[Review] Boardwalk Empire – Season 2

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW

This drama is based off the book of the same name which chronicles the Prohibition Era of Atlantic City.  So the drama is based on the life of real people of that era like Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, a political figure who rose to prominence and controlled Atlantic City during the 1920s and 1930s.  We’ve just wrapped on the 2nd season of the series and this season it was all about political upheaval of Nucky’s world.

Nucky (Steve Buscemi) is part of that old generation and Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) is ushering a new era.  However, Jimmy’s doing it with the help of his biological father, the Commodore (Dabney Coleman), the generation before Nucky.

So how new could this really be?  It’s all about power play and backing the right horse, if you will.  Immediately, I know that Jimmy is the underdog here even though he’s got the help of the elders.

However, I like how the younger generation is taking responsibility and trying new tactics in order to stay on top of their game.  After all, this is what paves the way for infamous mobsters like Capone and Lucky Luciano.

Jimmy’s mixed feelings for Nucky is what is working against him and Nucky isn’t too concerned with Jimmy.  He’s more concerned about how the public perceives him in terms of the corruption charges he’s facing.  It’s all about the right kind of PR for Nucky.

There are too many characters in the drama to really pinpoint one actor or one character that does it for me.  Last season, Nucky helmed this ship as he wielded his power but this season, he’s taking more of a backseat as things are happening to him.  He’s busy fighting his charges and taking care of “marital” issues in the home.

The politics in this season were interesting but it was mostly a waiting game.  For me, I think this season plateaued compared to last year, not that I think you should skip any of the episodes.  Like I’ve said before, HBO shows play on an entirely different level than what we’re used to seeing on normal TV.  And so I don’t mind waiting if the story is gonna payoff.  Boy, did it payoff.  My favorite scene this season is one of the final scenes of the finale episode.  You’ve got all the elements working here, a culmination of the season’s plot working with the cinematography and an advancement of our characters.

The statue of the soldier, brings us back to the Memorial Day episode in which Jimmy had given an impromptu speech at Nucky’s behest, is juxtaposed with the rain and all of our main players coming for this showdown.  All the cards are on the table and we get see all the hands being played.  A dark but beautiful scene.  This is what the series is all about.  Nucky may not be a nice guy but he takes care of his own.  Don’t give him a reason not to.

I will bring up one storyline that I’m not a fan of.  Ugh, what is going with the topic of incest this TV season?  So we always knew that there was some kind of weird relationship between Jimmy and his mother, Gillian (Gretchen Mol), even though Jimmy is married and has a kid.  It’s kind of like a secret everyone knows, the big elephant in the room, but in this case, blissful denial, please.  In reality, Gretchen Mol and Michael Pitt are not that far apart in age.  Despite knowing this weird relationship… the show went there and showed it to us.

So basically they do it and Jimmy is so traumatized (the viewers were too) that he ups and joins the war.  When Jimmy returns, he still somewhat friendly to her.  I can’t believe that Jimmy can still stand the sight of her and doesn’t kill her when the opportunity presents itself.  I don’t know what Gillian’s role will be next season but I’m afraid for Jimmy’s son as she is now his sole caretaker.

Rating

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