Episode 3, “Broadway Limited,” picks up where 2 left off, with a bloody disoriented man stumbling out of the woods and scaring the HJ couple. Turns out, he’s one of the New York gangsters who survived Jimmy’s liquor ambush, and not, as I had falsely predicted, a wisecracking Yiddish zombie who wandered down from the Zombie Catskills to take this show in a very different direction.
Nucky and his Sheriff bro start panicking because the survivor can pin Jimmy to the shooting, and the last thing they need is Arnold Rothstein showing up and being all “I make really calm threats. Watch me chalk this pool cue for an hour.” While a doctor operates on the survivor, Sheriff Eli asks everyone in the room to leave so he can “Smother him, whoops I mean smother him, whoops said the same thing again I mean, do whatever the opposite of smother him is. Put more air into him.”
Everyone leaves, and Eli grabs a pillow and begins to smother the wounded man in a scene highly reminiscent of the popular Buster Keaton picture “Tomfoolery All Around That Cuckoo’s Nest”. Before Eli can finish the job, Agent Van Alden runs in and stops everything with his staunch asexuality, and orders his goofy-looking co-agent to guard the wounded man because seriously everyone in this show is shady as balls.
Van Alden later returns to the hospital room to interrogate the survivor and in a well-thought-out move, throws him in the back of a car and starts driving him towards New York. They stop at a dentist’s office on the way in a desperate attempt to keep the man alive, but the dentist’s like, “It’s the 20s! The only treatments I can administer are cocaine, leeches, or shooting him.” They revive the man with cocaine, but he curses Van Alden in Yiddish, saying “You big schlemiel! I feel on my tuchus!”
Van Alden reacts as anyone would in that situation, by sticking his hand into the man’s gaping wound-hole and making him say “Jimmy shot everyone!” in wacky ventriloquist doll voice. Van Alden then drinks a glass of water while the man sings “Happy Birthday.” Then the guy dies.
Elsewhere on the boardwalk (whenever they jump from scene to scene, this show should have a Home Improvement transition where like the screen gets wrapped up into salt water taffy then someone takes it away then the next scene is happening. Anyway…) Nucky strikes a deal with fellow gangster Chalky White, who is neither, to water down 500 whiskey bottles into 3000, because just allowing the shipments to come in and selling them to gangs all around the country wasn’t already shady enough.
Chalky agrees and begins working his magic, but the rival gangs quickly catch wind of the operation and take action, killing Chalky’s driver and scrawling “LIQUOR KILLS” on his car door:
Nucky ups Chalky’s share to 50% in exchange for keeping the hanging quiet, because the last thing he wants in an election year is a race war. Really? I thought race wars were great for politicians before 1950. Didn’t Calvin Coolidge win on a platform of Race War? Someone who’s a history major please tell me I’m 100% correct.
Elsewhere, Margaret is patronizing her children about her miscarried child, telling them “The stork must’ve gotten lost, because your father beat the sh*t out of it.” She’s then informed that Nucky has gotten her a job at a French clothing parlour run by A-Holes, for A-Holes. The lady in charge is not nice to her:
She’s just extra bitter because the previous employee had four years of experience. That employee? CHARLES LINDBERGH.
While clothing rich jerks, Margaret is asked to serve Nucky’s ladyfriend Lucy, who recognizes her and proceeds to demean her by constantly bashing her in the face with reminders of her lower status. It’s like a 20s version of Charles Widmore interacting with Desmond.
Meanwhile, Jimmy is having a doozy of an episode: First, his child runs into the photo portrait shop on the boardwalk and acts all chummy with the guy who runs it, making Jimmy suspect that his wife slept with the photo guy while he was away for 2 years with no contact and presumed to be dead. Whatta HOOOWAHHHH!!! (I pronounce “whore” like Joey Pants on the Sopranos.) Then, Arnold Rothstein learns of Jimmy’s involvement in the shooting and orders Lucky Luciano to kill him. Looks like someone needs a little cheering up!
Jimmy is instructed by Nucky to leave Atlantic City, and because there were only four cities then — Atlantic City, New York, Chicago, and Virginia — he boards the BROADWAY LIMITED (titular line!) to Chicago. My prediction: He’s either going to join up with Al Capone and the Chicago gang, or he’s gonna eat some delicious deep dish pizza with Al Capone and the Chicago gang. Also, a wisecracking Yiddish zombie.
Boardwalk Empire Episode 3 thoughts? Favorite / Least Favorite Parts? Still sticking with the show? I am, cause I’m already Phil Collins In Too Deep. Comment away, see?