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: 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

Boardwalk Empire: A Return to Normalcy (Season Finale)

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireA Return to Normalcy (Season Finale)

Season One: Episode Twelve

Directed by:  Tim Van Patten

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

The Spin:  If I’m being honest, Van Patten has been the weak link in terms of directors for the series, but he finally pulls out all the stops and delivers a deeply satisfying season finale helped immensely by the hands-on teleplay from series creator Terence Winter.  Next to Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire is the best written show on television, and though there’ve been some rough patches, it tops AMC’s award-winner in terms of pure entertainment.  In the finale, all of our favorites get their big scenes (Emmy…Emmy, can you hear me?) but Van Patten keeps the histrionics turned down a notch.  Just as it seems like Nucky is making peace with all his enemies, the local and national elections go his way, and Margaret comes back to his side (not after his emotional revelation about the true nature of his wife’s passing, but after a silly superstition gives her a grim premonition she will do anything to make not come true), those closest to him (a recovering Commodore, a soused Jimmy, and a spiteful Eli) begin to plot against him.  Meanwhile, Van Alden is about to heave-ho from his new Carthage riddled with guilt until a saucy special someone shows up while he’s packing to announce a bitter bun is in the oven.  A winning period-song accompanied montage (which in grand Scorsese-inspired style has become the show’s most potently dramatic calling card) leaves us tinged with melancholy over what has passed and filled with equal parts hope and fear over what is to come.  The closing images of an early dawn soaked boardwalk are the perfect postcards to send viewers off for a long hiatus. 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: 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: Family Limitation

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireFamily Limitation

Season One: Episode Six

Directed by:  Tim Van Patten

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

The Spin:  Van Patten & Korder upped the sex, violence and general weirdness in this episode which might draw the line in the sand where some of the curious being strummed along now drop off and those hooked stay on for the long haul.  Keeping with the theme of female empowerment, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) makes a conscious choice to become a “kept woman” only to have Nucky (Steve Buscemi) break her heart yet again, while he bemoans about trying to be good.  Meanwhile, in Chicago…Jimmy (Michael Pitt) wraps up his revenge in a shocking play for control of the Greek line in the name of Torio’s gang. Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Drinking Game

Margaret Schroeder’s Temperance League be damned! 

And now what all the kids have been clamorin’ for since the series premier…

The Schleicher Spin Boardwalk Empire Drinking Game!

Feel free to add your own rules in the comment form as the series progresses, and thank your lucky stars Prohibition is dead – though please drink responsibly.

Take a swig when:

  • Someone anachronistically drops the f-bomb
  • Someone is shot, stabbed, lynched, kicked, slapped or beaten 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

Boardwalk Empire Series Premiere

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide

Boardwalk EmpireSeries Premier

Season One: Episode One

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Written by: Terence Winter (series creator, from the novel by Nelson Johnson)

The Spin:  Scorsese’s flashy pilot episode did not disappoint.  So much happened and so many characters were introduced (and a few already met their demise) it almost functioned as its own mini-film…not surprisingly given the man behind the camera.  Continue reading