My eyes. My eyes. The only thing that stopped me from going permanently blind was the fact that Gretchen Mol isn’t really Michael Pitt’s mother. Otherwise. My eyes.
But before we get to that, let’s start with this episode’s overriding theme: everyone’s screwed. Except maybe the real-life gangster’s who aren’t subject to the writer’s whims. Nucky has new representation and the same prognosis: Randolph won’t play because she has enough evidence to sink him so he should get his affairs in order. Things look bleak when Fallon says Eli won’t talk to him but things start looking up when Harlan, the African-American porter from last week, suddenly remembers Van Alden from when he killed Agent Sebso via baptism.
Speaking of Van Alden, after a few weeks of him actually not being the complete loon we’ve come to expect, and getting some sad back story on how such a freak can come to be, his past comes crashing down around him and he loses his shit rather spectacularly. I wonder if this has anything to do with the Oscar talk around his performance in Take Shelter?
Meanwhile, Margaret’s still wrestling with her massive amounts of Catholic guilt over Emily’s polio and is completely losing her mind, blaming her own sins for Emily’s predicament, but Nucky’s ever the pragmatist and rationally explains that diseases just happen and they’re not God’s punishment. This just makes her turn on him even more while he’s trying to take care of her in case the worst happens. Margaret also loses all discretion as jabbers away at Owen in full view of Katie, but when she gets served by Randolph she really takes a trip to Crazytown and finds out that Nucky’s vengefulness isn’t just for Jimmy or his bitterly resentful baby brother.
As for Eli? Well, he’s still in jail and looking to get out on bail, which isn’t likely since Randolph has him on Hans Schroeder’s murder but he does get some qualified good news if he just testifies against Nucky. I’ll bet Nucky will be rethinking what a massive prick he’s been to Eli all season.
But all that was just prologue and filler for what really happened this episode: Little Jimmy’s back story on why he went to war.
He’s MIA from the present because last week he entered a magical Princeton that took him back to 1917, when he was an insecure little weirdo at Princeton with bad, floppy hair. It all starts off well enough, he’s “dating” Angela, doing well in his classes and his fits of violence aren’t the results of PTSD, yet. But as with everything else related to Jimmy, it all goes straight to hell as soon as Gillian shows up. And I know I make a lot of incest and Oedipus jokes about those two, because the writers are as subtle as jackhammers with it, and I often use the phrase “some things once seen cannot be unseen” hyperbolically but, Dang, Boardwalk Empire.
In the present, Jimmy’s not doing much better. He finally comes home from Princeton at the behest of Lady McGillian, who’s laying on the power hungry bitch act pretty heavy. Never realizing that her son is far more fragile than she ever thought, she’s planning the rest of his life for him like she’s setting his social calendar and he violently snaps. With yet more tragic results that Richard needs to come and clean up.
Full recap will be up in a few days. Until then, you can catch up on last week’s recap here.
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