BOARDWALK EMPIRE “Georgia Peaches” Season 2 Episode 10 – As this episode of Boardwalk Empire came to a close, I wondered why I spent the entire first season of this show investing in the development of characters to now see them act as though they’ve all had complete frontal lobotomies.
To begin, I am extremely frustrated with Margaret Schroeder. Faced with the polio-induced paralysis of her daughter, Margaret has lost her mind and is a shell of the woman we’ve gotten to know since Season 1. I would be a little more understanding of her newly-found need for penance if this was the first major tragedy Margaret faced. We are well aware that Margaret is no stranger to suffering. She lost her first child in a miscarriage when she traveled to America. She married an abusive man who beat her so badly in front of her kids that she lost another child. Her brother wants nothing to do with her and as a result, has cut her off from her family. In sum, the woman knows pain. In the face of those tragedies, Margaret revealed herself to be a level-headed survivor. She possessed a keen eye for bullshit and has been pragmatic in her choices, including the choice to date Nucky and save his butt on at least two occasions this season. In light of the development of this character so far, it is extremely difficult to now watch her fall prey to a priest who engages in passive aggressive judgment despite his own vices. The Margaret I thought I knew would have seen through this. I really believed that her practical sensibilities would prevail over any conflict or guilt she feels about her relationship with Nucky and the spoils that have accompanied that courtship.
I also find myself frustrated with Jimmy. Based on the previews and yet another botched assassination attempt last week on Manny, I knew that someone would not make it out of this episode alive. As Jimmy and Angela observed the man sunbathing on the beach and engaged in conversation, I knew that she would pay for Jimmy’s bad business dealings. After being so critical of Nucky’s inability to keep promises, it could not have been easy for Jimmy to have the same accusations hurled at him by his cohorts. Jimmy needed so badly not to be a breaker of promises like Nucky, although I’m not convinced that Nucky broke any promises to Jimmy. Angela represented the hope that he could prove that he was a man of his word, capable of leading and providing. Learning of her death is really going to crush him. The situation will be exacerbated by the precarious circumstances under which Angela was killed. Like Margaret, everything I’ve known about Jimmy so far indicates that he would have been prepared for Manny after the failed assassination attempt.
This is, after all, the same person who magnificently orchestrated the takeover of Greek town in Chicago. Although Jimmy is unaware that Manny found the Atlantic City match box, he owes the man money and has not at all been subtle about his rancorous feelings towards the butcher. I truly underestimated how cloudy his judgment is. I understood Jimmy’s conflict with Nucky and knew that his emotions would compromise his ability to see through Nucky’s “I’m out of the game” song and dance. However, I did not think that his pride, youth and emotions would have such a crippling effect on his newly budding leadership. I was literally screaming at the television when he sent Mickey to Philadelphia to deal with Manny. It was as though Jimmy had no recollection of how Mickey sold out the Delessio brothers when he was backed into a corner. After their mistreatment of Mickey, it certainly did not take a lot of arm twisting to convince him to turn on them. Unfortunately for Jimmy and Angela, this poor judgment has now left his son to be raised by a grandmother who admitted to kissing her son in unmentionable places as a child. Not good.
My hope for the next season of Boardwalk Empire is that some of the historically-based characters will be taken out of the show. Although I enjoy the portrayal of Rothstein, Luciano, Meyer, Capone and company, they make the show difficult to watch at times. If heads must roll, we are left with a very narrow field of significant characters to be killed off. I hold my breath each time Richard Harrow is on the screen because I know that he – like Jimmy, Margaret and the other fictional characters – is more expendable if the writers do not intend to take major deviations. Further, I’m not really convinced that this onslaught of gangsters is necessary to the storyline. There are so many stories to wrap up in the next two episodes and based on the preview, things are only going to get more complicated.
Despite my frustration with the uncharacteristic turns of Margaret and Jimmy, I loved “Georgia Peaches” and cannot wait until next week! What did you think of the episode? Were you as shocked as I was that not only is the Commodore still alive, he is actually getting a few well-placed words out?