Boardwalk Empire Season 4 “The North Star” Review

BACK IN THE GAME

For the most part, I’ve enjoyed this season of Boardwalk Empire. You won’t find me complaining about spending more quality time onscreen with Chalky White, Al Capone, Albert Rothstein, George Mueller, Richard Harrow and this season’s newest addition – Dr. Narcisse. Although he’s certainly not my favorite character, it’s been hard not to notice Nucky’s absence from the central storylines. I might not like Nucky, but I’m definitely a fan of Steve Buscemi. No matter how interesting the secondary characters are, Boardwalk Empire is still a series based on Nucky Thompson.

This season, however, Nucky has been mostly relegated to a role in which he is reacting to other people’s problems, from Dunn Purnsley to Bill McCoy to Will Thompson. I always enjoy a good mental sparring match between Nucky and Arnold, but there’s been too little of that and way too much of Will Thompson. I’ve tried my best, but I simply don’t give a crap about Nucky’s nephew. I suspected that Eddie’s suicide last week would give Nucky’s arc this season a much needed boost. Eddie may be gone, but he surely wasn’t forgotten this week. At long last, we got an update about Margaret.

She’s living with her family, enjoys picture shows and is currently “working in an office.” I can’t decide whether or not there is more to be read into Margaret’s unwillingness to share more details about her job. Like Nucky, Margaret hasn’t exactly been one of my favorite characters but I’d found myself missing her lately. As nice as it was to finally see her this season, the visit with Nucky proved to be pretty anti-climatic.

After not getting the comfort he was seeking from Margaret, Nucky headed back to Tampa where he turned to Sally for support. What was Sally’s response? A punch right to the face. That kicked off some interesting foreplay between the pair. Perhaps a shot to the face and sex is what Nucky needed, as he seemed much more clear headed the next day. Nucky’s also decided to leave oversight of his Tampa affairs in Sally’s hands. Although I don’t think it will be Sally’s fault, I think this Tampa deal is bound for disaster. I’m not sure how I feel about Nucky putting more trust in Sally than he ever put in Margaret. Before the violence ate away at her and before she fell in love with Owen, Margaret was showing the potential to be a good partner to Nucky both personally and professionally. Remember when she had the foresight to grab Nucky’s ledger and cash while the feds were raiding his office?

I don’t know how much more of Margaret we’ll see this season, but it would be nice to know if she and Nucky are still married. I’ve also decided I’m officially intrigued by her new job. I want to know where she’s working.

MORE TROUBLES ON THE HOME FRONT

Nucky isn’t the only one coping with an empty, unfulfilled home life. Ever since she refused to make him some Hoppin’ John, I never quite understood why Chalky ever married his uptight wife. Likewise, I don’t know why she married him. She likes the money, but appears not to like much else about her husband. After the cold exchange between the pair at dinner, it was no surprise to see Chalky finally seal the deal with Daughter Maitland. He’s been giving her the lustful eyes since he first met her. How fantastic are her performances?

It looks like Chalky’s tryst with Daughter may set up a long overdue showdown with Dr. Narcisse. We don’t know much about Dr. Narcisse’s relationship with Daughter, but we do know that “he owns a piece of everybody.” There were strong suggestions last night that in addition to the contract, Dr. Narcisse may be keeping Daughter close with drugs.

HE WAS IN WISCON-STIN

Richard’s return to Atlantic City gave me more than I was anticipating. I’m happy his mid-western journey has come to an end, but the real highlight was hearing a joyful, chatty Tommy welcoming his friend home and telling him all about the stars. That little boy is just absolutely adorable. It was disappointing to learn that Paul Sargosky won’t be around too much longer because of his cirrhosis diagnosis. I enjoy his connection with Richard and would like to see the two spend more time together onscreen. Although Julia wasn’t as quick to welcome Richard back home, she definitely gave him a much warmer welcome than he received from his sister. As familiar and predictable as it might be to watch Richard come to Tommy’s rescue once again this season, I’m totally fine with him doing whatever is necessary to keep Tommy away from Gillian – even if it means taking out Mr. Piggly Wiggly too. Of all the characters on this show, I’m most invested in the Richard/Julia/Tommy trio having a happy ending. The sight of Richard holding Tommy’s hand on the boardwalk – too adorable for words!!!!

What did you think of this week’s episode of Boardwalk Empire? Eli may have inadvertently given Agent “Knox” information about Nucky’s activities, but he definitely took note of the initials on the handkerchief – JMT. With J. Edgar Hoover name dropping Marcus Garvey this week, perhaps Nucky can offer a little info on Dr. Narcisse should he find himself in a jam with the feds. Until next week!