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: Sunday Best

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Sunday Best

Season Three: Episode Seven

Directed by:  Allen Coulter

Written by:  Howard Korder

The Spin:  Is there a more tortured and twisted character on television right now than Gillian Darmody?  And is there a more heartbreaking and fascinating character to watch than Richard Harrow?  Gretchen Mol and Jack Huston sealed the deal tonight…and if there is any justice in this cruel world, their Emmys are being mailed to them right now.  Oh, the peformances…the looks on their (half) faces!  The two thespians shined again tonight in this Korder penned episode that proves the trend on the boardwalk that all the best episodes focus on family.  On Easter Sunday, Harrow and little Tommy venture off to the Sagorsky house (for some of the best dinner table talk you’ll find all year) while Gillian stays at the empty Commodore Manor to perpetrate the most heinous act any character on this show has ever committed (and that’s saying a lot for a show full of murderous and sometimes perverted gangsters).  Harrow’s unshakable committment to protecting Jimmy’s son while trying earnestly to start a romance with the lovely Julia Sagorsky (who carries her own baggage) foiled against Gillian’s demented obsession with Jimmy and his death while running a whore house is by far the most interesting plot thread running through this misshapen season.  Meanwhile, the Thompson brood reunites at Eli’s house where Nucky and Eli (Shea Whigham) make up and Margaret bonds with the super sweet June.  Up in NYC, Gyp (Bobby Cannavale) is hilariously put in his place at the Easter table by his overbearing female relatives, beats up a priest, and is almost killed by Boss Joe’s gang – saved only by his offer to bring them the heads of Nucky and Rothstein. 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: You’d Be Surprised

No wonder Margaret dreamed of flying away in the season premiere.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – You’d Be Surprised

Season Three: Episode Five

Directed by:  Tim Van Patten

Written by:  Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

The Spin:  If last week’s episode was meant to show the softer side to these tough guys, tonight’s episode existed to remind us of the deep-seeded depravity of the male characters as manifested through their misogyny and repeated degradation, oppression and violence against women.  Out in Cicero, the Muller formerly known as Van Alden (Michael Shannon), can try as he might to be a simple family man, but his violent past is infecting his sweet Swedish wife’s emotional well-being, leading to a shocking turn of events that has Muller running back to the Irish mob-run flower shop.  Back in AC, Poor Gillian (Gretchen Mol) still can’t come to terms with Jimmy’s fate and refuses to have him declared dead – the only action that will leave her with any title or credit to fix-up her house of ill repute in ill repair.  Nuckster, meanwhile reeling from a breakup with Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) over the incompetence of the Jersey operation, can’t help but meddle in Billie’s career, desiring to control her destiny even while he tells his wife, Margaret (who learns tonight of the affair), that the young lady seems more than capable of taking care of herself.  Then there’s Gyp (Bobby Cannavale – revealing way too much tonight), taking the cake for most disturbing fetish (a title previously held by Van Alden), making a new deal with Rothstein that leads to a bloodbath leaving a nameless red-headed waitress naked and dead.  And all of this makes what had been Margaret’s previously boring story-arc concerning the opening of a women’s clinic finally carry some weight.  Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Bone for Tuna

You gotta lotta nerve wishing me good luck!

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Bone for Tuna

Season Three: Episode Three

Directed by:  Jeremy Podeswa

Written by:  Chris Haddock

The Spin:  Here I was thinking tonight’s episode was another food-themed affair after last week’s “Spaghetti and Coffee” – but the title is instead a riff on the Italian for “Good luck” – a play on words that Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Canavale) takes as a personal insult after Nucky tries to repair their relationship to avoid bloodshed.  This was a finely nuanced affair that gazed deeply into the dominant arcs for our main characters.  Nucky is heartbroken and guilt-ridden over killing Jimmy while Margaret appeases her own guilt for being a “gangster’s wife” by conning the hospital’s head-honcho into opening a women’s clinic by getting the Bishop to give his blessing to the idea.  Meanwhile, Gyp sees an opportunity in Gillian (Gretchen Mol – receiving one golden moment tonight to paint a look of regret as wide as the Atlantic Ocean on her beautiful face when remarking that one has nothing if they don’t have their own flesh and blood) to find out secrets about Nucky.  Out near Cicero, The Muller formally known as Van Alden (Michael Shannon) finds himself in an ironic pickle when he gets bullied by coworkers into going to a speakeasy only to see the place get busted.  Lastly, that world-class moron Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) tries to be a bad-ass by telling people he killed Manny leading Harrow (Jack Huston) to a revelatory confrontation with Nucky. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Spaghetti and Coffee

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Spaghetti and Coffee

Season Three: Episode Two

Directed by:  Alik Sakharov

Written by:  Terence Winter and Howard Korder

The Spin:  Home is where the spaghetti and coffee are in this Winter & Korder penned family-focused episode.  That old dope Eli (Shea Whigham) must’ve learned him a few things in prison as he comes out contemplative and humbled to a loving brood of children and a kind wife he knows he doesn’t deserve while having to suffer the humiliation of now working under that even bigger dope Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks).  Meanwhile, Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) shows up and is served a compelling self-contained story-arc concerning his eldest daughter.  After having a turn of heart and blessing her well-groomed boyfriend’s intent to marry her (a doctor will be good for the family is his train of thought), his daughter rebuffs the idea thinking her suitor a bore and longing for the romantic thrills of gangster life.  Well, my friends, expect a lesson to be learned here.  Chalky ain’t havin’ none of that youthful foolishness in his house.  Up in NYC, Nucky can’t seem to get enough of that youthful foolishness and has become totally enamored with the flighty but charming Billie Kent (Meg Steedle – again stealing the show) to the point it might affect business.  Lo and behold, in Tabor Heights, Gyp Rosetti (an increasingly interesting Bobby Cannavale) sets up shop to get back at Rothstein and Nucky for their rebuke of his business offer last week by blocking their fuel supply on their route from AC to NYC. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Resolution (Season Three Premiere)

