Boardwalk Empire, “Anastasia”: Scar tissue.

I’m convinced there are scenes sitting on the cutting room floor of Margaret Schroeder walking up and down the boardwalk, going to work and dancing with Nucky with a big Anastasia sign floating above her head. When she first hear’s the news about Anna Anderson in the paper, she says that it’s like something out of a fairytale, and later in the episode, that’s exactly how Nucky’s world of expensive clothes, important people and lavish parties is presented to her.

I was honestly surprised at how quick on her feet Margaret was when Nucky introduced her to his friends, and wonder if their back-and-forth plays into this idea of Margaret poking her head into a world she doesn’t belong in. But whether she belongs there or not, she’s definitely feeling its buzz. Her trepidation at dancing with Nucky quickly dissolves after she sees the way people are watching them, and later, when she sees Nucky and poor, stupid Lucy walking out of the hotel, there’s a genuine sense of jealousy there. Before going home for the night, she swipes some fancy women’s underwear off a hanger and stuffs them in her purse. She’s getting the junky itch, and is less content with completely separating herself from this world as soon as she clock’s out for the day.

Out in Chicago, Jimmy’s in the same boat. Now that Nucky’s kicked him out of AC, he’s set up shop with Al Capone, helping to consolidate Johnny Torrio’s territory now that Big Jim Colosimo is out of the picture. He’s having moderate success. Capone trusts him but his temper causes him to fly off the handle and make stupid decisions, which lead to Jimmy’s new sweetheart getting her face cut up in the episode’s most gruesome scene. I buy Margaret living in Nucky’s world more than Jimmy living in Capone’s. At heart he’s a family man and I’m not sure he has the stomach to do the things being a gangster will require of him.

Badassery, thy name is Chalky White. While ‘Boardwalk’ is definitely the best new show this season (yes, even better than ‘Blue Bloods’), it’s not great in the way that ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ are great. Yes, I know. Those shows have had years to develop their stories and characters. We caught a glimpse last night of what the show could potentially be like once it’s had a chance to do the same. The talk Chalky had with the head of the Klan’s AC chapter was probably the best the show’s given us so far, and felt like it brought the rest of the episode up with it.

Chalky’s relationship with Nucky is an interesting one. Like Nucky said, Chalky tells the black community in AC how to vote, but there’s a limit to what he can sell them. Nucky draws the line at a lynching, but where does Chalky draw it? After all, Chalky’s only achieved his status because of what Nucky’s done for him, so how far is he really willing to go for his principles?

And very quickly, some interesting developments between Lucky Luciano and Jimmy’s mom this week. That woman is definitely full of piss and vinegar, ain’t she?

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