Boardwalk Empire recap: The winners and losers of episode ‘Sunday Best’
It’s Easter on Boardwalk Empire. Will the Easter Bunny find himself a victim of the Volstead Act? Let’s find out.
WINNER: Awkward family dinners
Eli, wife, and kids join Nucky’s family Thompson dinner. Richard joins the soldier father and family for dinner at the same time. While Margaret and Nucky only have to deal with Eli’s wife’s overly sentimental lack of awareness of the tension between brothers, Richard gets to face an overly loud father of the woman he’s interested in. Meanwhile Gyp Rosetti has recovered from the attempt on his autoerotic asphyxiated life and celebrates with a loud Sunday dinner with his mother and some other women.
LOSER: Emotional Sharing
During what seems to be a breakthrough with Margaret and Eli’s wife, June, Margaret feels comfortable speaking freely and discusses Nucky’s affair. The photo above is June’s reaction. Needless to say, her graceful attempt at segueing into dessert talk was not as smooth as she drew it up in her head.
WINNER: Surrogate parenting
Gillian is so disinterested in raising her grandson that she brings Richard Harrow in just to get some free time. But she resumes her creepy mothering to her Jimmy lookalike lover. Meanwhile, Richard does a far more capable job of taking care of Tommy, taking him to watch him give flowers to the soldier’s daughter from the previous episode. Adorable kid interactions, a disapproving father, early morning flowers…This couldn’t be any more of a romantic comedy at this point. Well, unless Richard grew half his face back. That’d probably help.
LOSER: Sibling rivalry
Eli’s attempt to get back in Nucky’s favor — or at least make himself feel better by addressing his low spot in the pecking order — turns into another confession from Nucky that he won’t forgive Eli’s attempt at setting him up to die. But when Eli tries to force the issue, throwing a gun on the table for Nucky to kill like (since Eli assumes that’ll happen at some point anyway), Nucky empties the chamber and asks why it always has to be such a melodrama.
At the end of the night, Nucky acknowledges Eli’s value to the organization and gives him a promotion to running the bootlegging warehouse with Mickey. Ah, nepotism.
LOSER: Drunken veterans of foreign wars
Tommy Darmody wanders off at a Sunday dinner as little boys do. But when he happens upon the childhood room of drunken veteran Paul’s son and plays with some toys, the drunken vet snaps, leading Richard to tell him, “Let him go. Or I’ll kill you.” Ah, Richard. You’ve still got it my man.
WINNER: Love in a hopeless place (and, possibly, other Rihanna song titles)
Richard and Julia Sagorsky seem like a new couple throughout their Sunday dinner events. There’s a sweetness to everything between them, particularly when Richard finds that Julia made him a plate in a separate area so he doesn’t have to deal with the awkwardness of eating in front of the possibly judgmental table. Love is never having to show your gaping facial injuries to a gal’s family.
But things get even better when, after vet dad Paul’s drunken outburst, Richard tells her she’s leaving now. And, shockingly, Julia just goes “Okay.” The GIF above is Richard’s shocked-yet-pleased reaction. How actor Jack Huston conveys so much emotion with half his face behind plastic is an amazing sight to behold.
WINNER: The performing arts
Nucky does magic and comedy. One of the Thompson kids plays an instrument poorly. And Margaret sings about as well as an Irish Billie Kent. Forget bootlegging..let’s take this act on the road. The Traveling Thompsons has a nice ring to it.
This screencap is also the face I make during every Margaret scene.
LOSER: Gyp Rosetti’s faith
Sick of his lot in life, Gyp takes to an angry monologue when he thinks he’s alone in a church. But when a priest asks him what’s wrong, Gyp punches him in the face and robs the church. Gyp is not good at making friends.
WINNER: Forcible heroin usage
So Gillian kills her Jimmy lookalike lover after forcing a large amount of heroin into him during a relaxing bath, then suffocating him. That’s not very romantic. This turns out to be how Gillian rationalizes Jimmy’s death and, presumably, gets control of his estate. Hooray…Gillian gets what she wants and we get another scene that leads to a very awkward boner.
WINNER: Gyp Rosetti’s ambitions
Gyp’s meeting with crime family boss Joe doesn’t start off too well with Joe writing off Gyp’s problems with Nucky and Arnold Rothstein as having nothing to do with him. But when Gyp promises to kill them all and pass all of their businesses over to him — along with claiming that people will start calling him “Joe the King” — Joe starts listening. Given the ratio of talking to action on this show, I like the plan, too.