Boardwalk Empire Review: Abandon Ship?

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What I love most about Boardwalk Empire is its ability to constantly thwart our expectations. The show not only maintains a consistent level of quality but also allows the story and the characters to grow.

After last week's violent ending, I fully expected Nucky to react as he always has in the past, swiftly and cruelly. However, in "Two Boats and a Lifeguard," Nucky displays his most valuable quality: patience.

Two Boats and a Lifeguard Scene

Seeming to heed Margaret's advice, Nucky eschews his greed and vengeance for a safe early retirement. When speaking to the Commodore and Jimmy, he reminds them all of the brevity of existence and claims that he only wants to enjoy his life (and wealth) with the women he loves. Indeed, he has been embracing his family life, even asking the kids to call him dad. To most people, Nucky's retirement was a logical and necessary step.

BUT Eli is correct when he warns Jimmy not to underestimate Nucky. True, Eli hasn't always been the best ally for Jimmy, but it would be wise for Jimmy to listen to Nucky's brother. Nucky isn't giving up so easily. Jimmy, Luciano, and Lansky were wrong to assume that just because their bosses are older that they must be slower. They've all underestimated the real strength in this seasoned gangsters.

It was exciting to watch the city bosses get together to discuss their younger soldiers. Torrio and Rothstein realize that the attack on Nucky could have consequences for them as well. As Nucky points out, "the pups have grown fangs, gentlemen." What happened to Nucky could easily happen to Torrio and/or Rothstein. I really enjoyed this scene mostly because of Rothstein's cool presence. He's usually at the margins of the show, but he's always an enjoyable character to watch. Rothstein is clever, ruthless, and expertly in command, which makes him the perfect gambler and boss.

That's probably why Nucky ends up following Rothstein's advice and not Margaret's. Waiting for the opportune moment will serve Nucky far better than striking now when his resources are at their lowest. He's already set a number of things in motion even before his enemies can finish their celebration. For one, his final "screw you" to the new treasurer, the ever-smarmy Neery, was to advise Chalky to incite his community to strike. And the other plan is little less clear for now, but it definitely involves his Irish Nationalist friend, Mr. McGarrigle.

I was definitely worried that Nucky might be a little suspicious about Margaret's affair when he began questioning Owen (Nucky is perceptive and very informed), but I (and Owen, I'm sure) sighed in relief when their conversation moved to John McGarrigle. It's clear Nucky has some kind of deal to offer, but what? How does Nucky plan to use McGarrigle to get back on top?

This week. I was also glad to hear that Jimmy doesn't truly want Nucky dead, but I couldn't find much else to like about Jimmy. Despite working so hard to prove that he is not boy, Jimmy still allows others to guide him and rises to every insult. Jimmy admits that he let his mother talk him into having Nucky killed, even though he disagreed with the whole plan. Shoving Mickey off the balcony may have been meant to show his strength as a boss, but it just made him look petty. None of these actions show that Jimmy's ready for all the power he's just inherited.

The real question is: How long before Jimmy's reign ends?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (24 Votes)

I agree with the review. Liked Ediie's :Asshole".


I'm with the consensus concerning the Triumvirate of Organized Crime. I was most impressed with the simplicity of the scene. It wasn't in some fancy bar or some VIP back room in a brothel or a balcony suite at a theater. The meeting was conducted by three bosses with enough self confidence that they didn't feel it necessary to try and impress one another with gaudy displays of power or wealth. I second Teresa about Rothstein's character. He dominates the scenes he's in. IMO he is the most formidable player in the organized crime game. Jimmy does seem to be having a difficult time dealing with the current state of affairs. I think it has to do with the way business is being handled. In the last ep. he tried to explain that things were done differently in A.C. That you can't just go around killing people to get what you need. Maybe he's haunted by the spectre of his own violent demise in the future. On the lighter side... Eddie calling the guy at the armory an a**hole after his remark about the Kaiser was ammusing. As was Torrio's quip about Romulus and Remus that went right over Capone's head.


This episode surprised me the most of this season. Who knew Nucky could be patient. I am also in agreement as my favorite scene was between Torrio, Rothstein & Nucky. Of all the gangster moves, patience is underrated; and the old dogs are about to teach the young pups a lesson. Jimmy is showing steadily he wasn't quite ready for his new position as everyone thinks he was. The way he threw Mickey in front of everyone only showed his lack of self control, rather than an exert of power. I think the timing of Margaret's daughter being ill may lead to a pregnancy story. Is it Nucky's or Owen's...just a thought. It seems her indiscretion will have consequences. I'm not sure if Katie suspects anything yet, but their behavior is surely suspicious. I'm really looking forward to Nucky's plan with McGarrigle. What tricks does he have up his sleeve? I'm so excited to see how this plays out. Hands down, BE is the best show on TV.


I'm really starting to dislike Jimmy, the only thing good about him is his kindness towards Richard. But that is usually just when he wants Richard to "off" someone for him. I was afraid that he would want his wife killed off when she found out he wanted Nucky dead. I think she's going to live another life with her lesbian friend now, and leave Jimmy eventually. The less I see of Jimmy's mother, the better. I'm wondering if Katie is suspecting that Owen & Margaret are having an affair, she seems to be aware of everything concerning her boss. Katie would be jealous and could either blackmail Margaret or just go right to Nucky with that info. Also, if Margaret's daughter dies, she may want another child, and want Owen to be the father. I don't think the Margaret & Owen affair is over, and this could mean the end for one of them (probably Owen).


Jimmy surprised me this week. He's showing an immaturity that I thought he'd left behind. If he keeps it up he won't be holding the power for long at all. Although I have a feeling Richard Harrow may have a thing to say about his erratic behaviour...


There will definitely be a gun trade for muscle (and probably booze) regarding Nuckys trip to Ireland (that seemed rather obvious considering that whole scene with Nucky's talk with the military man. Considering they have a large amount of guns in their basement collecting dust. This was a great episode. I love how it's like a beautiful game of chess with different players making subtle or not so subtle moves. Some are playing it better than others, and I'm rooting for the old timers because they have sophistication in their game play.

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Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Episode 8 Quotes

Success has many fathers, dear. Failure is an orphan.


Rothstein: There are cheaper ways to get a tan than picking losers.
Luciano: You're telling me. My last horse is still running.