Boardwalk Empire – Anastasia
Season One: Episode Four
Directed by: Jeremy Podeswa
Written by: Lawrence Konner, Margaret Nagle and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson
The Spin: How empowering it is to see a show where many of the writers also serve as executive producers! While director Podeswa takes a cue from Scorsese and fills this amazingly layered and poetic episode with wall to wall period music, the writers (most notably, I am to assume, Nagle – who also penned Episode Three) settle into their groove. Woven into this compelling hour are national politics, women’s rights vs. violence against women, race relations, romances, jealousies, turf wars and a wonderful “time capsule” of a frame story involving Princess Anastasia. There is so much to admire in this episode, but it clearly belongs to the women from writer/producer Nagle, to stars Kelly MacDonald and Gretchen Mol to Emily Meade as the kind-hearted hooker Pearl. Last week the focus was on dark humor, which rightfully leads to a quietly aching sadness in tonight’s affairs – as if reality is now staring the audience and the characters in the face. If the writers keep this up…we’re looking at a show to rival Mad Men.
My Favorite Parts: Gillian (Gretchen Mol) expressing her woman’s rights to Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza); Margaret’s (Kelly MacDonald) fairy-tale introduction to Babette’s Supper Club; Jimmy (Michael Pitt) getting all sweet on wiser-than-her-years Pearl (a ravishing Emily Meade); and that funny lookin’, knife-wieldin’ Irish mobster in Chicago who bares a striking resemblance to a psychotic Conan O’Brien.
Characters/Plots I Can’t Wait To See Develop: Just what kind of games are Gillian and Lucky Luciano about to play with each other? Will we see any more of Pearl, despite her cruel fate?
Favorite Lines: That banter between Gillian and Lucky.
The Verdict Is Still Out On: Nuthin’, sonny. This show is a real peach.
Commentary by David H. Schleicher
To my readers and Boardwalk strollers: Thoughts, reactions, comments?