Boardwalk Empire Season 3: It’s All About Characters! [Review]

Boardwalk Empire Resolution Season 3 Premiere (5)

As we enter the third season of HBO’s drama Boardwalk Empire there is much to be enthused about. Last season ended in a bit of a shocker as Nucky (Steve Buscemi) finally took revenge on Jimmy (Michael Pitt) for trying to kill him. The third season leaves us sans Jimmy (and his poor wife Angela), but with a new nemesis for Nucky: Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale). More on that below.

In the premiere episode “Resolution,” we find out that it is New Year’s Eve 1922, the roaring twenties are going in full force and Nucky is throwing a party during which he will make a revelation that will change the course of this season.

I got a chance to screen the first four episodes of the season. So let’s talk about what’s coming up for each of our favorite Boardwalk Empire characters this season.

Nucky Thompson

Last season, Nucky made a definite choice between being a politician and a gangster and this season finds him at the top. Unfortunately, as we soon find out, he has made a business resolution for the new year that doesn’t please newcomer Gyp Rosetti. This will have dire consequences for Nucky and from the looks of it, it will impact the entire season.

Margaret Thompson

While Nucky and Margaret’s marriage is on the rocks, she is devoting her time to a new project at St. Theresa’s Hospital, which doesn’t really please Nucky too much.

Me on the other hand, I am loving this Margaret (Kelly Macdonald). She was already a strong woman, but I think she’s really coming into her own this season now that she took some distance from Nucky. I am looking forward to finding out where she ends up at the end of the season.

Eli Thompson

It’s been two years and Eli (Shea Whigham) is finally out! But things definitely have changed for him. He’s not at the top of the food chain anymore and to make things worse he has a new “boss.”

But the most blatant change in Eli is his appearance. Once so animated, Eli is now a shell of himself and we see that the second he comes onscreen thanks to Whigham’s superb performance. There is without a doubt much more for Eli to come, but don’t expect to see the old Eli back anytime soon.

Nelson Van Alden

Poor Van Alden (Michael Shannon) had to flee to Illinois last season with his baby and nanny. This season we find him as a door to door salesman and just like Eli, he’s only a shell of the man he used to be, even getting picked on by his co-workers.

However, an event in the season premiere episode could possibly change the course of his new life in future episodes this season. I really hope it does because it would open so many intriguing storylines for Van Alden.

Chalky White

In the first four episodes of the season we don’t see much of Chalky White (Michael Kenneth Williams) except in the second episode “Spaghetti & Coffee,” where we find him dealing with his daughter Maybelle (Christina Jackson), who has a very different idea of what she wants her future to be.

I need to mention a great scene for White which ends with a memorable quote “Am I interesting now?”

I can’t tell you what it refers to, but keep an eye out for it, it’s an excellent moment.

Gillian Darmody

Well, I never really liked Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol), especially not after the big revelation last season, so it’s no surprise that she’s up to some new mischievous shenanigans this season. She of course took over raising Jimmy’s son Tommy and has an interesting approach in dealing with Jimmy’s death. I’m already uneasy about letting her raise another boy.

Gretchen Mol really owns the part of Gillian, and while I might not like the character, I love watching her and I couldn’t imagine Boardwalk Empire without her.

Richard Harrow

Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) is and continues to be my favorite character in Boardwalk Empire. Even though Jimmy is dead, Harrow continues to be a loyal friend to him, by also taking care of Tommy whenever he can and reminding him of what great parents he had.

But more than that, Harrow is a man of honor. I know it sounds weird since he is also a murderer (over 60 people), but there is a great scene between him and Nucky in episode 3 “Bone for Tuna” that illustrates exactly what I’m talking about.

However, what I love most about Harrow is the duality between his quiet self and soft heart with his ruthless killings, that has always fascinated me.

I also can’t believe that Jack Huston still hasn’t earned an award for his work in the show.

Newcomer Gyp Rosetti

And finally, we come to Nucky’s new nemesis Gyp Rosetti played by Bobby Cannavale. A total 180 degrees from Jimmy, Rosetti is temperamental, at times irrational and takes business decisions too personally, the recipe for disaster, but a brilliant addition for some gripping drama.

However, I will make a prediction about Rosetti. I’m guessing he will die by the end of the season. Why? Well, because of how volatile he is. It TV has taught me anything is that these types of characters never last. They’re just bad for business.

So there you have it, an overview of what this third season has in store for you.

After two strong seasons, Boardwalk Empire continues to be one of the most creative and captivating dramas on TV. For audiences craving engaging characters and storylines, this is it.

Boardwalk Empire returns for its third season tonight, September 16th at 9pm on HBO.