Boardwalk Empire 5×03 ‘What Jesus Said’: Clip Joint

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As of next week we’ll be at the halfway point til the end of Boardwalk for good. I can’t help but feel like the show is stalling and holding on to its good cards until the very last episodes. The pacing was slow this time around but I still enjoyed it. I’m sure the show runners will pull off a satisfying finale despite only having four episodes left to accomplish this. What is for certain though it probably won’t be a happy ending for anyone.

Chalky and his new partner in crime, Buck, are on the run. They break into a house only to find it occupied by a teenage girl, Fern, and her mother, Marie. Marie offers Chalky the $9 she has in her purse but that isn’t good enough for Buck. He insists that they must have a safe in the house filled with riches. After many attempts to dissuade him, Buck quotes Jesus and then demands that Fern put on a dress she just received in the mail “the correct way” implying that she disrobe first. Finally Marie relents and tells him where the real safe is but after he opens it and finds worthless liberty bonds. He really loses it and goes after Fern. Chalky whacks him in the neck and puts an end to Buck’s short-lived reign of terror. Marie tells him to scram and Chalky obliges. Now that he’s freed himself of the scary man who know what’s next. In an earlier scene, Chalky and Fern have an exchange where she tells him Jesus forgives. He tells her that simply isn’t true. I think this is a good insight into just how far Chalky has fallen from grace and has resigned himself to dying alone and miserable. I could just be reading too far into it though.

Joe Kennedy returns this episode and he and Nuck do a whole lot of jibber-jabbering and not much else. Kennedy hims and haws about

Source: HBO

Source: HBO

whether or not he should go into business with him. His major concern seems to be that Nucky doesn’t really have much in the way of family and that he’s not in business for the right reason. Nucky asks him if he’s got a better reason for being a crook and Joe doesn’t even bat an eyelash when he proudly proclaims he’s never broken a law. Any viewer worth their salt knows that just isn’t true. Then he tells Nucky he’s going to bring Kitty, an exotic dancer we saw earlier that episode, a “bowl of milk.”  So he’s worried about being perceived as a drunkard in public, but not worried about being a philandering husband and father? Got it!

Elsewhere in the criminal underworld, Luciano goes to see Narcisse in Harlem. They offer him Maranzano’s protection for any unforeseen events or people he may encounter in his dark dealings. Narcisse tells them he has no need for their services and rebuffs their generous offer. This turns out to be a big mistake when later Luciano and his thugs turn up at his brothel and kill everyone in sight. Presumably this is to teach him a lesson about not hiring their protection services which…alright point made I suppose. This is the first time we’ve seen Narcisse since last season and he just seems to be chilling in Harlem for the time being. I’m sure he’s still looking for Chalky though.

Oh yes, and we’re treated to even more Nucky flashbacks this time. My favorite part! Look, I don’t normally mind flashbacks if they serve to move to story forward or provide some kind of satisfying element that the normal writing cannot. But these flashbacks are just arduous and feel like we’re being treated to an old man’s sad reflections on his childhood for no reason. I mean, what are we supposed to do with the information that Nucky had a crush on a girl and might still have one which is beyond sad and creepy? Or that he witnessed a corpse that was obviously murdered and it traumatized him for life? Are we supposed to understand that he’s a cold-hearted killer because, duh. Or that he has a myriad of issues with women? Um, yeah. We know that show.

Source: HBO

Source: HBO

Anyway! Margaret returns this episode and seems to be in hot water. Lawyers are crawling all over the finance company she works for and have some questions about her unsavory dealings with the late Arnold Rothstein. Turns out his widow is out for blood and desperate for money after her terrible husband left her nothing but sorrow. She and Margaret have a showdown later at her residence where she tells good old Mags she’ll be suing her because she knows she’s got the dough. Mrs. Rothstein knows that Margaret used to be married to Nucky and tells her she’ll sue her for the money. This leads to Margaret paying Nucky a visit later in the episode which interrupts one of his childhood dreams. “Mabel?” he calls out into the darkness upon seeing her dark shadow. “I’m afraid not” Margaret says and turns on the light. They both seem genuinely happy to see each other even after so much time has passed. We’ll see how this bodes for them both. Maybe Nucky will try getting the old band back together so to speak to impress Joe and maybe Margaret will once again get paid off by a man. Character development!

What did youse guys think of the episode? I think it’s been the slowest thus far and the most uneventful. With only eight episodes this season it seems like such a waste. But like I said above, I still enjoyed it. I’m weird that way. Let me know it in comments!

Sarah S. is an aspiring couch potato and currently haunts the Midwestern United States. She spends way too much time watching TV and being a pop culture junkie. When she’s not ranting about movies and TV on social media, you can probably find her with an iced latte in hand or fixing everyone’s problems. Sometimes she writes really silly stuff on Twitter and Tumblr.

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