Boardwalk Empire – A Man, A Plan (Filthsposition)
It was a bit tiresome to have yet another episode setting up the looming war. With only two more episodes remaining in the season, I’m getting a bit impatient waiting for the action to really explode. However, judged on its own merits as a quieter episode, this was a fantastic hour of Boardwalk Empire. In some ways this was one of the most interesting episodes of the season, with some scenes that will rank among the most memorable the show has offered this year.
The opening scene was interesting, with the show’s opening credits made literal as Gyp’s lost shipment of booze washes up on the shores of Atlantic City. To integrate that idea into the actual show itself and not limit it to the opening credits seemed surreal, and pretty glorious.
Gyp continued to be a crazy man in this episode. I love when you think he’s about to explode but he doesn’t. That tends to be even scarier than when he does have a violent outburst. However the 2nd time in this episode wasn’t so lucky for “f*ckin Sinbad” and his cousin. That was such a disturbingly brutal murder. I’ve seen worse on this show, but that was still up there in terms of sheer brutality.
Richard Harrow had his all time best moment ever in this episode. He is called a “sideshow freak”. So he slams the person onto the ground. While choking him, he takes his mask off and says “Would you pay a dime to see this?”. F*ck that was haunting. Also interesting is when Richard kisses Julia and we can only see the blank, mask side of his face. That has such an incredible visual effect.
CHALKY showed up!!! His scene in this episode seemed to me to have a clear message from the creative team- Look guys, we know we didn’t have much of Chalky in this season. But if it makes you feel any better, watch us lay the groundwork now for a much more Chalky-centric season next year, okay?
At least we’ve had a ton of Richard Harrow in the second half of the season too. He wasn’t around much in the first half, but the second half has featured PLENTY of Harrow. So much so that this has probably been the best season for his character overall.
Gaston Means was incredibly entertaining in this episode, finally going all-out in his attempts to manipulate anyone and everyone. It was such a pleasure to watch.
Van Alden’s scenes were highly interesting. I can’t see how they can find a point in the next two episodes where they can end his arc for the season. Maybe it will just continue over into next season. I hope they can find a decent note to conclude on for the year for Van Alden though. He really has had such terrific material to work with this year, and deserves some kind of climactic moment by the finale. But I feel like it will be hard to conclude all of this story with him and Capone and O’Banion within the next two episodes. I am really curious and hopeful that they might be able to find an appropriate point to at least pause on before the show goes on its break.
The final 10 minutes of this installment really kicked the whole episode up a few notches, delivering a death of a major character that took my breath away. I won’t spoil it, just in case anyone reads these reviews before they watch the episodes, but damn. It lent a real dramatic heft to the episode and made it more clear what the episode was truly ‘about’, thematically speaking. The title really plays into it perfectly, on a number of levels.
This was a great episode, but with only two episodes left, I really hope they have enough time left to give us the big action fix that they’ve been building up to all season.
In any case, this has been a f*cking great season. Probably my favourite season yet, despite its imperfections. I have been incredibly engaged. I will miss the show dearly once the season ends in two weeks.
My rating for this episode- 8.5/10