Boardwalk Empire Recap: When Irish Eyes Are LOOK MIDGETS!


This is a Recap of Boardwalk Empire Season 1, Episode 6, entitled “Nights In Ballygran”. There were midgets dressed as leprechauns dancing around with pots of gold. You’ll want to read on.

The definition of meta: A subplot about a bunch of midgets who demand a pay raise to degradingly dress up like leprechauns and dance at Nucky’s St. Patrick’s Day banquet, but in real life, the Boardwalk Empire producers have to hire midget actors to play the characters who don’t want to degradingly dress up like leprechauns but eventually do. Kind of awkward, right?

Like, the whole time I was watching Shallow Hal, I couldn’t pay attention to the movie because I felt too bad for the actresses they cast as the “ugly” girls that Hal kept seeing, and for the producers who had to hold casting calls for “ugly girls” and tell a select few of them “congratulations, you nailed it! You are the PERFECT ugly girl out of this group of thousands of ugly girls! Now everyone in the country is gonna see you being ugly!” Remember when literally everyone in the country went to see Shallow Hal? What a weird day. NEVER FORGET.

My point is – was this leprechaun part really the most important thing that happened in Boardwalk Empire Episode 6? Yes it was. Everything this entire season has clearly been leading up to the big leprechaun negotiation, from the Big Jim Colosimo murder to Jimmy’s kid waking up in the middle of him receiving head.

Personally, I thought it was a risk when HBO brought in Marty Scorsese to executive produce a show entirely about leprechaun negotiations, but that’s precisely the kind of creative freedom only HBO can afford. I think they nailed it. Tiny Emmys for all!

Let’s cover the other less important non-midget stuff in the episode after the jump:

It’s St. Patrick’s Day week at the ol’ Boardwalk, and people are concerned about the first ever St. Pat’s in the Prohibition Era. Without alcohol, how will people of Irish descent lord over people who aren’t Irish but are also seeking an arbitrary excuse to get drunk? (i.e. “Hopper is an Irish name – my intoxication is much more legitimate than yours!”) Fortunately everyone has a f**kton of alcohol, so they’ll be fine.

Nucky and Eli are gearing up for their big annual Old Irish Dudes banquet, and Eli announces he wants to say a few words to his Irish brethren. He’s even been taking some public speaking lessons:

Nucky is incredulous, and while he’s degrading Eli’s political aspirations, Margaret approaches him and gives him some homemade soda bread. Nucky suddenly becomes selfconscious and acts all busy, then totally doesn’t respond to her Facebook birthday invite and when she asks him if he got it he’s like “haven’t been on Facebook in forever, been real busy.”

Margaret throws the soda bread away, and when she returns with her Temperance League colleague to meet with Nucky later in the episode, she asks Nucky how the bread was and he says he enjoyed it. BUSSSS-TEDDDD!!!! Nucky then acts shocked when they tell him about a warehouse behind Margaret’s house that keeps unloading beer barrels in plain sight and forcing her children to do kegstands, and he agrees to shut it down immediately, as surely as he definitely received that soda bread.

Margaret is awakened the next day from the same guys unloading beer and blasting “Celebration,” and realizing that Nucky won’t do anything, Margaret ups her ante and meets with Agent Van Alden, the world’s most perfect square:

Van Alden tells Margaret that he’s powerless to shut down even 10% of the illegal distilleries and distributors operating in Atlantic City, but gets her to name-drop James Neary, the operator of the warehouse who works for Nucky. It is ON. “It” being Van Alden’s violently misplaced devotion to the law.

On St. Patrick’s night, Nucky allows Eli to address the Celtic Dinner with his public speaking attempt, and Eli opens by asking the gathering to “Lend me your beers!” I have no idea what happened in the episode after that, because I still haven’t stopped laughing. Was that supposed to be an “Eli is bad at this” moment? Because I loved it. I demanded an encore from my television.

Eli’s anti-English speech quickly ignites an argument between the native Irishmen and the American Irish in attendance about who’s doing more for the Irish cause, but before they settle the dispute with the traditional drinking each other under the table, Nucky manages to calm everyone down by sending in the leprechauns, the same tactic I use whenever I’m in an argument with my girlfriend.

Van Alden then bursts in with a bunch of agents, punches an attorney, and breaks up the Celtic Dinner. Outside, Nucky sees Margaret and her Temperance ladies singing a song about not drinking (an early incarnation of D.C. Straight Edge?) Eli then takes a swing at Nucky and falls over. Everything has gone wrong for Eli this night, and he’s tired of it:

Meanwhile in Chicago, Jimmy and his face-sliced mistress share some orange juice and opium cocktails (aka “Dan Hopper Lemonades”), and after sharing some tender drugged-up moments, she shoots herself in the head. Whew! Jimmy was gonna have to deal with face-cut lady forever. That worked out great!

The episode concludes back in AC with Nucky pulling a 20s booty call and showing up at Margaret’s house, and they finally make out:

And their child grew up to be…PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. So many twists! Suck on that, stupid engaged Mad Men.

Boardwalk Empire episode thoughts? Updated season thoughts? Favorite / Least Favorite parts? Predictions? Reactions to that face-cutting part from last week when I missed the Recap? Leave ‘em in the comments.

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