Boardwalk Empire Recap: Take the Bath Yourself

Here we have an episode in which everyone takes matters into their own hands (or at least tries). After weeks of hemming and hawing on multiple narrative fronts, the spirit of direct action is now spreading throughout the show’s story universe like a virus. The city’s exploited black underclass takes their civil disobedience beyond the kitchen assembly line and occupies the boardwalk. Margaret, in a dispiriting turn for a once-gully character, decides to double down on magical thinking in response to her recent, paralyzing ennui. (And her priest, who previously appeared shifty, confirms as much by seizing on her weakness — and accepting Margaret’s cash-drawer emptying attempt to purchase an indulgence, absent an additional confession.) Meanwhile, Nucky finally fires his lawyer while pulling off a big booze sale that doubles as a strategic coup.

Oh, and Manny the Butcher shows the Darmody-Capone axis how killing-on-purpose is done — even if his heteronormative assumptions regarding nighttime coupling leads him to mistake the identity of his target.

And so let’s now have a moment for Angela Darmody, who, in being shot alongside her lesbian lover, is this episode’s surprise fatality. It was a surprise both in the sense of editing — along with Manny, most viewers probably assumed it was Jimmy in her shower, given how we’d last seen him taking Angela to bed — but also in the macro scheme of things. Even when haltingly and sometimes strangely used by the show’s writers, this was a valuable character, and one I think it’s fair to say will soon be missed. Angela — and, really, the acting of Alexa Palladino — helped elevate a number of arcs, not least of which was that of Richard Harrow. After realizing that their budding affection led into a practical dead end, he shuffled right up to suicide’s door. That is to say: Doing without Angela can take a lot of doing. Read More...


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