Boardwalk Empire – Season 3 Episode 5 – Recap and Review – You’d Be Surprised

With “You’d Be Surprised,” Boardwalk Empire explored the aftermath of an ambush and the anarchy of Atlantic City this week. Relationships are crumbling, blood is being spilled wherever we turn, and Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) is celebrating this big mess with some of the wackiest sex I’ve ever seen on a television show. Job well done!

This happened first:

HBO “Boardwalk Empire”

Belts, asphyxiation, blurred vision. This is sexy? In case you’re wondering, I did indeed blur out a little nipple there. He’s a lunatic, but I’m really enjoying Gyp Rosetti this season. The only issue I take with him is that the writers, for whatever reason, have decided to have their “Oh my God, they killed Kenny!” moment each episode this season via a Rosetti “joke or freakout” encounter. That poor paperboy. We get it. He gets angry when he looks stupid but sometimes he laughs at himself. He’s just like a reality star! It was funnier the first ten times.

Next, we caught up with Eli (Shea Whigham) as he explained to Nucky (Steve Buscemi) and a now clearly angered Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) what went down surrounding the ambush in Tabor Heights. Nucky showed just the slightest bit of gratitude for Eli’s insights and his attempt to stop Mickey’s men. Rothstein could give a crap. Where’s his booze?! He called out Crazy Eyes for canoodling with Billie Kent (Meg Steedle) when he should be overseeing his team. Again, I side with the pale devil. Part of what makes this show fun is the mix of work and partying, but Arnold was right to get upset. You never know when one shot of whiskey too many is going to end up becoming a shot in the head. If Rothstein weren’t based on an actual gangster, I’d expect him to live to be a thousand in all of his snake-like glory.

Owen (Charlie Cox) and Charlie (Vincent Piazza) waited outside and eavesdropped on their mentors. Find the dog’s master. Rosetti pays up to Joe Masseria. Arnold Rothstein doesn’t care in the slightest bit what goes on in New Jersey *cringe*. New York is where things matter, and Rothstein isn’t up for sullying his relationship with Masseria again. Was that the first true example of shade thrown at the Jersey Shore on Boardwalk Empire? It won’t be the last if Nucky doesn’t get it together… Who cares? When’s Billie’s next rehearsal?.. You can’t be half a gangster, Nuck.

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Van Alden (Michael Shannon) was back this week. I’m hoping they start to drag his storyline into more relevant territory soon because I keep finding myself drifting off during his segments. This episode, the agent who let Nelsan slide when he got caught in a speakeasy raid ended up hounding him up and down Chicago, dropping business cards everywhere from Van Alden’s workplace to his home. He felt it was time to confess to wife #2, a.k.a. broken-english comic relief, that he hasn’t been honest with her. He’s living a double life! She knew all along. He goes by a new name in order to escape the “bad men” who tried to frame him for murder and cheating and lies. Just go with it, Van Alden. This is a losing battle and you’re in too deep, anyway. As it turned out, the prohibition agent was just looking to settle a beef with Van Alden surrounding a faulty iron he had been sold at Christmas time. What a great gift idea… Long story short, the wife panicked and bludgeoned the man bloody, forcing Nelsan to murder once again. Who did he run to for help? Dean-O! Lousy joke teller, body burier, and florist extraordinaire! Hopefully, this will bring Van Alden back into the big picture via Al Capone. No Al this week. *sadness*

Horrific whoremonger Gillian (Greatchen Mol) was back this week, too. Gracing us with her paradoxical personality of stepford meets slut and The Apprentice meets Rock of Love 2, Gillian struggled with maintaining a progressive and peaceful cathouse of a business. She tried her best “teacher talk” routine on Leander, who is about to croak, but he wouldn’t budge on her debt. Lucky isn’t helping her much. She offered to use the house as collateral, but it’s in Jimmy’s name. Richard Harrow, you step in. You step in now! She can’t do this unless she officially declares Jimmy dead, as opposed to missing. The kook really thinks this son of hers is off on some vacation. Her plot closed this week with her writing Jimmy a letter pleading for some cash. Bitch crazy.

Nucky dropped by Margaret’s (Kelly Macdonald) to let her know that he was leaving town for a bit. He played his whole routine off pretty well. Even Owen got in on it. He’s concerned for his family. He worries about her. He brought presents. In the end, as we found out later, it was all just a sham. Poor Margaret sat there doodling away on her sex-ed flyers that couldn’t even say “vagina.”

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In short, Margaret’s class was a total bust. Apparently when flyers that are supposed to be advertising a sexual education class for women can’t use a phrase like “Come discuss your vagina!” they end up coming off more so like an ad for some lame secret club. Only, nobody thought Margaret was fun enough to play leader to a secret society for ignorant ladies, so nobody showed up. The first night had barely any turnout. The second had an even worse one. There was a critical nun somewhere in the mix who acted like she actually had obligations and a schedule that had to be worked around. Margaret threw some shade in her direction. The other four or so ladies, who actually enjoy learning that there body has functions (like menstruation) that have nothing to do with dropping dead, suggested a morning class. I’m going to go ahead and suggest more to this story arc because I like this character. The bitter cherry on the rancid cake was Margaret meeting Dr. Mason’s fiancé. All that chemistry and nowhere to go but back to familiar territory. What a tease.

