Boardwalk Empire: Season 5, Episode 2 “Spaghetti and Coffee” (A-)
This show scored a surprise win at the Emmys on Sunday night (during HBO’s first broadcast of this episode, ironically) in the directing category for the second season finale. Installments like this remind me that this is one of the most spectacularly-directed series currently on television. This episode had a handful of excellent scenes made infinitely more dramatic by the staging, cinematography, music, and performances. As he expresses himself less with physical violence and more with a domineering presence, Rosetti is proving to be capable of extraordinary things. I was very concerned for that poor gas station attendant, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to the spaghetti and meatballs at the diner. Eli’s return was rather melancholy, but he did an impressive job of reestablishing himself, and clearly Owen respects him more than he does Mickey. Watching Nucky do his own dirty work in New York is somewhat disconcerting, and I loved meeting Stephen Root’s eccentric Gaston Bullock Means. Nucky’s conversation with Rothstein was refreshingly honest, and it’s great to have such an intimate look at Nucky’s romance with Billie, who truly is a free spirit. It’s good to see Chalky again, and asking his prospective son-in-law to “doctor him” was a formidable request to which Samuel responded admirably. Maybelle may not think he’s interesting enough to marry, but it’s hard not to like a guy who immediately runs to tend to a guy who slashed his face open moments earlier while his face is still bleeding.