Boardwalk Empire Season 2, Episode 9

Season 2, Episode 9


Set partially in Ireland, the latest episode of “Boardwalk Empire” has the title “Battle of the Century,” which can represent any number of conflicts. Most overtly, it refers to the Jack Dempsey/Georges Carpentier boxing match from July 2, 1921 (just to fix the show’s latest historical date). Even the Irish have opinions on the bout. Given that the “A” plot involves Nucky attempting to strike a deal with the Irish Republican Army, the title could also refer to Ireland’s struggle for independence, which literally spanned most of the 20th century. (But I’ll get to Nucky later.)

Maybe it’s a medical struggle. The strange thing about “Battle of the Century” is that Nucky goes to Belfast, Margaret’s homeland, but his Irish lass stays at home. Nucky probably didn’t want her around on a business trip, but perhaps Margaret chose to stay because Emily’s been feeling poorly lately. This week, one of the servants says “Emily refuses to get out of bed,” but when Margaret looks in, she discovers that her daughter can’t get out of bed. Irony #1: the images on the walls show active children at play.

Irony #2: The scene cuts to Jimmy and the young guns meeting with bootlegger George Reemus, who has access to alcohol for medicinal purposes. “Turns out we got a lot of sick people in this town,” Jimmy quips. “Practically an epidemic,” titters Mickey Doyle, the second-least-healthy looking person in the episode, since he’s wearing a giant neck brace after Jimmy tossed him off the balcony last week. The gangsters agree to pay Reemus $60,000 apiece for alcohol, which seems to be no hardship for Jimmy. So why won’t he pay Manny his $5,000, as Lansky suggests? It seems uncharacteristically dumb and petty on Jimmy’s part.