Boardwalk Empire: Paris Green

Oh, happy days...aren't here anymore...

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireParis Green

Season One: Episode Eleven

Directed by:  Allen Coulter

Written by:  Howard Korder and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin:  Director Coulter wisely keeps with the “less is more” mentality he presented back in Episode Seven in this subdued but powerful episode where Korder weaves a stinging leitmotif around poisoning in both the literal and metaphorical sense.  The message boards have been a few steps ahead on this one, and it’s finally been confirmed…The Commodore (Dabney Coleman) is: 1. Jimmy’s pop. 2. Being poisoned.  3. Just might return for next season!  In the mix of these developments, Gretchen Mol as Gillian continues to put the most interesting spin on the “hooker with a heart of gold” stock character I’ve seen in years.  Kudos to the writers for keeping hers one of the most interesting characters on the show.  Meanwhile, Jimmy’s paramour (the eternally weepy Aleska Palladino) gets emotionally sucker-punched by the old switcheroo (her lady lover ran off to Paris with the photographer instead!) and by Jimmy’s stoic reaction to her now anti-climactic “Dear John” letter.  Poor old Nucky couldn’t seem to get a break as both Margaret and his brother came to verbal blows with him over this, that and the other thing, resulting in him announcing his brother’s resignation as sheriff and his Irish lass stealing away…  And last but certainly not least, a strong case for Equal Opportunity Employment is made as Van Alden goes all “Church of the Third Revelation” on his two-timing-number-two’s Jewish ass.  Whew…talk about a great set-up for next week’s season finale! Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: The Emerald City

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireThe Emerald City

Season One: Episode Ten

Directed by:  Simon Cellan Jones

Written by:  Lawrence Konner and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin:  After the dames get the right to vote, Nucky sees a golden opportunity with Margaret to rally the gals behind his new puppet for mayor.  Poor Jimmy mistakes his little boy’s outburst on the boardwalk about “mommy’s kissing friend” and beats the bejesus out of that sap of a photographer, resulting in his paramour plotting with the photographer’s wife to finally skedaddle over the pond to Paris takin’ the kid and all.  Meanwhile, snubbed after a visit with Margaret, Agent Van Alden falls off the wagon and runs into Lucy, resulting in the series’ most uncomfortable sex scene yet (a little more conversation would’ve been better).  Now get this – that giggly Doyle crosses the aisle resulting in a vengeful Chalky White botching a Nucky-planned rouse against Rothstein’s gang, resulting in two dead.  Back in Chicago, Capone has an unlikely revelation in a synagogue and decides it’s finally time to grow up – watch out world!  In your face (or shall we say half-faced) literary motifs (courtesy of The Wizard of Oz), the aforementioned sex scene, and a whole-lotta goin’ on resulting in all too obvious look in the mirror for Margaret made this a mixed bag of an episode.  Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Belle Femme

Tres belle.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireBelle Femme

Season One: Episode Nine

Directed by:  Brad Anderson

Written by:  Steve Kornacki and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The SpinTranssiberian and The Machinist helmer Brad Anderson directs this taut episode with great restraint and the best pacing since Scorsese’s pilot.   Fresh from Chicago, Jimmy tries to reestablish his family life much to his little lady’s dismay.  When he tries to pull a number on Lucky Luciano with Momma’s help, that crafty Van Alden spoils the party by bringing him in on murder charges for the Hamilton Massacre.  But what Van Alden doesn’t realize is that his number two is in cahoots with Nucky, and he does his own number on their star witness against Jimmy.  Meanwhile, as Nucky sets his sights on fixing the local elections, Margaret does her own bit of politicking.  All of this leads up to a shocking denouement on the boardwalk, brilliantly pulled-off by Anderson’s slow-build.  This pretty lady of an episode was an absolute knock-out. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Home

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireHome

Season One: Episode Seven

Directed by:  Allen Coulter

Written by:  Tim Van Patten, Paul Simms and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin: Van Patten & Simms offer a wonderfully self-contained story arc involving Nucky’s relationship to his father in this compelling character driven episode that also closes out another major plot thread while stirring the pot with others.  Relatively tame in the sex & violence department, director Coulter shows that sometimes less is more, and the penultimate scene in a Chicago cafe involving a one-eyed sniper (Jack Huston) enacting revenge on Jimmy’s behalf against that Pearl-slashin’ Conan-lookin’ fella packed a wallop. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Broadway Limited

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireBroadway Limited

Season One: Episode Three

Directed by:  Tim Van Patten 

Written by:  Margaret Nagle and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin:  Between bits of period-piece exploitation (check out that barbaric cure for an STD and that interrogation/torture scene in a dentist chair) there were some greater glimpses into the domestic lives of the main characters.  Only time will tell if the “ensemble” back-and-forth structure of the narrative will continue or if we will soon see Sopranos-esque stand-alone episodes focusing on a single character.  There was also plenty of plot development as Jimmy (Michael Pitt) decided to shuffle off to Chicago after being kicked-when-he’s-down by former mentor Nucky (Steve Buscemi), and in the process leaving his lovely fiance (Aleska Palladino) and young son in AC.  Meanwhile, a local turf war seems primed to break-out between The Pollock Doyle (Paul Sparks) — with the help of his Italian friends — and Nucky’s Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) gang for control of “mixing” and distributing the hooch.  Continue reading