"My son is dead. And nothing on Earth will ever bring him back."
Boardwalk Empire had another relatively slow installment last night, making "Sunday Best" the latest in a long string of snail-paced episodes. The third season of HBO's drama has been remarkably different than the first two, so much so that it sometimes feels like an entirely foreign show. It's like Roger is to Jimmy, while they appear similar and you can try to pass one of for the other, there's something just off. And we all miss Jimmy, the series maybe more than the rest of us. Before getting too melodramatic, "Sunday Best" was not without its fair share of fantastic scenes which showcased the series always impeccable acting, cinematography and direction. A lot of tension was derived from the shot setups, making this week's quiet story still seem very cinematic and often compelling. Actually, three of the four threads were pretty great and even though not a lot happened action-wise, "Sunday Best" was mostly a pleasure to watch.
"You wouldn't be trying to take advantage of a lonely widow, would you?"
The storyline that let the rest of the episode down was Gillian's. Her character is the least interesting to watch after the death of her son and quite a lot of "Sunday Best" was devoted to seeing her predictable plan finally play out. I remember mentioning after seeing Roger for the first time that there was probably a body switcheroo coming in the near future to allow Gillian to declare Jimmy dead and inherit his estate. Through Tommy. To accomplish this feat, she first sends Richard and her (grand)son out for Easter as she pretends to be bedridden by that time of the month. Roger soon arrives which kicks off the money discussions and sexual exploits. Yep, that's pretty much all the story has, Roger questioning her wealth and then the pair having intercourse. We also learn a little more about his past, probably to make his passing carry more weight, and it turns out he's a pretty decent guy. Too bad. And what's Gillian's obsession with dreams? She's losing it. Gretchen Mol is doing everything she can to keep us interested and her delivery of the final line was perfect. But now that Tommy will likely inherit the goods, I imagine relations between Gillian and Richard won't continue to be so friendly.
"What's a boxer without a sparring partner?"
Richard loves that boy and I don't believe for a second his threat to kill Paul was posturing. I sense a showdown between the crazy woman calling herself Tommy's mother and the new father figure with half a face. He better win! The Harrow boys arrive at the Sagorski home for Easter dinner, thanks to an invitation from Julia, but before they enter Richard shyly asks Tommy if he looks alright. A great character moment. The boys, however, are almost immediately made unwelcome by Paul who doesn't mind being belligerent even to ten year olds (how old is Tommy now?). After a not so mild debate about politics and religion, Julia pulls Richard into the kitchen so he can eat in peace. She's so adorable the way she fusses about the 'right' way to talk to her new man, even if she doesn't like him threatening to kill her father. Paul's pretty sympathetic though, crying in his dead son's unchanged room, and I really like the direction Richard's thread is taking. The three of them, 'sonny, mommy and daddy' would make a great family and I loved how Richard's not only facing her in the photo but showing the camera his good side.