Boardwalk Empire Recap: Hired Help

BOARDWALK EMPIRE episode 15 (season 2, episode 3): Paz de la Huerta. photo: Macall B. Polay Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Boardwalk Empire
Episode Title

Last night we saw the beginnings of the overt confrontation the show’s writers hope and pray we’ve all been waiting for. Nucky vs. the Commodore: This Time It’s Personal. Fifteen rounds, or episodes, whichever comes last. Except their opening exchange of punches manifests as … a food fight? That upturned plate of lobster should be fun for someone on the staff of Babette’s Supper Club to clean up. But at least this episode does take a little time, at various points, to think about the hired help.

By way of complete contrast (once again), Richard Harrow seems a much more interesting character than Jimmy, even as he’s equally indecisive. While Owen Sleater intervenes to bust up the delivery of Commodore-sponsored liquor to one of Nucky’s erstwhile casino clients, Harrow draws his pistol. “Why didn’t you shoot me?” the plucky young Irish lad asks. “I may yet,” Harrow says, with a twinkling of potential solidarity twitching in the half of his face we can see. (Is everyone on the show going to fall for Sleater? Maybe.) But maybe Harrow is being pulled in by the same thing we can see: The decisive Sleater’s a lot more fun to watch (and, one presumes, to gangster around with) than Jimmy — the schmuck who doesn’t even know how to enjoy having it all. Anyway, to be continued next week, when Chalky White gets released from jail and the show earns back another one of its more interesting characters — and maybe also a couple more maids to tidy up some of these plot strands.