I’m not sure Boardwalk Empire has ever put up such a fast paced episode. “Two Imposters” flashed by in a blink, but I enjoyed every quick minute of it! I’m very impressed with where this season has gone so far, and with the finale on the horizon, I’m ready to have my mind blown. Speaking of blowing minds, a lot of brains were blown out this week. I’m not sure the body count has ever been higher.
The episode opened with Nucky (Steve Buscemi) and Eddie Kessler (Anthony Laciura) cleaning up the apprentice turned bloody mess that is Owen. Did you find yourself missing Owen? I didn’t at all. The only thing I missed about his storyline this episode was that “Charlie Cox” is the easiest actor credit to remember. There you have it. I had to write it anyway. I usually like Margaret, but her disappearance only made the episode flow like a river this week. The removal of Van Alden and the Washington plot played a part, too. With the stories now concentrated into one grand arc, things streamlined and chugged along. If you’re going to create a series that ends up getting very dark and heavy, pacing matters.
After Owen turned up D.O.A. Nucky decided to sound the alarm in a move to alert his few friends left standing. Eli, Mickey, and Chalkywere all subsequently left unreachable after Eddie discovered the phone line had been cut. With that, a surprise attack from Rosetti on Nucky’s suite made for some truly great moments of editing. Using Regina the Queen as a diversion, Nucky managed to outmaneuver all of Rosetti’s hit-men. There was no way in Hell Nucky and Eddie could clean up the trail of a breadcrumbs bodies leading from the street to his doorstep, though. Nucky on the run! Eddie was ready to kill for an escape car, but Nucky offered an unlucky fellow a few hundred buckaroos instead.
Driving was a disaster for Nucky but a pleasure for us. Eddie passed out behind the wheel, revealing that he’d been covertly shot in the suite. Poor Eddie was too proud to admit that he needed Nucky’s help for a change. After what felt like a trip on “Crazy Eyes’ Wild Ride,” Nucky got Arnold to the hospital in time for more thugs to attempt a hit. In other news, the doctor who gladly received the massive donation from the Thompson’s at the season’s start wasn’t too eager to help Nucky out. There’s a whole damn wing named after him!
After stopping by the Ritz to revel in the sh*t storm he’d caused, Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale) took to sitting at Nucky’s desk. The hunt was on to find Thompson, but Rosetti was more concerned with playing boss, even thumbing through an old book gifted to Nucky from his mother. Gyp almost looked like he felt a little guilty for touching that. Oh, there’s the heinous dog you dumped on Margaret.
Rosetti liked the desk so much, he moved it to Gillian’s (Gretchen Mol) whorehouse! What a place to set up shop. Gillian had spent her morning throwing her usual brand of condescending shade in Richard Harrow’s (Jack Huston) face for daring to spend the night elsewhere. She even had the nerve to snoop through his expertly crafted scrapbook of dreams. Even Rosetti knows not to touch the equivalent of someone’s diary! “Don’t dream of what you can’t have” was pretty awful, but things got even worse between these two later. She knows Richard wants to steal Tommy! I never thought I’d support a kidnapping!
Down at the beach, Nucky felt his safest bet was running to Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) for safekeeping. At first, things were a little shaky, but Nucky used his patented manipulative charm to diffuse Chalky’s burnt ego regarding the biracial club Nucky had refused to back. In the end, Chalky’s friendship pulled through and he offered Nucky amnesty. In addition, he called in his daughter’s fiancé to attempt a makeshift operation on Eddie, who’d spiraled into babbling. First order of business; get Eddie sloshed because this boy was but a med student.
Cleaning the wound and removing the bullet proved to be absolutely awful for everyone, especially Eddie who ended up so tanked he couldn’t tell if he was partying or dying. When uninvited guests pulled up outside, a surge of panic ran through everyone playing doctor. Rosetti was outside, and Chalky would have to sweet talk. Chalky is much better at straight-up sassing.
