It’s Easter Sunday in Atlantic City. The episode starts out with Eli in his night robe, hiding eggs in his front yard. Big event for the Thompson family: Nucky and Margaret are visiting. Of course, there is still some tension between Eli and Nucky, much more so than between any two other brothers – and it is nowhere more apparent than between their respective wives: June Thompson does not have the slightest idea of what her husband has been up to, while Margaret has way too much of an idea of what Nucky does on his spare time. And Margaret does over-share a bit with June, telling her that Nucky is cheating on her, and that she’s unhappy, making Eli’s wife VERY uncomfortable.
While the kids (all of them) are hunting for eggs in the yard, Eli and Nucky are drinking in the garage. The discomfort is different, because we sort of feel for Eli at this point, but Nucky doesn’t. From his decision to not drink before sundown to his being at the lowest scale of the ladder. The tension is palpable, even Teddy manages to put in his goonish grain of salt but the lunch party remains civil, culminating in a strangely calming musical saw recital from Eli’s daughter, a straight-up charming juggling act from Nucky and a truly delightful singing number by Margaret. As they head home that night, we kind of expect our two lovebirds to go at it, but “it’s too late” Margie says. Of course it is, but I kind of wanted them to reconcile a bit… Nucky certainly did. And the last thing he does is actually extend an olive branch to Eli: he is officially promoted to assistant regional manager of the warehouse alongside Doyle.
Another family of sorts is celebrating Easter: Richard Harrow is taking little Tommy Darmody to the Sigorskis (that old vet from last episode) where there is electricity in the air, between the old man, Julia, and some neighbors apparently? Anyway Julia makes a separate lunch plate for Richard to be able to eat without having to take off his mask in front of everybody (which is both weird and awfully nice at the same time), and of course they start talking about politics. But that’s not when the sparks come flying, instead, little demure Tommy gets in trouble by playing with lead soldiers on his way to the bathroom. Lunch ends early and Richard offers to take Julia out of the house for a spell, onto the Boardwalk. They seem to have a great time together, and even take a souvenir picture of their family-for-the-day, which Richard adds to his scrapbook.
The best (and worst) part about this episode, is how it made all the characters some much more likeable. It’s the best, because the writers and the actors are so damn good that each of these situations has something we have all experienced. It’s also the worst, because obviously one or more of these characters that we just grew to like a lot more is going to have a reversal of fortune before the end of the season. Even with all the politics and religion, these are people with heads screwed on (however beat-up, amirite youguys?) they manage to stay cool and have somewhat of a good time.
By contrast, there is a vignette, nearly innocent, of Gyp Rosetti in New York. His Easter lunch is taking place in a tiny, cramped apartment, with four women. One clear matriarch, maybe a sister or two; all these women he has to bow down to, to whom he cannot talk back… And all these women who kind of bully around, as family does. Times are tough for him following the Tabor Heights shoot-out, and his men are coming up short, so he heads for some church to yell a Jesus, and also steal from its coffers, because hey, who cares anymore. He has a meeting with Maseria who is apparently tired of his antics and about to off him until Rosetti appeals directly to his heart, with a bit of Sycillian sweet-talk and a whole lot of
racism ass-kissing turns the situation in his favor. He is about to put a posse together and get rid of Nucky, Rothstein and Luciano once and for all. Says he.
Another vignette, this one lacking innocence, of Gillian in the Artemis house. She has excused all the staff for the day (with all the family gatherings, customers feel guilty about seeing whores, you see) pretending that her periods were hurting her (making her feel “murderous” she says, cute), and invited her new beau over – we know she’s kind of hitting rock bottom so she’s allowed a pass on this one. The guy who appeared as a poor seasonal worker last time turns to be just a horny toad who asks too many questions, and by the time she stabs a heroin needle into his arm while he’s relaxing in the bath, we don’t really feel bad for the guy who is going to be Jimmy’s corpse, dog tags included. But at the end of the episode, when Gillian comes visit with Richard, she is truly, really, sad. Jimmy is officially dead, season two is cold and buried, it’s Spring, the swallows and Jesus are back, so season three is ready to kick into high gear.
There’s a whole lot of praying and crying going on, especially from the characters that do not matter. For the other characters, there is nothing but tension that somehow just evens out; now, are they keeping their keeping their cards hidden because they don’t want shit to pop off, or is shit not popping off because they are keeping their cards down? We will know soon enough, because Gyp is going to barge into these situations like a bull in a China shop and he is not going to be appeased with some quick wits and parlor tricks.- Gnou