Boardwalk Empire: A Man, A Plan…

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – A Man, A Plan…

Season Three: Episode Ten

Directed by:  Jeremy Podeswa

Written by:  David Flebotte

The Spin:  A man a plan a canal panamA…frontwards or backwards…the fate of those on the boardwalk is the same.  Not a single plan went down as planned…from Means’ double-dipping hit-turned-suicide (with Stephen Root giving a delicious performance), to Nucky’s attempt on Masseria (Ivo Nandi) involving Owen (Charlie Cox), to Owen’s own plot to flee to St. Louis with Margaret (Kelly Macdonald).  NOTHING went right.  No matter who the man or what the plan, in this world, people’s fates are sealed by the beds they’ve made and now have to lie in with the evil beside them.  In the shadows,  Gyp (Bobby Cannavale) was Gyp (and continues to find creative ways to kill those who offend him), the Muller formerly known as Van Alden (Michael Shannon) saw his decent into private Norwegian bootlegging lead to a brush-up with Al Capone (Stephen Graham), and Chalky (Michael K. Williams) gets rebuffed for trying to open a new club.  Women’s rights and minority rights mean nothing when bottles of (symbolic) poison wash up on the pristine shores turning everyone into smiling or hysteric drunks.  Continue reading

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Boardwalk Empire: The Milkmaid’s Lot

Masseria and Gyp…a not so happy couple?

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – The Milkmaid’s Lot

Season Three: Episode Nine

Directed by:  Ed Bianchi

Written by:  Rolin Jones

The Spin:  Reeling from a serious concussion, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) has a hard time dealing with the loss of Billie while trying to rally his allies to prepare for war against Joe Masseria (Ivo Nandi) and Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) who have literally bought Tabor Heights.  In the midst of the confusion and growing threat, Owen (Charlie Cox) makes a bold proposition asking Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) to go away with him…far away…from all of this.  Meanwhile at the House of Darmody, living in a den of whores is starting to take its emotional toll on little Tommy, leaving Gillian (Gretchen Mol) to scold Harrow (Jack Huston) as he tries to have a life of his own and romance Miss Sagorsky instead of watching after the boy.  Harrow knows, though, that what the boy needs is a proper home…but can he provide it?  After a final pep talk from Margaret in her last-ditch effort to see if this “life” is worth the trouble, Nucky confronts his allies only to learn that Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) has convinced the group that being in business with Nucky certainly isn’t worth the trouble.  And so the Nuckster is left standing alone. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Ging Gang Goolie

Margaret has Nucky on the phone and Slater in the greenhouse.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Ging Gang Goolie

Season Three: Episode Six

Directed by:  Ed Bianchi

Written by:  Steve Kornacki

The Spin:  After last’s week depraved hour, there was somewhat of a return to normalcy in this episode of reunions and introductions that featured the return of one of last season’s strongest female characters, Esther Randolph (Julianne Nicholson), the former Assistant US District Attorney now regulated to night court after taking the fall for the botched federal case against Nucky.  It’s in that night court where she “reunites” with Nucky, who’s been brought in on a petty charge of buying a pint of liquor in Washington D.C. after threatening the Attorney General (Christopher McDonald) that he would bring him down with him if anyone came after him again.  After some barbed banter, Esther agrees to let Nucky buy her breakfast where he claims he can help her fry the corrupt big fish all the way at the top.  Back home in AC, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) can’t figure out if Teddy is setting fires and telling tall tales about a gypsy threat, a vagrant is doing it, or Gyp Rosetti is stalking them.  The suspense and mixed emotions lead to a “reunion” with Slater (Charlie Cox).  Meanwhile, in the land of interesting subplots featuring top-notch acting and psychosexual melodrama – Harrow (Jack Huston) meets a potential love interest while missing his sister, and Gillian (Gretchen Mol) finds a Jimmy substitute and acts out her deranged fantasies. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Blue Bell Boy

At last, Capone owns the night!

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Blue Bell Boy

Season Three: Episode Four

Directed by:  Kari Skogland

Written by:  David Stenn

The Spin:  It was a tense hour as two oncoming “showdowns” ran parallel in this David Stenn penned episode.  First, Nucky joins Slater (Charlie Cox) on a run to finally take out Roland Smith – the last guy Manny was supposed to have taken care of.  Turns out Roland Smith is just a kid – a charming chap with plenty of moxy who was also being trailed by the Feds who come crashing down on his hideout forcing Nucky, Slater and the kid to bond in the cellar and wait things out.  There Nucky tests Slater’s loyalty, and once free and clear, comes to terms with his new nature, making it clear to Slater who is boss.  Secondly, idiot extraordinaire Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) decides to run Rothstein’s shipment through Tabor Heights (which is increasingly becoming like a Middle East occupied territory) despite Nucky’s clear orders and the wise protest of Eli (Shea Whigham) leading to a Gyp-ordered massacre that at the end of the episode throws Eli back into Nucky’s confidence. 

