Boardwalk Empire Season 4, Episodes 5-6

By D.G. McCabe

The last two weeks in the continuing adventures of Nucky Thompson have wrapped up a few threads from the first part of the season and setup the endgame of the season’s second half.  Although this season of Boardwalk Empire is far superior to last season, it is a bit disjointed so far.  The Chicago storyline and the Richard storyline, while good, are totally unconnected to Nucky Thompson at this point in time.  A show like Game of Thrones can, and has to, have several such unconnected plots, but Boardwalk Empire begins and ends with Nucky Thompson.  It is at it’s best when it is a character study of its protagonist. That being said, I’m interested in how the writers are going to tie the seemingly unconnected plots to the main story.

The major theme of the season, that Nucky is making the right moves while everything outside of his control collapses, has been amplified the past two weeks.  Before episode five, Nucky was largely unaware about the chaos surrounding him.  In the last two weeks he has learned that his nephew is being charged for murder, his butler has jumped out a window, and his Florida deal is on life support.  The only chip to fall in place at this point is for him to discover Dr. Narcisse’s plot to push Chaulky aside and flood Atlantic City with heroin.

Speaking of which, Jeffrey Wright’s character has been physically absent the last two weeks, but it doesn’t feel as though we are far from his influence, or far from him re-asserting himself.  I’m anxious to find out what his next move will be.

Finally, one of the tragedies of Boardwalk Empire is that sometimes just when it is fleshing out its side characters, they are dispatched.  Eddie is the most recent example of course, but Owen was just getting interesting last year, and Jimmy represents one of television’s great wasted opportunities.  I realize that this is a brutal world, and it’s logical that those characters died when they did, it just feels incomplete.

Anyway halfway through the season!  More next week!

(c) 2013 D.G. McCabe