Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review - Boardwalk Empire Season 1 Episode 11 Paris Green

As the Commodore dies, so does the empire he built along with the relationships built on it. Trouble has been brewing for a while as the characters have undergone dramatic changes throughout the course of the season, and "Paris Green" is the breaking point. Everything goes to hell and Nucky can do little more than visit the fortune teller.

At the heart of the episode is the conflict between Nucky and Margaret. It's a fascinating relationship. Nucky kills her abusive husband and brings her wealth and comfort, at the same time leveraging her to garner votes. Margaret grows increasingly uncomfortable as she sees who Nucky really is and the business he's in. The hammer finally drops once Margaret sees Nucky and Annabelle together. Their conversation is filled with contradictions as both try to justify their actions. When Margaret starts talking about Eli giving her money to stay quiet about her husband, Nucky asks her why she never spoke out against her husband but is willing to do so against Nucky. And while Nucky is fine about killing her husband, how about the rest of his law-breaking, murderous activity? The worst part is that Nucky essentially brought the whole situation upon himself by transforming Margaret. By the end of the episode, Margaret washes the guilt off herself, moving out. She won't do Nucky's dirty work in exchange for money, but she's still a character on the show, so we'll see how she figures into the season finale.

Nucky also gets rid of Eli after his brother goes too far in his criticism. Seeing that his brother's loyalty is quickly waning, Nucky cuts him loose, but not before a sharp rejoinder about Eli being like Hatdeen, useless without his brother.

We get confirmation that the Commodore is Jimmy's father, as well as the disturbing fact that he was 54 and Gillian was 13. Although it's not shocking, seeing as Gillian looks very young, the exact numbers are pretty scary. But the Commodore being Jimmy's father isn't a done deal. Intertwined in Gillian's past is Nucky and it's clear he was around a lot of the time, so I wouldn't rule him out just yet.

Angela is a sliver away from escaping to Paris, packing up, leaving a note for Jimmy, and even going to the store. Unfortunately, the store is empty as the Dittrichs split the night before. She returns home, understandably fearful of what Jimmy may do, but he's calm, morose instead of angry.

Agent Sebso comes to an unfortunate end this week, not to the hands of Nucky's guys but Van Alden, whose interrogation--and characterization--goes too far. Val Alden started off as a clownish character but showed signs of something more the past couple weeks; however, he turned back into a cartoon character this week. After drowning Sebso in front of a large crowd, he yells about the judgment of the wicked, proceeds to brandish his gun and badge, outstretch his arms, and march through everyone.We know he's very religious and that's fine, but his portrayal, more so than other characters, goes beyond reason. There's not much to say about him: he has certain motivations and then takes them to pure insanity.

While almost all the character relationships came to a boiling point, "Paris Green" is largely absent of any significant developments for the Italians. With the characters in turmoil, I'm guessing next week's episode will have a lot of business regarding alcohol, control of the Boardwalk, mob activity, and that thing. And because it is the first season finale in what looks like be a multi-season drama, it will define where things go. Will everyone band together and prevail, or will everything disintegrate?

Score: 9.0/10
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