Review: ‘Boardwalk Empire’ – ‘Acres of Diamonds’

A quick review of tonight’s “Boardwalk Empire” coming up just as soon as I meet the world’s tallest midget…

Between the penultimate episode of “Breaking Bad,” the Emmys and the “Dexter” series finale, it’s easy to imagine “Acres of Diamonds” getting completely lost in the shuffle. We get to see Dr. Narcisse make cagey new alliances with both Rothstein and Dunn Purnsley, we see Richard’s attempt at a peaceful retirement fall apart when his sister Emma is forced to kill a man to save his life, and we see Gillian get understandably shaken up when she runs into a friend of the late Jimmy lookalike Roger. But it’s largely a transitional episode, and also one that devotes a large chunk of time to Willie Thompson trying get booze for a campus party.

That said, I was fascinated by Nucky’s trip down to Tampa, not only because of how well Patricia Arquette fit into the world of “Boardwalk” as Sally the bartender, but because Nucky wound up opening himself up to her in a way he really hasn’t since the earlier, happier days of his relationship with Margaret. Nucky’s pretty closed off for the lead of a series like this, and I welcome these rare moments where he actually talks about how he’s feeling about his current place in the world. Not only does he allude to the end of his marriage – and to his estranged relationship with Margaret’s kids – but he’s very blunt about how much happier he was as a politician and small-time crook than he’s been as a full-on gangster in the era of Prohibition. We understand exactly how Nucky wound up on the path he’s been on, and why he’s made so many of the choices he’s made, but if he’s a more dynamic and action-oriented character today than at the start of season 1, he also isn’t the man he was perfectly satisfied in being. And that’s a more melancholy, self-aware point of view for the central character to have than we so often get on these sorts of anti-hero cable dramas of the new golden age.

What did everybody else think?