The penultimate episode of Boardwalk Empire revealed Jimmy’s father at last, saw Van Alden baptising his murderous partner Sesbo and Nucky and Margaret had their first major fight. It was not as action packed as previous episodes, but it was one of the most beautifully shot and acted an episode of television I have had the pleasure of watching in a long time (well, aside from the previous ten episodes of ‘Boardwalk’).
Steve Buscemi and Kelly Macdonald both deserve Emmy nominations for their performances as Nucky and Margaret. Their argument proves that. The rage in his face was real, the way she attacked him, from the word “fuck”, point and point after point, ferociously tearing down his defence, and his counterattacks as he finally admitted to killing off her abusive first husband. It was literally breathtaking to watch.
The way Buscemi turned his head as his brother questions why he didn’t beat Margaret (“What are these for?” He says, holding up his fists) was another wonderfully mute scene-stealing motion. The scene was put into perspective when later Nucky revealed that Eli would no longer be sheriff. Eli wanted to take care of Margaret in case she starts shooting her mouth off. That’s when Nucky tells him: “Too bad you didn’t see Hardeen the other night. It’s an entertaining act, but if he wasn’t Houdini’s brother nobody would give a fuck.” Burn, Eli, burn.
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