October 11th, 2010
11:34 AM ET
Another episode of “Boardwalk Empire” is in the books, and I have a confession to make: I have not yet learned how to type anything negative about this show.
“Empire” fans, I swear, I'm trying. This space is certainly not reserved for testimonials on the grandeur and overall awesomeness of HBO's newest drama, but for four straight weeks now, the writers are renting to own here while I keep searching for annoyances as the Atlantic City tale unfolds.
There must be a time coming when some character will be a weak addition to the script, or some storyline will annoy me, right? Actually, I may have one lead on this, but confidence is NOT high – more on that later.
This week's episode opened with a moderate pace and advanced the story with more background on the characters and their intricacies. Jimmy Darmody made his way to Chicago, and he and Al Capone are officially thick as thieves.
For every ounce of Al's brawn, Jimmy's the savvy, endearing brain. These two are entertaining, but it’s easy to be intrigued by the "Empire" brand of the young Capone. He's still the quick-tempered scar-face with a flair for violence, but we get to see him "blossoming" (if such a term can apply to a gangster). The Charlie Sheridan situation seems to be trouble for this pair, especially after Pearl suffered terribly at the hand of one of his henchmen (a signature show moment), but I can't wait to see what Jimmy and Al do next.
Margaret Schroeder got plenty of screen time this week, and as much as I like her, Nucky's an even bigger fan. We'll have to keep an eye on that story, but if loving Margaret is wrong, I don't wanna be right. She is indeed the macaroni and the cheese. At first, the mystery surrounding this character had me on the edge of the couch, but after her appearance at Nucky's soiree? I'll have more please.
As for Nucky, he knows he's got a difficult situation brewing with Chalky, and took wise steps to soothe the matter. After all, votes are at stake, and Chalky can deliver the black vote he desperately needs to remain at the top of Atlantic City's political food chain. I think this wrinkle in the script is compelling, as the writers introduce the subject of race within the ‘20s landscape with an interesting flavor that tastes completely authentic and genuinely emotional.
While we’re on the subject, Chalky's interrogation scene was an incredible moment where the show's drama felt like action. Regardless of what violence we saw and didn't see, it all felt great just the same.
Now, “Empire” fans, let's talk Gillian. I'm not quite sure how I feel about her emergence in the last two episodes. By a show of hands, who actually KNEW she was Jimmy's mom when he went to see her two episodes ago? Be sure to keep them up, and if you actually DID know, smack yourself because their whole "mom/son thing" was pretty weird.
This week, her interaction with Lucky was fairly entertaining, but then he showed up to meet her again later in the episode, and that's where my "annoy-o-meter" began pegging. Wait a minute...Gillian and Lucky? No thanks, I am definitely not interested. Even if this is some clever ploy to distract Lucky to protect Jimmy, my stance is a solid "NO THANK YOU." And there it is: I've actually discovered something I can wrap my complaints in and keep them warm with on this show - Gillian!
Nonetheless, the dialogue was crisp in pretty much every direction, and the stories are flowing nicely. I thought Nucky's birthday party was fun to watch, and his political chess moves seemed brazen and yet highly calculated to make certain everyone knows who indeed runs Atlantic City.
Speaking of Nucky's birthday, by my count I've had close to 20 birthday cakes in my adult life. Of those 20, there have been exactly zero instances where a young lady jumped out of the birthday cake I received. The harsh realities here are (a) I'm not Nucky Thompson, and (b) that's 20-or-so poorly chosen birthday cakes.
As the show wound down I didn't want it to end, and that's an impressive sign. Per usual, the previews for next week's episode look terrific, and I breathed that familiar "Wow" as the credits rolled.
So, that's it. One third of the season is now complete, and “Boardwalk Empire” is starting to smell like freshly baked Emmys.
Loved, kinda liked, or hated this week's show? Let us know!
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