Sky TV recap: Boardwalk Empire Final Season, Episode 3
Neil Brazier | On 30, Sep 2014
After the fun of Episode 2, Episode 3 by comparison appears to be just treading water – but underneath, its legs are kicking violently.
Finally back in Atlantic City, the Onyx now nothing but a sleazy strip club, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) must entertain Joe Kennedy (Matt Letscher), his key to getting Bacardi Rum into America. In New York, Lucky is looking towards further expansion into Harlem and Margret (Kelly Macdonald) faces the prospect of jail time.
Romance plays heavily throughout the young Nucky’s (Nolan Lyons) flashbacks. As well as being witness to his first murder he also meets his first love, both of which resonate into the present; with Joe Kennedy stressing the importance of leaving a legacy behind, as his wife expects his ninth child, Nucky clings on to a fantasy of family life, by stressing he has two kids of his own – although his office has no pictures or trinkets to prove this.
Kennedy is the man that Nucky needs but also the one he could have been if he’d kept his hands clean – Joe claims he has never broken a law in his life. Nucky begins to emulate the Bostonian by turning down the booze in favour of seltzer, even though it pains him and Joe knows it, making Nucky squirm for his deal. The difference between them is clear: Joe is a politician and, as made abundantly clear at the board meeting in Episode 2, Nucky is nothing more than a bootlegger, no matter how much he wants out of the business.
In New York, we get a little more closure on Arnold Rothstein’s death and out of that we learn that his account has been used fraudulently and Margaret’s fingerprints are all over it. After paying a visit to his widow, who no longer keeps milk in the house, Margaret’s past could cost her dearly. Her only solution is to pay her husband a visit.
There is also a welcome, albeit brief, return for Dr. Valentin Narcisse (Jeffery Wright), who is an exhausted shell of his former self. It’s a surprise, then, that he resists the threats made upon him to pay protection to Maranzano, surely knowing that a war is inevitable. Wright was a delight in Season 4 but, like most things, Season 5 looks to have cut his role short.
Elsewhere, the comedic antics of Chicago are substituted for an intense standoff, as Chalky (Michael K. Williams) and Milton (Warner Miller) break and enter the home of a mother and daughter. Michael K. Williams’s face tells us Chalky’s tragic story; he didn’t need this standoff to show that he’s still wrecked over the loss of Maybelle. His empire has already fallen and we don’t know if he intends on getting it back.
Life in Atlantic City is moving at a slower pace than Chicago and New York and that relaxed nature almost feels wasted in this shorter season. Although integral to Season 4, did half of this episode really need to be focused on Chalky, when there’s so much else to cram in?
Not got Sky? You can watch Boardwalk Empire Season 5 online in the UK on NOW, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription – no contract. The subscription includes Seasons 1 to 3 of The Walking Dead ahead of the new season, which will also be available on NOW from October.