This is a Recap of Boardwalk Empire, Season 1, Episode 10, entitled “The Emerald City”. The title refers to Margret reading the Wizard of Oz and telling her kids that Harrow is the faceless sniper from the book. That’s the only spoiler in this Recap.
Agent Van Alden’s lone witness is dead, he can’t re-interrogate Jimmy, his partner Agent Baby is exonerated, he has no leads, and his supervisor wants results or he’ll be chasing moonshiners down in Florida (which he’d probably love). It’s time for…
That’s right, Van Alden completely loses his sh*t this week, beginning with a visit to turn up the creepy-heat on Margaret:
Completely out of leads, Van Alden attempts to shame Margaret into turning against Nucky by showing her a picture of herself at Ellis Island that seems to have been smeared by paper towels on a number of occasions. (Can I write that on this site? If anyone at Vh1 wants me to delete that lemme know).
Surprisingly, Margaret is creeped out by this behavior from a Federal officer:
Calm down, Margaret, he’s just Facebook stalking you before it’s a thing. Van Alden totally saves face by declaring he’s not as concerned about the law as he is about saving Margaret “FROM THE FIRES OF HELL should you fail to repent!” Man, remember back when people believed that crap? Hilarious! Oh, a strong majority of the country still does? Hm. Well, carry on then.
Van Alden realizes that showing Margaret a personal photo of herself and admitting to ogling it has not solved organized crime for good, so he just sucks it up and does the least Van Alden-y thing imaginable: He goes to a bar.
Needless to say, Van Alden ordering alcohol is a bit awkward:
As if Lieutenant Hellfire pounding illegal whiskey isn’t out-of-character enough, Van Alden then finds the courage to sit down with Lucy and offer her a cigarette. Lucy’s all, “Hey there handsome, I sound even more like Tai from Clueless than I used to.”
The result of this encounter is in the first pic of this Recap. Turns out, Van Alden did have a lead after all…into Lucy’s vagina! Fedora high-five!
QUICK SIDENOTE: I’m home for Thanksgiving and watched this episode On Demand on my parents’ tv, and just kept expecting my mom to walk in while I was constantly rewinding and pausing that sex scene to try to get the perfect photo of Van Alden’s orgasm face. Even if I did convince her it was for my job, it would’ve been even harder to explain how the 40 million dollars she spent on my schooling resulted in me professionally pausing pictures of fictional characters’ orgasms to upload to the internet. Has any parent ever had to deal with this realization? Let’s just say my parents love me and move on.
Elsewhere on the Boardwalk, Jimmy and Angela seem to be getting along great, having Ghost sex and whatnot, until they stroll by the photo store and Jimmy’s kid says “There’s mommy’s kissing friend!” Unaware of the steamy lesbian subplot shoehorned into the series, Jimmy assumes this means that mustache photo man is the kissing friend, and when Jimmy assumes people are kissing friends, doors get broke’d:
Angela later apologizes to Mary for the fisticuffs mixup, and Mary suggests that they run away to Paris together and raise Tommy to speak French and go to a school where the kids “wear Grecian tunics and find their muse to free their spirits.” Angela says, “That sounds like nonsense to me, and that’s coming from someone who went to school in the 1910s and studied nothing but leeches.”
In Chicago, Al Capone is living it up, putting loads in Johnny Torrio’s cigarettes and covering Whoopee cushions with fake vomit. Johnny’s like, “I know we just took over the Spencer Gifts racket but you gotta grow up!” Al has an epiphany when he and Johnny create a real-life joke:
After speaking with 20s Alan King about Bar Mitzvahs, Al decides to apologize to Johnny for his behavior, and replaces his driver’s cap with a fedora. Clearly, he got the message of Judaism: Dignify your hat.
After the Van Alden incident, Margaret has trouble composing herself for her speech to the League Of Women Voters (formerly the League Of Women Who Enjoy Pretty Flowers). She doesn’t want to lie to them when endorsing Nucky’s mayoral candidate, but she ends up giving a rousing speech, saying “With our newly gained right also comes responsibility,” a quote from the famous Spider-Lady comic books.
At the end of her speech, Margaret notices Nucky and the former mayor machoin’ it up and barely paying attention, and the seed of doubt planted by Van Alden begins to sprout into a little root of…slightly more doubt.
Nucky, meanwhile, receives a visit from the cartoon character Mickey Doyle, who has decided to flip sides and help Nucky set up the D’Alessio Brothers. Since we know that Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt aren’t going anywhere on this show, and we also know that Meyer Lansky, Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano, and Al Capone go on to live well-documented lives, that pretty much means that the D’Alessios are superf***ingdead.
They get Chalky White to pretend to strike a deal with Lansky — who chose his alter-ego “Michael Lewis” so he wouldn’t have to change his monogrammed shirts – cool detail, Boardwalk Empire! — and end up surrounding the D’Alessios in an indie looking storeroom:
Jimmy shoots one brother in the head, and Chalky strangles the other to death after he threatens that his friends will come back and “string him up even higher” (note to threat dude: getting strung up higher wouldn’t really be any more torturous, just more work for you). Nucky then puts a scare into Lansky in a stock mob movie shot:
But Nucky ultimately lets him go to inform Rothstein of what he witnessed. Nucky returns home just after Margaret has finished apologizing to Harrow for her treatment of him, and when she asks where Nucky has been, he says “Planning our election strategy. FOR THE MURDER ELECTIONS! Nah kidding the regular elections. Sup with you?”
The episode ends with Margaret staring into the mirror, probably because she’s so happy that everything she’s doing is the right thing and completely guilt free. If this season ends with Margaret realizing that Van Alden was right and making it up to him with repentant doggystyle, it will be my favorite show ever.