Boardwalk Empire Watch: Season 3, Episode 5 - You'd Be Surprised
"To life. In fact, I've got an uncle doing ten years l'chaim up in Sing Sing."
If you've been paying attention you can probably tell that I'm not the biggest fan of the Billie Kent storyline. She's fine as a character and even to have around as a mistress, it just seems like Nucky's spending an awful lot of time with the young singer, so much so that we're now forced to get invested in her career. Even being chewed out by Rothstein over the distraction isn't enough to open Nucky's eyes and get him back caring about business. Nope, instead he plays producer as we watch him watch Billie's terrible show and become jealous of the choreographer. Not to worry, the show must not go on as the plug is rightfully pulled but once he sees how distraught his Billie is over the whole thing, Nucky decides to take matters into his own hands, Godfather style. No horse heads, this time it's a bottle of Passover vodka and then a visit from Milky, sorry, Chalky and Dunn in order to secure Eddie Cantor's involvement in the now resurrected show. The latter is a great scene in an otherwise inconsequential thread, although I did also enjoy the Lucy Danzinger zinger from Cantor at the end.
"I had you there for a second. From now on, room 207 at the Kindred Lodge. Add me to your route."
It may seem hypocritical after all the whining about the loss of Jimmy to then praise his replacement but the sequences involving Gyp and the Tabor Heights' conflict were by far the most engaging and not just because they featured most of the sex and violence. Although that certainly didn't hurt. The opening 'wet towel' scene will surely go down as one of the more memorable moments from the TV season (a smile to rival Carrie's in the Homeland premiere) with Bobby Cannavale continuing to shine as the dim and quick to temper mobster. Gyp doesn't just like to cause problems for Nucky, he's also into erotic-asphyxiatation and being tied up almost ends up his undoing. Get it, tied and undo... never mind. Early on, while Eli gains a little more respect from his big brother, we learn that Rosetti is linked to Masseria and the whole situation between the former and Nucky is only exacerbating the problems between the latter and Rothstein's boys. Once the underlings leave the room, Nucky and AR have it out for a few minutes and there is little love between the two men. The shot of Lucky and Owen outside was also well done, who knows if things could have erupted into violence had the wrong thing been said.
It also, of course, leads us to believe that when AR and Lucky 'move onto other business' they mean it and therefore the meeting with Gyp seems much more authentic. I still noticed, as I'm sure you did, AR's ears prick up at the mention of Gyp's address to the paperboy and realized that perhaps things between him and Nucky weren't quite so rocky. Maybe war, it tuns out, was the only acceptable option? We know that Meyer and Lucky have had more than enough of Masseria taking a piece of their action so I also figured that the gun Benny was filing was meant for Rosetti. That didn't diminish nor dull the final shootout, with us following Benny into the house from behind before he starts popping his gun off in a bunch of the rival gangster's faces. It was pretty intense with Gyp still tied to the bedpost as Benny was barrelling down the hallway and at that point I actually thought Cannavale's time on the show was over but thankfully he used the redhead as a shield. Benny manages to make it out of the place unscathed, hooting all the way, while the same can't be said for the paperboy. At the end, Owen informs Nuck of the failed operation which also clues us in, if we haven't' guessed already, that he and Rothstein are still in cahoots.
"Always on the move but going nowhere fast."
Boardwalk Empire seems to be struggling with its constantly expanding world, finding itself with too many characters, conflicts and locations to fit into a single installment. I'm not saying that every character has to appear in every episode but the sheer number of them has resulted in what feels like a stunted start to Season 3. Five episodes in and the major conflicts are only now starting to take shape. The third has unfolded a bit slower than a lot of viewers would like but those itching for more bloodshed can take comfort in the fact that New York is assuredly about to go to war after the failed shooting in Tabor Heights. Gyp and Masseria on one side versus Nucky and Rothstein (as well as Lucky, Meyer and Benny) on the other. That conflict is definitely something to look forward to in coming weeks as well as Van Alden re-entering the fight and the government looking for a bootlegging scapegoat. Things are finally starting to take shape this season and it only took the most shapeless episode to set the wheels in motion.
Boardwalk Empire returns with Episode 6, "Ging Gang Goolie," next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Created by Terence Winter, it stars Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Vincent Piazza and Michael Stuhlbarg.
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