HBO’s Boardwalk Empire is one of the most sprawling and involved shows on TV, with a cast the size of a beer barrel (or at least equal to The Wire). So all this season, the show’s fourth, we’ll be breaking down the 10 most bloody and boozy (and booby) from every episode, including last night’s premiere, “The North Star.”
Now that Eddie’s gone, the only person who truly knows Nucky, knows him as well as he regretfully knows himself, is Margaret, and she wants nothing to do with his lifestyle. Or him. She’s broken away, with a job in “an office downtown” and a life of her own. It’s what Nucky thinks he wants, to be able to go to the pictures once a week, without the threat of a hit being placed on him, but he can’t have it — he’s had Eddie make his bed, and now he must lie in it. “No one knew how to look after you like Mr. Kessler,” Margaret says in lieu of an actual farewell, carrying Teddy’s birthday gift from another woman. That barb hurts Nucky more than any punch in the face could (figuratively).
Oh god, the People Look Through a Dead Man’s Residence scene. Always depressing. The crap we own, most of it is just that: crap, unneeded and expensive junk to distract us from the inevitable end. This book, that photo, these clothes — they lose all significance when their owner is six feet under. So sad. To everyone except the heartless Mickey Doyle, who says, “If this were my room, I’d kill.” He catches himself, “I didn’t mean…” before adding, “Eh, f*ck it, he can’t hear me.” *awkward giggle* May Kessler’s ghost haunt Doyles for lifetimes to come. Anyway, he and Eli come across Eddie’s security deposit key in a bucket of birdseed.
Hey, Richard’s back in New Jersey! Yay! And he runs into Julia’s father, who’s dying of cirrhosis! Boo! Paul’s pre-death wish is that Richard doesn’t make the same mistakes he did: don’t run, don’t try to find happiness elsewhere when it’s right in front of you. “I don’t want to do this all by myself. But how can I trust you?” Julia asks Richard, with Tommy nearby, as the reunited fake-family walks the boardwalk at night. Like Nucky, Richard wants to be the man a woman and her boy, sort of, can rely on, and I trust that Boardwalk Empire season four won’t end the same way as season three, with Richard forced to choose between family/love vs. killing time. (Not that I wouldn’t want to see Shooting Spree, Pt. 2.)
More bars should be run by women in dresses brandishing shotguns.
#FLORIDAMAN. How has it taken Boardwalk Empire four seasons to get to its first alligator fight? C’mon, New Jersey. Now I want to see the entire series recast with all the characters played by well-dressed alligators in hats, like the raptor pilot of Archer. Until that happens, though, try to take comfort in Lucky and Meyer fighting, when the latter gets spooked by Vincenzo Petrucelli, who talk-a like-a this-a, the same as New York’s own Joe Masseria. Wait. That’s a horrible thing to take comfort in. Um, did I mention the alligator fights?
Down goes Eddie, down goes Agent Knox’s case to Hoover. He was the only way into Nucky’s organized crime family tree, so now he has to improvise and find another weak link in the chain. And right now, no one’s weaker than Eli, who’s visibly shaken by Eddie’s death (and his dumb kin). When the two are huddled together in the same room, they find a note from the deceased that reads, “My dearest son, this afternoon I got the happy message that I am a grandfather. I cannot express the joy…” at least according to Knox, who hands Eli his handkerchief to wipe away the grief. A handkerchief with a monogram that clearly means something to Eli. What? That we’ll have to wait and find out.
It was a dark and stormy night. A New Jersey gangster walked into a Florida bar, heavy with his burdens, like a fat man carrying sweat, and in need of an ear to hear him speak his woes. He begins, sharing his ruminations on loves and deals lost, on whether it’s all worth…and then the bar owner, who’s heard it all, punches the gangster right in his whiny face. Then he returns the blow, and then they screw in the backroom during a tropical storm, and the gangster learned an important lesson: hitting a woman will always lead to sex. (I think that’s the lesson?)
The line of the night that shouldn’t be repeated outside the context of the show: Dr. Narcisse ain’t nothing but a “n*gger with a dictionary.” I wonder if there have been more cases of adultery or people shot dead on Boardwalk Empire? Someone get on that, and add Chalky to the cheating list. He’s feeling emasculated at home by his wife and at work by an absent, but ever-present Dr. Narcisse, so naturally, he proves he’s the MANLIEST MAN IN MAN WORLD, BRO by sleeping with Daughter Maitland, minus the sleeping. He’s f*cking her to f*ck with Dr. Narcisse, which is a disturbing mental image, I’m sorry. Remember the gators in hats.