“I am. The question is: are you?” (Van Alden)

Holy crap, Van Alden! He’s the Boardwalk Empire wildcard – the one that can get away with just about anything. First he bangs Lucy Danziger, and now he actually drowns a man? Boy oh boy, Boardwalk Empire does kick off the nastiness in its penultimate episode.

Deception is a strong theme throughout Boardwalk Empire, so it should come as no surprise that it takes its central role in the pre-finale. Everyone deceives and is deceived and at the center of it all lies Nucky Thompson. His fight scene with Margaret was uncanny: both characters cast off their masks and revealed to the other who they really are – and in doing so, show us that they’re actually very much alike. Nucky isn’t the only shallow one in the bunch, he’s not the only one who likes to think he’s doing people favours. No, both he and Margaret enjoy people owing them. Unbelievable. I was actually expecting this to happen in the final episode and of course I’m wondering what is next.

More deception on Jimmy’s side – Jimmy, who might just turn out be the straightest character in the series. Not the nicest, but definitely the most honest. He grew closer to his father – the motherfucking commodore, what a strange twist – and in doing so uncovered something that might well change his dad’s life. Was it his mother who poisoned her? I think the maid was acting mighty suspicious around those cookies.

Angela, on the other hand, was more deceitful towards Jimmy. She took his being at the commodore’s death bed as a perfect opportunity to pack her bags, grab her son and escape. But in the end, the deceiver was the deceived and found an empty store. The tension in the scene where she came back home and noticed the letter was missing was brilliant. You gotta feel for everyone present in the room: not only Angela, but Jimmy and the kid as well.

Thoughts and things

  • Twenties-award of the episode goes to the gospel church by the creek. Although I think those still exist this very day. The days where you could kill a man in front of twenty black people and get away with it are probably gone, though.
  • Eli went crazy on his brother. Of all people Nucky interacts with, Eli seems the most normal. I like seeing them interact; both actors bounce well off each other. I loved how they brought Hardeen into the scene: he’s a nice act but would be nowhere if it weren’t for his brother. Ouch.

In all…

A very strong episode. Very little bloodshed, no nudity – unlikely for a Boardwalk Empire episode. Don’t get me wrong, though: this was one of the more crazy episodes of the series so far. Finally, we get to the source of the conflicts. And those sources are pretty well written.


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