One of the real selling points for “Boardwalk Empire” season 5 going into the proceedings this year included the show’s capacity to be “different.” By that, we mean the show getting a chance to really demonstrate how the times are changing, and how it can impact some of the other characters within.
What we learned in the case of this series, however, is that Nucky is still not a man altogether concerned with changing his stripes too much … even though he may be trying to get into the legal liquor trade for a change. When Steve Buscemi’s character starts to really wonder about Meyer Lansky and Charlie Luciano’s motives back in Cuba, he decides to send the sort of standard “don’t mess with me” message that you would expect from someone in his situation. Also, he decides that it would be a good idea to send said message in blood.
This, at least to us, was the biggest reminder that Nucky is who he is, though in seeing what happened to his sister when he was a child, we got a better sense of why he is this way.
While the Capone story to us still feels a little jarring, the Gillian plotline was interesting in a very different way. Are there times when a character feels empowered by stripping their clothes off? On HBO, this is rare, but for her scenes we imagine that this was meant to be a statement of power not only for herself in the present, but also to those who wronged her and placed her through the hardships of years ago.
This was a very good, diverse episode in terms of themes and twists. We’ll have to see what lies ahead now. Grade: B+.
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