Reviewed by: Jordan C.
We were big proponents of Boardwalk Empire a couple of years back when it started but when we weren’t sent a promo copy of Season 2 we moved on. Now, that’s not to say we didn’t want to keep watching but we get a lot of media to review and with a small review staff, we have to binge watch the TV series we are sent just so our coverage is timely. Anyways, Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Fourth Season arrived recently and though reviewing it would mean catching up on Season 2 and Season 3, we jumped right in. Season 2 had its moments but it was Season 3 that really shined. Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti was obviously the highlight of the season but the further fall of Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon) was quality television as well.
The way Season 3 ended very much sets up Season 4 and informs how much things are changing with the start of the Roaring ’20s. Nucky is reluctant to let Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) open a black entertainment dinner club but can’t refuse him considering Chalky’s invaluable help taking back Atlantic City from Gyp. Upper class black clubs are opening all over the East coast at this time, however, they are still exclusively for white customers. So, while the status quo of African-Americans is improving during this era, it is doing so painfully slowly. The importance of Marcus Garvey on the political scene and the beginning of black empowerment is introduced through Jeffery Wright’s character Dr. Valentin Narcisse. Dr. Narcisse’s storyline gives us an idea of the goals and aims of UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) and the paranoia they inspired in white America.
A lot of drama series these days are about the moral decay of a male protagonist. They tend to explore what events and experiences darken a man’s outlook. Breaking Bad is a prime example of this. So, is The Walking Dead. Hung even fits the bill. Sure, Nucky wasn’t a saint when we first met up with him, but he’s become much more of a villain with each new trial and tribulation.
What I love about this show is how it gives us a window into the come up of notorious gangsters that are usually portrayed as larger-than-life icons. The Nucky/Eli interplay is always entertaining but the stories of young Capone (Stephen Graham), Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza), and Meyer Lansky (Anatol Yusef) are what makes this show so damn addictive for me.
With this being the penultimate season, you know it’s a must-watch because who does want to see how this brilliant period piece ends?