Boardwalk Empire: Marriage and Hunting review

Things are getting tight on the boardwalk. Money’s tight for Rothstein but everyone’s feeling their own squeeze.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Our friends on Boardwalk Empire are the regulars, everyone else is suspect. Let’s start at the end. That nice guy, Roy (Ron Livingston), the one who left his wife to get Gillian (Gretchen Mol) clean, is still married and checking in every night. I actually yelled at the TV for Gillian to slap his Sex in the City Berger face. Gillian Darmody sweated all the poisons out in the sun tonight. She can get as clean as she got dirty. She copped to her first kiss, right there under the boardwalk, and her first feel, sale and well, she almost told him about James. Sometimes it’s better to stick with the official story.

For Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg), the official story is he’s got a marker out on Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks)’s life in the form of a half million dollar insurance payoff, but “not while he’s breathing.” Back in season 2, Rothstein made Doyle and the D’Alessio brother sign off on this as a guarantee they wouldn’t schtup him. Of course, for 20 cents on the dollar Nucky could cash it in himself. Nobody’s gonna want Mickey Doyle around too much longer, right? Eli was asking “how come you ain’t dead” to Mickey years ago. Mickey Doyle’s got die young written all over him. Good thing he don’t like to read. He’ll live longer that way.

Dr. Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) struck me as a little Charlie Mansony tonight. What with the “I trained you well” and messing up Daughter Maitland  (Margot Bingham)’s face “with the right hand of god.” When the piano player says the Doctor and his Daughter have their ways and that he’s been fixing her back up for much too long, that’s a creepiness past any bootlegging. That’s worth a dustup with Owney Madden and whoever the fuck they call out, like Chalky called out the Doctor. That’s a death sentence. Business can go to hell.

Nucky (Steve Buscemi) warned Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) that pussy and pride have no place in business. It’s a distraction and it cuts into the bottom line. There are angles to consider, always. Every action has a consequence. It might work out in the end, but it takes a lot of grease. Nucky told his problems to Eli (Shea Whigham) and my stomach clenched. It does that around rat fucks and Eli’s cheese-eating ass is up against the wall. A cornered rat always comes out swinging. Chalky came out swinging tonight and I’m sure Eli would have had his back on that. Nucky was upset because it was bad form. I don’t want to see Chalky fight that war alone.

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Private Dicks were also swinging as Agent Val Alden (Michael Shannon) got his nut off coming out as an ex-cop. He used to believe in god. Hell, his parents took him off the grid to await the almighty in the wilderness when he was a kid. He doesn’t believe in shit now. He drowned his own partner. At a Bible Revival meeting, for Christ’s sake. For a grand, he’ll take out his boss just because he didn’t treat him like a man. Hey, you don’t like that iron? Maybe you don’t like your face. Van Alden couldn’t contain himself and he hated that job anyway. The man keeps breaking worse. Van Alden is Boardwalk Empire’s Walter White and Mueller is his Heisenberg. He made sure he got paid. Whether he did the job with that pained grimace or Frankie Yale did it with a handshake and a smile (enemies closer), he was taking home his money.

Richard also manned up tonight and I’m sure he was pleased to do it. Jack Huston comes from the esteemed Huston family. Maltese Falcon, Prizzi’s Honor, Chinatown, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Devil and Daniel Webster, that family, he better be good. That’s all I’m saying. Huston pulls off so much behind half a mask. Julia (Wrenn Schmidt) sees past whatever he thinks he’s hiding. And you know Richard would be able to fix the pipes. Unlike Van Alden, who may be an alright carpenter, but a lousy plumber. Richard is man enough to accept the proposal he’d been made to believe was beyond him. That will be a big slap in the face to Gillian when Julia and Richard Harrow walk into the court as husband and wife. Gillian told him, well, not to think like that. Gillian has a way of getting her sense of When he went to Nucky and said he needed a job, it felt like he was going home. Keep your friends close.

Al Capone (Stephen Graham) is not letting a little nose candy get in the way of business. Of course the Mueller guy is the right gunsel for the job. He’s on the inside. He can look coolly down a barrel of a gun while someone’s saying they don’t trust him and he’s already done good work. There’s something about him. But Capone’s got New York behind him on this. Torrio gave him the blessing and that fucking flower delivery guy just took too long. Mueller was insurance anyway. If he clipped O’Banion, fine, but Capone only wanted Mueller for the layout. Frankie Yale already cased the place, it was his hit, Mueller was just more information. Because you always need more information. Friends and enemies. They gotta stay close. How else you gonna learn anything? So Mueller didn’t do anything wrong. He said he’d do the job on O’Banion but as long as it got done. He won’t take much more than abuse.

“Marriage and Hunting” was directed by Ed Bianchi and written by David Matthews, Jennifer Ames and Steve Turner.

Den of Geek Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars


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4 out of 5