BOARDWALK EMPIRE “Ourselves Alone” Review

BOARDWALK EMPIRE “Ourselves Alone” Season 2 Episode 2 – “You know the funny thing, nobody takes power. Somebody has to give it to them. Look around big brother. Who you got?” So says Eli in a devastating phone call to Nucky, just before the Commodore pushes him into a room of distinguished men. That sentence encapsulates everything about this episode, from Chalky’s cell room ploys with Purnsley to Jimmy’s power plays between Rothstein and Lansky.

The title of the episode comes from Mrs Shroeder’s mistaken translation of “sinn féin”. It actually means “we ourselves” but she thinks it means “ourselves alone”. It’s the mistake many in Boardwalk Empire make: from Nucky to Jimmy, they make the mistake to think that they can survive solo, when, as this episode shows, power is anything but a solo game.

Sure, Jimmy survived tonight’s fight, but he cannot carry on like so for long. Nucky was almost destroyed, but Mrs Shroeder had his back. Chalky dealt with Purnsley not with his own fists, but by the fists of those loyal to him. “Friends” might be going a bit far, but then the Commodore’s pals are hardly his friends. They’re all just people feeding off of each other. If love comes into it, that’s all the better, but as Eli’s betrayal shows, love is not necessary to accommodate a rise to power.

Last week the episode ended with Nucky’s arrest for election fraud. This week is the fallout from his arrest and it was a truly lovely little episode, filled with some fantastic scenes and the lyrical language Boardwalk Empire does so well. The episode offered some prime scenes for the Commodore to prove himself a formidable character and offered Mrs Shroeder some scenes to show off her shrewdness. Ever since Scorsese took the reins for the pilot, this show has been renowned for its directing and this episode featured some truly fantastically directed sequences.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.

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