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Boardwalk Empire Watch - Season 2, Episode 8: Two Boats and a Lifeguard

“The pups have grown fangs.”

Nucky is having weird dreams. Dreams involving a baseball glove, a fight that hasn't happened yet, and a metaphorical young Jimmy shooting Nucky just after he advises him that “Daddy eats first”. To say that he's been going through some stress lately, what with his hand shot clean through in the pattern of a Stigmata, would be an understatement. After berating and threatening his doctor for not informing him of The Commodore's stroke, Nuck and his doctor check up on Margaret's young daughter. With a slight fever, the Doctor advises them to call him if it returns or worsens. As you can guess, this week's “Golden Window” moment involves poor Margaret's little girl being revisited by said fever. Here's hoping no harm befalls her poor little girl.

Just as the episode settles into domestic issues, we then visit Eli and his father on the day that Eli is served a subpoena by the Assistant Prosecutor's office. The ensuing argument proves to be too exciting for the Elder Thompson as he suffers some sort of attack and dies right on the spot. At first, Nucky doesn't seem to be all that affected but eventually he breaks under the suppressed strain of his father's death. Dead father or not, Nucky and his brother still have a tense relationship as they trade personal indictments and ultimately leave just as disconnected as they were to begin with.

Over at Jimmy's camp, the fall out of the failed assassination attempt is full blown. Jimmy's furious with Capone that the hit man he called for failed miserably at his attempted murder of Nucky. In turn, that failure leads Horvitz to accuse Jimmy of being sloppy and irresponsible for not taking Nucky's fate into his own hands. (Plus, Jimmy kind of owes Horvitz the liquor he paid for a couple episodes back.) While Jimmy's ascent to power is just beginning, Angela questions her marriage to Jimmy. Inquisitive state of mind firmly in place, she meets a woman by the name of Louise at the beach. A fellow free spirit like herself, it's not long before they hit it off and show up to a raucous party together, and share their first kiss. It's anyone's guess as to which issue will cause Jimmy to break first: his burgeoning criminal empire, or his once more deteriorating marriage.

Speaking of deteriorating marriage, we find out that Van Alden has now hired a nanny for his new daughter's care. Being a busy man of the law, he is going to need someone to watch after little Abigail. So he hires a nanny by the name of Sigrid, and frees himself up to do things like lecturing his underlings not to take free lunches. (Also, this frees him up to take said free lunches right after he scolds his inferior.) While this is all taking place, the other men and women of law enforcement are plotting to take all criminal enterprise down in Atlantic City. Armed with a laundry list of charges, the Assistant Prosecutor's office aims to take Nucky head on. Even worse, the Assistant Prosecutor implicates the associate of Torrio's as the shooter in the attempt on Nucky's life.

It also doesn't help that Nucky, Torrio, and Rothstein have an Old Guard conference that confirms Mr. Thompson of just who exactly was behind the attempt on his life. Rothstein offers up a crucial piece of advice: ultimately, it would be wise for Nucky to bide his time and wait for the right move to come along, following through with decisive, devastating action. Which is the perfect time for Margaret, fearing for Nucky's life, to suggest that perhaps it's time for him to hang up his hat and resign from all of his less than savory enterprises. Inspired by his companion's advice, in combination with Rothstein's wisdom, Thompson engages in an inspired plan: he resigns. But before doing so, he takes a meeting with Chalky White and tells him to engineer a strike among his constituency; just as the new, Darmody friendly treasurer is taking office.

Just as “Prince James” starts celebrating his apparent victory over the system, Eli continues to try and warn Jimmy that while he may seem to have the upper hand, Nucky is smarter than people would like to remember. This leaves Eli once more on the outs with Jimmy, and possibly in a position to testify against the Darmody machine instead of the previous Thompson regime his brother ran. It's ultimately Eli's choice, and so long as his past murder stays in the dark, he has carte blanche to make someone's life a living, legal hell. But not before The Prince asserts his first aggressive action of power by throwing Mickey Doyle off the balcony. Apparently, Jimmy is growing tired of Manny Horvitz's meddling and he feels compelled to send a message, but not before Mickey give Jimmy a message of his own: Manny is not one to be trifled with. Jimmy, drunk with power, ignores this advice and Mickey ends up crushing some glass. Not only is he starting to lose his common sense, Jimmy is starting to turn into his own version of Nucky Thompson.

With Prince James on his throne, and trouble about to break loose in Atlantic City, it's becoming more and more uncertain just who will survive and who will join “The Lost” that Jimmy toasts to. (Which, quite fittingly, alludes to the Season Finale's title “To The Lost”.) It doesn't help any that Nucky is making his way to Ireland next week to enlist some IRA muscle in his fight against the newly risen Prince's empire. However, it's starting to look as if Jimmy just might be the one who has the most to lose by time that final episode roles around. With his increased spectrum of power, and with both brothers Thompson scorned, young Mr. Darmody is going to have his work cut out for him if he expects to not only run a city but protect his crown.

Next Week's Episode: “Battle of the Century”

* See Jimmy taking power!

* See Nucky in Ireland!

* See Manny possibly getting whacked!

* See Eddie Kessler take the armory single handedly, for The Kaiser!

Mike Reyes
Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.