HBO Boardwalk Empire Episode Review: 2.5 – “Gimcrack & Bunkum”

I am sorry for my continued Boardwalk Empire ignorance. I really should go back and watch the entire first season, because I’m often confused with the plots, storyline and characters. This season seems to be moving along at a very slow pace as well, and I’m curious to see if season one moved along as deliberately as this one. As I think I’ve said before, the real strength of this show is in its level of detail, in particular visual detail in the clothes, sets, and props, and emotional detail in the characters. Despite the fact that I don’t have a really strong hold on the plot or where it’s going, the level of detail inherent in Boardwalk makes it easy to latch on to specific scenes and just enjoy them for what they are.

A few standouts from this week:

* I just loved the fight between Nucky and Eli. It’s pretty clear that Nucky has zero respect for Eli and this point but it looks like he got a little too confident; if it wasn’t for Margaret and her (unloaded) shotgun, Eli would have overwhelmed and maybe killed Nucky. Nucky’s flaw, it seems, is pride…

*…while Eli’s is rage. He almost choked his brother to death. Later, he’s overwhelmed by the fear and anxiety of one of his co-conspirators and lashes out at him to make him stop. Unfortunately for the other man, Eli lashes out with a pipe wrench, and crushes his windpipe. As his rage overtakes him, Eli beats the other man’s face into a pulp with the wrench, in one of the most graphic scenes of violence I’ve seen on TV in a while. It sort of reminded me of the scene from the Sopranos, where Tony beat Ralphie to death on his kitchen floor.

*I’m sure every critic in the world has probably said this already, but the character of Richard Harrow is just fascinating. He heads into the woods to commit suicide, but is saved thanks to a meddlesome dog and two kindly hobos. He leaves the woods alive, just in time to help Jimmy scalp an old man in his study.

I don’t know where this season is going, but I’m still enjoying the ride.

John is a TV blogger for Raked and an Entertainment and Sports contributor here at The TMR Zoo. You can follow him on Twitter at @raked_jc