'Boardwalk Empire': Lucy is certainly no Margaret
October 18th, 2010
12:21 PM ET

'Boardwalk Empire': Lucy is certainly no Margaret

Welcome back “Boardwalk Empire” fans. In last week's blog, I found a moment or two (okay, so it was more like five) to wax poetic on the subject of my affinity for the widow Margaret Schroeder.

Since the show began, this character (played masterfully by Kelly Macdonald) has been an increasingly intriguing wrinkle in Nucky's freshly-pressed world.

Well, as of this week's episode, "Nights in Ballygran," I should probably leave some space on this blog for your hand claps and high-fives because Margaret was absolutely magnificent.

As the show began, I could sense a big twist in the drama surrounding her. The writers have done a pretty good job giving us a steady diet featuring the different flavors of widow Schroeder's personality, and I could tell a big meal was being prepared.

It turned out to be a virtual smorgasbord, and I loved every minute of it. She was as graceful and demure as she was cunning, calculating and manipulative. It’s plainly evident Margaret is as intelligent as they come and (I can't believe I'm typing this) I even LOVED the vengeful chess move she made on Atlantic City's most powerful figure after he was a complete jerk brushing her (and her soda bread) aside. Why Nucky, why?

Let's go back one episode for the answer: When Nucky danced with Margaret at his birthday bash, I thought it was a poignant, "not-just-an-ordinary-happenstance" kind of moment.

As Nucky and Margaret spun around gazing into each other's eyes, all of their thoughts and ideas about one another were put on display for them to see and realize. Didn't it seem like this unlikely pair wasn't so "unlikely" after all? She likes him because he effortlessly saved her from a life she was otherwise doomed to lead (among other reasons), and he likes her because she's exactly the type of woman he finds to be an alluring challenge (among other reasons). The scene was brimming with foreshadowing and symbolism, and be sure to add Margaret's theft of the undergarment from the boutique to the list of foreshadowed tidbits as well.

Slowly but surely, Margaret realizes she wants to live the kind of life she has seen via Nucky, and he's had the growing thought that "while Lucy is exciting, beautiful, and will do exactly what I say, she is certainly no Margaret."

But during last night's episode, Nucky pulled away and totally dismissed Margaret, because he was sensing his feelings for her. Meanwhile, his brother Eli (who had my "jerk-o-meter" pegging in the 9.8 range the entire episode) could smell "smitten" in the air, and his jealousy went through the roof, culminating with the swing he takes at Nucky after the very "Sopranos"-ish Celtic dinner. That scene was bold and compelling in signature Terence Winter style, but Eli's speech at that dinner was neither bold nor compelling. I'll just say this: Brother, for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary, stick to the police work.

Elsewhere, the Jimmy and Pearl situation ended sadly. As she emerged for all to see her horrible scar, I felt my face wrinkle up, and had a feeling things would end the way they did. It was a jolting scene 45 minutes in, and I thought the episode actually needed that gunshot. Prior to that point, the episode dragged a bit and I could feel myself drifting into "New York Times crossword puzzle" territory. I did, however, enjoy the early Rothstein scene, which paid homage to his "alleged" role in the 1919 World Series, also known as the "Black Sox scandal."

So far, I've devoted a bit more than 300 characters to my intense like for the widow Schroeder, but how can I leave out Agent Van Alden? His scenes have been some of the best the show has to offer, and last night was no exception. Van Alden (played by Michael Shannon) embodies the gritty, ‘20s era federal agent with great flair. He's thoughtful and precise but he doesn't play around, and he never seems to not be in battle prohibition mode.

Finally, can we discuss that ending montage? Set to the traditional Irish tune "Carrickfergus," it was both beautifully edited and well-placed within the setting of the show. As the credits rolled, I was furiously searching Google for the title I thought I heard in the chorus, only to end up using my trusty iPhone app "Shazam" to record the song and get the real info. Now the new dilemma is whose version of the song is better: Charlotte Church, Paddy Reilly or Van Morrison? I'm stumped.

All in all, the episode ended well and was a notch higher than decent, with bonus points going to Schroeder and Agent Van Alden. As stated, she needs a "like" button as I watch, but something tells me her whistle-blowing may not just be brushed under the rug, even if Nucky gets to do the sweeping. Now that the two are an item things will really heat up, so stay tuned.

