Boardwalk Empire Recap: Reality Bites

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It’s Boardwalk Empire Season 2, Episode 18 (#6 this season) entitled “The Age Of Reason”, and like you in class when you haven’t read the assignment but can’t resist talking, let’s discuss the title. Margaret’s family priest kicks things off by uttering the titular line, noting that 7-year-old Teddy has “reached the age of reason” and is ready for his First Confession; I get that 7-year-olds might understand basic right and wrong, but that’s really the “age of reason?” This rule was clearly established in biblical times back when the average human lived to be eleven.

Father Brennan also tells Margaret that she’ll have to confess in order to set a good example, but it’ll be totally confidential — “Just speak into my giant wire-shaped collar, and God will forgive you” — but Nucky isn’t on board, possibly because he violates 7 of the 10 commandments every time he eats breakfast:

Agent Van Alden is visiting the fatally-burnt Agent Clarkson in the hospital, and when Clarkson turns to him and creepily says “I knowwww what you diddddd…” Van Alden is suddenly overcome by crippling guilt, and just 90 billion immoral acts too late (and has seemingly forgotten that time he drowned his apprentice agent with his bare hands):

Van Alden panics and calls his wife, telling her he’s not fit for her or for his badge or for the illegitimate son he’s about to have (GUURRRRWHOOPS!), but just as he’s about to come clean and confess his corruption to his supervisor, he sees Agent Clarkson deliriously say “I know what you didddd…” to his nurse. Van Alden’s like, “You mean your nurse has been pocketing seized liquor money and using it to pay off her baby mama too? ERRR UMMM I MEAANNNNN bye!” and he leaves, exhaling.

While Van Alden is visiting the burn victim, he completely neglects the lady he burned with his penis: poor pregnant Lucy. She should be fine, though, as long as UHOH HER WATER BROKE! Back in the 20s, it was actually a misdemeanor if women saw their own water break (until the landmark Baby v. State Of Mississippi case), so this is just a bad situation from the getgo. And she doesn’t even have her birthing lemons!

Yessir, Lucy is home alone, just like the girl in that classic Jonathan J. Hughes Sr. Yuletime talkie:

Lucy readies herself on the bed, but as the pain mounts, she panics and yells at the kid in the house across the street to “Go get your mom!” The kid, remembering his mom’s shrewd advice to never talk to Paz De La Huerta, just givesser the ol’ Baton Rouge Blindsclose:

Meanwhile in the ‘Order’ segment of this week’s Lawwe And Additionally Order, Nucky’s plan to have his case rolled up into Federal court goes swimmingly, but juuust as the case reaches the Attorney General’s desk, Shooter McGavin receives a visit from Senator Edge, who blackmails him by agreeing not to look into his shady ‘Veterans committee’ finances in exchange for actually prosecuting Nucky.

Dag nabbit, Nucky! You know you can’t trust Shooter! Even if he did play a Red Sox pitcher on a Season 1 Cheers episode I just watched:

After some boring Business Time sex, Nucky semi-worriedly asks Margaret if she’s going to say anything incriminating during her confession, but Margaret playfully deflects and says that’s between her and God (God meaning, the ‘God’ of the Prohibition Agency). Turns out, she’s way more preoccupied with a different guilt of hers: Her physical attraction to Owen Sleater and her jealousy towards Katy for sleeping with him (hence, Margaret’s own personal lack of reason even though she’s well past the age of it! Also did I mention “The Age Of Reason” is kind of a pun on the era they’re living in, when even the doctors say the burnt agent’s fate is in God’s hands? This parenthetical got long. Back under the warm covers of dumb PhotoShops!)

Margaret’s emotions are further confused when Owen shows up and helps her with some accidentally sexy sweepin’, Ghost-pottery style:

On the criminal side of things, Nucky and Rothstein proceed with their plan to unload a shipment of liquor in Philly under the protection of Waxy Gordon. On the boardwalk, Jimmy spots Nucky walking with Waxy and Chayem, the supposed associate of Manny Horvitz the butcher (USA Network: Characters Welcome? More like, THIS SHOW: Characters Welcome) and he calls Manny to tell him that he suspects Chayem is cleaving them in the back.

Manny the ominous butcher responds the only way he knows how — by ominously butchering Chayem, tying him upside down in the back of his shop and demanding information very Yiddishly:

Chayem spills his guts figuratively then literally, after Manny hands the knife to Jimmy and tells him to do the deed because Kosher butchers “can’t butcher a wounded animal,” but realistically it’s to witness Jimmy’s commitment and capabilities and to cram a throat-slicing into an otherwise bloodless episode.

Manny, Jimmy and Richard then set up an ambush of Waxy’s men, and they end up surrounding Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky (and two other quickly-killed nameless Star Trek ensigns):

Lansky manages to talk himself out of the situation, telling Jimmy that they’ll be happy to help overtake Nucky and Rothstein, but that they’re all best off if they deliver the shipment as planned so as not to arouse suspicion. Historians will later pinpoint this exact scene as the act credited with popularizing the “shifty Jew” stereotype, so, thanks for that, dude!

The episode concludes with the conscience-cleared Van Alden returning home to find Lucy snuggling their newborn baby, Lil’ Illegitimatey Jr, with Lucy declaring “I did it all myself.” Lucy’s brave solo delivery does represent an unprecedented level of independence on her character’s part, but while we may have questioned her ability to be self-sufficient, I don’t think any of us would’ve questioned her vagina prowess.

Van Alden leaves to summon a doctor, and the baby’s in the clear:

Waaaaitttt aaaaa minnnnuttteeee, go back for one second. ENHANCE.

Ahhhh, it’s Van Alden’s Wife!!!! Well, that’s the end of that. Mrs. Van Alden flips out on her husband, and after Nelson desperately tries to explain himself by arguing “That child was for you!” (one step shy of literally whipping out a shovel and digging himself further into the ground), she pulls out the best move in Boardwalk Empire history:

And thus, the expression “bite me” was born. The Drew Carey Show radio serial began the very next day.

Episode Thoughts? Season Thoughts? Predictions? Guesses on who’ll be the next major character to die (probably a historical character who we know definitively did not die)? Leave ‘em in the comments.

(Also, sorry for the delay on the Recap, but I finished it a day ago and half of it got deleted by a server error, so I took out my rage on an upside-down dude in a butcher shop and made another run at it.)