Boardwalk Empire

‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Finale Recap: “Farewell Daddy Blues”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Nucky Thompson is the only character to walk out of Season 4 relatively unscathed. Not because he’s the protagonist; all that’s required for Nucky to fill that particular role is to stay alive through the series finale. Rather, it’s that our antihero simply doesn’t have a lot to lose. This season’s been toying around with its main character’s fundamental emptiness for a while: Nucky’s got no family, no friends (only partners!), and no real reason to keep expanding his already substantial empire. It’s easy for him to decide he wants out. If only this show’s other characters were so lucky. … Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Recap: “Old Ship of Zion”

Agent Tolliver’s been on the hunt for the weak link in Nucky’s operation for months. The laughingstock of his underlings and even his superiors at the FBI, Tolliver’s long game finally played out this week, giving Boardwalk Empire the strongest episode of its fourth season by developing a far more interesting reason for Eli Thompson to betray his brother than lust for wealth or power: his family. Nucky, too, is convinced he’s helping his surrogate children this week, but only Eli is making a real sacrifice, and he knows it. … Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Recap: “William Wilson”

Though “William Wilson” is named after the Willy Thompson subplot, the most important — and by far the most interesting — goings-on this week centered around Jeffrey Wright’s subtly terrifying Dr. Valentin Narcisse. Thanks to his machinations surrounding Atlantic City’s heroin trade and a certain Onyx Club guest singer, we’re much better acquainted with both Narcisse’s M.O. and the hypocrisy behind it. Narcisse may talk Universal Negro Improvement, but in practice he’s all in favor of murdering the occasional prostitute if it suits his fancy (and creepily adopting her daughter for future use as a bargaining tool). … Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Recap: “The North Star”

Hey, remember Margaret Thompson? The nice Irish lady who had one awful husband too many and packed off to Brooklyn? Turns out she’s still around, and she’s doing decently for herself. Teddy and Emily go to school, Margaret goes to work, and they stay far away from the likes of Nucky, who wouldn’t know an IRT train if it ran him over. Part of me wants nothing more than for that surprisingly cordial coffee date in Penn Station to be the last we ever see of Margaret, making her pretty much the only character in the history of HBO dramas who got out when she could and rebuilt her life accordingly. Unfortunately, that’s not how this show works. … Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Episode 5 Recap: “Erlkonig”

“What was wrong with Brooklyn, huh?” That’s Ralph Capone, sobbing in the aftermath of one of last night’s bloodier moments. He’s got a point; the Capone brothers were small-time gangsters with (relatively) stable jobs and (relatively) happy families, with no reason to move to Chicago except greed. Boardwalk Empire isn’t kind to characters who overreach like that, with the notable exception of its protagonist and his family. “Erlkonig” saw three characters pay the piper for wanting too much for themselves last night, while the only one in Nucky’s good graces literally got away with murder. It’s a good day to be a Thompson. … Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Recap: “All In”

Most of “All In” carries us through a single night within the Boardwalk Empire universe, a fact that’s easy not to notice until two back-to-back scenes show characters stumbling into the dawn. As the title suggests, the dominant theme is risk: there’s Nucky and Rothstein’s gravitas-loaded poker game, of course, but at some point in the episode almost all of the characters have left themselves vulnerable, to varying degrees of success. Some seismic shifts have occurred for Meyer Lansky, the former Nelson Van Alden, and even the hapless Eddie. Unfortunately, most of them don’t seem to be for the better. … Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Recap: “Acres of Diamonds”

Like the other Jersey mob boss he’s so often compared to, Nucky Thompson’s a complicated guy. We see glimmers of self-awareness in his character from time to time, but his ability to criticize his own flaws always stops just short of calling it quits on the whole organized crime racket. Last season finale, Nucky decided to take the half-measure of stepping out of public life but continuing to run the show from behind the scenes. This time, we get a frank admission that the bootlegging money isn’t worth the risk — right before our hero agrees to a massive, probably ill-fated offloading deal on the Florida coast. One step forward, two gigantic leaps back. … Read More

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This Week’s Top 5 TV Moments

There are scores of TV shows out there, with dozens of new episodes each week, not to mention everything you can find on Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, and HBO Go. How’s a viewer to keep up? To help you sort through all that television has to offer, Flavorwire is compiling the five best moments on TV each week. This time, Brooklyn Nine-Nine kicks off while The Newsroom winds down. … Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 4 Recap: “Resignation”

Killing off one Big Bad only to replace him with another runs the risk of coming off like a lazy decision to play Antagonist Whac-A-Mole. And on a lesser show with lesser villains, it might. But in an ensemble cast awash with interchangeable doughy, middle-aged white men, Boardwalk Empire has a talent for making its adversaries into its most compelling characters, and by far and away its most memorable. So while we all mourn the loss of Bobby Canavale’s psychotic Gyp Rossetti, let us give thanks for Jeffrey Wright’s Valentin Narcisse, a considerably more level-headed and possibly more dangerous thorn in Nucky Thompson’s side.

… Read More

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