Boardwalk Empire Season Premiere Review: "21"
"If Jesus ever came to Atlantic City," he would certainly avoid any of Nucky Thompson's properties.
Boardwalk Empire's second season opens with "21," a tense return to the easily corrupted city by the shore. The show received some pretty heavy criticism in its inaugural season, with some calling it "overrated" or "boring," but this new episode gives me reason to hope that the show will continue to grow into another entertaining success for HBO.
What really worked last season was the slowly mounting tension between Nucky and his protege/surrogate son, Jimmy. Now, we finally see the fruits of the long labor as Jimmy takes some decisive actions against his boss, former friend, and father-figure.
Michael Pitt's Jimmy usually steals the spotlight from the show's star, Steve Buscemi, and this episode is no different. His quiet intensity really drew me in and he seems to have really grown into his own during the break. His time in Chicago and "reconciliation" (if you can call a mutual desire for revenge a reconciliation) with his father, the Commodore, helped him develop a sharp-minded focus on what matters most to him
BUT what is that exactly?
He used to want to make name for himself and support his son and girlfriend, and as such, he was disappointed by Nucky's lack of support. It seemed really important to have Nucky's approval, just like it was really important to keep his family together when Angie almost ran off with her girlfriend. It seems that Jimmy has been spending more time with his mother and real father to bring down Nucky, but only because he felt that Nucky, the only father he ever knew, abandoned him.
Sounds like most of his steely resolve is the result of some serious daddy issues. With the Commodore finally responding to him and even respecting him, Jimmy is doing his best to ignore his previous father, despite Nucky's nostalgic gift and gentle probing.
The battle between these two will no doubt get more and more serious, especially once Nucky finds out who was really behind the supposed KKK shooting.
Also, I can't wait to see the whole story behind Van Alden and Lucy's situation. He made a good impression on his wife during her visit and seemed to have finally pulled himself together, but Lucy is just plain trouble. Their storyline should provide some exciting moments in the weeks to come.
I'm glad that Richard is back and still retains that haunting sadness that makes him nearly unwatchable and captivating at the same time. And the episode's shocking ending (Nucky is finally busted!!) definitely made this a great opener for the show's second season.
I'm eagerly awaiting the episodes to come. How about you?