HBO’s most interesting series doesn’t get it’s praise from the hot actors and the gratuitous boob display, but nobody is complaining about them. With ‘Boardwalk Empire’, it’s all about character. Whether Al Capone is calling someone a character or they are dealing with a duality of character, this show is written by Terence Winter and executive producer Martin Scorsese. Need I say more? Think ‘The Sopranos’ with a ‘speak easy’ style.
This season started off with a few key scenes in order to remind us all why Nucky Thompson runs Atlantic City. Namely there was a chick sitting on his lap with her boobs in his face. Steve Buscemi has earned his Emmy nomination folks and it’s been a real tough job.
Right out of the gate the KKK comes in and mows down Chalky White’s entire crew! Not cool. Michael Kenneth Williams’ acting is impeccable and seeing him sniper that dude shortly thereafter was eerily relishing. Dude showed Nucky Thompson that a brother is not going to be brought down by a few bullets. He might be my favorite character.
We were also reminded that Gretchen Mol, who is only 13 years older than Michael Pitt in reality, plays one creepy MILF. She tells Jimmy’s wife that she ‘used to kiss his little winky’ when he was a baby. This brought me back to season 1 when she was introduced as a stripper, jumping up onto her son like a lumberjack climbs a tree. There is some messed up back history that we haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of yet.
One of my favorite aspects of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ is watching the evolution of Al Capone, played by Stephen Graham. At this point he is loaded gun, still confused, ready to blow and ambling to be respected. By series end and who knows how many seasons away that will be, Al Capone is going to be a badass. And every minute in between will be filled to the brim with mind blowing development.
Jimmy’s biological father ‘the Commodore’ was too psyched on a dead bear to be a normal guy. His advice, ‘You’ll be judged by what you succeed at, not what you attempt’ definitely reminds Jimmy that his commitment to a cause is crucial and he is past the point of sitting on the fence. Despite his childhood with Nucky he is trying to make his own legacy. It’s too bad his Dad is also using Jimmy’s youth against him.
If you watch this show for only one character, please do yourself a favor and let Van Alden creep you right the hell out. Played by Michael Shannon, this guy has all kinds of God-complex issues. Not only does he have major OCD, but he whips himself bloody, he drowns people at their baptism and he knocked up the hottest chick on television, Paz de la Huerta. They made sure to introduce Lucy Danziger the best way the know how, naked and totally gross looking. She doesn’t mind letting people know that the carpet matches the drapes if you know what I mean.
Van Alden wants to make his 13th wedding anniversary extra special, so he clocks a dude right in the face, has his team swarm the restaurant and makes all kinds of arrests in front of his wife. Her response is to get all hot and bothered. The juxtaposition between Mrs. Van Alden and Lucy is obvious. One is cold, closed, fretful and the other is sweaty, open for business and may very well be the honey badger of the 1920′s.
Jack Huston shows up in the first shot with half a face and I’m swooning already. Richard Harrow aka ‘half a face’ is so adorable. You can’t help but feel bad for a guy that makes a fake scrapbook of his fake family and can’t even eat his food at the table. When he asks Jimmy, ‘How does it feel to have everything?’, the writers are letting the weight of responsibility set in for the audience. Both Nucky and Jimmy struggle with being good men and controlling their empires, small or large. Everything can fall apart at any moment. Their conversation at the most unsettling funeral ever eases the tension that any KKK group can create.
“It’s an awful waste of a lot of good table cloths,” says Jimmy as Nucky replies, “The laundry bills alone…”
It’s brilliant writing and acting all around. We are in for a season that’s sure to keep us hanging on edge.