Boardwalk Empire: The Devil You Know
October 13, 2014 5:17 PM - Season 5, Episode 6 - Subscribe

There's a standoff in Narcisse's parlor, and Chalky strikes an agreement. Nucky slips out for a few (dozen) drinks with the locals. The young deputy Thompson, casting for a way to get in the good graces of the Commodore, makes his acquaintance with Gillian. Mueller utters his given name, and our time in Chicago appears at an end.
posted by computech_apolloniajames (8 comments total)
I'm sorry to see Chalky and Nelson go. Especially Chalky, because I wanted him to have a happy ending.

Nelson went out in one of his bursts of rage, which at least was a lot easier to watch than him being cowed. I keep thinking of how, when he got coerced into working for Capone, he started babble quoting from the biblical book of Job. And I realized that's how he saw himself, as a righteous man beleaguered by the powers of evil for no fault of his own. It was so far from the truth. Nelson Van Alden was a man who may honestly have meant well much of the time, but had some serious issues he'd never even begun to face and wound up leading the life he did as the consequence of his own behaviour. Poor Sigrid, being left with those two children to raise on her own, and she'll likely never even know what happened to her husband even though, except in terms of the financial support he provided, she's better off without him.

And who is the father of Daughter Maitland's child? The thing is, although I originally assumed she was Chalky's, I'm now inclined to think she isn't because, well, not to put too fine a point on it, but that little girl is quite light skinned, lighter even than Daughter, while Chalky is quite dark skinned. And she looked like the light-skinned Narcisse to me. So maybe she was Narcisse's child, despite Daughter saying she wasn't?

Get it together, Nucky. My guess is that Eli will come back to him now, which might help.
posted by orange swan at 10:50 AM on October 14, 2014

"A man's gotta have a code." RIP Chalky, a flawed man but a gentleman. Michael Shannon's dead body has haunted me for days. Glad there are only two more episodes - ever - cause everyone I have ever cared about is dead. Well, maybe Eli.
posted by Lil Bit of Pepper at 4:57 PM on October 14, 2014

I don't have any worries about Sigrid's making her way in the world. She will find somebody who will fix the roof "that is leaky for always," and perhaps she will be a little less angry too (though who am I kidding? She will likely be pissed for years at Nelson's abandoning her).
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:24 PM on October 14, 2014

Beautifully shot episode. Light was more important and textured then usual.

Nelson was such a bizarre character. I laughed aloud when he said "This hasn't been well thought out." The delivery was perfect.

Williams was brilliant as Chalky and he has some great scenes in terms of composition, and many in this episode. A scowl with range.
posted by juiceCake at 8:33 PM on October 14, 2014

This episode felt oddly edited. The conversation Nucky had in his room with that boy felt like it was missing a chunk, and it almost felt like Narcisse's gang was greenscreened.

Still, I felt like the flashbacks finally really justified themselves this week. I wasn't at all interested in boy-Nucky (felt like it was cheap Dick Whitman stuff), but young man Nucky catching a young Gillian is pretty fascinating. Can't wait to see how that develops/wraps up.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:52 PM on October 14, 2014

I felt like I was missing some stuff, so I just rewatched. Gillian is all over this episode, even before the reveal. One of the bar flies who robs Nucky is rambling about how she could have been King Neptune's consort--just like Gillian was. And Nucky mistakes Joe Harper for her, asking "Why would you trust me?"

Joe Harper's gotta be Tommy, right? It seems like that's heavily implied. I also suspect that Nucky sold young Gillian out in a bigger way than we ever knew--in exchange for something, money or a promotion of some kind ("Get yourself ahead" he tells the bar flies, "And for what?!"). He's watching a pattern of pedophiliac behavior from the Commodore, swearing vows to secure Mabel and his future child's life.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:04 PM on October 15, 2014

Just got around to watching this episode, and by partner and I had the longest conversation around the Daughter/Narcisse/Chalky triad. I find Daughter to be a really interesting character, and wish we'd had a little more time to spend with her. She was sometimes limited to being just a plot point, I think, but there's also a (so disturbing) parallel between Narcisse grooming/raising her and the Commodore grooming/raising Gillian. My partner pointed out that with this new backstory from Nucky, we see that Gillian was at one point in time scrappy and surviving on her own, so perhaps had resources to eke out her own small form of agency even under the Commodore's control. But Daughter was just always "raised" (shudder) by Narcisse, so has developed very, very little agency.
posted by lillygog at 1:39 PM on October 18, 2014

I just wanted to point out that van Alden's destroyed head is clearly a callback to Richard. Not sure it's a coherent reference, but they made a creative choice to take the same side of van Alden's face.

I like the Tommy suggestion, hadn't occurred to me.
posted by mwhybark at 7:48 PM on October 22, 2014

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