Two episodes of Boardwalk Empire Season 3 remain, but it will be difficult for the either to top "A Man, A Plan." It had just about everything a fan of the show's heart could desire, as nearly every major character was featured.
The opening scene on the beach could have been the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting, as Richard carried two ice cream cones toward Julia and Tommy, who were busy making sand castles. All of a sudden, though, the mood shifted and the beach reminded me of those scenes in Jaws where everyone stood to look at the ocean with that confused look on their faces.
This time it was the cry of "whiskey" - not "shark" - that sent the beach goers into a frenzy and had them running into the water instead of out.
Richard no doubt had flashbacks of Angela as he saw his new crush sitting there next to his ward. Julia's father is no Jimmy, however, and Richard dealt with him appropriately when Julia's virtue and his war wound were insulted. I simply could not get enough of Richard's assertiveness this week. Whether it was choke slamming the man who could end up being his father-in-law or making his move with Julia on the beach, I would have paid way more than a dime to see additional scenes of that caliber.
Fatherhood was a constant theme tonight. It played a big part in the latest addition to Gyp Rosetti's body count. From the moment he opened his mouth about the rogue waves, you knew Franco's days were numbered, but his initial explanation to Gyp about what happens to the sea when the wind shifts was a very telling part of this week's list of Boardwalk Empire quotes. The tide has turned in Atlantic City, setting Nucky and Gyp on a collision course, the fallout of which already has affected many others.
Lucky and Meyer may have had a partner in Nucky, but because of recent shifts in alliances, they were stuck between a Roth and a hard place. Yes, Arnold Rothstein turned the two entrepreneurs down, but he did it with sick swagger, didn't he? His speech about the break off shot in snooker, and then walking away from the table having perfectly demonstrated it, was a great illustration of his point that a deal will always wait but fools will always rush in. Too bad Nucky wasn't privy to the same advice.
Information is power, but is can also prove deadly in the wrong hands. For a second time this season lives were lost when a character seeking their own interest divulged valuable intel to a highly motivated party. Recently Billie Kent and others were killed thanks to Gillian's loose lips and here Owen's attempt on Masseria's life went topsy turvy after Lucky shared Nucky's plot in order to secure a partner for he and Meyer's heroin deal.
Prior to the news of his unborn heir, I'm pretty sure Owen's plans to walk away from his life of crime did not include Margaret or Katie. He told them both something they wanted to hear, but I think always planned on disappearing from both of their lives. We will never know the full truth of course, but I'm confident Margaret will learn of the promise made to Katie by her cryptic lover. While Margaret's stock has decreased in value each time the maternity clinic has taken up valuable screen time this season, her reaction upon seeing Owen's lifeless and battered body in the box was some of Kelly MacDonald's best acting to date.
Her hysterics were so convincing that they might prove to be her undoing as it was clear Nucky's eyes were opened to what has been happening under his roof. The question that remains is whether or not Nucky is so desperate for a "normal" relationship that he will be willing to forgive his wife and make good on his promise to set things right in their life together.
Nothing on that front will likely be dealt with until Nucky's business with Rosetti and Masseria is concluded. Nucky stood a chance last week after Masseria told Gyp that his problems in Atlantic City were his own, but now Gyp will most definitely have his boss's army at his disposal. My feeling is Nucky's only chance to survive this battle will be to enlist the aid of Chalky White and his supporters. Chalky's idea to add a little color to the boardwalk club scene was a sound one and will come to fruition I think once Nucky realizes Chalky is his only hope for victory.
Chalky had certainly thought his new business idea through, but the same could not be said for Van Alden and his Norwegian venture. I assumed the men who picked up Cicero George were O'Banion's boys, so I was thrilled to see it was actually Al Capone flexing his muscle. Like Chalky White, Capone's presence this season has been sorely lacking, but this week's fork full was a great step in the right direction.
While I have missed seeing certain show regulars on a weekly basis, their omission has made room for the likes of Gaston Means whose scheming and ice cold delivery has yet to ware the slightest bit thin on me.
Of course, by far the best addition to the cast has been Bobby Cannavale. His performance tonight only served to further cement his legacy on this show. Last week he stressed the importance of reading and this time he touted the power of math to his men when his shipment came in unharmed. He certainly took Franco and his cousin to school, once again displaying the maniacal inferiority complex and quick temper that has made him such a fan favorite.