Boardwalk Empire: “Resolution”
Boardwalk Empire opens it third season with a vision for Atlantic City's New Year.
September 17, 2012 9:40 pmTerry Yates
Of all the little seedlings to sprout away from the magnificent dandelion that was The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire had taken that pedigree and worn it proudly. While Mad Men is a stout little seedling, it’s stakes are limited by it’s home channel AMC, and while it has and does push boundaries in terms of basic cable television, it can’t compete with the utter freedom that being on a channel like HBO can provide. Or utter amount of boobs like HBO can provide.
Also, in terms of narrative stakes, Boardwalk Empire handles all that with a deft hand, that does not compromise the story it’s attempting to tell, and doesn't fall in to that Dexter/Burn Notice territory that plagues a series after the initial couple of season’s fresh smell wears off. Luckily this is HBO we’re talking about and not Showtime or USA. So when Jimmy Darmody gets fed a bullet sandwich from Nucky after an entire season of shenanigans last season, we as viewers knew that nothing is off the table in terms of main characters and eminent death.
What that did for the show, was all up in the air as season three begins. While Jimmy’s death rid us of that excruciating and time wasting Angela Darmody trying out lesbianism, and odd Gillian/Jimmy Oedipal chicanery; it also robbed us of a compelling character, albeit with stupid hair, that shed some light on another side to Nucky Thompson. This could effectively mean that that side of Nucky is now dead and gone, overshadowed by the dark ambitions and desires of man who has shed a lot of “family” that he now sees as baggage, or more likely…dead weight.
It’s hard to get all ginned up and excited about the season opener of Boardwalk Empire. Yes, it does set the table somewhat on what we as viewers can expect, but as viewers of past seasons can attest to, the show takes it sweet damn time about things, and refuses to budge on the pace of the story it’s trying to tell. After the season is over, of course it’s all masterstrokes and finesse storytelling with perfect pacing and a deep connective plot that pays dividends to careful watching.
All that aside, the opening of season three spends it’s time tying up loose ends from last season, taking place over a year-and-a-half later. Gillian Darmody seems intent on making her grandson in Jimmy’s image, Oedipal coddling and all, much to the chagrin to Richard Harrow, Jimmy’s former right hand man, revenge agent and my favorite character on the show. It also spends very little time before the first bloodshed of the season with a man being bludgeoned by Gyp Rosetti, for a perceived slight to his intelligence. Then moments later Nucky has a thief shot in the head for stealing from his associate, Mickey Doyle. Rosetti, a new character, seems to be the new thorn in Nucky’s side this season, and it’s going to be interesting just how long Nucky intends to deal with Gyp and his nonsense as he tries to pool his resources and form a crime syndicate of some sort.
In the time since Margaret signed away a sizable chunk of Nucky’s vaunted land to the church, and the sizable donation to the local hospital, who have named a wing after the Thompson’s, it looks as though their marriage is just for show. This is further cemented as towards the end of the episode Nucky and his paramour from the New Year’s party as seen doing their own version of “Old King Tut” in his office/apartment. Nucky’s forgiven Margaret for her transgressions, but he has become somewhat less enamored with her newfound need for independence and dare I say feministic endeavors? Having her be a busybody is one thing, but now that he’s bankrolling her, it’s a different story entirely.
Richard Harrow has been tasked by Gillian to baby-sit the Darmody child, while she madams a new bordello she’s carved out of the old Commodore’s house. His attempts to keep Jimmy and Angela’s memory alive by telling the young boy about them is heartbreaking and even more haunting when coupled with his creepy ass scrapbook with “a family” that he maintained last season. With a new girl joining the brothel being introduced as a potential love interest for him (or maybe I‘m looking way too hard in to things), this scrapbook's realization takes on a whole new meaning. Aside from that, his killing of Manny Horvitz at the end of this episode, and domination of a carnvial shooting gallery, reaffirms that he is a dangerously lethal loose end that Nucky may also have to contend with this season.
Agent Van Alden, after breaking bad towards the end of last season, has now assumed the alias of “George Mueller” and now sales irons door-to-door. His attempts to win a company-wide contest are undone as he supposedly comes in late, once again reaffirming his constant lesson of playing by the rules and getting dumped on. He also happens in to some Al Capone/Dean O’Banion beef, gaining O’Banion’s deep appreciation for pretending to be his muscle and spooking Capone and his minion away. Could this be a new career avenue for Van Alden?
At the end of the episode, Margaret goes to the shore to catch a glimpse of Carrie Duncan, an aviatrix attempting a 30-hour flight. Her being a woman pilot and all, is met with much derision from the fellows in this episode. The flight symbolism and Margaret’s budding feminism are close to being heavy-handed, but it’s not nearly enough to be a bad thing, however, it does hold some promise to perhaps yet another problem Nucky will have to deal with this season.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10