“Boardwalk Empire” Sapphic-cap: Episode 1.7 “Home”

On last night’s episode of Boardwalk Empire, “Home,” we finally see what Angela’s been hiding from Jimmy. Up to this point, it appeared she had a secret and was quite friendly with the photographer and his wife, Mary, but it was hard to know what exactly was going on. On Boardwalk Empire, everyone seems to have a secret side life.

About half way into the episode, we see Angela in a revealing robe, putting on a record. She picks up a glass of wine as she walks into a bedroom, and brings it to who is in the bed — it’s Mary. Angela hands Mary, who is naked except for a bedsheet, the glass seductively. They begin to kiss and I’m jealous of how they both have perfect bed-tussled, curly long hair.

“What are we gonna do Mary?” Angela asks. She’s worried Nucky knows about them, but Mary’s convinced it’s fine. “It’s not like he saw us together.”

Mary wraps her arms around Angela. “The look on his face, he knows something’s amiss,” Angela says. “He could stop giving me money.” She stops complaining for a second to enjoy Mary’s kisses and to say, “You’re so good.” They are speaking so softly, it’s the most romantic and erotic way to complain I’ve ever seen. (Brief and toward the very end of this video.)

“What about Jimmy?” Mary asks, but Angela says she hasn’t received anything from her estranged common-law husband. He hasn’t even sent anything for their son, Tommy.

“You just might have to get a job, my sweet,” Mary says with a laugh. She pushes Angela down onto the bed. And then she has a surprise: Her husband’s got a friend coming to town. He works at a gallery in Greenwich Village in New York and he’s agreed to assess Angela’s paintings.

Angela must like this idea because now she’s let her robe come completely open and Mary is working her way south.

Later in the episode, we see Jimmy is sending Angela and Tommy some cash. He’s working illegally hard in Chicago, and even has a new girlfriend, but he’s still thinking of his family back home.

Meanwhile, does Nucky know about Angela and Mary? Even if he has an idea, he has bigger fish to fry for the time being.

Although the scene with Mary and Angela is somewhat brief this week, there are a lot of things going on in Atlantic City and Chicago, so we’ll have to wait until next week. And this isn’t just some sweeps week B.S. storyline — it sounds as if it’s going to be something of actual merit. Aleksa Palladino plays Angela, and told Fancast.com that she was told about her character being interested in women early on.

It was one of the first details that Marty [Scorsese] told me. He loved it. I was really excited about it. I think what I did initially was try to understand what was happening at that time with sexual liberation and experimentation at the time. It was becoming fairly common for people to experiment with bisexuality. What I loved about the way that they had written the actual relationship was that it was a relationship – there was a deeper connection. It wasn’t just experimentation or a sexual sort of thing. I thought it was really beautiful and I was excited to be able to explore it.

So what does it mean for Angela’s sexuality?

I really did think it was based off a true connection. The way we’d talked about it that it wasn’t this planned, all the sudden Angela wants to be in a relationship with a woman. It sort of just started out of a friendship with someone she could confide in. I think it was a very natural progression. I don’t know if they’d call themselves in a lesbian relationship. I don’t really think it has that kind of title.

She also explains it’s not just for show — there is going to be some push-and-pull with how Angela feels for Mary and how she feels for Jimmy.

The impression I had is that there’s gotta be a real reason that Angela is torn between how she feels about Jimmy. It’s got to be bigger than just, They’re not the same people they were two years ago. I think it winds up representing all the changes that have happened for her while he was gone, because those two years were so pivotal for her – and for both of them. He was totally changed by war. And she really found herself as an artist, which is huge for a woman in the 1920s. So how do you pick up where you left off? There are a lot of questions going on, and it wasn’t a time where you sit down with a therapist and work out your issues. [Laughs.] There was a lot of self discovery.

And, of course, they asked about the sex scenes.

…The scenes with Mary, I thought it was really important that it had both the relationship element – you could actually see them talking – and the sexual element, too. It wasn’t just a little peck on the lips. It was actually something that was very alive.

By the time we were shooting those scenes I was so ready for Angela to be connected to somebody, that I didn’t even care about the nudity. It was just that she was finally able to connect with someone and feel she’s not just this lonely planet with nobody else with her.

So what can we expect for Angela the rest of this season?

Basically I think what you’ll see is she’s got a lot of choices that she’s feeling her way through. There’s the push and pull with Jimmy and the push and pull with Mary – what direction to go in. Both situations are more complicated because there are feelings in both places.

I have a lot of faith in this storyline, which it seems has been thought of since the show’s inception. It doesn’t hurt that Aleksa seems very sure of what her character is going through.