‘Boardwalk Empire’ S3 / E11 – ‘Two Imposters’

By David Pergolini on Nov 26, 2012 to Boardwalk Empire

“I need a bath, some chow and then you and me sit down and we talk about who dies.”

Team Gyp or Team Nucky? Whose side are you on? War has come to the ‘Boardwalk’ and the body count continues to escalate after Sunday’s thrilling episode, ‘Two Imposters.’ I can’t remember a faster-paced episode, going as far back as Season 1 – what a rush! We’ve seen attempts on Nucky’s life before but nothing compares to the ferocity of Gyp Rosetti. This war has been on the horizon since episode 1, but even now it’s hard to fathom such a brilliant integration of story lines – well done, Terry Winter, I’m sorry I ever doubted you. Charlie Luciano pays the price of ambition, Richard is geared for war, Chalky calls the banners, Gyp finds a new home with Gillian and Nucky is a surgeon with a shotgun! Man, I love this show!

Let’s begin in New York, the only out-of-place storyline in the episode, where Charlie Luciano and Meyer Lansky have fallen dangerously behind in the heroin trade. The two find themselves falling steeper and steeper into debt – pretty much a death sentence in they’re world. Ignoring Meyer’s plea for patience, Charlie reaches out to unknown buyers from Buffalo, desperate to bring in some doe to pay off expenses. Where there’s desperation, comes moxie – what first appeared to be a transaction stick-up turns into Charlie in handcuffs, busted by the feds.

  • How will Charlie’s arrest effect the war in Atlantic City.
  • Rothstein is a notoriously patient gambler, but is it time to make a move?
  • How will this effect Charlie and Meyer’s relationship with Joe Masseria.

Richard Harrow’s time has come. For weeks we’ve followed him on his personal escapades – Manny Horvitz, Mickey Doyle, Gillian, Tommy and, of course, his new love, Julia – all of which teeter on the edge of the main plot. But now things have reached the tipping point. Gillian has taken an aggressive interest in Richard’s love life and feels obliged to bring him back to earth. After discovering his plans to take Tommy away from the newly assembled gangster stronghold, Gillian uses her new muscle, courtesy of Mr. Rosetti, to remove Richard from the grounds. To hell with that – Richard won’t go out without a fight. All of the abuse he’s taken over the course of this season has come to this. We’re left with him gearing up for war, readying his arsenal to rescue Tommy and, perhaps, to finally do away with Gillian. Leave it to the remaining strands of Jimmy to kill off one another.
  • If given the chance, would Richard pull the trigger on Gillian?
  • Could Richard possibly be the one to put down Rosetti?
  • Will Richard ally himself with Capone or Nucky? Or will he continue to go lone-wolf.
Chalky White has been a ghost this season and treated as such in many instances by Nucky. It seems ironic that now, in Nucky’s most dire hour, that Chalky should come to the rescue. But like most relationships on the ‘Boardwalk,’ allegiance comes at a cost. In exchange for his help Chalky requires a green-light for the bi-racial club where “Babetts used’ta was.” Remember Stephen: the dud-of-a-doctor that Maybelle, Chalky’s daughter, was engaged to marry? Yea, he’s back, taking care of Mr. Kessler who was hit by a stray bullet in the opening shootout at the Ritz. The tab continues to grow when Gyp Rosetti and a host of men come to “pay respects” to they’re new neighbors. Chalky keeps his cool and lets Rosetti know that he won’t be intimidated. In response, Gyp puts a bounty on Nucky  (whose only feet away) for a steep price of $25,000. With loyalties in question, Chalky, Nucky and Dunn Pearnsly make they’re escape – racking up three more Rosetti soldiers along the way. Chalky knows that his club will never come to life with Rosetti behind the wheel – no, he needs Nucky, and Nucky needs him. The two have had they’re rough patches this season but it’s clear that both are “too old” to go around making new friends – they’ll go to war, together.
  • Will Chalky regret entering this war? Do the ends justify the means?
  • How will he handle Capone’s intervention?
  • Will Rosetti go after Chalky’s family in response to his deception?
Gyp Rosetti has Nucky on the run, seizing control of the entire city – no where is safe. He’s based his armies in Gillian’s whorehouse, convincing her that he’s killed Nucky and proclaiming himself as the new boss of Atlantic City – a relieving, yet disturbing notion to Gillian. After turning the once elegant ‘dream world’ into… well… a whorehouse, Gyp decides to do a little interior decorating – Nucky’s desk from the Ritz will do nicely. Yes, it would seem that he’s making himself quite comfortable in his new home, but comfort in the bootlegging world hardly lasts. Nucky is still alive and still a threat. Rosetti would be wise to remember that.
  • How will Gyp’s superior, Joe Masseria react to Nucky’s survival?
  • Do you see Gyp’s character making it to Season 4?
  • If not, who will be the one to pull the trigger and end Gyp?
Owen Slater’s body is still warm. Margaret and the children are gone – only Eddie Kessler remains. The line is dead. BOOM! A shotgun blast rips through Nucky’s office at the Ritz, all his men are either dead or paid-off. We’ve never seen Nucky in the thick of battle but after that performance its obvious that he’s more than capable of holding his own. After securing a getaway vehicle, Nucky and Mr. Kessler find themselves in a shootout at St. Theresa’s Hospital – Gyp’s men have overtaken the entire city. After several close brushes with death we finally receive a human moment from Nucky while comforting a delirious Mr. Kessler. This is his town, his city, his home – no way is he going to let these ‘interlopers’ come and take what’s rightfully his. No more running, it’s time to make a stand. Nucky, Chalky and Dunn Pearnsly hide out in an old lumber yard, courtesy of Will: Eli’s son and Nucky’s nephew. Another convoy of vehicles make their approach. More of Gyp’s men? No, it’s Eli along with Al Capone and an army of men. Time to take the fight to Rosetti.
It’s interesting to see how the episode flows when you strip it of distractions – Owen is gone, Margaret and Van Alden and a host of others were left sidelined, leaving us with an up-tempo, constantly-flowing storyline. ‘Two Imposters’ is my favorite episode of the season and by far the most exciting. We see our protagonist at his lowest point, rising with a resolve thats stronger than ever. That being said, there’s still a laundry list of conflict throughout the bootlegging world that needs to be concluded. Owen’s death certainly wrapped up a few, along with Margaret’s dismissal from the hospital, but let’s not forget Nucky’s political problems – how will the growing mound of bodies effect his relationships in Washington? There are still plenty of opportunities for corruption and allegiance this season. With one episode remaining, we can rest assured that these loose ends will be either repaired or severed. They say you can’t be half-a-gangster, our protagonist will put this notion to the ultimate test.
  • Will Gyp Rosetti live to see another season?
  • Can Capone be trusted?
  • How will Nucky deal with his political problems in Washington?
  • What about Margaret and the children? What will become of them?
  • How does this season compare to the others?
Declare your allegiance – Team Gyp or Team Nucky? Only one episode left in Season 3, what do you think will happen? Watch the season finale of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ next Sunday, 12/2 and join the conversation.
Here’s a preview trailer for the season finale:

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