Boardwalk Empire: Golden Days for Boys and Girls
September 8, 2014 10:10 AM - Season 5, Episode 1 - Subscribe

We meet the younger Nucky and learn how he meets the Commodore. Back in the present day, 1931, Nucky is in Cuba with Sally, and is laying the groundwork to get back into business. Chalky is on a chain gang, and can't seem to tie his shoelaces. Margaret feels the repercussions of the crash firsthand. Charlie drinks espressos with Joe.
posted by computech_apolloniajames (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Boardwalk Empire without Richard Harrow or Eddie "Walter Benjamin's doppelganger" Kessler? Wow, now there's really no one to care about.

Which is not to say I didn't watch it; I was looking forward to it all summer, and I'm glad it's back. But it's funny how Boardwalk Empire has marched steadily toward its final season in which it's quite breathtaking to watch, and can even be really engaging and engrossing, and yet there's pretty much no one (with the possible exception of Chalky) left to really care about. Nucky, in the end, is a cipher who doesn't engender any sustained empathy, and I suspect all the flashbacks in the world aren't going to change that (even as appealing as I find the actor playing Young Nucky, not to mention the Younger Commodore).

Anyway, as is often the case with shows that require a lot of table-setting when time and storylines have jumped a lot between season, last night felt slow -- at one point I said to my partner, "I didn't know this was going to be a two-hour season premiere," to which he replied, "it's not." I expect it will pick up again soon enough, though so far my main objection to jumping forward to 1931 is that this means (barring any flashbacks) we've seen the last of the delightful Arnold Rothstein, since IRL he died in 1928.

Finally, because we're all friends here, I'd like to admit something: I love Steve Buscemi like mad, but I just haven't always been convinced he has been right for this role. I certainly don't think his performance is bad, and in fact there have been times where he's been very effective (sometimes chilling, sometimes hilarious). But it often feels like he approaches the character with a level of restraint that occasionally squeezes a little too much of the life out of him.
posted by scody at 4:13 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah when Nucky runs into Meyer Lansky in Cuba, he mentions them not having seen each other "since A.R.'s funeral". I loved that actor so I'm pretty disappointed he's no longer around either. Also, I thought I read on Wikipedia something about Capone being incarcerated around this time--he didn't make an appearance in this episode either but the actor was one of the first names in the opening credits...
posted by lovableiago at 7:01 PM on September 8, 2014

I guess it wasn't doing well ratings wise? It's a travesty that one of the best shows on television is being butchered like this, cutting out 7 years and a few more seasons of great stories and characters. I have to say this episode lacked the finesse of other episodes in terms of story telling. It was all very obvious and in your face. I was pretty disappointed. Fortunately it was as well directed and shot as it the series has always been.
posted by juiceCake at 7:05 PM on September 8, 2014

Feels really Godfather Part II to me: the How He Came to Be parts interspersed with Fun in Cuba!

Aw, hell: I liked it. Nucky is easily one of my favorite TV characters of ever.
posted by grubi at 12:47 PM on September 9, 2014

Argh, I totally missed the line about Rothstein's funeral. That is really a shame. He was one of the best characters on that show. I was hoping he and Margaret would continue to have dealings. Perhaps more flashbacks are on the way?

The flashbacks of Nucky's childhood were disappointing. After hearing him talk about his youth, watching it was a letdown. Poor, check. Drunk dad, check. Sick sibling, check. Out of step with his peers, check.

I liked the one review I read about the younger Commodore's being played by a man doing a bad Dabney Coleman accent. (We are watching from Season 2 onward to catch up the BF on everything, and I love the scene where Coleman strides into the room with his hair newly dyed black and dares a younger man to pick up the giant tusk.)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:04 PM on September 9, 2014

Actually, I'd say it's a pretty *good* Dabney Coleman impression. I mean, think about it: who the hell does ANY Dabney Coleman impression?
posted by grubi at 7:01 AM on September 10, 2014

I didn't get a lot from the flashbacks. What did we learn? 1.Nucky's dad was abusive. 2.Nucky was plucky. 3.How he met the Commodore (unremarkable).

This show has shed so many memorable characters -- a dozen or more -- that it feels like they're planning on finishing out the string with a roster full of bench players.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:00 AM on September 15, 2014

I watched it last night and while I was aware there was a time jump, somehow it just hadn't sunk in that we skipped seven years. Holy shit.

Agree that the Nucky flashbacks were drab. They felt like low-rent Don Draper flashbacks.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:38 PM on September 16, 2014

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