Boardwalk Empire, episode 2: The Ivory Tower

First things first- last week in my comments about the first episode of Boardwalk Empire, I mentioned the thrilling world of midget boxing. But I neglected to include a photo of said midget boxing. So let’s right that wrong here. Without further adieu, I present midget boxing from the pilot episode:

Quite possibly one of the best moments in TV history.

As we creep into the second episode of Boardwalk Empire, we’re starting to see some more development. Last night, we got further development of Nucky’s character, who is something of a dichotomy. On one hand, we see him caring further for Margaret Schroeder. He seems deeply concerned with her plight, even beyond insuring that she accepts the implausible possibility that her husband was responsible for the brutal mob murders in the first episode. On the other hand, we see him carelessly throwing away the extra $3,000 that Jimmy Darmody had to beg, borrow, and steal to pay Nucky off. It was such a brilliant moment because we got to witness Nucky’s complete disregard for others, his exertion of power and assertion that he is the alpha male, not to be messed with. And right there along with him was the utter dejection and annoyance of Darmody/Michael Pitt.

Similar significant character development was given to Arnold Rothstein, Al Capone, and Nelson Van Alden. Rothstein is presented as cold, calculating, and ruthless, having killed a man with a billiard ball purely for sport. Capone is wild, untamed and short-tempered, destroying a reporter for merely doing his job. Van Alden is quickly becoming the resident over-the-top boy scout in all of this, mostly a lone foil to the crime element. He is true to his wife. He works hard at his job. And he is a devout Christian.

Along the way, we got to see our first view of Chicago (via the funeral for Big Jim Colosimo) and New York, home of Rothstein and Lucky Luciano. There was a hint at the motivations behind Jimmy Darmody’s behavior, as we see him handing over jewelry acquired from his first episode plunder to his mother (apparently his mother, but it wasn’t apparent to me at the time). She was played by Gretchen Mol.

There was also a somewhat fascinating peek into 1920 sexual habits. First, we saw Jimmy, amorous with his wife before she announces to him that “it’s not a good time”, implying that she was deep in the throes of her menses (good lord, was that painful to type). So he suggests an alternative, “the French way”.  In the pregnant pause after his statement, I was thinking “This should be great. I bet it’s anal sex. Or maybe doggystyle”. Nope. Turns out that the “French” way, in 1920, was a blowjob. Later, we see an extra character from Baltimore- Baxter- who has lured a 19 year old girl with him to Atlantic City. He has done so under the assumption that she is “that kind of girl”- loose, morally. But he’s stifled in his efforts, as the girl racks up loads of presents at poor Baxter’s expense. We see them in the hotel room and he’s behaving very aggressively. And by “very aggressively”, I mean “he’s trying desperately to kiss her”. That’s right. In 1920, girls who were loose, morally, would (GASP!) actually KISS a guy! What a floozie! Anyway, it’s all moot because later she, um, “digitally stimulated” him at the very end of the episode. In short, sex must have been horrible in 1920.

Here’s a preview for next week’s episode.

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Filed under Boardwalk Empire, Humor, TV Shows

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