Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's Good Here?

Last week's season premiere of Boardwalk Empire possessed a shock and awe quality about it, thanks to the violent side of the bootlegging business. While this week opened in a most peculiar way, exploring the more cerebral part of this criminal element.
From Nucky's meeting with Mr. Means (who you probably recognized from True Blood) to his chat with Rothstein, we saw how a sharp intellect is just as important as a dead aim when it comes to staying atop the criminal underworld. Men like the aforementioned do not leave things to chance. So when something like Manny getting killed by an unknown assailant occurs, it perplexes them and causes them to question everything and everyone.

We were treated to some amazing dialogue this week, weren't we? Mr. Means talk of paradoxes and the difference between ordinary versus extraordinary men:
Means: Consider me an admirer Mr. Thompson. Ordinary men avoid trouble. Extraordinary men turn it to their advantage. You and I have that in common.
And the great game of quid pro quo Nucky played with Rothstein are why I enjoy those conversations like Arnold said he does.
Despite their cool and calm exteriors, Nucky and Arnold have to be feeling a bit on edge, which is why the introduction of Gyp Rosetti could not have been timed better.
Gyp doesn't play by anyone's rules. He acts according to his own agenda as if he has a license to step on anyone he wants.
Based on what we saw in the premiere, I found myself flinching each time he spoke to someone, half expecting their next comment to be their last.
His psychosis aside, you had to laugh at his delivery in a number of scenes, most notably when he asked the waitress to tell him more about the spaghetti and meatballs on the menu.
His line about sleeping with George Washington and everything, to convey how far back he and Tabor Heights went, was also classic.
I fully enjoy most any scene featuring Richard Harrow, but I didn't mind that he wasn't featured this week after being part of such a pivotal scene to close out last Sunday. There are a lot of players in this game; to try and dedicate time to all of them each week would do the over all feel of the show a disservice.
PhotobucketAbsence certainly makes the heart grow fonder, so I was very pleased to see the return of Chalky White after his no show in the premiere.

While the family matters we witnessed weren't as dynamic as the scenes we are used to seeing this dynamic character in, they were worth watching because we were treated to a glimpse of his past and eventual rise to power, something I hope we learn more about. There is no shame in his game, but Chalky wants more for his children, which is why he does what he does. So when his daughter continued to back talk him and question his judgement, I too felt his ire.

Very intense scene when he confronted her at his club asking her if this was what she wanted. It also made me think of another intense individual saying LOOK AT ME.
PhotobucketWhat is so bad about her beau anyhow? I liked the cut of that young Sam's jib. Guy takes a blade to the face and still tries to help the transgressor out. She better get with the program or get used to seeing this kind of face every night at the dinner table.

Another series regular making his Boardwalk Empire Season 3 debut was Eli, as we saw his release from prison. Mickey Doyle can definitely get on my nerves, but he also has had his moments and this week was no exception. His attempts to joke with Eli were hilarious. On the other side of the car, Eli did well to ask the question I'm sure most fans of the show have asked at some point: "how the fu-k are you still alive?"

On a more serious tip, Eli's homecoming was a nice moment. As the reality of just how much he had missed while away set in though, I found myself feeling sorry for the former lawman.
I continue to like the tense scenes between Owen and Margaret, he is torturing her with his charm and just won't leave her alone.
Maggie wants to forget it but she can't and you just know her friend is wise to what is going on between the two of them or at least that something did at some point.
I wish she would just get over this hospital fascination though. Two episodes in now and we have heard her talk of nothing more than church business and prenatal care. Getting back to my earlier comment about Richard, I don't think it is necessary for her to be featured each week at all. In fact, the only character who probably should be in every episode is Nucky.
 Ah love, all Nucky wants is for his mistress Billy and him to be open with each other. I mean, if you can't trust the woman you're cheating on your wife with... who can you trust? While shooting pool, Rothstein commented on what a vivacious woman Nucky was consorting with and then he sends a ball around the table banking off each bumper before sinking a ball in the corner pocket. It seemed to me like he was pointing out how Billy has been around the block a few times, or in the case of New York, the park. Then again, maybe he was just showing off. Either way that girl get's a record dude.

