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

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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

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: Two Boats and a Lifeguard

Say, you wouldn't throw a guy like me over a balcony at the supper club, now would ya?

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Two Boats and a Lifeguard

Season Two: Episode Eight

Directed by:  Tim Van Patten

Written by:  Terence Winter

The Spin:   The latest Winter/Van Patten hour opens in purely Sopranos-esque style with Nucky’s dream.  Oh, the symbolism!  Oh, what does it all mean?  Where’s Dr. Melfi when you need her?  What transpires next is possibly the series’ finest hour.  Behold! – Nucky’s old pap bites the dust.  At last! – The Schroeder kids start callin’ ol’ Nuck “Dad.”  Look Yonder! – It’s Torrio and Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) meeting up with Nucky to discuss the little problem with their underlings.  Apparently Rothstein is the 1920’s gangster version of our own modern-day Warren Buffett advising the others to wait…wait…wait…and then place the perfect bet.   And then! – After his own brush with death last week, Nucky sees all the signs and tells his enemies he’s resigning and stepping down to retire with his new “wife and kids.”  Oh, brutha, but even Nucky’s own dumb-as-dirt brother (Shea Whigham) knows that Nucky is smarter than Jimmy – he’s smarter than them all.  And we know that Nucky is bamboozling his enemies into thinking they’ve won – as you see, he’s plotting with Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) to shut down the city with a strike and arranging for Slater (Charles Cox) to take him over to Belfast and arrange a meeting…for perhaps a little arms dealing?  While pouty-lipped Jimmy is too dumb to realize his wife (Aleksa Palladino) is about to hook-up with novelist Louise, he takes out his blind frustrations by throwing the even stupider Mickey Doyle (whose laughing now, buddy?) from the balcony of Babette’s during their evening of celebration.  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: The Age of Reason

And I confess...I can't get enough of this damn show!

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – The Age of Reason

Season Two: Episode Six

Directed by:  Jeremy Podeswa

Written by:  Bathsheba Doran

The Spin:  In the ironically titled “The Age of Reason”, Bathsheba (of the Bible?) Doran strings together an hour of faith tested.  It’s been interesting to watch the divergences of Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and Margaret (Kelly Macdonald), two characters who last season seemed destined for an intertwined fate, or at least that’s what Van Alden desired.  Here they are both tested by their faith as Van Alden fears the agent badly burned in a liquor bust might reveal on his death-bed Van Alden’s sins, while Margaret must contest with a demanding priest seeking her to unburden her sins before young Teddy is to make his first confession.  What a shock it is for Van Alden to discover that his whore (ah…Paz de la Huerta once again acts her socks off as Lucy) is more resilient than even the audience thought, and his wife is more knowing that he cares to know.  Meanwhile, Margaret is as shrewd as ever, testing her boundaries with Nucky while proving to herself she can be true to the Lord and keep a secret at the same time.  Oh yeah, and then there’s the trifecta of underlings (Jimmy, the Philly Butcher, and Luciano) coming to near blows before realizing maybe together they can usurp the Holy Trinity (Nucky, the infamous Waxey Gordon, and Rothstein). Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Gimcrack and Bunkum

You can't keep a good half-face (or a member of the Huston acting dynasty) down.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk Empire – Gimcrack and Bunkum

Season Two: Episode Five

Directed by:  Tim Van Patten

Written by:  Howard Korder

The Spin:  Although the Philly plotline was passed over entirely in this episode, Korder never the less made this an hour about brotherly love.  With the AC bigwigs demanding a return on their investment and getting antsy about The Commodore’s new lack of engagement, Jimmy (Pitt) and Eli (Shea Whigham) find themselves up shit’s creek…but would one of them find a paddle?  Look at the idiot Eli go running back to brother Nucky only to get rightfully slapped in the face and spat upon (though if it weren’t for Margaret’s shotgun antics, ol’ Nuck might’ve found himself choked to death).  And whoops, funny how a wrench can then slip out of a drunken Eli’s hand and bash fat George’s face in.  Meanwhile, sad-sack Harrow (Jack Huston) traipses deep into the woods to blow his depressed brains out only to have a bit of felicity (in the form of a dog and two amiable hunters) thwart his plans.  Back to Jimmy’s house he goes, where he gets a pledge from his “brother” that he would fight for him to the last bullet.  Ahhh…nothing like scalping a fat old bastard to bring two war buddies closer together.  Seems Jimmy found his paddle…and its name is Richard Harrow…and together they’re going to take care of that debt by “taking care of” everyone they owe. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: What Does the Bee Do?

Gretchen Mol could give any man a stroke.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide

Boardwalk Empire – What Does the Bee Do?

Season Two: Episode Four

Directed by:  Ed Bianchi

Written by:  Steve Kornacki

The Spin:  Kornacki crafts a compelling hour built upon the themes of disillusionment and being put back in one’s place.  The show opens with the Commodore (Dabney Coleman) suffering a stroke at the height of lechery, leaving Gillian (Gretchen Mol), Jimmy (Michael Pitt) and Nucky’s idiot brother wondering what the heck to do now.  Meanwhile, Margaret gets disillusioned by Nucky’s cheerfully amoral politicking (“It’s about happiness” he tells her after deliberately publicizing a scandal with whores and votes so that he might get charged by the feds and then let off the hook by his old pal, the Attorney General) as well as by the attitudes of her servants.  Heck, ain’t nuthin’ a little cash stashin’ can’t fix, eh, old gal?  Meanwhile, it was a real treat to see Luciano put in his place by Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg), the professional businessman to Nucky’s professional showman.  And then we had ol’ Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) getting pressure from the widows of those who were killed by the KKK only to have Nucky tell him to be a “good boy” and wait for justice to be dispensed (again, we see Nucky promise to solve everything – with money).  Oh, that don’t sit well with Chalky, and he takes it out on his civilized family at the dinner table.  Lastly, Harrow (Jack Huston) provides Angela (Aleksa Palladino) with some much-needed artistic inspiration, leaving poor Jimmy to wonder if he’ll ever really understand any of the people he loves.  Things come full circle in the final scene where Gillian, disillusioned by having to play nursemaid to the Commodore, reveals in a fit of angry tears and powerful slaps, that she’s been giving a grand performance all along. 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