The third season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire opens on New Year’s Eve 1923, the roaring 20’s are in full swing and prohibition is a gangster’s best friend. It’s hard to believe that the stock market crash is a mere 6 years away. Nucky’s new adversary is Gyp Rosetti played by the wonderful Bobby Cannavale, if the premiere is a promise of things to come we are in for one heck of a season. Just like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, don’t tell Gyp he makes you laugh, or offer to help him change a tire.
It is also clear, if it wasn’t when Nicky killed Jimmy at the end of last season in the first ten minutes of this season when he confronts Nate the thief, that Nucky is in full on gangster mode, no ambiguity, no questions.
Margaret continues to assert her independence, even as she plays dutiful wife to the man she continues to grow apart from and despises. At the end of last season she signed over his highway windfall to the catholic church. This season she is using his money to fund a project at St. Theresa’s Hospital, that will educate women about pre-natal care. Margaret started down an interesting road last year, I hope her character continues to grow and develop in this direction.
There are several references made to Carrie Duncan, who is attempting to fly solo across the country. Obviously the men think she should stay home and serve her husband. Given that women are currently under attack in this in country by narrow minded men its no coincidence we have this bit of business. Women only got the right to vote in 1920, that’s less than a 100 years ago ladies.
Al Capone and the Chicago crew have their hands full with territory issues and solve their problems the good old fashion way.
Nucky and Margaret throw an elaborate Egyptian themed New Year’s Eve Party, where we are introduced to Nucky’s new girlfriend Billie. I want to be invited to Nucky’s next party he gives the best gifts, diamond jewelery for all his guests. The big news, Nucky is only selling to Rothstein, if anyone wants to buy they need to go to Rothstein. Gyp is not happy with this change, he calls Nucky a bread stick in a suit. Which is actually pretty funny, if he wasn’t so scary.
The greatest changes come in the form of Eli and Van Alden, both men shells of their former selves. Much credit is due to the actors who portray these characters, Shea Whigham and Michael Shannon. Both have fallen so far over the last two seasons, and their despair is made more real by their portrayer. In a scene out of the Godfather, when Michael makes an innocent pretend to be a made guy, Van Alden walks into a flower shop where Capone is about to whack O’Banyon. O’Banyon makes Capone think Van Alden’s sample case is a weapon. It works and Capone is scared off, O’Banyon offers Van Alden a job. Van Alden loses the sales contest, so we all know he is going to the gangster for work. Way to bring him back in the action and the character full circle.
Gillian, Jimmy’s mother portrayed by Gretchen Mol, gives me the creeps, even before we found out she molested her son, she made my skin crawl. Having her raise Jimmy and Angela’s son fills me with fear for that child, I can only hope that with Richard around he becomes the childs protector and perhaps he has to kill Gillian before the season is out to protect the child. Gillian has started a business, a brothel, what else would we expect.
Richard, sure he has killed 60 men, but somehow that doesn’t seem to bother me, he has become my favorite character on the show. Certainly the most sympathetic and likeable, I just want to hug him and make him feel better. Richard is looking out for Jimmy’s son, keeping the memories of his parents alive, much to Gillian’s chagrin. Richard kills Manny Horvitz and his driver as revenge for killing Angela last season.
And of course my favorite gangster of them all Arnold Rothstein, played by the brilliant Michael Stuhlbarg. If you don’t belive me all you need to to is compare his work in Boardwalk with his work in Men In Black 3, unless you knew his name you would have no idea this was the same man.
This show has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the talent, there isn’t a weak link in this chain.
This promises to be a great season, even darker than the last two, and I couldn’t be more excited that Nucky and the crew are back.