The desecration of Nucky Thompson’s soul continues in Blue Bell Boy. We keep seeing these glints of humanity in the guy and continue to be shocked/disappointed when he goes bad again in the blink of an eye. In this episode, it was poor Owen that was the man no wiser to Nucky’s schitzo morality. Buscemi is so good, he even had me believing that he would spare poor Roland, the wise cracking hoodlum’s life and have him come and work for him. Instead of hiring, what does Nucky do? He offers the kid one of his fancy cigraettes, waits for him to turn his back and then fires a shot into the back of his head, his blood dripping through to the floorboard cracks to the cellar where he, Owen and Nucky had been previously hiding over the past day. Talk about ironic.
Then over in Chicago we have our dear underdog Al Capone, played brilliantly as always by Stephen Graham. The gangster has a bleeding heart for the underadvantaged and decides to dish out some cold hard justice in response to it. While it may be okay for him to crack a joke about his friends and family, Al is fiercely loyal to those close to him most especially his adorable deaf son – every scene between the two of them in this episode is tearjerker for me, especially the final scene where Al comes home after beating a a man to death in a bar and plays the mandolin to his sleepy-eyed son, thus dispelling any black and white judgement on his person.The first three episodes before this had me less than enthused about the future of BWE, but Blue Bell Boy kicked things in an interesting new direction with the poignant character studies of Nucky, Al, Owen and Eli.