Boardwalk Empire – “Ourselves Alone”

Boardwalk Empire – “Ourselves Alone

The conspiracy marches on. Satisfied that Nucky has been arrested on charges of election fraud, the Commodore attempts to recruit Atlantic City’s aldermen. Jimmy meanwhile attempts to get Arnold Rothstein to begin dealing with them instead of Nucky for the booze trade. Rothstein politely declines but Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky propose a quid pro quo to Jimmy. They’ll deal with him on booze if he deals with them on heroine. After leaving Lansky’s poker game where he won some cash, Jimmy is jumped by two of the gangsters Lansky and Luciano hope to be buying heroine from. Jimmy kills them both (with no witnesses). What consequences come of this are yet to be seen.

Michael Kenneth Williams gets another great showcase in tonight’s episode. Having been arrested for shooting and killing a Klansman (to protect him, since he would be the target of a lynch mob outside the safety of a jail cell), Chalky White is across the hall from a rather loud African American gentleman from Baltimore. This man continues to constantly antagonize Chalky for being “uppity” and having a lighter-skinned wife. Chalky just sits quietly, never rising to the man’s bait, pretending to read David Copperfield (which he misrepresents as Tom Sawyer). If I’m not mistaken this is the first time we’ve been told that Chalky is illiterate. After Chalky is forced to share a cell with the disruptive man and several other men, the guy gets more aggressive before taking away Chalky’s book. It’s at this point chalky addresses the other men in the cell (all African American). Being from Baltimore, the obnoxious man may not have known how many friends Chalky has but he probably gets a good idea when the other men in the cell beat the living shit out of him. Chalky is dispassionate through the whole ordeal and never gets up from his seat. Even in a jail cell, he is a man with power.

I’m watching this show at the same time as I’m catching up with season 3 of Sons of Anarchy on DVD. It’s interesting how both are about crime organizations in America with heavy ties to the Irish fight against British oppression. Margaret (played by the actually Scottish Kelly MacDonald) is accused by a Sinn Féin leader as having forgotten where she came from. The thing is Margaret knows exactly where she came from, and knows where she is, and knows which she prefers. With everything Nucky is going through it is Margaret who thinks to grab the incriminating ledger and cash before the men from the State’s Attorney’s office can find it in Nucky’s suite at the Ritz. She tells him that he must be dispassionate in dealing with his enemies, because he is smarter than them and he can defeat them. With Margaret in his corner, I don’t doubt it.

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