HBO: Boardwalk Empire – Season 2, Episode 4 Review – “What Does the Bee Do?”

This week’s Boardwalk Empire lacked a badass scene like last week’s, in which Nucky flipped out and overturned the Commodore’s dinner at the restaurant. Still, there was some intriguing stuff going on here. I was surprised to learn that Jimmy’s mother had been apparently raped by his father (who is the Commodore, I think. Right?). I’m not quite sure why she’d want her son to be helping the man who brutalized her like that, but it seems like that’s what she’s been up to. Anyway, she got to take her revenge by beating the helpless Commodore after he was incapacitated by his stroke. Meanwhile, Jimmy tries to move some liquor into Philadelphia, and Nucky strikes up a bargain with Arnold Rothstein to sell some of his stock as well. Nucky’s new enforcer, Slater, blows up someone’s warehouse (I didn’t catch who) and conveniently winds up maiming or killing one of agent Van Alden’s suspicious underlings. Chalky White, out of prison and back at home, feels out of place when his daughter’s cultured boyfriend comes over for dinner, and is coming under some scrutiny in the community because of the deaths of his men at the hands of the Klan.

I have to say that I’m constantly impressed by the level of visual detail that goes into this show. The clothes, sets, and locations are all so elaborate and so interesting to look at that I sometimes find myself paying more attention to the atmosphere of a scene than what’s actually happening in it. Chalky White’s house, for me at least, is one standout; the stained glass window looks incredible.

I must also say a brief word about Agent Van Alden again, who wasn’t in much of this episode. I know I’ve talked about how much I hate him in previous posts, and I still do, but I am finding his struggle between the “corrupting” city life and his seductive mistress versus the starched, prim, proper up-right Victorian image he has at home with his true wife to be really interesting. I don’t think he’ll be able to continue living these dual lives without some kind of recognition or acknowledgment. Something is going to have to break for him, and if the phone call with his wife is any indication, it might be the city that wins out.

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