Boardwalk Empire Season 3, Episode 2 recap
Eli “Fredo” Thompson is out of jail and, naturally, everything instantly stops running smoothly. Find out what happened in Boardwalk Empire episode “Spaghetti & Coffee” after the jump.
Eli (Shea Whigham) finds himself face-to-face with Mickey Doyle’s (Paul Sharp) shocking rise up the Nucky family food chain when Doyle comes to get him from prison. Ever since Eli turned on Nucky (Steve Buscemi) as part of an alliance with Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), it’s been one big pile of sh-t. Eli found himself taking a murder wrap and a jail sentence only to come back and find he’s been replace by his oldest son as head of the household (and, presumably, father figure to Eli’s other 347 kids who greet him upon his return from jail). Without his job and cozy place in Nucky’s empire, Eli is forced to work his way back by serving as a set of hands on a booze shipment going from Atlantic City to Arnold Rothstein’s Brooklyn dropoff.
We get our first glimpse of Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) this season as he finds himself playing the role of Father of the Bride. Chalky’s daughter Maybelle (Christina Jackson) finds herself on the receiving end of a marriage proposal from boyfriend Samuel (Ty Michael Robinson), the aspiring doctor we met during Chalky’s poor table manners episode in Season 2. Chalky wants Maybelle to marry Samuel to get their family one step closer to the American dream, Maybelle doesn’t want to marry him given that he seems like a giant walking vagina. Naturally, this results in Samuel getting his face slashed in a jazz club while Chalky somehow connects that tragedy to a justifiable reason to spend their lives together because sometimes Cupid works in mysterious ways.
Margaret’s (Kelly MacDonald) fixation on helping all of womankind continues to meet the stumbling block of “no one cares” as she finds her idealistic doctor friend to not be so much “idealistic” as he is “kind of a c-nt for no particular reason. The harsh realities of Margaret’s non-marriage to Nucky also seem to way on her as she finds that Nucky is now planning on skipping events at which they’re supposed to be a power couple. It’s a thrill a minute much in the way only miscarriages and loveless marriages can be.
Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Canavale) has taken the perceived slights of episode 1 to heart and, thankfully, does something about it. That something includes, in no particular order:
-Eating terrible spaghetti and meatballs with coffee at a bootlegging-route diner
-Threatening gas station employees
-Pouring gasoline on the floor with no regard for how it wil affect oil prices
-Blocking Nucky’s shipment of alcohol — captained by Doyle, Owen Slater (Charlie Cox), and Eli — from making it to its would-be destination of the mercurial Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg)
Rothstein’s penchant for playing pool in every scene he’s ever appeared in on the show continues during an adversarial conversation with Nucky. What once seemed like a relationship amongst peers now seems to be headlined by Rothstein’s contempt for Nucky’s mediocrity (and basic inability to know what date it is…a somewhat important fact in any bootlegging operation).
But Nucky is a distracted man. He’s living his days in the city with his new mistress (and object of transformative affection, like Margaret once was) Billie Kent (Meg Steedle). Billie gets calls from some random dude. Naturally, Nucky and her don’t talk about it until the jealousy explodes in a heaping hunk of awkard, a pillar of any successful relationship.
Nucky’s other main development comes from the elaborate process in which he has to bribe his local politicians. Just to drop off a payment, Nucky has to seemingly play a version of America’s favorite board game Mouse Trap and endure a bizarrely tense conversation with the a mysterious somewhat Southern gentleman Gaston Means (Stephen Root).
But the bigger issue is Rosetti, who’s now interfering with Nucky’s business in ways no one other than Jimmy Darmody has. In a battle of wits, Rosetti seems like an easy foil. But with Nucky’s attention all over the map, there’s room for swarthy Italian disruption.
-I’m sincerely doubting Mr. Rosetti enjoyed the spaghetti and meatballs at the diner. He probably should have gone with the butter instead of the red sauce.
-There are two types of men. A man who wears a hat with class. And men who don’t. We can firmly say that Eli Thompson is one of the latter.
-Eli’s oldest son is kind of a dick, though. Your dad just got out of jail and looks like the Great Gazoo when he wears a bowler hat. Cut the man some slack.
-Nucky sure has a lot of crises of confidence for a guy who’s supposed to be one of the baddest gangsters on the East Coast. It seems like every scene of his should come begin and end with a couple notes from a sad trombone.
-I’m not sure I understand the motivation of Gyp Rosetti recruiting local police to just turn the trucks full of alcohol around. If you’re committing to an opening salvo against Nucky like that, why not steal the booze yourself?
-I’m looking forward to when women get more rights on the show just so we can have less scenes of Margaret coming to grips with her ovaries or whatever.
-I had a hard time not envisioning Christopher Walken during Rosetti’s “Everybody got a gun!” riff. The way Rosetti vacillates between charismatic and insanely insecure seems like an odd, albeit entertaining, character mix.
-The most important lesson of the episode: It’s a bad idea to slash someone’s face after they ask you to stop bumping into their table at a jazz club. We would have had no way of knowing that otherwise. Thanks, TV.