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“Not every insult requires a response.”
We start with revisiting the subject of Teddy (Margaret's son's) behavioral problems. He hasn't done anything specific this time, but Father Brennan feels it's time to bring Teddy into the good Christian fold. As such, it's time to introduce him to one of the Catholic church's longest standing traditions... confession. In order to set a good example, Margaret herself is also required to confess. This gives her plenty to think about, and ultimately the result is something we could have seen a mile away.
Meanwhile, Nucky's legal woes, as assuredly dispatched as they were, reared their ugly heads again. While Chip Thorogood made good on his court performance and started the wheels in motion to move Nucky's case to a Federal venue; Attorney General Daugherty was pressured to switch prosecutors yet again. None other than Senator Edge, the man Nucky politically spurned in favor for Daugherty last season, is holding the proverbial knife. His threat: to expose Daugherty and his buddies in their plot to “plunder” the newly minted Department of Veteran Affairs.
Thrown on top of all of that, Nuck is worried that Margaret might say something about his own affairs to the Father when she confesses. His relationship has hit a rough patch as she feels he no longer is attracted to her, and he seems afraid she'll revert back to her older, more pure ways. Indeed what Margaret says in confession is not in his favor, but it's nothing to do with his illegal behavior. It's to do with the fact that Margaret is starting to develop feelings for, who else, Owen Sleater. (And he's not above encouraging it himself with a kind suggestion.)
There's competition in the personal woes department though, and their names are Nelson and Lucy. After displaying some less than concerned behavior towards Lucy, Van Alden goes to visit one of his agents that was injured in the Mickey Doyle warehouse explosion. Agent Clarkson, the injured party, seems ready to out his senior agent as connected to Mr. Doyle as he wakes up and says, “I see you. I know what you did.” (That's not something you want to hear someone say to you as you're praying for their recovery. It just has too much of a 'God's gonna getcha' ring to it.) He feels so bad about everything that's happened, he all but confesses to his wife all of his guilt and shame, leaving her worried about her husband's well-being.
Though perhaps the arrival of his child with Ms. Danzinger will brighten things up. That's right, folks. Lucy gave birth to a bouncing baby girl after her water broke, leaving her to do the whole thing by herself. No one would come to her aid, and with Nelson out all day, she took it into her hands to grit her teeth and pop out a baby. When he arrives home and sees his baby, it seems like he's smiled for the first time since we've met him. And sure enough, he brought the lemons home as Lucy had asked. However, this is Boardwalk Empire, not 7th Heaven. Just as soon as Van Alden fetches a doctor and starts to feel a weight lifted off of his shoulders (which is partially thanks to Agent Clarkson's current state of telling everyone that he saw what they did), who decides to show up and come to his supposed rescue? His wife, who is less than thrilled at the fact that he has had a child outside of their marriage. Despite his protestations that it was all for her, she leaves him in a huff.
But perhaps the biggest story of the week comes from Jimmy's plot line: The Young Guard, minus Capone, has officially formed! What's more, Jimmy seems to have learned the very lesson that became this week's quotable quote: “Not every insult requires a response”. This is something taught to him by Leander Whitlock, one of The Commodore's old cronies, in response to the scalping that Jimmy administered last week. While starting off the episode a little extra impetuous and brash, we start to see Jimmy coming into his own even more as a gangster. The icing on the cake occurs in the woods somewhere between Philly and New Jersey, when Jimmy and his boys are seizing a shipment of booze being shipped under the Thompson/Rothstein partnership.
Guarding that shipment is Luciano and Lansky, who engage in a gunfight with Jimmy's men before brokering a truce. Better still, Meyer Lansky is ready to offer a deal: he brings the heroin trade back onto the table, and Jimmy accepts. What's more, Jimmy's got ambitions to take the liquor industry as well. He wants it all, and he's not only smart enough to take it but he's just ruthless enough to do what he has to do to get it. Jimmy Darmody is going to be the character to watch for the rest of the season. While Nucky is the main focus, you can bet that Jimmy's going to go through some interesting changes as he rises further towards the top.
If there were ever an episode that defined the phrase “turning point”, Boardwalk Empire's episode from last night, “The Age of Reason”, would have to be it. A lot of events that would be fodder for Act III decided to rear their head last night, leaving not only the characters, but also the audience, to ask “What could possibly happen next”? The answer to that question is at times a surprise, and at times just another step down the path of self destruction. It depends on who's asking, really. Though much has transpired in this current episode, there's plenty more to come in the future. The body count will rise, families will be broken, and trust will once more become a thing of the past. That's how it happens in Atlantic City.
Next Week's harrowing entry: “Peg of Old”
* See the returns of Elias and Capone!
* See Van Alden once more neglect Lucy!
* See Nucky trying to hold it together!
* See Chip's green shoes shatter a glass plate!