Boardwalk Empire
Acres of Diamonds

Episode Report Card
Daniel: B | 36 USERS: B
YOU GRADE IT
Couldn't Quite Seem To Escape Myself

Nucky's hanging out in a restaurant full of people in white suits and straw boaters, eavesdropping on the conversation of a young huckster making a real-estate deal with some poor sap falling for the patter of deeds trading hands as much as fifteen times in a single day. And one time a shipping clerk sold his in the bathroom at the train station before he'd even left town, for a cool $15,000 profit! After the whale leaves, Nucky asks the seller if any Joe can buy in. Sure, if you've got the dough, says the agent, who's selling lots in "Pineapple Grove," the hottest new development in Tampa, actually. Nucky cools the proceedings by asking if that shipping clerk cleaned the shit off his hands before signing the deed away. I guess wiping techniques back then weren't quite as advanced as they are today.

Still, the salesman senses an in with Nucky and introductions are exchanged — he's "Skeeter" Walsh, so named because his dad said he was always buzzing around (and not, as Nucky asks, if he's a bloodsucker). Nucky's skeptical of the real-estate racket, noting it's "swampland at a hundred bucks an acre." Skeeter, undeterred, notes that he's just giving the people what they want, which is certainly a philosophy Nucky can relate to. He orders a round of drinks for Skeeter and himself ("Lighter on the blood, heavier on the Mary," he says), and then wants the straight truth from Skeeter about the deal. He says he and the others are "binder boys." They take the "binders" — the deposits, usually about ten per cent, to hold the property. Skeeter tells Nucky it's booming down here since Temple Terrace opened, and there's three more developments in the works — country clubs, golf courses, paved streets. "And the buyers are lining up?" asks Nucky. This news is not impressing Nucky, although it's a little much when we hear thunder crashing when Skeeter says last year there were nine binder boys, and this year there are seventy-four.

We go now to a library where a gramophone is cranking out an old man pontificating on how it's one's duty to be rich, as the richest men in the community are the most honest, which is why they're trusted with money. The sounds of giggling in the background suggest that this might be some sort of sketch-comedy record of the 1920s. This is the Stephen Colbert of 1924!

Actually, it's a library at Temple University, where students are listening to (and being shushed) to a speech by "Old Man Conwell" — that would be Russell Conwell, the university's first president, and this is the speech that gives the episode its title. A group of students in the back, including someone named Henry or Bucket, are laughing about it, Willie standing nearby. As Bucket, the leader — bums a smoke from the bespectacled — and therefore clearly an unpopular nerd — next to Willie, it becomes immediately clear that Willie isn't as popular at school as he made out at home (which is ironic, given how much shit his dad gave him for it) but just rattled off the names of classmates. A couple of female students arrive. Bucket suavely says, "Say, nobody told me Colleen Moore enrolled in school." Jesus, I am not that familiar with silent film stars! We get it! You research this shit!

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Boardwalk Empire

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