Boardwalk Empire
You'd Be Surprised

Episode Report Card
Joe R: C | 4 USERS: B+
You'd Be Surprised

Poor Margaret's on the boardwalk trying to hand out flyers for the clinic, and she's not having very much success. It doesn't help that she's being shouted down by a barker talking about freak shows or nudie parlors or something. So she ducks into a familiar storefront: the Chateau Fromage! It's always weird to return as a customer to a place you used to work. Madame Jeunet is thrilled to see her, of course, and Margaret does her usual job of pretending to be just as happy. (I think she's probably forgiven Madame Jeunet for being such a C during her early days in the shop, but she certainly hasn't forgotten.) Jeunet tells Margaret that they're closed today, as the spring dresses are arriving, but she should come back tomorrow. It starts to seem that Jeunet's delight is tinged with an urgency to get Margaret to skedaddle. Margaret simply wants to leave a stack of flyers here for anyone who might want one and Jeunet is like, "Yes! Wonderful! Come back tomorrow and visit your flyers!" Soon enough, we see the reason for this hustle, as Nucky emerges from the back room with a dress in hand. Margaret's all, "Out of town, are you?" Nucky tries to placate her, but she's clearly ticked off about being lied to. That feeling multiplies itself when a giggling Billie emerges from the dressing room. Suddenly, it's all so clear to Margaret. She recognizes Miss Kent from New Year's -- "Your friends call you Billie," she says, ice cold. Billie has the grace to be horrified and says she assumed she's not in any danger of being called Billie in this room. Nucky suggests to Margaret that they discuss this later. "There's no need," she says and storms off, though not before turning around and handing Billie a flyer. "I doubt that you're free in the evenings," she says, "but... " ICE COLD. Love it. Margaret OUT.

Ugh, this scene. Okay, so this scene made me really angry for a couple different reasons, so I'm just going to try to get through it without getting too repetitive about my complaints. So Eddie's in his hotel room in Atlantic City, packing up to return to New York when the knock at the door turns out to be Dunn Purnsley and Eddie of course mistakes him for his driver, because as was established a few scenes ago, Eddie's totally racist. Which, fine, everybody was back then, it makes sense that Eddie is too. But this episode is the first time we've seen: A) Eddie's racism become overt, and B) Eddie's probable homosexuality alluded to. So I just find it both convenient and kind of gross that this episode is going to some lengths to pit the gay guy against the black guys just so we can watch the minorities beat each other down. Because Purnsley is hear with Chalky, and obviously the purpose is to intimidate Eddie into doing things Nucky's way. Eddie takes a while to realize these aren't The Help and are in fact goons here to rough him up. Once he does, he's exceedingly capitulating, stammering pleasantries and such. He also calls Chalky "Milky," like he doesn't have enough problems. Chalky brings up how black people aren't allowed in Eddie's shows, leading to more stammer backpedaling from Eddie. Purnsley says Nucky promised them that Eddie might do a private show for them. With the threat of broken limbs hanging thick in the air, Eddie obliges them with a cheeky routine typical of what we always see Eddie do on the show. It's funny because he's dancing his homo feet off so they won't beat him. And it's justified because Eddie's been complicit in their systematic oppression. The perfect crime, really. Honestly, I know that the thrill of vicarious violence has been paying the bills at ABC for over a decade now, but I was decidedly not feeling the anticipatory glee that comes with waiting for a vicious fag-bashing to begin. PARTICULARLY when that anticipation of violence is playing the fags-vs-blacks dichotomy for laughs. That the beatdown doesn't happen, ultimately -- that Chalky and Purnsley get disgusted and Eddie decides to cave and give Nucky whatever he wants -- doesn't take away the disgust. Not a bit. Anyway, back to your show about how the world is run by straight white guys!

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Boardwalk Empire




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