Boardwalk Empire – Season 4, Episode 1

By: D.G. McCabe

When last we left the continuing adventure of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), our hero had narrowly escaped his complete destruction at the hands of a one-dimensional, mustache-twirling villain.  Last season was by far the weakest of the three so far, with the never-ending crazy of Gyp Rossetti (Bobby Cannavale).  There was also way too much re-tread ground to live up to the meticulous plotting of season one or the epic, Jimmy (Michael Pitt) vs. Nucky battle of season two.  Clearly the show did itself a great disservice by dispatching Jimmy and replacing him with a lesser antagonist.

Thankfully, the first episode of season four is better than any episode of season three.  The writers seem to take special joy in pointing this out to the audience, the way they so quickly dispense with the “Nucky loves another showgirl” plotline and quickly dispose of the “out of town gangsters hate Nucky” setup.  Certainly the New York and Chicago crews will have their place in this season, but perhaps, finally, the never ending Nucky vs. Rothstein rivalry/friendship/rivalry will finally stop going round and round in circles.

Richard is back of course and just as efficient as ever, although it isn’t explained who these men he is killing are and why he is dispatching them.  He is far away from Atlantic City, and having already taken revenge for Angela Darmondy (Aleksa Palladino) and rescuing Jimmy’s son from his insane, drug addled grandmother (Gretchen Mol), it is an open ended question what part his is going to play in the larger plot this season.

Speaking of Gillian, I’m a little surprised that the writers brought her back, but overall it is a good thing.  She is completely insane and evil, but unlike a certain maniac from New York, we know why she is the way she is, and who’s fault it is (mostly Nucky’s).  Hopefully they give her some more to do this season except brood in a whorehouse.  We’ll see.

Next week: The guy who’s in all the trailers enters the stage, and he’s pissed!

(c) 2013 D.G. McCabe