Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Take Three: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire: Season 1, Episode 3 “Broadway Limited” (B)

When a straight shooter member of the FBI has to forcibly take a shooting victim out of police custody and bring him to a dentist to force his back into consciousness, you know things have really gotten out of hand. Whereas the FBI sort of stood back and slowly tried to bring down the mob on “The Sopranos” and even ended cheering for the New Jersey mafia over the New York crew, here Agent Nelson Van Alden is as determined as they come, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he resorted to a bit of lawlessness of his own to ensure that the bad guys end up behind bars (though of course they won’t). What troubles me somewhat about this show, besides how difficult it still is to permeate, is that we’re catching an intriguing character, Jimmy, at a point in his life where he’s already sort of fallen from grace rather than seeing his development. He’s headed to Chicago with a target on his head, and we’ve barely even gotten to know him. Despite the allure of Michael Stuhlbarg’s presence as Arnold Rothstein, the amount of time devoted to Chicago still feels inappropriate. The final shot seems to cement the fact that Nucky really runs the show, and having so much screen time spent in Chicago diminishes his apparent influence. I’m intrigued by the brief presence of Michael Kenneth Williams as Chalky White, returning after a brief appearance in the pilot, who will likely not soon forgive Nucky for seeming not to care about the death of one of his people, and I hope to see more of him in the future.

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