Boardwalk Empire – Resolutions

by deerinthexenonarclights

With another Monday afternoon (in Australia) came the beginning of another prestigious cable drama, Boardwalk Empire, which began its third tenure by setting yet another Season Premiere on New Year’s Eve, this time 1923 and setting out to intrigue us by showing how these characters act at yet another pomp party and set to shock us with yet another batch of brutal murders but this time something was different: yet again I was left cold by the entire hour, but this time I wasn’t willing to shill out the mercy moving past this required of me. I, like Nucky, had become too brutal for that; two chances is all you get, the third knock comes with a shotgun.

There is certainly an interesting show here and on a scene by scene basis I can see that this cast, crew and creative team could be the ones to bring it to life but for some reason they are simply still yet to. They make a brilliant character like Rothstein or Chalky then give them only cameo’s to play, a monologue here and there but no more, nothing consistent. That or worse, the few interesting character that the show has promoted to lead status oft find themselves offed before they can truly capitalize on that potential (see this episode for another strong example).

So instead of the characters of interest we simply get more and more time with leading man Nucky who is supposedly more important than all the others but what he does here is exactly what we have seen him doing since the series premiere: he sleeps with easy women, sleazes easy men, makes a lot of money and a little effort to ease his conscience; it’s become cliche. Which is not to say that the scenes aren’t written well or that Steve Buscemi, who I love, does a bad job; it just never really comes together.

This episode of Empire was, as it always is, a classy, colorful and carefully constructed show but honestly I find it hard to care about a single thing that happens in it. To me these aren’t people, they’re not even characters, just shapes moving around a screen to some pre-structured story. I havn’t mentioned what happens in the episode, what it means, what it made me feel or any of that usual review stuff because to be honest it bored me while I was watching, so there is no way that reciting it could be compelling.

I spent the first season hoping that the show would find its feet and the second trying to tell myself that it had, but by the beginning of this third I had a revelation of sorts: i saw in clearer resolution than before that if it hasn’t now, it never will. If i’m drastically bored I may reach for future episodes or perhaps marathon the dvd one lazy weekend but barring a big shift in quality (and all reports are that the show moves in the other direction after this episode) I can’t see myself rushing back, nor writing about the show on a weekly basis.

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