Regardless, the walls seem to be closing in on Nucky and he seems to be searching for some distance from it all. The political issues, Gyp now interfering, not to mention the issue of Margaret giving away the land to her parish which has yet to come up, all will serve to make Nucky start asking for a little less starch in his collars I feel. Like the fish in the opening scene, Nucky's pond is shrinking and the water isn't getting any safer.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nuck If You Buck

As Boardwalk Empire Season 3 opened, most of the characters were busy preparing to usher in the new year - but there was just enough time for some last minute blood shed.
In the first scene of "Resolution" we got our first glimpse of (Nurse Jackie resident D.B.) Bobby Cannavale's Gyp Rosetti and his quick temper. For such a well-healed man, Gyp's skin seemed pretty thin, almost to the point of over doing it. He's a big fan of dropping the insult then trying to play it off as a joke huh? "I said with all due respect."

Nucky did not so much as blink though when the aggressive Sicilian beat his chest before storming out of their kitchen nook conference call. Nor did Rothstein when Gyp lashed out with him. (Note the smile at the end)
Nothing like some anti-Semitic slurs on the eve of the second most important Jewish holiday. Arnold is as cool as the glasses of milk he tends to drink. Important to note from that scene was Lansky and Lucky have finally earned a place at the table. Lucky showed he has matured as he kept his cool when Gyp called him short pants.  Don't you worry, he still knows how to coin a phrase.
Also with them was Franky Yale played by Joseph Riccobene. We have seen him before as the man who shot Colosimo.

Nucky seemed to have taken Jimmy's parting words to heart and showed us he is no half way gangster as he flippantly ordered Manny to put a bullet in Nate the thief's head. Some may argue, though, that unless he actually pulls the trigger, he will forever be a "shook one."
Meanwhile, Jimmy's mother Gillian appears to have been a busy woman. People cope with empty nest syndrome in a variety of ways, but turning your ex-sugar-daddy's mansion into a brothel, I have a feeling, was a first. The new girl Evelyn seemed to catch Richard's eye...(get it? eye?) I think she reminded him of Angela.
Thankfully for young Tommy's sake, Richard has been kept on and seems to have become the boy's attendant. How amazing was the scene where he was winning Tommy all those prizes at the fair shooting gallery.
The owner was like "that's enough pal, move along." Richard complied but you know inside he was like...
I'm not sure why I was initially shocked when we learned Gillian has been telling Tommy she is his mother, especially after all the creepy mommy dearest stuff from last season.
As Richard ushered in the new year by showing Manny's brains the back door out, I initially figured he was on some sort of vendetta to wipe out those who did Jimmy and Angela in... but part of me wonders if Nucky is somehow pulling his strings now.
Dean O'Banion might think Al Capone is Torrio's little puppet, but he might want to start setting aside some Calla Lily's for his own wife, so she has something to rest on his casket. The old scene where Al told Jimmy about his son being deaf was one of the most emotional moments in the show's history, so when the Chi-town florist made light of the poor boy's handicap I was shocked to see Al settle down so easily. He is one dog whose bite is certainly worse than his bark, and Van Alden or not, Dean will have his day soon enough. Al's line about chewing through his leash was one of my favorites of the episode.

Not sure going door to door is necessarily a smart career move for an ex FBI agent who is on the run. He didn't exactly seem to have the Glengarry leads did he? And how about his Stuart Smalley moment?

Van Alden's little Tony Robbins-esque mantra is actually from Emile Coue,  a French psychologist who introduced a popular method of psychotherapy in his book, Self Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion. A bestseller in 1923 it is still in print today.
In an episode where multiple characters took shots to the dome, I think the one I felt the worst for was the poor little girl who had her stroller force fed to her when Van Alden tried to squeeze by her and her mother.

The premiere did well to remind us of most of the story lines from last season, be it the political aspect with Shooter McGavin (Harry Daugherty) or Margaret's infidelity with Owen Sleater. Throw on top of all that, this new storyline of Margaret's involvement in the hospital - along with Chalky White - and we have a recipe for amazing. I loved how Margaret didn't throw that young doctor under the bus for telling her about the lack of prenatal care at the hospital. She and her family might be in for some trouble though. The way Gyp Rosetti handed her the dog he took off the motorist he killed seemed like a bad omen. It may have well been a severed horse head judging by the face Nucky made as he watched the scene unfold. Nucky might beat Gyp to it though when he finds out she donated the land to the church. She already got a talking to at the party for speaking out of line.
Things were relatively back to normal for the time being. Margaret continues to feel like a trapped bird wanting to fly, Nucky has himself a new mistress and the people of Atlantic City still kneel before his altar of booze and debauchery. I will be there along side them each week as well, as I feel we are in for a great ride this season.