“Boardwalk Empire” thoughts, Season Four, Episode Two: “Resignation”

* It’s funny: My first instinct upon seeing Michael Shannon’s enormous moon face at the door, delivering flowers and punching faces, was to say “Agent Van Alden broke bad.” But he’s always been bad, right? A powder keg that exploded and drowned his partner for being both crooked and Jewish. But the character’s been drawn…inconsistently, I think is actually being charitable about it, so it’s somehow easy to look at his current predicament as a fallen-man situation, when of course he never had far to fall to begin with.

* “Too old to hunt. Pretty much blind. Can’t even smell. Senile. Stares at me sometimes like I didn’t raise him from a puppy.” Emma Harrow describes the great terror of all the men on this show: outliving their usefulness.

* “Orphaned in April, married in May, pregnant in August, widowed in November.” Maybe it’s just seeing Dennis Lehane’s name in the writer’s credit, but boy this episode had some cracking dialogue.

* The Chessmen of Mars. Oh Richard, please get into SF.

* The rattling of the cup, the focus on the sight and sound of it, the sense you get that this is a very expensive cup on a very expensive saucer, containing very expensive coffee…this is the kind of detail at which this show excels, and which it can use to drive home information about the emotional state of the characters, in this case Eddie (and Nucky). “Everything is ‘only something,’” Eddie says, and that’s true, but on this show, everything is something.

* The elder O’Banion’s one of the few cases in which I think the casting plus the period voice equals a miss rather than a hit on this show. Nice to see Finn from The Sopranos, though.

* Chalky’s son-in-law’s dad’s voice is lovely. More on that later.

* “Mr. Thompson is in everything. He is in the sky and sea. He is in the dreams of children at night. He is all that there is, forever.” DARKSEID IS

* Okay, so, Richard’s big killing-his-way-to-the-top mission was, what, a favor he’s doing for a fellow vet he met on the train? Is that the gist of it? It’s rare that a plotline confuzzles me on these shows, and rarer still that I’d go public with it if it did — it always baffles me, the way people who are paid to be smart about these things crow about not being able to tell characters apart and stuff like that; wiki it, folks — but I’m a little lost here.

* Ha, the head Prohi is crooked now. Did we know that?

* Chalky Ascendent. I liked that whole entrance-into-the-club sequence, even if you knew it’d go sour the moment that gladhanding doofus who always shows up at the wrong time and is obliviously happy showed up and rubbed his head. Chalky’s earned five minutes of enjoyment.

* Enter Doctor Narcisse, aka Jeffrey Wright with a Marvel Comics villain name and a Trinidadian accent. Man, this show really is voice porn, isn’t it? I could have listened to him go line for line with Chalky all night. Maybe Stephen Root could pop in once in a while to do his demented Foghorn Leghorn now and then.

* Now I’m just going to write down some more dialogue.

* “You wish to leave it at this?” “I ain’t pick it up in the first place.”

* “One looks down in secret and sees many things. You know what I saw? A servant pretending to be a king.”

* “Respect. I wish you to demonstrate it. [Nucky gives Eddie an envelope full of cash] This is beneath you.” “I’m not sure that it is.”

* “Are you quitting or asking for a promotion?” “This will be for you to decide.” (And with that, Eddie leaps right into the deep end of the Season Four dead pool, alongside Nucky’s handsome nephew.)

* Richard can’t kill anymore. I think maybe the pacing of this was bobbled a bit? Like, if I were him, I’d have finished the job before visiting my sister, wouldn’t you? So it’s weird that we see him go all Terminator on two dudes, then visit his sister, then go “oh yeah, I’ve got one last Terminating gig to take care of,” and then he freezes.

* I would not have put it past the show to see the bullet hit the dog, by the way.

* “Dat schemin’ mick fuck.” I giggled with delight, hearing that line. Gangsters!

* Chalky and Dunn need a bottle episode like “Pine Barrens” or “Fly.” I want to watch Williams and Harvey glower and growl at each other for an hour.

* Yessssssssssss Stephen Root, christ, what a voice. “I’d say your Agent Knox is a hayseed of the purest variety.” I want to make that my ringtone.

* Nuck’s got an instinct about Knox, though. That’s a good sign, especially given how grim it is that his secret completely eluded Root’s fixer character.

* Van Alden growls during the attack on the Democratic rally. He didn’t used to be comic relief, remember?

* Does Chalky take Nucky’s gift of 10% of the club to Narcisse as an insult, or will he write it off as the cost of doing business? Will the lynching of the woman who caused the trouble affect either of their POVs on the transaction?

* Acting Director Hoover!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahaha, sure, why not, Boardwalk Empire. I like the introduction of J. Edgar as a pint-sized martinet in a back room.

* “A thing mixed is a thing weakened.” “Is that from the Bible?” “That’s from me.”

* I’m glad you didn’t get the shot of the feet after the lynching, by the way. You know the one — the shot where we see the car drive off and we pan over and up and her feet are dangling. I mean, it turns out they just choked her to death, they didn’t hang her, but still. Leave it unseen.

* Eddie’s breaking bad, haha

* Who’s trying to lure Richard? Does this “Carl Billings” quest have anything to do with Emma being in the red?

* What a shame this show launched opposite the final four episodes of Breaking Bad. I gather HBO doesn’t care when you watch it, as long as you do watch it, but buzz is based on that initial airing, no?

3 Responses to “Boardwalk Empire” thoughts, Season Four, Episode Two: “Resignation”

  1. Karl Ruben says:

    Does BE even have the chance of accruing buzz at this point, though? Regardless of what it’s up against? I feel like it would have to shrug off the whole Sopranos-set-during-Prohibition-but-not-as-good stigma first, and it doesn’t seem like that’s ever going to happen.

  2. [...] = 'wpp-255'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};* I look prescient for making such a thing out of Eddie’s shaky teacup a few episodes back now that it’s the visual callback that represents Nucky’s sadness [...]

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