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Boardwalk Empire Review: Down to the Felt

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As Edgar Hoover was briefed about a possible national criminal conspiracy this week on Boardwalk Empire, it became apparent to the lawman that there just might be more than four kings in this deck of cards, which for the moment, remained stacked against him. 

Arnold Rothstein: I find, you don't really know a man, until you play cards with him. | permalink

All In Scene

Two of the biggest players in the game sat down at the felt to see just who had a better read on their opponent. In what had to be the most pivotal scene of "All In," Nucky got the better of Arnold and learned a great deal about his would be partner.

It was interesting that Arnold never showed his cards. He made the all in bet and Nucky called. Typically, the one who is called must show his hand and then the caller has the option of doing the same or folding and admitting defeat. At first I was surprised Arnold didn't show his cards, he is such a man of principle. Then I realized Nucky had seen what his opponent was holding after all - not in his hand but in his head. 

Enter Meyer Lansky. It is important to remember that Meyer's initial reason for approaching Nucky was out of concern for his friend. Of course when he saw the opportunity to be involved in the Tampa deal, he threw his hat in the ring. His story about how he and Charlie met years ago as children was easily my favorite scene of the season thus far. Then, just to reinforce to us how loyal Meyer still was to A.R. despite the deal with Nucky, he took a blackjack to the man who had mocked Rothstein earlier at the card table. 

Back in Chicago, we were treated to a ride along with Al, his brother Frank and Van Alden. Al never misses a chance to take a shot at Jake, his overweight bagman, but when he went down, he also made sure the big man was properly fed and even agreed to finish his collections. With Van Alden in tow, they set off and we got to see where Frank fits into the three brother's dynamic. Al is the pit bull, fearless and ruthless, while Frank has a cooler head and a way with words as we saw with the woman at the apartment building.

Eddie and his new role is already wearing thin on me, but it did provide a reason to see more of Ralph Capone "Bottles" and learn how he is the brains and the executive branch of the family business. I have always been a big fan of Domenick Lombardozzi and HBO seems to be as well since his days on The Wire and later on shows like Entourage

What was more evident after this episode was just how much is riding on this upcoming election. The Capone brothers talk about it as if a war is coming and perhaps there is. I hope for Van Alden's sake and his family's, he chooses sides wisely. 

One man who I feel has not done so is my man Dunn P. Choosing the doctor over Chalky can't be good for his health. I am a little worried about Chalky. He has his eye on that singer, even if he is acting otherwise. Chalky is one character I really hope doesn't get thrown into the muck. He deserves to be in the game. 

Lastly, Willy tried to even the score with Harry at school, but his little Walter White moment, broke bad and ended up killing the kid. I'm interested to see just how involved they will get with this story. 

With so many big decisions on the table this week, who do you think played their hand the best? 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (20 Votes)
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Terrie

I found this episode rather boring.........nothing really intriguing but the showdown at the card table with Nucky and Rothstein.......The doctor has Dunn's balls in a vice ...who couldn't see it coming that he'd side with the doctor............I think Chalky is going down this season..........what was up with no Richard this episode?!?? How long can Van Alden hide his true identity? He's clearly not comfortable doing what he's doing but feels he has to do it to survive. I'm assuming there's only 10 episodes, this is usually the case with HBO series, so I hope they step it up in the next episodes.............