Loved, kinda liked, or hated the show? Let us know!

soundoff (35 Responses)
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    December 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fuslysaflal


    November 21, 2011 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Andrew

    The kind of subtle intensity displayed in this episode is the kind of thing I’m always raving about when it comes to Boardwalk Empire. It’s just an amazing show. I was nearing panic when I realized after a last minute trip that I had not only missed a couple of episodes but that I had also forgotten to set my DVR! Luckily though I remembered my employer (DISH Network) has this live streaming website called dishonline, so I checked there and sure enough the episodes I needed to catch back up were there. It’s definitely a great service that I am now thankful for. Once I started browsing around the site I was pretty surprised at just how much content there is, and a lot of it is available to non-subscribers too. Definitely worth checking out.

    November 1, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. charles rodriguez

    Well this is the first time I've ever blogged about anything, let alone comment. This series has been a light in the world of television and I mean for every channel possibly viewable. I'm not a cheesey kind of guy but in this time and age regular tv or cable its great to know that there's still writing talent in the world. A freind of mine saw Mark Wahlberg on some late night show and they were complimenting him on the movie "Fighter" and he accepted their,"good jobs" and "way to go's". But he stopped the host and said "that he was more excited for the nomination's for Boardwalk. Last year and for the past 2 yrs before that, Dexter was a no brainer for me in that category but for as much as I love Dexter, I can't get enough of Empire. There's not a character on there that don't belong. I've always digged any part Buscemi ever played. From comedy to drama. He's the one I wait for in Reservoir Dogs and any Sandler movie he's in is always a surprise. But Nucky is the s???. (Like I said first time so I don't know all the rules of blogging). And Margaret, perfect, flawless and beautiful...for a woman who is about to be one of the most powerful characters in the show. From the time she read the ledger I know it was "on". Jimmy, brother, you are so great. No need to say anymore because I will end up using some kind of cuss word to describe his character. Anyways, I can not wait till new season starts and my old lady kills me everytime she reminds me its going to be a long time till then. I read a comment about the style of dress and how much they loved it. And I'm with you on that. I have a couple of Derby's, like the one's they wear, and I have fun when I wear them because its an eye catcher. To bad we don't have a style like that now.
    So to end this rambling, "pure greatness" is all I have to say for this series. Oh and thanks to the writers for giving me hope in television because it was getting a little dim out there.
    Damnrookieblogger... Charles

    December 18, 2010 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. Yael Gittleman

    Calling all Boardwalk Empire Fans – join us for this unique opportunity hear Kramer Morgenthau, ASC, the Cinematographer and Kate Sanford, Editor discuss the creative process, challenges and how they created the amazing first season. http://createasphere.com/En/webcasts.html?layout=category

    December 10, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. charleskatz

    The styling is superb,but what really sticks out is the relationship between the Italian mobsters and the Jewish ones, its
    like first cousins and still exists today,except with less bloodshed.
    and they certainly dressed well, l sure wish more men dressed like that today.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CocoLiz

    Nothing but great things to say about this series! One thing to point out though – in the 2nd or 3rd episode it showed Al Capone's kitchen and in the background wall are some pictures of various saints. One of them, however, was just a little too early for sainthood! Al must have been bribing Pope Benedict XV (Hey Fadda – I got a couple a cases a Scotch for you if you do me a favor...) to promote St Therese of the little Flower to early sainthood AND get a printed shot of her in 1920!

    November 16, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. Desirae Hendry

    I love this show. I also believe Margaret reminds Nucky of his late wife. Explain the relationship between Nucky, Jimmy and Jimmy's mother. Is Nucky Jimmy's father?

    October 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. instantempoDrepjomornWen

    Hi, it's nice here so I am just saying hi. I've been watching board for a month now and decided to register. Hope that my english will be good enough to communicate with you :). My hobby are internet contests and my hobby page – instantempo it's about them.

    October 23, 2010 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. ellie

    Is it my imagination, or did I just swoon over Steve Buscemi? That was a hot, hot closing scene between Nucky and Margaret, and an artful build-up from the writers along the way.

    October 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sherine

    I am so hooked on this show. The Margaret-Nucky dance scene, reminded me of the tango scene in Scent of a Woman between Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anway... intense chemestry!

    October 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D. Benitez

    I love the show and Margaret's character. Her witt and manipulative way to conquer Nucky. She is total opposite of Lucy. This is why Nucky is going crazy for her.

    October 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Gary Waldinger

    Great episode.

