Ging Gang Goolie.
you can't be half a gangster" tag. It's true: Nucky wasn't a gangster at all this week. He was back to being a slimy politician, and it was great.
The episode began with a blaze in the Thompson's greenhouse. Budding arsonist Teddy says it was a gypsy, despite compelling evidence that he torched the building himself. The fire's worth it, though, because it brings Owen and Margaret together for enough Loaded Moments that they finally break down, make fun of Katy's doll collection, and get it on.
Meanwhile, down in Washington, Nucky exchanges words with
Shooter McGavinAttorney General Daugherty, gets busted for a pint of hooch, and actually loosens his collar (!) while sitting in the clink. Despite Esther Randolph's best efforts, Nuck is released with a five dollar fine - and two potential new allies. Point Nucky.
In tertiary character news, Gillian discovers that incest doesn't have to die with your son, and Richard Harrow makes a friend. I hope she doesn't get shot.
Nucky learns that Shooter McDaugherty is more likely than not going to indict him on bootlegging charges, to turn some of the heat away from his own rampant corruption. That's no good! So it's up to Nucky to force a new fall guy into the limelight. Nucky's wheeling and dealing this week was delightful, from his conversations with a small-time distiller in lockup to asking the courtroom clerk to break a hundred. Nucky's better with words than with guns; let's play to his strengths.
"Miss Randolph, I sympathize with your desire to bring purpose to your life. However, this courtroom is not the place to do it."
After her doomed attempt to corner Nucky last season, Miss Randolph has been consigned to prosecuting petty crimes in night court (I assume John Larroquette and Markie Post were hanging out in the break room). The professional frustration makes her a prime target for Nucky's efforts to find both a friend in the Justice Department and a new lady to banter with. Esther spends most of their sit-down pontificating in Miss Porter's English and displaying impeccable posture but allows Nucky to eventually ooze his way out of her worst graces. Even if it's just a working relationship, I'm totally 'shipping this couple.
"Your naughty virgin is listed."
The fabulous Stephen Root returns as Gaston Means, who, after scenes involving Boy Scouts and hiding in the closet, I dearly hope turns out to be gay. Means offers his services to Nucky in an effort to bring down George Remus. I have no idea if he's being sincere, but according to the internet, the real Gaston Means was a crafty mofo, so let's give it a tentative yes. No one fights like Gaston!
Okay. Let's get something out of the way. It's a delicate subject, but I have to address it. Am I crazy, or was that a semi-erect dong? After Gyp's Wiener Walk last week, some friends and I were discussing where premium cable draws the line when it comes to sex and nudity, and decided that johnsons probably have to be at peace. I guess... not? Is a somewhat-at-attention member kosher as long as a strategically placed chair blocks the lower half of the lady? HBO! Answers! Please!
Anyway, Gillian finds herself a nice Indiana boy named Roger. He's pale and has Jimmy's haircut, so she offers him a cigarette and pontificates about Hopes and Dreams before taking him home.
"Dreams are where we should live. But we have to live in life."
See, it isn't enough for Lucky that Gillian Darmody's House of Physical and Ephemeral Pleasures has turned into a House of Regular Whores; he wants it to be a House of Super-Whorey Whores Who Deal Smack. Gillian realizes that as long as Jimmy "owns" the house, Lucky has the upper hand, and presumably sets out for a lookalike to sign over the deed. But what starts out as standard fraud and identity theft turns into some ultra creepy fake incest and a play-acting of Gillian's deepest desires.
"I'm going to call you James. Because he was a king."
Poor Roger-Jimmy doesn't have a chance.
I feel you, Teddy. It must be tough having a sister who's so great at naming state capitols. It's not fair! I totally get why you would cry for help by committing arson, fingering the local vagrant, and keeping a knife under your pillow.
Teddy's soon going to outshine his adopted pa when it comes to master manipulations and setting up fall guys. While the show is playing coy about whether Teddy actually set the fire, I hope we all remember his Firestarter-type gazes at Emily's polio-laced doll from last year. He did it.
Margaret Thompson & Owen Sleater
Margaret engaged in some questionable parenting, and Owen reacquainted her with Mr. Poufles. I like Forbidden Irish Love as much as the next sap, but this whole "We need to talk about Teddy" plot took up a lot of screen time.
He's back! Richard's back, and he didn't kill anyone! This is real progress. Richard goes to a veteran's meeting that turns into veteran's Fight Club - I'm not being facetious; the bar staff seemed weirdly prepared with a drop cloth for the brawl - and makes a small connection with the daughter of a grizzled vet who's said TTYL to his innocence.
Because Richard can never find happiness, I'm sure the girl will soon be decapitated and fed to Gyp Rosetti's dog, so let's enjoy this while it lasts.
"Ging Gang Goolie”
I really enjoyed this episode. It didn't have the insane action of last week, but the plot has started piecing itself together and the actors seemed to be having fun for the first time in a while. Esther is a far worthier adversary to the liquor business than Van Alden ever was, and anything that brings down Shooter McGavin has got to be fine by anyone who grew up in the nineties.
- "Billie Kent is heaven-sent." Can someone please revive The Naughty Virgin? I bet it'd do gangbusters on Broadway. Bunheads is on hiatus; get Sutton Foster to star.
- When Nucky's friend in lockup bragged about moving five cases of moonshine, Nuck's eyes rolled back so hard they fell down the back of his neck.
- Since when is Nucky such a lush that he'd buy a fifth of booze for a four-hour train ride? The setup for his arrest seemed forced.
- When did Jimmy have all those photos taken? Gillian took them down from pretty much every room in the house. It's not like they had Instagram.
- I get that we're supposed to get the irony of Jess Smith sweating during a Boys Scout choir rendition of "Ging Gang Goolie," but I think a nonsense song motif could be used better.