Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Review “Bone for Tuna” – Heavy Hangs the Head that Wears the Crown

. . . or as the Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.”

Season 3 of Boardwalk Empire continued this week, haunted by the ghost of Jimmy Darmody. Although Nucky did not exactly show regret for his actions, he was undoubtedly uneasy with his decision to murder the young man he once considered his son and his protege. Nucky may want to get a little more sleep so that he can properly focus on his present and ensure that he has a future. Gyp Rosetti is proving to be a real problem.

Addressing the fallout of Jimmy’s death seemed long overdue. With the time jump that started this season, we never really saw how those closest to Jimmy dealt with his murder. For Nucky, it is becoming more and more apparent that he wants the spoils of being the leader of all lucrative criminal activity in Atlantic City but he wants none of the burden required to sustain it. I don’t think Nucky was well-equipped to be a killer and certainly not able to handle the consequences of murdering someone that was close to him.

What I don’t quite understand is how Nucky’s guilt over Jimmy’s death is leading to his increasing fear of being alone nor do I understand why he would trust that vulnerability with Billie, who does not want to be a kept woman. In fact, I would go so far to say at this point I don’t like the tie-in of the showgirl to this internal struggle but perhaps with time it will all make sense.

We also learned a little more about how Gillian Darmody adjusted after the murder of her son as well. She’s partnered up with Lucky to run her brothel out of the Commodore’s home. The venture does not appear to be as profitable as she or her partners would like. As Gyp pointed out, if Lucky is funding the brothel then some of the funds are likely going to Nucky as a cost of doing business in Atlantic City. Awkward does not even begin to describe that arrangement. Although I loved the look of shame and discomfort on Nucky’s face at the sight of Gillian, I’m waiting with bated breath to see these two have the face-to-face conversation we saw in the previews for this season.

Speaking of long anticipated face-offs, the conversation between Nucky and Richard Harrow was nearly overshadowed by Mickey Doyle’s antics. Always principled, it was important for Harrow to correct Mickey’s wrongful claim to Manny’s death. For a moment, I really thought that Mickey would meet the business end of Harrow’s gun but alas, he survives again. As much as I hate Nucky for killing Jimmy, I appreciated Harrow’s pragmatic take on the conflict. I also loved the sense that Harrow gave Nucky permission to live without fear of retribution for Jimmy’s murder.

I was disappointed not to see Chalky this week but happy that we did get back to New York and Chicago. Admittedly, watching the rise of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel is quite entertaining but makes me feel like I’m watching an entirely different show. I’m sure that with time, the connection to Nucky and Atlantic City will seem less forced. If the conflict with Masseria could somehow tie into Gyp, even better.

Likewise, the tales of George Mueller seem quite disconnected from the show. It is interesting to see Van Alden in what appears to be a normal, healthy relationship. His first marriage seemed far too puritanical to be happy, I still don’t understand the unhealthy obsession with Margaret and don’t even get me started on his relationship with Lucy. It was amusing to watch as the other salesmen and the crooked agent take advantage of Van Alden without any knowledge of his capacity for murder and corruption of his own.

I’ve finally warmed up to Gyp, who started this season as what appeared to be a bad parody of a mobster. I have no idea what will set this man off and I find it entertaining. In this week’s episode, he showed the ability to listen to reason and to even laugh at himself. He’s also proven to be much savvier than I originally thought. Last week, he showed flashes of brilliance with his takeover of the gas station. This week, he made it clear that he’s done his homework on his adversaries. I don’t think for a second he brought up Gillian without knowing Nucky’s history with the madam and her son. Unlike Nucky, Gyp has no problem networking with people and committing cold-blooded murder. I saw a look of satisfaction and delight on his face as the sheriff rolled around on the ground in flames. In just two episodes, Gyp appears to be a formidable opponent. Let’s hope Gillian doesn’t hitch her wagon to his star. I still don’t see him making it out of this season alive.

Did anyone else worry that Owen would be on the receiving end of Gyp’s wrath when he stumbled through “bone for tuna?” I can’t decide if Nucky’s absence at Gyp’s farewell gathering was a slight or just further proof that Nucky’s head isn’t in the game. Maybe a little bit of both. If Nucky is not careful, someone may go all Manny Horvitz on his favorite showgirl.

Speaking of formidable foes, kudos to Margaret for getting her women’s health clinic. Did anyone ever doubt she’d get it done?

What did you think of this week’s Boardwalk Empire? Did anyone else immediately think of The Sopranos when Pine Barrens was mentioned? Sound off below!

  • Yes, I did. This show is the Sopranos all over again. I’m lovin’ it and so much so that I watch the encore presentations until they bore me.  I too have been very impressed with Margaret’s ability to manipulate her way into getting what she wants…and she does it with such class! She knows her time as Nucky’s #1 has passed but she is Mrs. Thompson! That’s a position she will milk to death for all it’s worth. I think she and that doc who rubs her the wrong way will get a chance to rub her the right way soon. What do you think? Missed Chalky too this week and hope he’ll be back next week. Sometimes it seems like they’re writing storylines as they go along for some characters. Boardwalk Empire is one great show!!

    • I definitely think Margaret and the doctor will get hot and heavy before the season ends.  I’m all for Margaret stepping out but I was hoping that it would be with Owen again. 

  • Anonymous

    George Mueller’s struggles as a salesperson at work and in his office is related to the show as he’ll probably tie up with the Irish mobsters. There’s gonna be a tipping point for him to move to the dark side which will unleash his true evil side. I expect him to go Rambo in the 2nd half of the season.

    • I agree, Mueller is definitely about to go over to the dark side for good and I’m really excited to see it.  Those scenes with he and O’Banion weren’t for nothing.  I’m okay with the aspects of the story that are unrelated to Nucky but I really enjoy when they come together like Voltron to take someone down.  I really enjoyed how they all teamed together to deal with the D’Alessio brothers in season 1.

  • Dnalgne111

    It’s Darmody, not Darmondy.