Through the mad busy life I am leading at the moment (hence the infrequent posting at the moment.) one thing I have religiously made the time for is fitting in the latest episode of Boardwalk Empire Season 3. Thank god for SkyPlus – I’ve been coming home from my crazy late shifts, while my girls snooze away in the dead of night, and watching the recordings.
I will be the first to admit that I have found this season to be a little on the slow side at times but the final four episodes really picked up pace and drove the show firmly into the Prohibition Gangster territory I was invested in the show for. Coming into season three there were a handful of plot threads I was chomping at the bit to see play out and, thankfully, after treading water and hinting at bigger things the show finally stopped wasting time on dodgy sub-plots I wasn’t engaging with and sunk it’s teeth into the stuff I wanted.
And the main thing I wanted was to see Harrow in action. I wasn’t disappointed. Who didn’t cheer when ‘one man army’ Harrow tooled up and went to save Tommy. The ‘Taxi Driver’ homage shot at the end of “Two Imposters” whipped me into an excited frenzy for watching the finale this week and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for him to spring into action. I was not disappointed – his moment to shine, for me, was awesome. His noble, yet bloody quest, to free Tommy from the evil clutches of Gillian was exactly what I had been waiting for all season; to see this skilled craftsman do what he does best. It may seem a bit bloodthirsty of me… and you’d be right, I’m an action junkie and loved Harrow’s Rambo-esque turn. It’s certainly going to bring an interesting development to his ‘beauty & the beast’ plot thread now that Julia has seen the bloodied face of the beast. And how will Gillian react? Not well I’m certain. I anticipate Harrow may have to turn to his guns again to defend against the consequences of his actions.
Speaking of action; it turns out that Nucky has got some cool, calm, badass about him under fire too – keeping his composure as he fought back the invasion of Gyp’s men at the Ritz. In fact, overall, Buscemi’s performance this season, especially in the final stretch of the last four episodes, has been second to none – he has been nothing short of outstanding. Take a look at “Milkmaid’s Lot”; it stands up as a great example of Buscemi’s achievement this season; the psychology of the character as his empire is challenged and he fights for his survival while trying to suppress the effects of a severe concussion/PTSD is played out on screen expertly by Buscemi. I was also greatly impressed with Nucky’s master plan; as all the final peices fell into place Nucky appeared less & less desperate and more & more supreme. The honey trap for Rothstein was a perfect master stroke in his plan to win back Atlantic City, showing that, in fact, that to be successful in the prohibition game you can be half a gangster after all; provided that your other half is a skilled Machiavellian statesman.
The growing focus on the second generation mobsters of Capone, Lansky and Luciano has been slow but I was glad to see them get some screentime at the tail end of the season. Knowing how historically significant these guys are I’ve been waiting for them to start coming into their own, and it is apparent they are well on their way now, committing me to Season 4. Capone’s journey this season has been especially great to watch from the young up and comers; It’s being widely predicted around the Internet that the Capone/O Bannion war is going to be a large focus of next season and Capone’s character has developed well this season and has been manoeuvred into position of significance ready for these upcoming events. Everybody I’m sure loved that cheeky face coming through the crowd at the end of “Two Imposters”, chugging on his cigar and speaking the immortal words “then you and me sit down and we talk about who dies” – the definition of a prohibition gangster.
I’ll be sad to see the show continue without the gloriously unpredictable Gyp Rosetti as he was one hell of a compelling villain. I fully understand why he had to go, it’s just a shame. Bobby Cannavale was inspired and this is his shining moment for me. I haven’t found him particularly memorable in any of his past work but I will never forget his performance in Boardwalk Empire; vicious, bullish, explosively violent, and wonderfully capricious. A grade stuff – and will be a hard act to follow in season four.
So after a bit of a slow start Boardwalk Empire ended with the awesome big finish we had been all waiting for, made all the better by great performances and a focus on the more engaging plot threads.
How did you all find it?