Rosetti questioned Chalky’s awareness of what’d been going down in A.C. to which Chalky replied something like, “ugh, #WhitePeopleProblems.” While Nucky muted Eddie’s agony, Chalky managed to handle Rosetti pretty well, until Rosetti offered $25k for Nucky to be dragged outside. Rosetti was more interested in making nice with Chalky than whacking him, promising to make his life a little easier than Nucky had. Gyp ended up turned away as politely as Chalky White possibly could without kissing ass. Chalky had a “lady friend” raring to go inside, and Rosetti appreciated that, whether he realized Chalky was lying or not.
Eddie got all stitched up and set up, while Nucky and Chalky talked gratitude. Nucky promised to pay Chalky what was offered, but Chalky only really wants his club. That night, Nucky took the time to sit with Eddie and actually talk, as opposed to merely barking orders. Unfortunately, Eddie was still waning in and out of sanity. After hearing some of Chalky’s men gawking over the deal Rosetti offered, Nucky was desperate for an honest friend. In his stupor, Eddie made sense in babbling about how Nucky has to trust himself as others will surely always doubt. Nucky just has to manage to keep his head. Oh, and Eddie has an entire family Nucky never even bothered to ask about. Eddie, take the night off.
If you thought Gillian’s lackluster cathouse was a disaster prior to this episode, just know that what Rosetti’s men did to it was indescribably gross. It went from being boring and broke to being an early rendition of Cathouse from HBO. HBO crossover potential! Basically, sex happened everywhere and anywhere. Gillian had to use a broom to shoo gangsters out of her puritan prostitutes. She’d told Richard to hole Tommy up in his room with the door locked while she dealt with Rosetti, her new forced partner. When she ran to that bedroom, I’d assumed she was going to Richard as an ally. Maybe she was, but when she caught Richard suiting up Tommy for a “walk” only to figure out that he was taking him to Julia’s, things changed fast. This is where Gillian really crossed the line, referring to Richard as half a person and such.
Gillian: “Pretty Girl. Pretty name. She doesn’t look blind.”
I mean… come on. Plus, not for nothing, but Gillian seems to screw anyone who’s ready and willing, and Richard Harrow is sharp as hell. I digress. Gillian ordered Rosetti’s men to get rid of Richard at “his” request. Richard can’t die. He’s the only thing keeping Jimmy alive! Whatever happened to Nucky feeling remorseful over that whole deal? By the end of the episode, Richard was shining up his very wide array of weapons. The War on Gillian!
Before discussing the episodes closing scenes, it’s important to also note that Lucky (Vincent Piazza) screwed up big time this episode. After going behind Meyer’s (Anatol Yusef) back with a new heroin buyer, he ended up bamboozled! The boys were in debt as a result of a lack of immediate interest in their new gig. At first I thought he was just getting robbed. Worse yet, the young gangster ended up busted by the feds! Too big for your britches, Charlie! Meyer’s always right! I think he’s highly underrated. Remember when Lucky was the hothead before Rosetti rolled into Jersey for season 3?
Chalky had Nucky pick an escape route after ensuring that Eddie would be taken care of elsewhere. When the truck stopped before Nucky gave a command, he knew something else was amiss. Another discovery and another blowout! Would Nucky leave town after yet another hit and miss? No, Atlantic City is his. Instead, Chalky ordered his protégé to round up the troops while the two headed down to Eli’s son Willy’s job place. Munching on some day old donuts Willy slid them, the two talked business and friendship. As it turns out, Chalky’s too old to make new friends. Nucky finally agreed to back his club, if things turned out in their favor.
Finally, what seemed like one last discovery by Gyp occurred, pressing Nucky to step out to defend his nephew. I thought that was a nice touch. Instead, it was Eli who showed up with Capone and Chalky’s men! After a shower, they’ll chat about who needs to die. Al Capone to the rescue! With that, I say, “of course!”
Chime in below! What did you all think of the episode? Going into the finale, are you happy with how the season turned out? Will Nucky and his ragtag group of allies prevail? What will become of Lucky? What will become of Richard Harrow? Will Gillian redeem herself or end up punished? How will Margaret end up back in the mix? Is this show better with less characters in play? Predict away!
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