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Following a triumphant first season

 


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I was eager to see what Terry Winter, Martin Scorsese and the rest of their stellar team had in store, and they continue to surpass our highest expectations, " said HBO president Michael Lombardo. “The response from the media and our viewers has been extremely gratifying. “

But once you realize the Peggy that Margaret's maid speaks of is a nickname for Margaret, and not the name of Margaret's recently-discovered dead sister, the final moments of “A Dangerous Maid" make more sense. They also cap a very slow burn of a narrative that spends more time filling in backstory of certain female characters than it did pushing the Nucky vs. Commodore conflict forward. (We already know that Margaret comes from humble beginnings, so the shock Margaret's maid displays at this revelation is one we don't share. )

Thematically, the episode centers on father and son relationships; on how the sins of the former become the business of the latter. Nucky and Jimmy's surrogate father-son dynamic is all but obliterated, and Jimmy may be just starting to realize how much of an opportunist his father, The Commodore, is. (The Commodore only became interested in Jimmy when he realized he could use his son as a wrecking ball against Nucky's operation. )

All of this comes to a head late in the episode, when “Maid" gives the series one of its best scenes: Nucky, fresh from jail, confronts The Commodore and Jimmy at dinner. The gloves are off as Nucky simmers with contempt, vocally laying into his enemies. Nucky gets the last word in with Jimmy, by delivering an intentional below-the-belt remark regarding how The Commodore and Jimmy's mother met. ("He didn't even know her name. He just picked the one he wanted. The rest, was understood. “)

"Maaaake Ouuuut!"

If only the entire episode ran as strong as this one scene. Too much time is spent filling out what pregnant Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) is up to while Van Alden keeps her locked in a room. While I can appreciate the dramatic need to flesh out the supporting characters of world as rich as Boardwalk's, I just don't care enough about Lucy's plight to spend a B-story's worth of time to do it.

It's interesting to see her start to emerge as more than just a sex spittoon and source of crazy. But this isn't necessarily a character we care about giving more dimension to. We care about Nucky, we care about the players directly involved in his conflict. If her struggles have no immediate bearing on Nucky's, then why detract from servicing the story's center with this well-written, but ultimately tangential, exercise?

But there are a few supporting characters who do benefit from some extra shading. Boardwalk empire dvd Slater emerges as a replacement for Jimmy on Nucky's side, which could lead to some interesting conflicts down the road if his flirtations with Margaret are revisited. And we get to see that Alden is not above bribing men like Doyle to get info on how to take Nucky down.

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