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Boardwalk Empire Watch – Season 2, Episode 5: “Gimcrack and Bunkum”

“In the future, if you're going to point a gun at someone, make sure it's loaded.”

As the episode opens, that funeral that I thought was going to be taking place this week wasn't a funeral at all. In fact, it was a dedication for a memorial to those who served and lost their lives in World War I. (One prediction debunked, so far.) As Nucky dedicates the site, he invites Jimmy to speak at the podium. It's such a surprise that even Jimmy himself can't believe it himself. Nucky apparently thinks Jimmy's not ready or capable to give a moving address. Jimmy quickly puts him to shame with a meditation on how surviving the war isn't heroism, it's just making it home. Score another win in the Young Guard's column.

Meanwhile, the Old Guard is panicking because The Commodore's secret stroke is losing them money. Apparently Jimmy and company are taking too long selling their booze, and money isn't coming in as it should be. Jimmy tries his best to calm his older compatriots, but one of them decides he needs to be taught a lesson in manners. Apparently, a lesson in manners back then consisted of getting caned in the head, which is exactly what Jimmy winds up with at the end of negotiations. Elias, in turn, tries to calm Jimmy, but he's having none of it. On top of that, he basically pushes Elias further out of the circle of trust by telling him to stay out of his business. Further alienated, Elias is forced to do something he probably hadn't planned on.

Nucky returns home one day to see his dear brother on his doorstep, begging to be let back onto the family team. What started as a tearful attempt at reconciliation on Elias' part turns into a violent struggle thanks to Nucky's resentment. Elias has turned his back on The Family, and Nucky will see to it that he doesn't come back into the fold, unless he ultimately humiliates himself. Margaret stops the conflict by aiming a shotgun towards Elias, and forcing him out of the house. Properly shamed and shunned, Elias is heading for that long overdue breakdown that we've seen him brewing since the start.

As this is all going on, Nucky's legal problems seem to be coming to a foreseeable close as Attorney General Daugherty is ready to move his case to Federal Court, and have it summarily dismissed as a waste of time. He even has a brand new prosecutor picked out for the job, a young fellow by the name of Chip. These fine, upstanding gentlemen are later seen indulging in women of the evening, as Nucky's trying to conduct business. He's not to pleased, seeing as the previously duplicitous Daugherty won't give him a guarantee that his woes will be taken care of, but at this point he's taking what he can get.

Taking a break in the family drama, we see Richard preparing for a hunting trip. Now, if any of you remember last week, I was freaking out over the preview for this week's episode because it looked like Richard was going to get whacked. (Keep in mind, I thought The Commodore was going to be dead too, so my prediction skills aren't quite as honed as I'd want them to be.) So we see Richard head into the woods and prepare himself to hunt his quarry. His quarry being, his very own self. Just as he's about to pull the trigger, a dog takes his face mask. After a brief chase, he is discovered by one of two hunters camping in the woods. After some bootleg liquor, and an offering of roasted squirrel, we find that the dog was a wild one. It just happened to be Richard's cosmic luck that the dog found him and prevented his death. Apparently, as one of the hunters put it, “these woods are for living”. And since one must live with a purpose, Richard shortly discovers just what his purpose is.

Richard shows up on Jimmy's doorstep that night, and his purpose is revealed. What's Richard's purpose in life? To be a soldier alongside Jimmy in the gang war they're so deeply engaged in. He rediscovers and reaffirms his purpose as he and Jimmy pay a visit to the man with the cane. Jimmy gets a caning, so it's only fair that the old man gets a scalping to remind him of his old war stories. With that action, we see Jimmy solidify his power base, and get a feeling that trouble is coming to Atlantic City all that much sooner.

Switching back to Elias, the man has hit rock bottom. His drinking has turned him into a nervous wreck, and this is only inflamed when George comes to visit. He's worried about the rumor that The Commodore has had a stroke, a rumor that Elias himself spread the truth about to Nucky. If this is true, George wants out of the business. As he starts to freak out, Elias starts to approach him. George starts to get loud as he perceives this as a threat. What wasn't a threat turns into one, as Elias strikes George with a pipe in a fit of rage. Disabled, Elias decides to finish him off by caving his skull in with that very pipe. With the help of his deputy, he later loads the body onto his truck and buries the body himself, thus bringing the episode to a close.

So there was a death this week, but it wasn't either of the deaths I had predicted. That's Boardwalk Empire for you, it's rarely as predictable as one would think. Act II seems to be kicking off in grand fashion, and I'd say that Elias is going to get a lot more erratic come the midpoint of this section. Also, Nucky's legal troubles don't look to be over just yet, as Daugherty has proven himself to be as trustworthy as a toddler. As a further side-note, the confirmation of the Owen/Katie relationship leads me to believe that despite his promises to the contrary, he's going to get her “in trouble”, and Margaret will have to deal with it. Finally, kudos to Jimmy for taking the initiative and scalping an old geezer. That'll show the rest of the quorum of old gentlemen just who's boss!

Next week we're back with the next exciting installment, The Age of Reason:

* See Horvitz carve a man!

* See Lucky get his gun!

* See The Young Guard seizing the spirit of revolution!

* See Van Alden herald his bastard child as the second coming of Christ!

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