“Dreams are where we should live. But we have to live in life.”
Conflict and consequence continues to grow for the ‘Boardwalk’ cast as we reach the midpoint episode of season 3. The United States Department of Justice submerges itself into the heart of the story, Richard Harrow returns to the screen, Margaret’s family troubles continue and our protagonist finds himself in a sticky spot for the second time this season. ‘Ging Gang Goolie’ was not a gunslinging, booze running, sexually asphyxiating affair, rather we take a step back and slow the pace with a host of dialogue-driven, plot-twisting scenes.
Richard Harrow merited a fair amount of screen time this past Sunday for the first time since episode 3. After a gruesome bar fight between two war vets Harrow takes the time to help the elderly, defeated drunkard and his smoke-show daughter. It’s clear that Richard has feelings for the girl, perhaps it’s because she’s unassuming and indifferent toward his grisly wounds but in all honesty – I don’t give a shit. Richard is one of the most compelling characters on the ‘Boardwalk’ and quite frankly I’m getting tired of waiting for him to get involved in the story. Character revelation is important, yes, but I’m beginning to lose patience and I know many of you are as well.
Gillian Darmody’s story continues to grow more and more bizarre. What’s there to say? The woman wants to bang her dead son. I’m excited to see how her relationship with Gyp Rosetti or Lucky Luciano will develop but until then I think we can all manage without Gillian’s creepy fetishes.
For the first time this season we see Margaret’s troubles venture outside the hospital ward, showcasing her domestic struggles as a mother and wife. Her eldest son, Teddy has a deep seated fascination with fire along with a terrifyingly vivid imagination. We never truly know if the suspected “gypsy” was the source of the fire but it’s clear that Teddy’s boyish curiosity has the potential to expose some of Margaret’s darkest secrets. It’s interesting; despite Margaret’s manipulative abilities in her business affairs, she seems utterly powerless when it comes to parenting her own children – a notion, I’m sure, a number of mothers can attest to.
Rarely do we catch a glimpse of the shady, backdoor dealings in Washington D.C. but it’s clear now that Nucky’s political affiliates once again have him in they’re crosshairs. A Senate Subcommittee is intent on exposing the mass corruption in the Attorney General’s department, forcing Harry Dougherty to sacrifice one of his major bootlegging clients. Since Cincinnatian and fellow Ohioan, George Remus is directly connected with the his old friend, Jess Smith (whose on the verge of a complete mental breakdown) Dougherty has only one option – Nucky Thompson.
“If you bring me down, your coming with me.”
Nucky’s intimidation is followed by a night in a jail cell – a testament to how gangster business methods can translate to even the highest levels of government. Upon receiving a laughable fine of $5, Nucky is reacquainted with an old friend – Esther Randolph, the fiery attorney who led his inditement in season 2. The two part ways with an arrangement on the table; either Randolph can help Nucky take down Dougherty or she can return to her frustratingly lack-luster career. Ambition, it would seem, remains an extremely motivational factor on the ‘Boardwalk.’
The final piece to this complex puzzle rests in the hands of Gaston Bullock Means whose quickly becoming an audience favorite. It would appear that Mr. Means has leverage on both sides of the equation – enough to bury both Nucky and Dougherty alike. But information comes at a price, a price that Nucky is willing to pay. Will Mr. Means stay true to his word and help Nucky? Or will sticking with Dougherty offer a more suitable alternative?
Any ‘Boardwalk’ fan knows and understands that not every episode can be a heart-pounding shootout. With such a wide cast of characters and story lines it’s important to properly build the tension of both the main plot and individual insight. ‘Ging Gang Goolie’ revealed a number of growing issues for our characters but it also seemed to throw the whole season off balance. There’s an overwhelming amount of intricate schemes at play thus far, so much so that you have to wonder if Terence Winter is going to far. That being said, I enjoy how the show is sticking to its dynamics – questionable loyalties, the dangers of ambition and characters reaping the consequences of past decisions. It’ll take some time but surely all of our questions will be answered as the season continues. Tune in to ‘Boardwalk Empire’ next Sunday, 10/28 and see for yourself.