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Resolution

Season Three: Episode One

Directed by:  Tim Van Patten

Written by:  Terence Winter

The Spin:  Everything was just so in the comfortably familiar premiere of Season Three – Van Patten’s sure-handed direction, the infectious flapper-ness of the period music, all the players from last season in their place and Nucky’s new persona as gangster-totalis.  A year and half may have passed, but Harrow (Jack Huston) is still all brokenhearted over Angela’s murder while playing protector to little Tommy.  Meanwhile, Gillian (Gretchen Mol) has turned the Commodore’s former digs into an upscale brothel.  In Nucky’s inner sanctum, my favorite character from last year, Manny the Butcher (William Forsythe) is now a partner while Margaret (Kelly MacDonald) has her pretty little panties in a bunch over the lack of pre-natal care at the hospital she’s been spilling a carload of Nucky’s money into.  Out in the Midwest, Capone is trying to keep his temper in check while Van Alden (Michael Shannon) has taken up a sad new life as Mr. Muller the travelling salesman only to serendipitously walk into a flower shop owned by Capone’s competitor.  Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: To the Lost

Hey, kid - shove your guilt in a sack!

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – To the Lost

Season Two: Episode Twelve (Season Finale)

Directed by:  Tim Van Patten

Written by:  Terence Winter

The Spin:  Admittedly the season finale’s “big bang” was exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I have to give credit to Winter and Van Patten for making me think during the better part of the hour that maybe it wasn’t going to conclude that way.  It seemed Nucky and Jimmy were going to make amends.  Jimmy came through in a big way and brought justice for Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) – thus ending the strike are we to assume?  Then he helps commit the most egregious bit of witness tampering I’ve ever seen – with Harrow (Jack Huston) at his side of course.  All of this benefits Nucky, right?  And ol’ Nuck seemed to be in a forgiving mood.  After giving one of the more unorthodox marriage proposals, he and Margaret get hitched, thus solving her moral dilemma of testifying against him (as his wife, she can’t – badda bing!)  Then he offers up his dope of a brother (Shea Whigham) a nice ultimatum – take the fall for that other stuff and go to jail for a few years – it’ll make up for trying to kill me.  Poor, poor Esther Randolph (Julianne Nicholson) – she’s suddenly in court with no ducks in a row anymore – because they’ve all been shot down one way or another by Nucky.  Look who’s off scott-free and looking like the family man of the year!  Hooray for Nucky!  But oh wait, there’s that thing, you know… Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Under God’s Power She Flourishes

Gretchen Mol refuses to let that Emmy go quietly into the night.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Under God’s Power She Flourishes

Season Two: Episode Eleven

Directed by:  Allen Coulter

Written by:  Howard Korder

The Spin:  Well, my friends, Angela (Aleksa Palladino) may have lived one episode longer through a flashback, but it was Gillian (Gretchen Mol) whose insidious ways haunted the hour.  Here we learn the back story of how/why Jimmy (Michael Pitt) left Princeton and joined the Army.  Korder and Coulter cinematically weaved the long flashback into the current proceedings where an air of melancholy hung over various characters in dire straits who made desperate plays to turn the tides.  What’s that, Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks)?  The Italians told you to go screw yourself?  So why not try to screw them by brokering a deal with Van Alden (Michael Shannon)?  Well, guess what, you moop, Van Alden is too busy getting ratted on concerning his 86-ing of his Number 2 — ahhh…remember that baptism by drowning last season?  Esther Randolph (Julianne Nicholson) must’ve thought it was Christmas as just as she was tying the rope tighter around Nucky’s neck, in comes the surprise that Van Alden murdered a fella, too.  But that screwy Van Alden pulls a fast (and dumb) one before he can be brought in by shooting Esther’s Number 2 in the foot…and here we had just gotten some juicy back story to his childhood, too, that explained an awful lot.  And then there’s Margaret…coming to blows with Nucky after she receives a subpoena…but she stops short of telling him her most damning sin.  Still it was refreshing to see Nucky in the classiest of ways threaten his paramour.  “If you don’t know me by my Word, then you don’t know me at all,” he says to her.  Sounds an awful lot like her God. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Georgia Peaches

Goodnight, sweet Angela.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Georgia Peaches

Season Two: Episode Ten

Directed by:  Jeremy Podeswa

Written by:  David Flebotte

The Spin:  It seemed like a ho-hum episode from Podeswa and Flebotte.  Everyone was doing their schtick.  Jimmy was proving to be completely ineffective, getting a lashing from his stroke-ridden pops while failing to broker a deal with Chalky to end the strike.  The impatient hotheads from New York were getting on his case and trying to open up the heroin market in light of Nucky’s Irish whiskey run flooding AC.  That saucy ADA (Julianne Nicholson) arrested that dope Eli (Shea Whigham) in hopes of getting him to squeal on Nucky concerning the disposal of a certain Hans Schroeder.  Naturally Margaret saw poor Emily’s polio as an indictment from God regarding her sinful ways, while her son – desperate for attention – decided to accuse Nucky of burning down the homestead (ah – remember that from last season?) while Nucky took him to New York to meet with Rothstein’s lawyer concerning his troublesome case.  But don’t worry, Nuck – the kid won’t tell no one.  And lastly that silly Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) gets caught in the middle trying to make amends with a none-too-pleased Manny (William Forsythe).  Which in all its slow-paced, period music accompanied glory led us to…. Continue reading