Meanwhile, there was nice little side-story in Chicago where the writers finally found something interesting to do with Al Capone (Stephen Graham, whom I’ve slighted before but pulled off a nice performance tonight).  We get to see Al’s softer side as he comes to the defense of his deaf son and the fat slob of a collector working for Torrio.  Seems he’s becoming a champion of the defenseless, even if it involves beating a man to death.  The closing rendition of Capone playing “My Buddy” on the mandolin while his little boy “listens” by touching his father’s throat was another sweet, melancholy moment in an increasingly melancholy season.  I couldn’t help getting misty as it transitioned into playing over the scene of Eli “reuniting” with Nucky at night in the cold on the boardwalk – the pretty lights strung up over the damp wooden planks – the Empire quietly lying down for a winter’s nap…for now.  For there’s a war brewing. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Battle of the Century

You really thought you were gonna mess with me? In my butcher shop? In Philly?

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Battle of the Century

Season Two: Episode Nine

Directed by:  Brad Anderson

Written by:  Steve Kornacki

The Spin:  The helmer of last season’s finest hour (Belle Femme: Episode 1.9) returns to direct just a week following possibly the series’ finest hour thus far (Two Boats and a Lifeguard: Episode 2.8).  Brad Anderson crafts another tight hour full of drama on both sides of the pond.  While Nucky’s away in Ireland looking to score some whiskey for guns, Jimmy ascends to the throne awash in paranoia.  Jimmy gets Waxey Gordon to agree to take out Manny The Butcher of Philly (William Forsythe) leading to the episode’s greatest moment (hint: it involves a meat cleaver).  Meanwhile, things more momentous are transmitted subtly and with great care – witness the take out of a certain elder Irish statesman at the last-minute so Nucky’s deal can be secured.  This underhanded deal leaves Nucky with a bad taste in his mouth because Slater might be keeping secrets and all sons might like to kill their fathers.  Meanwhile, on the home front… Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Peg of Old

Poor Nucky can't catch a break this season.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Peg of Old

Season Two: Episode Seven

Directed by:  Allen Coulter

Written by:  Howard Korder, Steve Kornacki and Bathsheba Doran

The Spin:  For the most part, each episode of the second season thus far has been attributed to a single staff writer (many of them also producers on the show), unlike the first season where gaggles of staffers were penning stuff trying to get the cadence of the series down.  The single “author” for each episode has made the second season infinitely stronger and more direct in theme.  For episode seven, a trio of seasoned staffers worked together, giving us an hour more reminiscent of Season One.  In other words…a whole lotta shit went down, brother – and the result was hit or miss.  Director Allen Coulter held it all together, culminating in a sun-drenched scene harkening back to Episode 1.5 where Margaret succumbed to her desires.  Before this however, we witnessed a cavalcade of rebuffs and insults.  Jimmy is proving to be a weary man in charge, guided by his Lady Macbeth of a mother (Gretchen Mol) who is still knocking boots with that slimy Luciano fella.  Meanwhile, Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) presents her motherhood and sad predicament to an always willing to help Nucky.  Seeing this as an opportunity to mend things with (I mean blackmail) Van Alden (Michael Shannon), Nucky falls into a fit of bad luck – getting double-crossed by Van Alden (who seeks to appease the new lady ADA) and then shot at by one of Jimmy’s hired hands – in the hand no less.  Then there’s little Margaret… Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: A Dangerous Maid

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – A Dangerous Maid

Season Two: Episode Three

Directed by:  Susanna White

Written by:  Itamar Moses

The Spin:  Aha!  The title was a rouse, ya see?  Here I thought we would be seeing Margaret’s maid  getting entangled in…something or someone…but instead it’s just the name of a play poor little Lucy Danzinger (Paz de la Huerta – getting her first chance to really act on the show) longs to star in while Van Alden keeps her locked up like a prisoner until she plops out that bastard of a chap.  Under the watchful eye of director Susanna White, the ladies are front and center in this slower moving family focused episode.  Margaret comes to a revelation about her estranged family (recently emigrated to Brooklyn) while Jimmy continues to wrestle with his mother’s devotion to the conniving Commodore and his own conflicted feelings over who’s the better (or worse) father-figure to him.  Meanwhile, down in the dumps Nucky marks his territory in a great tell-off scene at Babbette’s Supper Club.  Oh yeah, and watch out for that Owen Slater (Charlie Cox) – he’s a man on the move, ladies and gents! Continue reading