Boardwalk Empire Thread: King Of Norway

Eli and Van Weirdo

It’s hard being a Thompson brother. Nucky used to be King of Atlantic City and now Luciano wants him dead. Nucky survives the second attempt, Joe Maranzano is not as lucky as Nucky. In Chicago, Eli’s life has become a self-described “fucking shipwreck.” He’s so far gone that he doesn’t recall diddling Mrs. Van Weirdo on her kitchen chair until he sees a picture of the King of Norway on the wall. In the immortal words of Van Weirdo, “land ho.”

Now that I’ve thoroughly bummed you out, it’s time for me to natter on whilst pretending to have organized my thoughts. I am, however, sufficiently organized to insert a break without seeing King Haakon VII on the wall; the sighting that gave the episode its title. I promise not to make too many puns on his name, nobody wants to hear a blogger haakon a lugee…

Victorian Nuckster: The Jersey wayback machine takes us to 1897. Young Enoch is now a deputy and protege of Sheriff Lindsay who is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Commodore. We see Nucky deal with a crazy boardwalk biddy, propose a non-violent way to deal with the Commodore’s disaffected bag man, Halligan, and watch him trying to schmooze Mabel’s bearded father.

Nucky was as smooth as can be but things didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. His prospective FIL is unmoved by Enoch’s charm but knows that his willful daughter will insist on marrying the young man on the make. There’s some good news for Daddy dearest: Mabel does not want Enoch to join the 1897 gold rush because in Alaska, “there’s nothing but rough men and bear grease.” I wonder if Joe Cocker and the Grease Band gigged there? Joe has always looked like a grizzled, Gabby Hayes type movie prospector, consarn it…

The Commodore still does not trust young Enoch. His plans for non-violent action were implicitly rejected. Nucky finds Halligan’s body, instead of a dead hog, under the boardwalk, down by the sea. Halligan *was* a metaphorical hog, not the real deal. At least the biddy finally stumbled into some actual crime…

Btw, the guy who played Victorian Nucky, Mark Pickering, is a dead ringer for Steve Buscemi, big, scary teeth and all. Great casting, y’all.

The She-Wolf Of Wall Street: Margaret continues to pose the question: WWND? She’s become a gangster in her own right, playing hardball with the widow Rothstein and raising a ruckus over the latter’s mouthpiece’s objection to a Jersey check from the Old Rumpus holding company. Ruckus meet Rumpus.  Hmm, maybe the lawyer was worried that he’d have to face Rumpole in court.

It seems that Thompson Inc is once again a going concern. They seem to be hatching a plan to undercut the stock of Mayflower Grain, the consortium that snubbed Nucky a few episodes back. This is probably a way for them to re-insert Joe Kennedy into the show. Here’s hoping that there’s some, uh, consortium between Margaret and Joe…

Crazy Lady, Heal Thyself: Gillian is finding the laughing academy anything but funny. The jury cut her a break with its finding of temporary insanity: the asylum is nicer than prison but the crazy is starting to rub off on her even without James Cromwell or Jessica Lange on duty.

Gillian meets with a doc and declares herself cured. Check me outta here, Buster. The doc doesn’t believe in the concept of temporary insanity and is even resistant to Gillian’s most winsome smile. What kind of a movie shrink is this guy? They’re usually major horndogs who would gladly maul someone as beautiful as Gretchen Mol. I guess Gillian will have to work a different angle.

A Darmody family values sidebar. Remember Joe Harper,  the kid who Mickey Doyle hired to unload likker crates? He seems to have become the snickering man’s factotum but I’m wondering if he’s really Tommy Darmody come back to his roots. We shall see.

Dinner With The Van Weirdos: There’s a lot going on in Chi-town. Al Capone is constipated and makes sure the world knows about it. I guess he wants his yes men to tell him his shit doesn’t stink.

Not only is Capone constipated, he’s got the G-Men on his trail and they’ve found two wanted murderers who used to be law men to roll over on him. That’s right, former Agent Van Weirdo and former AC Sheriff Eli Thompson.

Eli’s wife June is paying him a visit. Their last visit was clearly conjugal in nature: she’s preggers. Eli may be a drunken bum and joke to the Capone outfit but he’s not shooting blanks in the bedroom.

The visit goes well until they dine with the Van Weirdos. Mrs. Van Weirdo is a genuinely nasty piece of work, but being married to Lurch could make anyone nasty. She seems incapable of hospitality until we learned that she and Eli “fucked and fucked and fucked” on a kitchen chair.Yumpin’ yiminy.  Eli is so far gone that he forgot this until seeing the stern, mustachioed visage of King Haakon on the wall. From far gone to Haakon in one fell swoop.

