwork with people like the governor. He can see Jimmy is somewhat lost in thought and tells him not to worry about Nucky. Jimmy says he's not. The Commodore gives Jimmy advice via a story about the stuffed bear that's been pulling focus from the corner throughout the scene. He tracked that bear for three hours in the wild, cornered him, and when the bear got confident and thought he was scared, Commodore blasted him in the gut. "He looked me in the eyes, almost like he couldn't believe it," he recounts. He then turns to his son. "You'll be judged by what you accomplish," he pontificates, "not what you attempt."

Meanwhile, Nucky relies on his speechifying in order to calm tensions over the Klan shooting. He speaks in front of the black congregation and condemns the KKK, the "so-called Christian organization" that perpetrated these events. He assures them that these "hooded cowards" will be brought to justice. Then, after a completely imperceptible edit, his tone changes, and he thunders that "no one need fear for their safety or the safety of their families... in the face of the obstreperous negro." Yes, now he's preaching to the peckerwoods. He assures them "these coloreds" will be taught a lesson, with an "iron fist" if necessary. Big applause. But wait! A man runs in to announce that Herman Dacus just died from his neck wound. Oh, the tragedy. Nucky quickly tells Eli to find Chalky and place him under arrest, "for his own safety," then turns back to try to calm the crowd.

The Van Aldens dine at Preston's for their 13th wedding anniversary. Their waiter -- who seems like he's the owner trying to make a good impression -- asks if they will be imbibing for this special occasion. After all, they can accommodate most requests, wink-wink. Van Alden demurs, ordering coffee for the Mrs. and a glass of cold buttermilk for himself. (Cold? Wild man!) After the waiter leaves, Mrs. VA is all "Alcohol! I never! Aren't you going to arrest him?" Nelson clearly wasn't planning on it, but he excuses himself for a moment to wash up. "...Public spaces" and all.

Nucky and Jimmy both attend the KKK wake (separately), looking around at the hooded thugs all over, while women sob and wonder how a good man could be killed like this. After looking warily across the room at a thus far unnamed man played by Dominic "Uncle Junior" Chianese. Nothing more from him this week, but obviously something's coming. Nucky and Jimmy retire to the front porch, where they both allude to the Knights across the porch. Jimmy: "Seems like an awful waste of a lot of good tablecloths." Their interaction is awkward but not adversarial. Jimmy asks after Chalky, and Nucky gives Jimmy shit for getting married "like a thief in the night." Jimmy says that he's liking the new place and that he took Tommy shooting and fishing, like he and Nucky used to. Jimmy says he used to love that. Nucky asks, "Is there anything now that you want to say?" Jimmy is silent, so Nucky persists: "Your father is a very duplicitous man." Jimmy still doesn't respond. Nucky tells him, "You've been told." Jimmy leaves without saying another word, as Nucky remains to be disconcerted by Uncle Junior Muttonchops anew.

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Boardwalk Empire

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