Boardwalk Empire “New York Sour” Review (4×01)

10 Sep


This is always a show that has reveled in its atmosphere. Even in its lower points, the cool, calm ambience is intoxicating, bringing you in deep. It’s a difficult task with such an expansive cast, but Boardwalk usually pulls it off.

Season 4 opens in the aftermath of the bloodbath initiated by the delightfully evil Gyp Rosetti, the major driving force of Season 3. It’ll be interesting to see how the show regroups after losing someone as charismatic and antagonistic as him, and the premiere already shows signs of wheel-spinning. However, it’s a table-setting episode that accomplishes what it sets out do: introduce new characters and move things into place for the rest of the season.

Although Rosetti’s dead, we can already see the effects of the recently ended all-out war. Nucky’s living situation is far from glamorous, and we can see that he’s nowhere near as comfortable as he was earlier. He’s always been a guy that tries to avoid trouble when he can, and his flaw is believing that others will ignore looking into him if he says so. His way of doing business is paying people off, and he tries to grab as much as he can without entering the fray. For example, as Rothstein is leaving the meeting, he remarks that he isn’t sure if Nucky would kill him or not. Nucky seems both shocked at the content of the insinuation, as well as the idea of an insinuation itself. He wants, and believes, everything to be clean and easy, but as we know, being a gangster isn’t all sunshine and flowers.

In other affairs, Gillian’s now trying to take custody back of her son Tommy, while at the same time running a secret prostitution scheme in her house. She’s been going downhill much faster than Nucky has, and a shady Piggly Wiggly businessman can only spell trouble.

The show also checks in with Al Capone, a person that seems to be gaining confidence and poise as the days wear on. He shows restraint in dealing with a boy that spells his name wrong in the paper (the nerve!), and his business seems to be going well.

Finally, another person whose confidence is growing is Chalky White, played by the magnificent Michael Kenneth Williams. The show seems to be delving more into the African American side of the race relations, and it’s a welcome change, if not only to give Williams more screen time. He deals coolly with an especially shocking scene in which Dunn stabs Dickie Pastor, a talent manager that visits the Onyx Club. It comes after Dickie walks in on Dunn and Mrs. Pastor, and the scene eventually descends into dark, visceral madness.


The premiere generally moves a bit slow, but that’s to be expected after last year. I’m really looking forward to the remaining 11 episodes.

Grade: B

Other thoughts:

-Richard Harrow is back, and he’s killing people! I could probably watch him doing that all day.

-The final scene is great. Harrow’s been a lonely voyager, just trying to get home. However, unlike Nucky, he’s not a stranger in his own home. The scene right before this shows Nucky staring into the distance, not sure what his place in the world is.

-Nucky’s nephew Will is introduced, which provides some interesting familial dynamics for the show to explore.

-New character Warren Knox is extremely intriguing. He seems fine on the outside at first, but he later murders a couple of people and has a drink. He’s like the Todd of Boardwalk Empire, I tell you.

-No van Alden or Margaret yet. I really hope that Shannon is integrated more into the main story this year. He’s a fantastic actor, and I want to see more of him.

Credit to HBO and Boardwalk Empire for all pictures. I own nothing.


2 Responses to “Boardwalk Empire “New York Sour” Review (4×01)”

  1. ericdmunoz September 12, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    Keep the reviews coming!

    • polarbears16 September 12, 2013 at 5:07 am #

      Thanks for reading! I definitely will.

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