Although she’s had a lot of screentime on “Boardwalk Empire“, the character of Margaret Schroeder has been so quiet and “well-behaved” that she always seemed to linger in the background. Well, last night was her time to prove that she’s more than just a simple-minded young woman, and it made for a satisfying episode. Check out the review to see why she stood out…

The Players

  • Director: Alan Taylor
  • Writer: Lawrence Konner
  • Cast: Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, Gretchen Mol, Emily Meade, Stephen Graham, Shea Whigham

Episode Title: “Nights in Ballygran”

Nucky prepares for an evening of Irish entertainment to commemorate Saint Patrick’s Day, complete with green beer, but Margaret threatens to disrupt the festivities. Jimmy takes care of Pearl, whose face has been so horribly scarred that she will no longer be able to work as a prostitute.

The Good:

  • Margaret’s change in attitude: Up until recently, Margaret Schroeder has been a frustrating character. Her submissive demeanor may be an accurate representation of a young, impoverished immigrant woman, but it makes her come off as too weak. Fortunately, the reversal she made last week, when she firmly expressed her views to a disagreeing senator, was not an isolated incident. She is asserting more strength now, and it’s good to see her getting the best of the men who don’t take her seriously.
  • Nucky and Margaret: No, they are not quite Mulder and Scully/House and Cuddy/Jim and Pam, but Nucky and Margaret have been slowly inching towards a more substantial relationship, and last night’s episode took a major leap in that direction. Was the process of getting there realistic? No, not really. It came out of nowhere. Still, it’s something we knew we would see eventually.
  • Questioning Prohibition: In any Prohibition drama, it’s tough to find anyone to root for. No one could honestly support the criminals, but we now know that Prohibition created more crime than it stopped, so it’s also hard to think of characters like Van Alden as true heroes. Just as “The Wire” questioned whether the war on drugs is effective, “Boardwalk Empire” allows one of its characters to give voice to similar concerns about Prohibition.
  • Jimmy’s Monologue: While comforting Pearl, Jimmy delivers a monologue about a perfect day from his childhood, when a rich man whom his mother wanted to marry took her and Jimmy out. Michael Pitt expresses the pain of a young man who has known nothing but disappointment as the camera creeps steadily closer to his face. A masterful scene.

The So-So:

  • Everything else Jimmy does: Aside from that haunting monologue, there’s not too much for Jimmy to do in this episode. He tends to Pearl and tries to shelter her from the fact that she will no longer be allowed to work. We sympathize with him, but it gets redundant.

The Bad:

  • No Chalky? Maybe it’s just a desire to see Michael Kenneth Williams electrify the screen again, but Chalky was sorely missed this week, after last week’s thrilling scene between him and a KKK member. Here’s to hoping he plays a more prominent role in this tv show as it progresses.


This is Margaret’s episode, and it was well worth the wait. It’s exciting to see her take a stand, and while the violence of the gangster genre was missing this week, there was still a lot to enjoy.

Rating: 8/10

“Boardwalk Empire” airs every Sunday night on HBO.

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What did you think of last night’s episode? Tell us in the comments.