Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review - Boardwalk Empire Season 1 Episode 8 Hold Me in Paradise

There are only four episodes left this season, and big fights are looming. Already, the pieces are falling into place, and "Hold Me in Paradise" puts everything into motion. Incrementally, the Italians have exerted their force against Nucky, killing Chalky's man and stealing Nucky's money. Their most brazen move yet, shooting Eli in the middle of a robbery, proves to be the final straw.

As Nucky gears up for war, he recruits Jimmy and turns to the only person he can trust, Margaret, inadvertently showing her just how dirty he is. What she does with his book is the next question. Will she go to the authorities, confront Nucky, or keep it to herself?

With Jimmy presumably heading back to Atlantic City, we probably won't be seeing much of Chicago anyone. Jimmy knows he's an outsider there, listening on the conversation in Italian, stone-faced as Al and the others laugh. And then there's Nucky's generous deal which should bring in a load of cash, as well as the promise to handle Van Alden. Nucky may not be the optimal choice, but it's the best Jimmy's got.

Although Nucky has been shown as the emperor in his corner of the universe, we haven't yet seen his influence on a national scale, unlike Rothstein and the White Sox. At the Republican National Convention in Chicago, we see Nucky throwing his weight around, helping Harding win the nomination and making sure Senator Edge doesn't get the VP.

Two weeks ago, I said how Van Alden was my least favorite character because he seemed too unhinged for no good reason. Until "Hold Me in Paradise," he's been by far the most abnormal character, doing all sorts of weird things. While his behavior in this week's episode isn't the norm, as it shouldn't be, we get a better understanding of why he acts the way he does. His wife is unable to conceive, and Van Alden has little options other than using God to justify her condition. Jimmy's money, however, would be the solution to getting enough money for an operation, since he's been stashing all the money anyway. But in the end, he decides to send the money to Angela and sends his wife a blandly worded letter about God's plan. Just like that, Van Alden has gone from the stereotypical law enforcement loon, a la Stahl on Sons of Anarchy, to a character who's moving in the direction of being fully formed, and I have to appreciate the writers adding another dimension to him.

Score: 9.0/10
  • Can we presume, from Jimmy asking Gillian about Luciano, that his mother slept with a mobster on his behalf?
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