|written by Terence Winter / directed by Tim Van Patten|
starring Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon & Shea Whigham
The fallout of this bloody attack also gave treasurer Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) some great material, as he told Chalky he can't retaliate because that will cause a race-war for the city's black community. And, to remind us of Nucky's duplicitous nature, there was a great moment of editing where Nucky gave rousing speeches at two opposing meetings: rallying a black congregation and promising to bring them justice, while later condemning the blacks to a room full of white voters. Buscemi's at his best when the two sides of Nucky's character come into conflict, or he reveals himself to be a disingenuous schemer.
As of last season's finale, we know that Nucky's protégé Jimmy (Michael Pitt) and his Sheriff brother Eli (Shea Whigham) have sided with his mentor Commodore Kaestner (Dabney Coleman), who in one great scene recalls the tale of how he hunted and killed a formidable bear that now stands stuffed in his front room. Clearly The Commodore views Nucky as the next animal he'll be stalking as political prey, ready to eliminate him to retake control of Atlantic City.
The premiere wasn't brilliant, but it felt much easier to watch and follow. We had a year of setup last season, so it feels like we can move forward with more purpose and confidence now. It helps that there's clearer definition when it comes to various character's allegiances and plans, plus a loose theme of parental bonding. Jimmy's trying to recapture his lost youth with "Uncle Nucky" through his son (teaching him to shoot guns), and Nucky trying to be step-father to Margaret's (Kelly Macdonald) naughty son Teddy (who's scared of father-figures and just expects beatings from them).
I won't be reviewing Boardwalk Empire every week, as there sadly doesn't appear to be enough of a following here to justify my time and effort. (It can be dispiriting enough writing about my favourite show, Breaking Bad, and seeing those reviews sometimes attract zero comment.) I'm not blaming anyone, because an audience is an audience, and DMD simply appears to attract people who prefer other genres. But it's a show I'll continue to watch with interest, as it could really become something special once the writers get a grasp on what works and what doesn't.
- Great to see the weird family dynamic at Jimmy's home, where his wife Angela (Aleksa Pallodino) now lives with their son and his youthful mother Gillian (Gretchen Mol). One of the creepier elements of this show is the potentially Oedipal relationship Jimmy has with his mother (often kissing her full on the lips), and there was a brilliantly icky moment when Jimmy's mother admitted to her daughter-in-law that, when Jimmy was a baby, she'd kiss his "winkie".
- One of the most memorable characters last season was disfigured war hero Richard Harrow (Jack Huston), who now works for Jimmy as a one-eyed sniper, half his missing face hidden behind a mask painted to give the illusion of a normal face. I was glad to see him back, and apparently jealous of Jimmy's family life. He even spends his free time pasting photos of families into a scrapbook. Shall we remain sympathetic towards Richard and his behaviour, or is he going to crack this season?