Boardwalk Empire: Sigrid, The Hammer of Thor!!
Last night on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, a very unexpected member of the cast added to the new season’s high body count.
**Warning! Spoilers for “You’d Be Surprised.”**
Late last season, prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) found himself in need of a nanny. This necessity was due to his one night stand with irritating showgirl Lucy Danziger, which resulted in her getting pregnant. When she revealed this fact to him, he sequestered her in his apartment until she gave birth. His plan to present this child to his wife, who had not yet been able to get pregnant herself did not go over well. Lucy took off for a role in a travelling musical show while Van Alden was out, leaving the child in the hands of a helpful neighbor. Not long after, he received divorce papers from his wife.
As deluded and bizzarre as Van Alden is, even he knew that he had no business caring for an infant on his own. Enter Sigrid, a deceptively beautiful and kind of goofy Norwegian professional caregiver. She pitched right in.
So much so, that when agent Van Alden escaped capture for his murder of a federal agent (shooting an additional agent in the process), she went on the lam with him, moving halfway across the country and posing as man and wife in Chicagoland. That was at the end of season 2.
When this season began and we found that a year and a half later, they not only were keeping up the ruse, but had produced another child, it was the sort of information that I, at least, accepted immediately, and at face value. Of course the affable and charming Nelson Van Alden had won over the nanny and settled down as man and wife while on the run from the law. And of course he was now selling electrical irons door to door. The fact that he had chosen a neighborhood that would eventually put him in Al Capone’s territory is a story convenience that I don’t really mind, as long as Michael Shannon gets to keep presenting us with this train wreck of social ineptitude and crushing personal hypocrisies.
Exactly how far in the bag Sigrid is for Van Alden has been clearly illustrated for us in the first five episodes of season 3. When he was feeling very low about his work situation, she appeared to know how to re-motivate him (see above), and when he sat her down in order to level with her about why they are on the run, she told him the whole story from her very biased point of view, a point of view which casts him as a wrongly accused and virtuous victim of “bad persons.” The very fact that she apparently never asked him for the real story when they were on the train from Atlantic City to Cicero, or when he asked her to pose as his wife…or when she got pregnant with his child, says a little about her belief in this man. Never mind that her version of his past bears no resemblance to reality. She is loyal.
Well…in “You’d Be Surprised,” a Chicagoland-area prohibition agent who Van Alden met during an unlucky speakeasy raid had begun trying to track him down. The agent had said Van Alden (George Mueller in Cicero) looked familiar to him, and now it looked like he had figured out why. After making multiple efforts to dodge the man, Van Alden found him sitting in his apartment with Sigrid when he returned home from work. The clear apprehension was that the agent had unravelled Van Alden’s true identity, but the men sat down together in the “Mueller” den to talk, and she excused herself to the kitchen. As it turned out, the man just wanted to complain about a defective electrical iron “Mueller” had sold him.
When he reached in his bag and pulled out the iron to show it, Sigrid appeared out of the kitchen, brandishing a meat tenderizer. She struck him twice in the head as Van Alden yelped in horror at her mistake. The man collapsed to the floor. Sigrid moved in to strike him again, with only Van Alden’s intervention stopping her. He corrected her misunderstanding:
“He wasn’t here to arrest me. I sold him an iron.”
“I’ll hold his legs.”
and she did, while he suffocated yet another federal agent, this one with his handkerchief. Now Van Alden needs to dispose of a body. Perhaps florist/gangster Dean O’Banion can help?
In an episode full of plot turns and shocking images (hell, we saw Bobby Cannavale, in a shot ripped straight from Scorsese’s own Taxi Driver, striding through a hallway full of corpses, covered in blood and stark naked, except for a belt around his neck), this is the moment I just HAD to go back and watch again.