Guess what? Billie Kent’s play was a total bomb. The Naughty Virgin took place on a golf course. Nucky looked on during rehearsals in utter disgust. He must really think this girl is a star. Otherwise, he’s just trying to make something legitimate out of her so he’s not mistakenly fulfilled by a vapid fame whore. By episode five, we know that there isn’t much to Billie Kent. She can carry a tune on a rare occasion, but the depth isn’t there, and Nucky can’t manufacture it by buying her a show. She ran to Nucky to wallow after learning that the show wouldn’t take off. There, she made some poor attempt at conjuring some sympathy from us by claiming some daddy issues. “Always on the move but going nowhere fast.” That seemed pretty astute to me, Billie’s dad. Nucky fell for it.

In an attempt to save Billie’s nonexistent career as a starlet, Nucky tried to strong-arm Eddie Cantor into reworking the play and joining the cast. Eddie, who has a pun for everything, declined. He was already in contract with a show somewhere else and wouldn’t go back on his word, even after the gift of Passover vodka. Nucky seemed like he took the “no” reasonably well. I think season one Nucky would have let it die there. Season three Nucky sent Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) and his lackey over to Eddie’s hotel room to shake him up a bit. Stone cold Chalky watched on unamused as Eddie Cantor attempted to entertain him. In the end, Cantor gave in. In other news, look at this coat:

HBO “Boardwalk Empire”

Ringmaster knows what the hell he’s doing.

Over in Washington, the sh*t was hitting the fan. Harry Daugherty’s freaky friend, Means, listened in on a hearing surrounding all of the shady business going on with regards to prohibition. Policing has cost five times as much as originally estimated, and nobody gives a crap. The bootleggers are running the show, but if the big wigs in Washington want to get out of jail time, they’ll have to give a little. Could this put Nucky and his team in danger? Maybe this just put a target on Rosetti’s back.

Speaking of Rosetti, Rothstein met with him in Tabor Heights in an attempt to work something out. Rosetti offered his own deal, and Arnold seemed to accept. He shook on it, and Rothstein is no crook. Rosetti’s joke of the week? Asking for today’s paper and getting upset that everything in it happened yesterday. Kind of funny/ really scary. After toying with the paperboy, he had a laugh and got added to his route. Also, Rothstein’s man Meyer (Anatol Yusef) organized some drug stuff behind the scenes, and we were let in on how frustrated his little buddy Benny has become with his position.

HBO “Boardwalk Empire”

While handing out flyers yet again, Margaret stopped into her old employer’s boutique to drop off a stack. After some quick banter, she realized Nucky was there buying dresses for Billie. After a few moments of awkward conversation, Margaret handed Billie a flyer for her class and bolted. Later on, Nucky showed up back at the house to apologize for his “bad form.” Like she usually does, Margaret out zinged Nucky. He’s lost, and she’s just embarrassed. An independent woman is going to be hard for Nucky to handle, and that tricky little pony is already pegged by him to be a cheater. Though, I’m guessing she isn’t. All of her friends are gay, allegedly.

Rosetti ended up having more self-congratulatory s&m-style sex with his lady friend. Rothstein would hate this. Good thing, his little goon Benny, who’s always anxious to shoot, posed as the paperboy and shot up the whole house. Everyone died. R.I.P, best paperboy ever. Rossetti used his gal as a human shield and escaped. Escaped? Nah, he was spared. Rothstein, you clever devil. Eliminating everyone on his team but sparing Gyp leaves Joe Masseria less reason to hate on Rothstein… or Benny just really messed up, which is probably the case. Rothstein never seemed like a double-dealer to me. I’m surprised Arnold got his hands dirty for Nucky, but he’s too smart to make a deal with Rosetti, who is the equivalent of Bowser from Super Mario Bros.

HBO “Boardwalk Empire”

I mean, look at that!

Lastly, Eddie Cantor threw the shade of the night at Billie Kent just before hitting the stage. Do you know Lucy Danziger? No? The next girl won’t know you either. Burn, but please, Eddie, leave Lucy out of this. The dimwit gave birth like a cavewoman last season, and I miss Paz De La Huerta more than I realized.

Bring Back Paz!

Join the conversation! What did you all think of the episode? What do you think of Rosetti and his antics? Do you think most of these plot lines will tie together by the series end? Do Nucky and Margaret stand a chance? What about Margaret and Dr. Mason? Have you missed Richard Harrow? Do you enjoy Rothstein as much as I do? Are you joining the “Bring Back Paz” movement? (You should.)

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