Boardwalk Empire

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B+ | 4 USERS: A+
Pay It Upward

Speaking of Margaret, she's at home in her dark house, sitting at the kitchen table and staring out into nothing. Her kids come in, laughing because one is trying to walk in dad's oversized work boots. This manages to crack a smile from her, at least. But the lady is troubled.

At the Ritz, Lucy is taking a bath and calling out to Nucky in the next room. A peek inside Lucy's brain: she thinks Nucky should grow a mustache. You know, like Douglas Fairbanks. Nucky sneers that Fairbanks "belongs in Snake Alley with the other powderpuffs." Ah, so we see the limits of Nucky's progressive populism. Good to know. Eddie (wearing a proper chauffeur's cap, thank God) pops in and announces that Mrs. Schroeder is here. Lucy's ears perk up at this, and she asks who Mrs. Schroeder is. Nucky blows her off and tells her to wait with Eddie.

Nucky leads Margaret into a sitting room, remarking that it's nearly midnight. But I guess Margaret couldn't wait any longer to hand back the money Eli gave her. "I don't know what it's for," Margaret says, stretching the limits of credulity on her naiveté just a bit, don't you think? Clearly she knows what it's for if it's "weighing on her conscience." Nucky says he understands what she's going through, and they talk a bit -- again -- about his wife. Margaret stresses that when she first came to Nucky, she was only seeking a job for Hans. She wasn't seeking alms. She quotes George Sand: "Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it." Nucky is impressed at how well-read she is. She explains that her former employer was a barrister, his house filled with books. She just wants to provide for her children, she goes on. And she's confused as to what Nucky seems to want from her. Ever the good cop, Nucky looks at her sincerely and tells her, "I want you to vote Republican." Again, it's not hard to see how this guy ended up elected king.

Back in the hotel room with George and (not-)Martha. He's getting handsy, and Claudia's fending him off, finally telling him forcefully that she's not that kinda girl. "Really," he snorts, "what kinda girl are ya?" That earns him a slap to the face. It seems for a second like he's going to attack her, but she tells him she'll scream. So instead, he tells her to pack her things, she's going back to "Balty-more."

At the speakeasy, Nucky's holding court over martinis, telling jokes about men who hate their wives. Jimmy skulks in, and Nucky barely registers him. But Jimmy manages to pull him away from the table long enough to hand him an envelope of money. He asks if they're square, and Nucky replies, "As a block of ice." I'll bet. ...Actually, so will Nucky, who calls his friends to the tables. While Jimmy's still watching, Nucky places the whole wad of cash on one spin of the roulette wheel. Black. The wheel spins as Nucky, essentially thumbing his nose at Jimmy, snarks, "And the world turns..." When the wheel comes up red, Nucky can barely produce a frown. "Not my night, apparently," he snarks to Jimmy, who watches his hard-pawned stack of cash go back into the casino, where it will, sooner or later, end up back in Nucky's pocket somehow. It's not forcing a man to choke on a cue ball, but it gets the message across just the same.

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Boardwalk Empire




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