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Boardwalk Empire Season Episode Two Recap: Gyp Rosetti Makes His First Move Against Rothstein

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Season 3's premiere of Boardwalk Empire closed with a bang when Manny Horvitz became the latest character to be killed off. Life goes on Atlantic City though. Episode 2 entitled "Spaghetti and Coffee" - focuses on Nucky's latest affair, Gyp Rosetti's plan to thwart Rothstein's operations, Chalky's plans for his daughter to marry a soon-to-be doctor, and the return of Nucky's brother Eli.

Chalky Sees Big Things For His Daughter

Boardwalk Empire photo: www.oregonlive.com

Chalky makes his first appearance in signifcant action this week when a young man (Samuel Crawford) asks to have a sit-down with him. Crawford is a promising young man who is on track to become a doctor. And, he's madly in love with Chalky's daughter Maybelle and professes that love for her to Chalky. He then asks for his permission to propose to her. Chalky obliges, but not without putting Samuel on the spot by performing a physical exam on him. On the one hand, it appears that Chalky is testing Crawford to see that he's for real. And, on the other hand it looks like Chalky is messing with him - judging by the look on his right-hand man Dunn Purnsley's face.

When Chalky discusses this with Maybelle, she doesn't appear to share the same feelings for him. Chalky tells her that if she wants out of this lifestyle then she had better marry "that doctor."

Samuel and Maybelle are having some drinks at Chalky's bar when he flat out tells her to stop stringing him along. Samuel gets a little taste of Chalky's underworld when a man bumps into their table and slashes him in his face. Fortunately for Samuel he has Chalky on his side. Dunn Purnsley races to Samuel's aid and delivers a brutal series of blows to the face of the man who made the mistake of slashing his face. Chalky storms over and berates Maybelle for coming into his bar. He then reinforces to her that she "better marry that doctor." This is a way out of the crime world for Maybelle and Chalky wants what is best for her clearly.

Eli Is Out of Prison After a 2-Year Bid

Eli Thompson is finally out of the joint after two long years. He looks like he lost about 35 pounds as well. Nucky sent Mickey Doyle to pick him up and offer him some work. Eli turns down his offer and storms out of the car, but when Mickey tells Eli that nobody else will be picking him up - he knows he has to start somewhere. Eli ends up taking up Mickey on the offer and shows up for work (late) to help put the illegal booze on the trucks.

Eli reunites with his family who are excited as can be to see their beloved father. However, his oldest son clearly has an issue with his father who had to be the man of the house for the past few years while his father was in the joint. You can see there is an obvious tension between them when Eli shows him the plane he assembled for him, which was originally supposed to be his birthday present two years ago. When Eli gives him his present he just blows him off and leaves for work. This is even after Eli tells him he can go back to school.

Something tells me that he and his son are going to be duking it out later this season.

Nucky Gets Jealous Really Fast

Things are heating up between Nucky and his latest mistress, Miss Billie Kent. It really eats at Nucky just who is calling her. To make matters worse he sees a razor in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. 

Even though they have a "don't ask, don't tell" relationship, you can see that he really wants to take things further with her. In the end of the episode he tells her he wishes he could just be in this room with her forever. Perhaps he's tired of hiding the lies for Margaret. Or, he's sick or running the operation. But, this looks like one of those moments of clarity for Nucky.

Gyp Makes His First Move Against Rothstein and Nucky

Gyp Rosetti and one of his cronies step into a local diner in Tabor Heights when they ask for the best thing on the menu. The waitress recommends the spaghetti and meatballs. Rosetti, in his creepy manner asks what the meatballs are composed of.

They ask for some booze to go along with, but the waitress denies his request. She offers him coffee when Gyp acquiesces and says he'll have some spaghetti and coffee, which happens to be the title of this episode. In walks the cop who was speaking with Nucky's men early on. Tabor Heights if the last stop before New York and provides an important fueling station for Rothstein's vehicles.

We officially have our first showdown when Gyp holds everyone up at the fueling station and pumps the gasoline all over the road. When Mickey and Owen sense a serious conflict with Gyp they call off the shipment. Gyp exclaims, "you have guns, he's got a gun, we all have guns."

It's official, Rosetti has sewn the seeds for a war with New York. Things are going to get ugly really fast.

There is something really cool about Rosetti's character. He's funny in a dark way, much like Javier Bardem's portrayal of Anton Chigurh in the Coen Brothers' "No Country For Old Men." I really think the folks at Boardwalk Empire hit a homerun with this casting decision!

What shall we see next week? Will Rothstein counter with an execution order against Rosetti? You can rest assured that this type of hostility will not stand, but something tells me that Rosetti is going to be around for a while. That is unless the producers kill him off too abruptly, like they did with Jimmy. 

Overall, I give this episode a "3" - Glenlivet. It was solid and very good, but not amazing. Not every episode can be a "5." If every episode were a "5" then we would be bored with the show really fast.

Show scale:

5 - The Macallan - 12 Year

4 - Glenmorangie

3 - The Glenlivet

2 - Laphroaig

1 - Johnny Walker Black

Contact Dennis Bakay at dbakay@philly2philly.com

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Photo of Gyp Rosetti from HBO