Review by Mike Dennis
Well, they certainly didn’t waste any money on lighting in this episode. The coffee shops, the bars, Margaret’s new house, all looked as though they’d forgotten to call the electricians. Even the whorehouse scenes looked unusually dim.
But it may have been for a purpose. Some of the characters did a lot of soul-searching in this installment, and that led them to some pretty dark places.
Nucky moves his aging father out of his house, which happens to be Nucky’s boyhood home. While this process is going on, Nucky is reminded of certain unpleasant events that occurred while he was growing up. Most of these scenes in and around that little house were shot in daylight, but even then, a dusky pallor hangs over everything.
Jimmy, meanwhile, encounters another war veteran in a dimly-lit hospital, this one with half his face blown off. Jimmy realizes that, but for the grace of God and a little luck, that could easily have been him. He befriends this disfigured soldier, who eventually is given a grotesque Phantom-of-the-Opera-type mask to wear. Profoundly affected by this man, Jimmy takes him under his wing, and the plot thickens.
Margaret has a conversation with one of the other “concubines” and you just know that inside, she’s beginning to regret selling herself out to Nucky. This is especially evident when the concubine fawns over Margaret’s daughter, telling the little girl she’s going to make some lucky fella very happy one day. Of course, the last thing Margaret wants is for her little daughter to become a concubine, but she knows that is now a distinct possibility.
Lucky Luciano, on the other hand, has returned to business. In a very dark bar (I think it was a bar, anyway), he has somehow cornered the “Italians” who, along with Mickey Doyle, are knocking over Nucky’s bagmen and are looking to take over the entire liquor business in Atlantic City. Luciano informs them that he and Rothstein will have to be cut in on the action. How he knew where these guys were, or even who they were, is not really explained.
Dabney Coleman’s Commodore has returned and is not looking good. He’s apparently got some kind of internal malady which could turn serious if it isn’t already. I really hope they’re not planning on killing him off.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first episode in which the dazzling Boardwalk set is never seen. Personally, I think that’s a good idea, because the series was developing an undue reliance on that set to carry the day, and that’s never good news.
So, the story line reached wider this week, and this episode (what I could see of it) was one of the better ones. Right now, though, a climax for the season is really nowhere in sight.