Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Review “Ging Gang Goolie” – Familiar is Good

This week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire felt both familiar and new for all of the right reasons.

Lock, Stock and Whiskey Barrel . . .

Nucky may not be a down in the trenches gangster but he’s proven himself quite adept at getting down and dirty with those that empower themselves through politics. Because he’s no longer serving as treasurer, we have not had many opportunities to witness him wheeling, dealing and vying for power beyond his fellow bootleggers this season. As much as I love a scene with Arnold Rothstein, I realized how much I missed the political machinations until the scene between Nucky and Daugherty. Indeed, this is a very interesting political time and the ability to anticipate and outmaneuver will become crucial as the Harding administration finds itself in more trouble for its questionable practices.

I am genuinely looking forward to seeing Nucky do his best to avoid being set up as Daugherty’s patsy. I’m in favor of anything that gives us more of his interactions with Gaston Means, who has been a great addition to this season. I don’t know what I loved more – Nucky’s appeal to Esther Randolph or simply Randolph’s return to Boardwalk Empire. It was great to see a familiar face and the exchange between Randolph and Nucky was easily one of my favorite scenes this season.

What’s good for the goose . . .

Speaking of great exchanges, it was nice to see Owen and Margaret spending more time together this week. They have great chemistry and although their conversations may not be as high brow as Nucky and Esther, it is equally as enjoyable to watch. The shotgun wielding, inquisitive, independent Margaret in this episode felt more like the Margaret I grew to like in seasons 1 and 2 of Boardwalk Empire. The gypsy man/fire mystery was a nice reprieve from the women’s clinic. Admittedly, after weeks of watching Nucky pine away for Billie Kent I was happy to see Margaret engaging in her own greenhouse indiscretion. Was anyone else worried that Teddy would walk in or was looking on from a window somewhere? More on Teddy later.

Looking for love in all the wrong places . . .

Apparently I wasn’t the only one missing familiar faces and dynamics from previous seasons of Boardwalk Empire. Oh Gillian. After the exchange with Lucky and the sight of her putting away pictures of Jimmy, I thought that Gillian was ready to face the truth about her son. Not so much. I love how conflicted this character makes me feel as a viewer. My heart aches for her each time someone brings up Jimmy’s name – particularly those who clearly know that Jimmy is dead (looking at you Luciano). I was also saddened by the sight of her writing a letter to Jimmy last week and her decision last night to put away his photos. That sympathy quickly turned to disgust as Gillian set her sights on a Jimmy lookalike, slept with him and declared that he should be called James instead of Roger, his actual name. I will never accuse Gillian of not keeping things interesting.

Other thoughts about this week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire . . .

– How is Mickey still alive after the Tabor Heights debacle? I’m in no rush to see Mr. Giggles go but I can’t help but be amazed at his longevity.

– I really enjoyed this week’s episode and couldn’t help but wonder if it was because it was Gyp-free. One thing’s for sure, Teddy is way scarier then Gyp and he’s not even trying. Teddy has witnessed quite a bit at his young age. He saw his father beating his mother as well as his second father figure burning down his childhood home. I wondered if Teddy was starting the fires as a way of getting Nucky to come home. I thought it was interesting that he asked his mother if Owen could stay and watch over him. He seems to take a liking to men who serve as protectors and has perhaps realized that they tend to come around more when there is a threat. Who knows what Teddy has overheard while hanging out on those steps while the adults talked. I find myself both creeped out and intrigued by the young boy.

– Likewise, I also enjoyed the parallel between the mysterious gypsy arsonist and the bootleggers. Esther Randolph has been relegated to collecting $5 fines from small time bootleggers rather than going after the major offenders, which is obviously a result of her boss’s participation in those criminal acts. Owen appears to have decided that some random homeless person or wanderer was the neighborhood arsonist and as a result, Teddy gets a few weak slaps on the butt from his mother who later thinks she’s wrongly accused her son of being a firebug. I’m sure Owen killed the man he thought was the arsonist, while Teddy is free to sleep with knives under his pillow. It’s all about the patsy.

– It’s always a pleasure to Richard Harrow on my screen. I’m hopeful that he will find love or at least another good friend.

– Can Gaston Means slide out of a closet in every episode of Boardwalk Empire? That was amazing.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire? What do you think is going on with Teddy? Do you think he’ll shank someone before the season ends and if so, who? How do you see things playing out with Gillian and her faux-Jimmy? What’s Gaston’s angle? Sound off below!