Boardwalk Empire Thread: Go buy a personality

Owen and the kid

Nucky Thompson is still in a bad mood when Blue Bell Boybegins. Beating the legal system hasn’t improved his disposition at all. I’m not sure that being all-gangster works with his self image but it’s been great for the show. The post title was said by the Nuckster to one of his lame henchman. Good help has always been hard to find, y’all. And it bites Nucky in his skinny Irish ass.

Okay, time to ramble. I’m feeling kinda like Dicky Betts, only without the tats, cowboy hat and coke habit:

V is for Vagina: The Margaret-Hospital story really clicked for me this week. The dialogue with the nun was hilarious as well as, uh, gravid. A word the sister liked better than pregnant. It’s a medical term that only nerdy geeky science/medical types know. It sounds like a gravid image or something.

The sister also objected to the word menstruation, and to Dr. Pipe Smoker who had the audacity to remind her that it was a Latin word. She was unimpressed and called the word a “regrettable tautology” and the doctor a smarty pants. I hope we see Sister Weisenheimer again. That’s probably not her name, sounds more like one of Meyer or Benny’s kith and kin. Speaking of da boys:

The Mustache Pete as anti-Semite: Joe Masseria is a nasty piece of work even for a Mafioso, folks. He calls Charlie Lucky on the carpet for not wetting his beak *and* for having the effrontery to have Jewish partners. Masseria goes on and on about how “they have no heart” and “will stab you in the back.” Actually, the latter is a Sicilian specialty as is the garrot, which is typically performed from behind, Italian doggy style.

Benny Bugsy is now, uh, bugging Meyer to have a “place at the table.” What is he? A waiter in the Poconos? Meyer, in turn, is vaguely jealous of not having a double name like Charlie Lucky and Benny Bugsy…

That’s Why They Call Him Greasy Thumb: Meanwhile in Chicago, there’s a bullying epidemic. Capone’s bagman, Jake Greasy Thumb Guzik, apparently, smells like a noxious mixture of garlic, dill pickles and onions. After Capone urges him to clean up, one of Dion O’Bannion’s thugs cleans Jake’s clock in a Southside speakeasy. Capone’s Southside. Bad move, boy-o.

The other bullying victim is Scarface Al’s young deaf son. Tough guy Alphonse tries to teach the boy how to box but the kid breaks out in tears. To Capone’s credit, he hugs his son and foregoes punishment. The only ones who were disciplined were the viewers who had to listen to Capone’s bad singing and crappy mandolin plucking.

Upon hearing that Jake got his ass kicked in the outfit’s territory, Al goes to the bar, meets the Irish wiseguy and promptly beats him to death. In a sort of twisted hommage to Della Streeet the cat, the coup de grace is delivered with a bar stool. Okay, it had nothing to do with Della but she’s really into stools…

I guess a therapist would day that Al’s brutal beating of the Irish lackey was trasnference from his desire to beat down his boy’s bully. What would Capone say? Fuggedaboutit.

Speaking of Lackeys Who Lack Brains: I mentioned before that Nucky has a problem with the help; especially with the dim braggart, Mickey Doyle, in charge of his bootlegging operation. Mickey is warned by Brother Eli that Gyp Rosetti is planning to ambush their trucks at Taber Heights. Nucky had ordered Doyle to stay off the main road but the moron did not listen, with disastrous results. You know you’re in trouble when Eli is one of your smartest henchman. Little brother may be on the verge of a comeback.

The IRA Man, The Kid and Nucky In The Basement: One reason that Doyle is in sole command of the ill-fated Rothstein convoy is that Owen and Nucky have tracked down that pesky hijacker who stole an earlier Rothstein order. For a professional gambler, Arnold was sure an unlucky goniff…

They corner the kid and are, in turn, cornered by crooked prohibition agents who ransack the house for booze but, quite sensibly, only give the basement a cursory look-see. Everybody knows that basements are for ghosties, zombies and survivalists, and are often used as a burial place by serial killers and other assorted evil doers and no-goodniks.

The kid talks a smooth line and charms the hell out of the IRA man, Owen, who is usually immune to blarney. I think he sees something of himself in the rakish Irish youth and wants to spare the urchin’s life. Said urchin reminds me of one of the Dead End Kids from the 1930’s Warner Brothers gangster movies. They later morphed into the East End KIds and finally the Bowery Boys. Where have you gone Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey? Yeah, I know. They’re dead. I only hope neither is buried in a basement somewhere…

Nucky plays his cards close to his bespoke vest whilst he, Owen, and the Kid are stuck in the basement over night. He’s vexed with Owen and is getting more paranoid every day. The only reason for him to mistrust Owen is that the latter is smart enough to mount his own personal Easter Uprising.

The Kid, alas, reminds Nucky of his late ward, Jimmy Darmody, and despite the Kid’s convincing palaver about what an asset he’d be, his fate is identical to Jimmy’s. A bullet in the back of the head. That, too, was a bit of projection, transference or whatever the hell they call it nowadays.

Owen is stunned that Nucky killed the Kid and says,”I thought you were going to let him go.” Nucky eyes him coldly and says, “Where did you get that idea?”

Owen’s meek reply: “I misundersood.” But deep down, he understands that there was no misunderstanding and that his cranky boss is sending him a message. Holy projection, Batman.

My only complaint about episode-4 is that I’m suffering from a Chalky White deficiency in my diet. More Chalky, please, it’s a Gyp without him…

I’ll let Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford have the last word this week:

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