Boardwalk Empire, Season 4, Episodes 2-3

By: D.G. McCabe

The plot of Season 4 has starting moving forward at a quickening pace.  This is where I don’t get critics who say that Boardwalk Empire is “slow” or “boring.”  We already have several brutal murders, a fantastic new antagonist (Jeffery Wright’s Dr. Narcisse), and of course high levels of tension throughout the storyline.

The first thing I noticed about the last two episodes is how observant and strategic Nucky can be when he’s not on “love-leave.”  He now tosses showgirls aside like stale bagels and conducts his business like a well oiled machine. Even this week’s Florida sub-plot could be a wise play, since it is clear that Nucky has a chance to expand his reach down there.

We as the audience, however, know that this can’t last.  If there’s anything that the first three seasons of Boardwalk Empire have proven it’s that Nucky Thompson has the capacity to be mindlessly vicious and epically self destructive.  Bobby Cannavale’s now-Emmy winning Gyp Rossetti largely capitalized on these aspects last season, and the new antagonist, Dr. Narcisse, is a lot more intelligent that Rossetti.

Speaking of which, I can’t say enough about Jeffery Wright’s performance so far.  Wright is a well regarded character actor (best recognized as Felix Leiter in Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008), and most media outlets felt his casting was a substantial coup for the show.  His Narcisse is sophisticated and smooth, but at the same time dangerously unpredictable and clearly capable of Gyp Rossetti style psychopathic violence.  I really hope he’s not only a one season antagonist at this point.

Anyway, more of the continuing adventures of Nucky Thompson next week!

(c) 2013 D.G. McCabe