Monday, September 24, 2012

Boardwalk Empire: Spaghetti And Coffee

Oooooooo Gyp Rosetti you are up to no good!!! Last night's episode showed us that while Nucky and his band of miscreants might've had everything pulled together and tied off with a pretty boozy bow, Gyp Rosetti is out to slash the shit out of everyone's plans.

Okay so the show opens with this sort of creepy scene of this mystery guy emptying out a fishbowl and putting the goldfish in a smaller glass. We don't see who it is, but the way it was shot was really kind of...eery.

Eli Thompson
Then Nucky's brother Eli is finally released from jail. At the end of Season 2, Eli sort of took the fall for alot of the violence that went on, and Nucky was able to talk the sentence down to about 2 years. So, Eli's standing outside of the prison, and this guy Mickey pulls up. Eli's all pissy that Nucky sent him and not someone higher up on the chain. But he takes the ride nonetheless. Eli's got this whole "Fallen from grace" feel about him now. People still seem to recognize him as the town sheriff (which was an honest to god JOKE from the beginning), and they kind of laugh at him now. He acts so disgraced and sad! His oldest son (who may or may not have witnessed him going ape shit on some guy in Season 2) is the man of the house now, acting like he doesn't even really want or need his father around, and the whole episode we're just left feeling downright depressed about Eli....

Until he decides to work for that Mickey guy. See, Mickey tells him that he works for Mickey now, not Nucky. Initially Eli is like "The hell I am!" and resists. But eventually he shows up and helps load the trucks with booze and ends up being the lead driver of this little illegal caravan. Owen Slater, Nucky's number one runner, trusts him and shows him some respect too. And then we start thinking maybe Eli isn't totally down on his luck yet.

Sam Crawford
Meanwhile, Mickey's number one enemy (and Nucky's good friend, ironically) Chalky White (a black guy with a nasty gang temper) is approached by a young black medical student, Samuel. Sam is there to ask Chalky for his daughter Maybelle's hand in marriage. Chalky, after some initial skepticism, agrees, and is actually pretty happy that his daughter was able to land such a stable and secure future for herself. Only problem is....Maybelle doesn't want to marry Samuel. She thinks that life would be too boring for her, and she wants a life like her father's. Chalky is horrified, and knows she has no idea what she means when she says that. And when Samuel and Maybelle go out on a date at a rough bar in town, Samuel gets his face slashed. It's Chalky and his men who jump in and diffuse (read: beat the face slasher to within an inch of his life) the situation. Chalky turns to Maybelle who is terrified and damn near pale and two seconds from passing out and asks her if she understands now, is this what she wants now? Pretty powerful moment.

In Nucky and Margaret land, things are pretty tumultuous. They don't speak and he doesn't ever come home. While Margaret is facing more and more resistance towards her women's health education platform, Nucky's been getting his jollies off at that actress Billie Kent's apartment. He wines and dines her and her friends, and has a moment where he realizes he's hanging out with dumb girls and dumb people. We also learn that Billie is a tennant of Arnold Rothstein, Nucky's business partner. The two have a cat and mouse game of words over who's delivering what shipment of booze, which is nothing new.

Gaston Bollucks Means
Nucky also goes to the mystery apartment from the opening scene. The man is Gaston Bollucks Means, a special investigator for the U.S. Dept of Justice. Nucky was supposed to be putting $40,000 into that empty fishbowl to pay for security. Nucky asks this Means guy all kinds of questions about "Jess Smith", and Means is impressed with him, saying one of the most poignant quotes I've heard in awhile, "Ordinary men see trouble and turn away. Extraordinary men turn that trouble to their advantage". Nucky hands the man the $40,000 and observes one of his partners, George Remus, depositing money blindly into the empty fishbowl in the other room. Not sure if this makes Nucky suspicious of Remus or not, but time will tell on that one.

The clincher of this episode is the ending. This whole time, we've seen Gyp Rosetti has been hanging out in Tabor Heights, New Jersey. He's been asking the locals questions about maps and gas and other stuff that seems pretty innocuous. At one point, Gyp's at the local diner asking what's good to eat. The waitress recommends the spaghetti. Gyp starts hassling her about getting some wine with his meal, but is deterred by the local cops (who we know are in Nucky's pocket). He orders the episode title, "Spaghetti and Coffee" instead.

Then, as we come back to Eli and his caravan of booze from Nucky to Rothstein with love, we see that Gyp, after eating his spaghetti and coffee, has bought the local cops. They stop the caravan and force them to turn around and go home. Owen and Eli know how bad this is, and I'm pretty sure they're the only ones who understand the gravity of what's just happened. And they're scared shitless to go home with cars full of booze.

So, questions for next week? 

How are Rothstein and Nucky gonna respond to this?
What's Gyp's next move?
Will somebody please help Margaret further women's health education?
We didn't see Richard Harrow in this episode--but is he on the path of avenging Jimmy's death? Or was it just Horvitz he wanted taken out?

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