By Dave Gilmore
7:49 AM EDT, October 29, 2012
It's Easter 1923 and "Boardwalk Empire" is taking some time out from mob wars and political scandal to spend some time with family. Of course, like any good holiday, Easter is a reminder to most of the families on "Boardwalk" that they are far from perfect.
The one person who has a seemingly healthy domestic situation, Eli, wants back into Nucky's chaotic world. Eli uses a Thompson family gathering to broach the subject with his brother, and in typical dramatic Eli fashion, decides to bring a loaded pistol to his Easter egg hunt.
Hey, at least we finally got to put names to Eli and June's 27 children. The Thompson family talent show does reignite sparks between Nucky and Margaret, even though the latter thinks they are too far gone to reconcile.
While there's some dark stuff going on, "Sunday Best" is a feel-good episode by "Boardwalk" standards. Even if he can't make things right with his wife, Nucky at least wants to make things right with his little brother.
"Uncle Nucky" once again has a twinkle in his eye for a resistant Margaret and Eli is going to do more than load trucks. It's all very much, as June says, "how it used to be."
Meanwhile, Gyp, still stricken from his failed coup of Nucky's empire, now has to deal with a clan of Rosetti women telling him his "bus-a-ness." Whether you call it "praying" or "yelling," Rosetti is infuriated with a world he so badly wants to navigate but simply can't get out of his own way.
He's become more trouble than he's worth to Joe Masseria, and the only thing that saves him is of course vowing to kill all of Joe's enemies in exchange for clemency. I'm guessing Rosetti is only going to be a one-season problem for Nucky, but it does leave one pondering if he is going to bring down anyone significant during his inevitable last stand.
"Sunday Best" is largely carried by Gretchen Mol, playing a disturbingly seductive Gillian Darmody. Still grieving for her son, Gillian is reaching that final stage of grief where you find your loved one's doppleganger, sleep with them, load them full of heroin, then drown them in a bathtub.
I'll admit I didn't see Roger literally taking Jimmy's place in the grave when Gillian sauntered up to the unfortunate young lad sat week. I thought at worst, she'd take the "mother-son" roleplaying too far and he'd get weirded out and skip town.
Now that she has come to terms (in her own demented way) with Jimmy being gone, she has put an awful lot of faith in Richard Harrow's obedience and silence. Obviously Harrow is going know that the strapping bro in her bathtub is not Jimmy Darmody. The big question is how he's going to react to his employer killing innocent drifters in cold blood.
Harrow's own Easter plans take he and young Tommy to the Sagorsky home to sup with the vets, which is predictably macabre. Tommy's desire to play "Germans vs. Indians" with the late Freddy Sagorsky's figurines goes down poorly with the embittered (and apparently socialist-leaning) Paul.
This is all a fine excuse for Harrow to get Julia out of the house for a stroll on the boardwalk with Tommy, who is giving Teddy Thompson a run for his money as the worst-behaved child on the show. Julia definitely brings out far more charm and panache than we've ever gotten to see out of Harrow.
I'm not exceedingly hopeful that he can manage to transition into a normal life with her though, despite being mistaken for a happily little family by the photo booth man. Even though he says he was just trying to sound tough, I'm pretty sure he meant it when he threatened to kill Paul if he didn't unhand Tommy.
Actually, for "Boardwalk Empire," threatening to kill family members sounds just about right.
Two random facts from "Sunday Best"
¿ The pennant on the door to the late Freddy Sigorsky's room was for the 1910 World Series champion Philadelphia Athletics. The A's won the series 4 games to 1 using only two pitchers.
¿ Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party presidential candidate who Sagorsky voted for, got 3.4 percent of the popular vote in 1920, good for third place behind Harding and Democratic candidate James M. Cox.
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