Boardwalk Empire, "Resolution": full-gangster

Quick Take: Boardwalk Empire, "Resolution"
"You're not making my decision any harder." - Nucky

 Boardwalk Empire, Season 3

Review: Boardwalk Empire, "Resolution"
(S0301) The tagline for Season Three of Boardwalk Empire echoes the words spoken by the late Jimmy Darmody to his inevitable assailant: "You can’t be half a gangster." When Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) finally took the last step towards being a full gangster in the Season Two finale, he set in motion a number of events, both foreseeable and not, that start materializing where Season Three picks up – New Years Eve, 1922.

The show’s cold open introduces this season’s new "big bad," Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), whose temper stands taller than he does, certainly hyperbolizing his intensity among a number of already-threatening characters. He kills a guy over two words that he takes the wrong way from an innocuous passerby on one of Nucky’s newly-built highways, so you can imagine his rage over the New Year’s news that awaits him in Atlantic City.

Even though the trial against him has been dropped, Nucky still has political pressures to attend to, forcing him to enter an exclusive partnership with Johnny Torrio (Greg Antonacci) in Chicago, very much to the chagrin of Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Waxey Gordon, and especially Gyp Rosetti. In a stage-setting scene that will be sure to cause repercussions throughout the season, Rosetti insults and threatens everyone at the table of similarly-disappointed attendees at Nucky’s party. His gifting of the dog to Margaret, taken from the man he murdered on the highway, adds to Gyp’s unhinged menace.

While the rest of the cast is busy embracing Season Three’s "full gangster" lifestyle, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) is being primed to effect more legitimate change now that she is in a position of power on the hospital’s board of medical directors, made all the more obvious by the heavy-handed symbolism of Claire Duncan’s first female solo flight across the continent. After hearing that the hospital isn’t doing all it can to educate pregnant women, it’s clear where Margaret’s priorities lie outside of keeping her and Nucky’s house in order.

A more unlikely suspect is also playing house as 1923 rolls around. Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) is playing nanny to the recently orphaned Tommy Darmody, keeping his residence at Gillian’s (Gretchen Mol) in exchange for his obedience in not mentioning what happened to Jimmy or Angela. Harrow memorializes their deaths in another way, however, by disposing of Manny Horwitz (William Forsythe) on his own front porch.

Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), on the other hand, doesn’t seem as though he’ll be keeping a home life as moral and low-key as he’d like. After going on the lam to evade his arrest for killing his partner, Van Alden, under the assumed name George Mueller, has resorted to selling irons door to door. His inability to admit defeat in a sales competition leads him to a flower shop late New Year’s Eve, where his imposing presence is levied in a standoff between a murderously insulted Al Capone, and the shop-owner, Dean O’Banion. After sending Capone and his guy on their way, O’Banion buys two dozen irons and gives Van Alden an open invitation to work a "real job," which will doubtlessly lead him further into the thick of the illegal alcohol trade.

For all his talk about building an empire, Walter White is certainly no Nucky Thompson. Life is fast and bloody on the boardwalk, and now that the show’s gone full-gangster, this season is bound to pick up where it left off last year, promising the most story-filled (and fueled) hour of television for the foreseeable future.

By Mark D Curran

About the author

Mark is a freelance writer, student of English and Philosophy, and still has too much time on his hands. If you have any of your own, check out the blog and follow him on Twitter!

http://twitter.com/#!/MarkDCurran

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2 Comments
On: Monday, September 17, 2012
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I thought this was one of the best episodes yet for one of the better dramas on television. 

The scene in which Gyp trash talks all of the other gangsters at the table was sensational, up there with some of the great gangster scenes ("go get your shinebox," et al) of all time. 

Quick question: Nucky tells the table of gangster that he's going to sell exclusively to Arnold Rothstein in New York. Did I miss a reference earlier where Nucky is partnering with Torrio on this? 

On: Monday, September 17, 2012
Mark D Curran said:

Ah, no, Rothstein is correct. For some reason I had Chicago on my mind!

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