    Pretty sure this is the version from the show:


    October 18, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Kitty

    I loved loved LOVED the ending for the episode last night. I'm all eyes on the screen when Nucky and Margaret are together. They are unbelivably cute and I knew from the first episode something was going to happen. I'm rooting for them. Way to go Margaret. Get it in!!!! 😀

    October 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Anthony Jackson

    that indeed, was a great episode i am totally with you on the Margaret and Van Alden thing...both of them have easily become 2 of my favorites of the show, Nucky is also a favorite of mine. Margaret is adorable, and has a quiet intelligence and wit to her that makes me adore her. It's like we get to see a new side to her each week and it makes her character even more fascinating. Van Alden's character is magnificent. First, the scene in an earlier episode where he interrogates the survivor of the forest-shooting/hold-up, shoving his hand in his open wound to make him talk while insighting a line from a bible(a very genius and powerful scene) and now the scene from last night where he crashes the St.Patrick's Day feast to arrest the bootlegger margaret complains about. Van Alden is to-the-point and doesn't play around. "If anybody tries to make a run for it, then shoot them" he orders his fellow officers. Just simply an awesome character, and it's character's like that that make HBO crime related drama's so intense and well-liked, and i am the biggest Soprano's fan as well!

    October 18, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Hiawatha

    I'm always suprised to watch the lushness of sets, and dead-on styling, while witnessing both violence and beauty. This perticular episode showed the many faces of pain & pleasure~

    October 18, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Tom Hilton

    Answer: none of the above. Bryan Ferry's version (on the 1979 album Bride Stripped Bare) is the best–understated, elegant, and moving.

    October 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Kenneth Tong

    Truely the best show on Television...

    October 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  22. bkgirl

    I also though Jimmy and his mom were lovers in the beginning, that first greet was awfully ummm...romantic...i can't wait to see where the storyline of nucky and margaret goes, i was cheering for them =)

    October 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  23. C

    The scene w/Jimmy's Mom & Baby's Momma was weird, but I think back an episode or so when he went to see his mother for the first time since he wa home...they way they greeted each other I didnt think Mother & Son...I thought they were lovers @ first....There may be more to that they arent saying or to be revealed later?????????

    October 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Apes ALP

    Nucky definitely sees his late wife in Margaret. Rooting for them to end up together.

    October 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Katie

    Def. go with the Charlotte Church Version!! It was a great episode all around!!

    October 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  26. James

    Here's to hoping Nuck's slice of redemption becomes as contemptible as everything else in his life and Margaret learns that some wishes are better left unfulfilled. The finality of the closing sequence was seconded by Margaret's shredding of the undergarment. With all the emotions Margaret embodies within the story – her catharsis will be the best.

    October 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Kristina

    Terence Winter explained in an “Inside the Episode” on the Boardwalk Empire site at HBO.com that Margaret’s move to have the Celtic dinner raided was about getting Nucky’s attention. If that was the reason, and not because she felt scorned, then she is more of a badass than I imagined. Go, Margaret! In fiction or reality I would never make such a move.

    October 18, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carrie

      It was a classic, yet subtle "I will not be ignored" move that every woman would love to do.

      October 20, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  28. Kristina

    I believe that Margaret will play the role as Nucky’s conscience and his equal in ambition and manipulation. A woman scorned is still a powerful force of nature, which brings to mind Lucy and any retaliations she will unleash because of the relationship between Nucky and Margaret. I also wonder about Van Alden’s reaction when he gets wind of the Nucky and Margaret thing. Van Alden may unleash his fury further fueled by his freakish fantasies of Margaret. Do you remember the hair ribbon Van Alden stole from Margaret a few episodes ago? He seemed to inhale her essence through the ribbon. If he wasn’t so creepy that action would have been romantic. Van Alden’s wife must really miss him. He’s so hot…

    October 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Yugo

    They need to pick up the pace a little bit – interesting show, but need a little more action.

    October 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
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    October 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  31. another great episode

    As I watched, I thought too that in Margaret's mind, the dance she shared with Lucky during his birthday celebration cemented her in his world. But as the episode continued, and she was continually brushed aside, you can see her starting to plan her revenge. The look on Nucky's face when their dinner was interrupted and he saw Margaret singing along, was priceless. I'm not sure if I believe Nucky was trying really hard to restrain any feelings he was having for her, but he lost out in the end, OR if he figures she would be a better ally due to her intelligence and demeanor;Maybe both, who knows.
    Lucy's demise was sad, but you kind of expected it, in my opinion. What I'm trying to wrap my brain around was the storyline with Jimmy's mother and girlfriend...that was a little weird.

    October 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Keily

    LOVED the Margaret and Nucky scene. So much said and unsaid in that scene. I find it impossible to see how these two could be together which makes me root for them even more. I'm glued to the screen every time those two share a scene!

    October 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Me

    WOW, what a great episode and I am very proud of the widow! Although I agree she did become a bit manipulative, it was definitely well played. I am also over Nucky's brother Eli and I know he's up to no good. This show is clever, colorful and very well written with just enough factual history to keep me intrigued. As always, I'll be waiting eagerly for next week's show.

    October 18, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      I love the show can't wait to see the wedding between Margaret and Nucky

      October 31, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |

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