Backlash and brutality took center stage this week on Boardwalk Empire, with several characters taking hits to their bodies, wallets and pride.
After being absent from the premiere, Nelson Van Alden returned on "Resignation" as we caught up with him delivering "messages" for Dean O'Banion. At home Nelson's wife proudly showed off their new couch and expressed how she so wants to make a home for them and the children. "Women be shoppin!"
Lucky for Nelson, it looked like he has some hazard pay coming after O'Banion hired him out to Capone.
Things in Illinois are heating up, as well, as we saw the power play between the florist and Capone taking shape. With his brothers at his side, my money is on Al to come out on top. He really knows how to work-over a room, doesn't he? Van Alden provided some very funny moments amidst the Democrat demolition. After throwing up his hands in panic at the start of the fight, he took a punch and came out swinging his blackjack with an accompanying hiss. Then, after taking a chair to the face like a WWE veteran, he was helped up by Al's brother, grabbed his hat and went right back to swinging.
Back at the Onyx Club, there weren't any punches thrown, but the verbal exchange between Chalky and newcomer Dr. Narcisse, as they sized each other up, was fantastically tense. The good doctor may have kept his cool a bit better than Chalky, but I didn't like the way he pegged Chalky for a servant posing as a king after one glance from above. Narcisse seemed passionate about his heritage, but also had no problem looking down on Chalky. Props to Nucky who defended his friendship with Chalky even if he did end up giving up ten percent of the club. In the end, Nucky chose wisely, but like the kings of old, I don't see Narcisse staying happy with just a slice of the pie for long.
Based on his philosophical comments, I have him pegged as a doctor of psychology, who is looking to plant seeds of doubt and distrust in Nucky's empire. Narcisse like Nucky, appears to prefer not getting his hands dirty, but had no problem passing the task on to others as we saw with the murder of Mrs. Pastor.
One character who has never shied away from bloodshed found himself unable to do what he does best this week. We learned just who the men Richard recently killed were this week and why he was on their trail. When the time came to finish the job, though, he balked. The moment he asked the man in Milwaukee if he had a family, you knew he wasn't going to kill him. It's not like Richard to have a moment of conscience like that. We then saw another chink in his armor when he couldn't bring himself to put down Sampson. I couldn't help but think of the dog that ran off with his mask back in the woods, when he was going to kill himself.
I really enjoyed the scenes with him and his sister in the kitchen. Little touches like how she knew he was looking for a straw and the book she gave him did well to show the depth of their relationship and history together.
I love me some Eddie Kessler, but this needier side of him is a new twist I am not sure about. What I do know is he will always have Nucky's back and after learning about undercover agent Knox, he is probably going to need it.
Speaking of Knox, the revelation that his boss is none other than a young Edgar Hoover, played by Eric Laden of The Killing, was one of my favorite moments of what was an excellent episode. Nucky is of course the headliner, but I am very excited about the prospect of delving more into other story lines like Capone and others.
What did you think?