Well-chosen birthday cakes on 'Boardwalk Empire'
October 11th, 2010
11:34 AM ET

Well-chosen birthday cakes on 'Boardwalk Empire'

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!

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Apepleltygece

    Whats up we uncovered this excellent web site should you have a little girls birthday coming up its called birthday cakes for girls . it's aided us a large amount planning for our daughters birthday and i suggest you take a look

    January 21, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. ctang

    Great show. I like how well its written and produced. There's violence in it but it doesn't revel in it. There's nudity but in a way that it doesn't seem overly exploitive. And each week the writers include a seemingly inoculous line/conversation that is later refered to later in the episode that is analygous with the main story line. This episode started at the Schroeder household and a conversation about the newspaper article about the Russian princess that may have been found. Maraget said it sounded almost like a fairy tale to her and she openly hoped it was true.

    Later in the episode she walks past the newstand to see the paper offically report the whole thing as a hoax.

    This is the smart way to provide/reinforce viewers character insight. She's hopeful and innocent and most likely a little naive' – just like she is when she sees Nucky. But in time, as in so many cases, first reads are proven incorrect.

    October 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    On the talk of Emmy's, I think one character is obviously a no-brainer for a victory as Best Supporting Actor. Shea Whigham as Eli Thompson steals the show whenever he is on screen. I just love the way his character moves about his brother's scheming. Maybe not the most obvious choice for a breakout character, but every minute he is on screen is better off because he is there.

    October 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    I am really enjoying this new show.. http://bit.ly/WatchBoardwalkEmpire

    October 12, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. yumacoco

    "Boardwalk Empire"–my first official addiction! What a show. Even more than "Mad Mean", I can't take my eyes off of the screen. Only one thing: Which one of the writers has the fixation w/ saying "f***" every other word? Really, in the 20's and 30's, did people use the "f" word as much as this bunch does? Not one "sh&t or g-damn or damn". I don't believe it.

    October 12, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Darrell

    This series is great so far. I think Margaret remines Nucky of his dead wife and that is one of the things that draw him towards her. Jimmy is just the typical youngster, I want it now, now, now. He's not really a gangster; but he didn't want to wait his turn behind Nucky. As for Capone, some might say he is impulsive; but that drive and ruthlessness will take him to the top of the Chicago underworld at the age of 27 or 28.

    October 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kp

    Love this show! Can't wait for each week. Writing and acting is awesome. Hope they eventually hook-up Margaret and Nucky!

    October 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    The first show I was HOOKED. I first am a fan of the 20's era, but am a bigger fan of the gansters of the 20's, and to see all these gansters, Torrio, Capone, Rothstein, Lucky...is great. Lucky really WAS a protege of Rothstein, and Capone REALLY did work for Johnny Torrio, till (in real life) Torrio took 6 shots to the stomach and chest...LIVED, then retired handing the reigns over to Capone. Rothstein was actually killed (in real life I say again) because he lost over 200 grand (I think that was the amount), told the guys that he would come through in a day or two with the dough, then announced at a gathering the next couple days that "Arnold Rothstein does not pay off on fixed poker"...after one more attempt at getting paid by Rothstein, they decided enough was enough and shot him in the gut at a park in New York, where he laid until being brought to a hospital and died later that night. Lucky once speaking of Rothstein said "He taught me how to dress, to open a door for a lady, and how to speak elegantly" (or some mix of those comments).

    What IS bothering me about the show, is that it seems like the last three show's have been uneventful. Yes, it's necessary in this kind of story in trying all the characters together, but just seems waaaay too slow moving for me. I just find myself waiting for something to happen, though there's been many different moments worth mentioning, it just seems like there was episode 1....THEN 2,3,4 seems like there is about as much story telling in those episodes put together as there is in episode 1. May be just me, but my fiance seems to think the same thing, and a neighbor that watches it seems to think the same thing. I hope that the next episode has some exciting things going on, or hopefully something is concluded as far as the Jimmy/Al robbery of that hooch, or Margaret and Nucky getting some nooky...lol..couldn't resist...and/or Arnold making some moves on Nucky for that robbery (though I know he sent Lucky to kill Jimmy, obviously that isn't going to happen, so what is?).

    I CAN say that I'm a huge fan, regardless of how I feel about the last few episodes, but I when the show ends, I"m left wanting more...producers of Boardwalk will say they want you to feel like your left wanting more, but it's not the "wanting more" that they want, but more the "I'm getting bored and want something to happen" kind of "wanting more" when the show ends. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    October 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LUCY

    A plus - can not wait for next weeks episode !! Writing,acting,everything A Plus

    October 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Me

    I thought the show was awesome as always. I like Mrs. Shroeder as she's intelligent and strong and so the opposite of the "eye candy" girlfriend of Nucky's. I am not a fan of Gillian and Lucky. Surely it won't go anywhere. I look forward to next week.

    October 11, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Vic

    Love this show. Not quite the Sopranos, but close enough. Nucky's incredible. He was incredible in "Fargo" and anything else he does. Really don't like Margaret....she's too sweet, but I think she might get a little rougher as the show progresses........the acting is so good along with the shots and color.........great show. Typical HBO!!

    October 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. amanda

    Love love loved it again! but i like the gillian lucky thing...anxious to see how that unfolds. i am a bit bummed that jimmy cheated on his girlfriend, but then again...he had it in the back or maybe forefront of his mind that she hooked up with that photographer. Shows how exactly how complex relationships with distances can be. the one person i am annoyed with (and i think its the point) is nucky's dumb girlfriend. i know thats how the writers want us to feel...but look forward to her getting booted out of nucky's picture (for an intellegent strong woman like Mrs. Schroeder). al annoys me too...i just dont see becoming the powerful gangster that he became in real life by acting so impulsively. jimmy is hot! and no, i didnt know it was his mom (gillian) and it was a bit disturbing...but she is the star of a nudy show...so she is an open mom. they seem to have a very close relationship and that is good...hopefully that is reflected in teh show by how he treats the ladies.

    October 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |

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