Boardwalk Empire, "Spaghetti and Coffee": everybody's got guns

Quick Take: Boardwalk Empire, "Spaghetti and Coffee"
"He interesting enough for ya now?" – Chalky White

 Boardwalk Empire, S0302

Review: Boardwalk Empire, "Spaghetti and Coffee"
(S0302) Boardwalk Empire is quickly growing into a show that might make it better to watch at the end of the season rather than week to week. Between the scope of its story and its cast of characters, fifty-plus minutes just aren't enough to showcase everything that's going on in a single episode. Last week's season premiere, "Resolution," was nothing if not a fantastic return for the series, yet it still couldn't encompass characters like Chalky White (Michael K. Williams), or even Nucky's brother, Eli (Shea Whigham). Both of those characters are put under the spotlight as they make their returns this week, however.

Having spent two years in jail for betraying Nucky (not the actual charges), Eli's release is tarnished by the one-man welcome wagon, Mickey Doyle. After asking Doyle the question I've asked myself many times ("How the f*** are you still alive?"), the younger Thompson brother learns that he has a job waiting for him, packing and shipping liquor for the man picking him up from prison, as the position of Sherriff has since been filled by someone with less backbone.

Chalky, meanwhile, is attending to his family's affairs, as the young man dating his daughter confides in him his marital intentions. The aspiring doctor, Samuel, proves his worth to Chalky, but the naively-deluded Maybelle doesn't find him interesting enough to marry. After Samuel gets slashed in the face and still rises to help the beaten man who did it, she becomes disillusioned with the life she seems to have glorified vicariously through her father.

Apparently attending to everything except visiting his recently released brother, Nucky seems to be losing track of the days, a slip he reveals during his visit with Arnold Rothstein. Although they are exclusive trading partners, Mr. Rothstein's faith in Nucky begins to wane, a scale further tipped by an infuriated Gyp Rosetti. Until Nucky's highway is complete with mapped-out fuel stops, Mickey Doyle and Owen Slater have to run the liquor through Tabor Heights, a halfway point between Atlantic City and New York where Rosetti happens to be staying,enduring meals of spaghetti and coffee at the nearby roadhouse. Instead of making the journey home, he calls for backup and holds down the route out of town, forcing Rothstein's delivery back to Atlantic City.

As far as hitches in plans go, Manny Horwitz's murder has not gone unnoticed, but has hardly hindered Nucky's other relationships. Instead, we are introduced to Gaston Means (guest-star Stephen Root), another massively historic figure famous for his intricate and reputation-establishing cons. He has placed himself as the emissary between the state's elected officials and its criminal element seeking their support. Although Nucky is too cautious to leave his bribe money in Means' fishbowl, he watches in amusement as George Remus meekly drops his contribution and leaves without a word or third-person reference to himself.

Nucky's absence at home leaves Margaret to make further strides in empowering women who are admitted to the hospital. After witnessing a miscarriage, Margaret is convinced by a younger doctor that the status-quo requires fixing in favour of the new medical knowledge available. Bound to levy Nucky for his influence over the hospital's board of directors, Margaret's ambitious independence leads her to take charge at home, too, where she prepares to convince Nucky that he can't just blow off a commendation ceremony from the Church.

By Mark D Curran

About the author

Mark is a freelance writer, student of English and Philosophy, and still has too much time on his hands. If you have any of your own, check out the blog and follow him on Twitter!!/MarkDCurran

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1 Comment
On: Monday, September 24, 2012
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I found Chalky's opinions about his daughter's future to be on the most surprising moments of the season. We saw how his family's aspirational ways alienated him last season. It's testimony to Williams and the character development of Boardwalk Empire though in how his actions in this episode make sense in terms of a complex and fully drawn character.

As for Nucky, I like the idea that he's bored and distracted -- and it will take a guy like Gyp to shake him up and get him back to full gangster-ing soon enough. Gyp is great by the way -- one of the better gangsters I've seen in some time in the early going.

One plot question I was toying with last night: I wondered about why the convoy didn't carry gasoline with them on route. Perhaps they didn't think it was necessary given their "arrangements." But I wonder if it's a factor of the automobiles of the period? Could they carry that sort of weight of fuel on a truck or something? Or would it not be worth it to pull over and refuel on the side of the road?

Where's Walter White when Nucky needs him most!


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