Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What I’m Watching: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire: Season 4, Episode 9 “Marriage and Hunting” (A-)

For me, this episode was an affirmation of this show’s enduring quality, an unfortunately late reminder of how good it could be so late into its fourth season. This year has been fine, though it’s nothing compared to the show’s excellent third season, and things are finally starting to come together and get interesting in a similar way again. This episode was firing on all cylinders without even addressing one of the season’s most important plotlines, Knox’s investigation, and spotlighting some of its less-featured storylines. The most satisfying of the bunch was Nelson’s, since he finally got the chance to reassert his authority and tell more than a few people what he thought. Offering to off O’Bannon himself was bold, and while that didn’t ultimately pan out, he did muster up the impulse to kill his former coworkers who seemed intent on roughing him up without realizing the potential consequences, and he also clarified his role at home. Telling O’Bannon his real name and that he used to believe in God and now doesn’t believe in anything at all was spectacular, and it was superbly delivered by the incomparable Michael Shannon. Without his family to worry about, Nucky was productive in his business dealings, trying to keep things civil between Chucky and Narcisse, and making a worthwhile purchase from the broke Rothstein for the rather hilarious expensive life insurance policy of one Mickey Doyle. Narcisse showing up to talk to Nucky at a whites-only show deriding his people was brave, though he lost points considerably for the brutality he exhibited towards Daughter. Gillian sharing everything about Jimmy, at least the public story minus the incest and the faked death, with her new beau was a sign of her feeling powerful again, and it looks like she’s still in the running to claim Tommy as her own. Richard returning and agreeing to marry Julia was noble, though let’s hope he doesn’t get himself into the same kind of violent situation he did in last year’s season finale next week as he finds himself in Nucky’s employ once again.

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