Why are 1920s lesbians so especially cool? Anyway, it's nice to see Angela on Boardwalk Empire having something to do after idling for the whole season. Not that she was ever an especially exciting character, but she is hot. And she and Jimmy had a nice dialogue scene where they calmly laid out their respective motives for each other, one of several nice character moments in the new Boardwalk Empire, a welcome respite. Last week's was so dull and silly I couldn't muster the will to talk about it.
The show had largely become just a series of plot points, and this new episode finally gave the characters time to make these plot points interesting. Nucky and Eli at their father's funeral was interesting, exchanging awkward yet inevitably familiar conversation while both are cognisant that Eli had just tried to kill Nucky. Then Nucky without compunction saying their father belonged in Hell--this episode was a nice showcase for Steve Buscemi. When he first hears from Margaret about his father's death, we can see in his face he doesn't know quite what he does feel about his abusive father's death. We can see the conflict between what he's long felt--resentful feelings he tells himself he's right in feeling--and the perhaps surprising and uncontrollable feeling of grief.
It's not quite clear where this fits in with the larger fabric of the show, unless it's to do with faith in something bigger than oneself, or trying to sort out some fundamental meaning in the world. I guess that would be what ties the show together--Michael Shannon's character finding conflict with his crazy, fundamental religious fervour in his hopelessly off the rails personal life, the dissolution of family in Nucky's circle, the broken world of Jack Huston's character and the mask he wears in a completely vain attempt to assert normalcy.
There's a scene in the new episode where Shannon's character and a younger agent are at a hot dog stand and Shannon refuses to allow the owner to let them have the food for free--the owner has a policy where he lets cops eat free and Shannon's character says he and his colleague are federal agents and that taking free food on the basis of their positions is against regulation. He then talks to his colleague about the difference between things that are in themselves wrong and things that are against the law and asks the younger man to which category liquor belongs. It seems to be an attempt by Shannon's character to suss out the younger man's loyalty, but it again emphasises that central theme and points out why the early Prohibition era is a good setting in which to explore this theme.
I hope the show builds off this latest episode and we can go without episodes that just seem to be lists of one guy shoots this guy, another guy strangles this guy, this lady's running from this person, this guy's having sex with this lady he shouldn't, etc.