Boardwalk Empire: S4E2 “Resignation”

8 Overall Score
Main Plot: 8/10
Sub Plots: 7/10
Anticipation: 8/10

Van Alden is back in all his wonderful awkwardness

Still not sure where we're headed this season | Harrow acting out of character

While not as bombastic as the season premiere, this week’s Boardwalk Empire gave us an intriguing new character to watch out for, unveiled Harrow’s reasons for his killing spree and offered some amusing back-and-forth between Nucky and Eddie. We also got to see Van Alden for the first time this season, in all his smoldering awkwardness. Overall, “Resignation” feels like a filler episode and a brief glimpse of things to come, which is strange because, well, that’s what the premiere felt like. Fortunately, even without a seeming motivation yet this season, all the plots are watchable from beginning to end, and that’s where most of Boardwalk’s charm comes from: its characters.

Let’s kick things off with the guy we haven’t seen in some time, Van Alden. We first see him delivering flowers, saying either “Mr. O’Banion sends his congratulations,” or “his regards,” only to punch the third receiver in the face, saying “Mr. O’Banion wants his money.” Of all the characters on this show, Van Alden has changed the most, going from formidable enemy to a sad sack working for the very people he originally planned to take down. His ventures end up with him working with Capone and his brother (under O’Banion’s orders of course) to literally beat Democratic voters at a rally. Van Alden and Capone’s plotlines have always seemed random when the main story focuses on Nucky and those close to him, but it’s always incredibly entertaining.

Was anyone else surprised that Harrow grew up on a creepy farm? Because I certainly wasn’t. Everyone’s favorite veteran had an interesting character breakthrough, albeit one that seemed rushed. We found out that the killing spree he was on in the premiere was an order by a man named Carl Billings to take out his partners. So Harrow not killing his final target was a bit strange, seeing as he killed Werner last week even though his kid’s birthday was coming up. Maybe he got soft in the few days home, I’m not really sure, but after seeing him kill so many people in cold blood it was a bit jarring to see him slip. Especially later when he couldn’t mercifully kill his childhood dog. His lack of killing the target leads to his sister’s farm being threatened by an unknown caller, who blew Harrow’s intended target’s brains on the wall. So if there is going to be a threat to his sister, will Harrow continue to kill, or is he a changed man?

Boardwalk Empire S4E2Lastly, let’s touch on Nucky’s endeavors this week, and his new acquaintance (enemy?) Dr. Narcisse. Narcisse used Dickie’s wife as leverage to get a piece of Chalky’s club, and he used her well. Narcissse seems like the opposite of Gyp last season – a smart and dangerous man, just not as angry or violent. He does end up having his henchmen kill Dickie’s wife, but away from his eyes and in a way that you almost can’t blame him. I’m not sure exactly where he will stand this season, as an adversary or friend, but he will be fun to watch as things play out.

Eddie was a highlight of the episode this week, actually going as far to resign because Nucky doesn’t respect him enough. The back and forth between the two were the most amusing parts of the episode, and ended with Eddie getting a promotion as being in charge of Nucky’s money. Nucky, meanwhile, sat in the background this episode, simply mediating for Narcisse and Chalky, and getting his money from the Mayor. He’s now off to Florida on business, and what he plans on doing there is yet to be known.

We are also introduced to a plot by real life historical figure J. Edgar Hoover to stop the bootleggers, most specifically, Nucky. Even after finding out Hoover is onto Nucky, it is unveiled that last week’s wild card Agent Knox works as a Bureau agent, and is in the perfect spot to get in the way of Nucky’s operation. This, on top of Narcisse leaving Dickie’s dead wife on the building site that Nucky has stake in, Nucky could see himself in a tight spot when he returns from the south.

While “Resignation” doesn’t do much more than set up what is to come this season, it was an entertaining episode of Boardwalk. It’s weird that even after episode two we don’t have a clear idea where things are headed, but that’s the slow burn that is Boardwalk Empire. Maybe we’ll find out more when Nucky gets to Florida, but for now I’m completely fine watching Harrow defend his sister and Van Alden get himself into more trouble. This season is shaping up to be intriguing, introducing two new characters that could cause some serious trouble, but it’s going to need to start heading somewhere eventually.

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Author: Justin Peterson View all posts by

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