Eli and Van Cuckold are almost relieved when the feds take them away. They’re about to be men with a mission: steal the Chicago outfit’s ledgers while Capone is out on the town with some Hollywood types. I wonder if he’s hanging with Ben Hecht, Howard Hawks,  and Paul Muni who were about to make a little film called Scarface. In between trips to the john, Capone is thrilled that they’re making a movie about him. I wonder if he minded a Jew playing him, he’s never exactly cottoned to Meyer Lansky or Bugsy Siegel…

I hope Eli and Van Weirdo leave some laxatives in lieu of the ledgers. I’m tired of typing Constipated Capone. I assume you know that I’m just haakon a pack of lies…

Nucky Finds The Great Depression Greatly Depressing: Nucky learns once again that there is no honor among gangsters. He thought Johnny Torrio was his pal until the former Chicago mob boss set him up to be killed by Charlie Lucky’s gunsels. That’s what happens when you cast the guy who betrayed Phil Leotardo to Tony Soprano as Johnny Torrio. The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire are intertwined like hillbillies or royals. Btw, Haakon was married to Edward VII’s daughter, Maud. None of them was in The Sopranos

Nucky survives thanks to his trusty Cuban bodyguard but Joe Maranzano was not so lucky. Everyone should have a ear-cutting Cuban in their employ. The sad part about the old boss’ passing is that we never learn if he’d live up to this pledge:

“You are Malta. An island unto yourself. Loyal to Rome but exempt from Roman law.”

I like the image of Nucky as Malta. He could have had a falcon and serve-a the Malta milkshakes but Charlie Lucky went and spoiled everything. What a soda jerk…

I’ll discuss Nucky’s encounter with Chalky below. It’s increasingly obvious that Nucky is still a crooked politcian at heart. He’s rather trade favors than bullets but he’s willing to make an exception in Luciano and Lansky’s case. We know he will fail since those two survive, but it will be interesting to see *how* he tries to liquidate them. I thought I’d use a favorite euphemism of the most successful Thirties gangster of them all, Josef Stalin.

Chalky Makes An Old Rumpus: Chalky White is back where he belongs, at the club once called the Onyx. Mickey Doyle put the nyx on that name, and it’s now a classy strip club, sort of a swankier Bad-a-Bing. Mercifully, Chalky is not there to disrepect the Old Rumpus. He’s no Ralph Cifaretto, after all…

The meeting between Chalky and Nucky is tense at first but the two old colleagues eventually relax. Chalky is not there to whack Nucky, he has Dr. Narcisse on his mind. Nucky urges him to reconsider and Chalky mocks him for being a Jersey pollyanna.

While Nucky is off nearly being whacked in New York, a fed comes looking for Chalky. I was a bit nervous about whether Mickey Doyle would honor the Nuckster’s promise of protection, but he did. Being a Jewish gangster with an Irish name, he did so with a bad  joke. There was a black dude working in the kitchen with a scar so Mickey escorted the fed therein. Mickey told the cop that they all looked alike to him. He may be a bigot, but he’s a slick one. Insert Mickey Doyle laugh here. I’m unsure if it’s best described as a snicker, giggle, or cackle. I think titter might be the best word given Doyle’s line of work…

The episode ends with Chalky visiting one of the bad doctor’s bawdy houses. He arrived with murder, not nookie, on his mind. He unexpectedly ran into his old flame, Daughter Maitland. She’s in a room with a child. There’s a good chance it’s Chalky’s daughter by daughter. Looks like he’s about to make like Sinatra and have to change his plans.




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3 thoughts on “Boardwalk Empire Thread: King Of Norway

  1. Stephanie Stokes says:

    Wow, I was sure those were fake teeth on Pickering. You’re right, a dead ringer, Nucky facial expressions and all!
    “Land ho” — Van Alden is getting the most laughs from me these days.
    I’m imagining that Gillian will escape and cause more mayhem at some critical point …

  2. Adrastos says:

    I suspect you’re right about the choppers, Stephanie. Guess I couldn’t see the wooden choppers from the forest if that makes sense. Btw, read your comment and noticed some mistakes. Classic response to a copy editor reading me. LOL.

  3. Kathy says:

    Dinner at the Van Aldens alone was worth the price of admission.

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