Aptly entitled “Home,” this episode is a bit more intimate than previous ones. Up until this point, we have seen glimpses into each character’s background and family life, but none so private as those we observe here. In one of the first scenes of “Home”, we observe a very old man, revealed to be Nucky and Eli’s father, Ethan Thompson, living in a filthy old house outside of town. Cats and mice are rampant as he grumpily shuffles around the kitchen, eventually losing his balance, falling and breaking his leg. As the two brothers move their father out of the house for good and into Eli’s home, Eli is clearly nostalgic he looks around the place they grew up in. On the other hand, we sense anger and resentment in Nucky, later finding out through his private confessions to Margaret that his father was extremely harsh to him as a child, both verbally and physically abusive (which Margaret can definitely relate to during her previous marriage).
Here’s a clip from this part of the episode to illustrate Nucky’s bitterness towards his father and his childhood: Ep. 7: Clip – Nucky and Eli and Dad’s Dilemma
Though this wasn’t the happiest of tales, I am appreciative in seeing a more emotional side of Nucky. Perhaps his previous condition helps to explain some of his mannerisms in the present. I believe that Margaret would agree with me here. We see her chatting with her neighbor, Annabelle, who we met in the last episode. Annabelle is apparently in a similar situation as Margaret, living off of a wealthy business man as his “concubine” in her terms, but is not his wife. She warns Margaret not to learn all of Nucky’s secrets, but Margaret ultimately ignores this piece of advice, instead opening herself up to Nucky to confide in. Once again, Margaret has shown herself to be a smart and calculating woman, and I believe this will eventually convince Nucky to settle down with her. After all, we see a sense of enjoyment in him as he listens to Ward Boss Fleming talk about his family and his increased annoyance and disrespect for the bratty and childish Lucy, who has now found out about his relationship with Margaret. Things sure seem to be headed in the right direction! It’s funny how Margaret kind of stumbled upon the opportunities presented to her by Nucky. She definitely never intended to end up with him romantically.
Just out of curiosity, I recently read about several of Boardwalk Empire’s main cast members online and their personal lives outside of the show. Just like the character Margaret seemed to receive this new life of hers by happenstance, so too did Kelly Macdonald (who plays her) stumble upon the world of acting. According to her Wikipedia page, Macdonald was initially a barmaid in Scotland when she randomly saw a flyer for open auditions for the 1996 British film Trainspotting. She scored the part of Diane, and then her acting career blossomed soon after.
Steve Buscemi, too, also came from humble beginnings, growing up in Brooklyn and even serving as a local firefighter while enrolling in acting school. He has three additional brothers, and heavy Italian roots. It certainly sounds like Buscemi would make an excellent D’Alessio brother!
Speaking of which, those Italian characters also make an appearance in this episode. Lucky Luciano pays a visit to them, and they all make a deal against Nucky. In the previous episode, the D’Alessio brothers had stolen a moderate amount of cash from Nucky, but Lucky suggests they work together to score even bigger funds from the man by targeting one of Nucky’s Atlantic City casinos.
Other noteworthy and intimate events of this episode include:
Our shocking discovery that Angela, Jimmy’s wife and mother of his child, is in fact a lesbian. It as not Mr. Dittrich that she had been romantically involved with as previously thought, but rather, his wife Mary. Mary promises to find Angela a good job in New York City and to get her career as a painter off of the ground. (Interestingly enough, in real life, Aleksa Palladino, who plays Angela, is a musical artist).
Meanwhile, throughout the episode, Jimmy has developed a friendship with a man he meets in the hospital during a check-up. Like Jimmy, Richard Harrow was also in the army, but as a skilled marksman. Though he seems ashamed of his facial disfigurement at first, Jimmy seems to make him feel normal again. They chat about the war, share drinks, and Jimmy even hooks him up with one of his prostitute friends at the Four Dueces. By the end of the episode, the two have become allies, and Harrow snipes the man who disfigured Pearl, killing him just as Jimmy wanted.